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Holy Rule for June 5

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the soul of Dom Gregory van der Kleij, OSB, Prior of the Olivetan Monastery of Christ Our Saviour, Turvey, England, who died last
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 6, 2005
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the soul of Dom Gregory van der Kleij, OSB, Prior of the Olivetan Monastery of Christ Our Saviour, Turvey, England, who died last Saturday. May he rest in peace!

      Prayers for Fr. Hugo and his family, traveling to Argentina to see his Mother, Paulina, who has breast cancer and is having surgery and his brother, going blind as a side effect from chemotherapy, prayers, too, for Fr. Volodymyr and his family, who is replacing Fr. Hugo while he is away. Deo gratias that Fr. Basil has returned to Tucson, thus lightening the load on Fr. Hugo's parish duties. Prayers for Sharon's granddaughter, having surgery this Friday. Lord, help them as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

      February 5, June 6, October 6
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The eighth degree of humility
      is that a monk do nothing except what is commended
      by the common Rule of the monastery
      and the example of the elders.

      REFLECTION

      Well, this one looks deceptively simple enough. Just try it! I speak
      as one who has frequently failed it and who sometimes* fails it
      still. [* I only fail it on special occasions: Sunday, Monday,
      Tuesday, Wednesday.... you get the picture.] This step of humility,
      by the way, will translate very easily into family life, the
      neighborhood, or the workplace.

      The goal here is not just external uniformity so much as internal
      detachment. We are deeply attached to the things we do. Demanding to
      do things our own way is not humble. When observers come to the
      monastery, as vocations for the monks or the nuns, I often see little quirks of
      external piety in church and think: "Well, that'll have to go..."

      One cannot profitably go through monastic formation cherishing the
      notion that one has got it right and one's elders have it wrong. You
      may even be right, or the matter may be completely neutral. (The
      term "optional" comes to mind, but that was NOT used to express
      neutrality!) That's not the issue here. Detachment and humility are.

      When we singularize ourselves without real moral imperative, the
      message given to the whole community is "I know better." That this is
      not warmly received in a junior or newcomer should come as no
      surprise. A monastic family is like any spouse: you had better not
      marry what you hope to change them into, but only what they ARE. If
      we fail this, we change "Thy will be done" into "MY will be done!"
      and we do so with sorry results.

      No spouse is perfect, neither is any family, monastery or job, but if
      you expect to change them right off the bat, you're doomed to woe. In
      monastery and marriage and workplace, the only person you can REALLY
      change is yourself and the sooner you get around to doing that, the
      better for all concerned.

      The sad thing (and I am guilty here!) is that sometimes these things
      we do on our own have nothing to do with piety at all. They are,
      pure and simple, revolt, passive aggression, small, though very
      public ways of expressing our scorn for this or that concept or
      person. Having lived in the Church of the 60's and 70's, I picked up
      the idea of refusal as a kind of non-violent demonstration.

      I also must say that, in those less-than-halcyon days, I picked it up
      from my monastic seniors, just not always the best seniors! I still
      do it at times, and I still wrestle with paring those times down day
      by day. The hardest humility and obedience are to things we truly
      think are dumb and do not matter. The difficulty alone must mean
      there is great potential for growth there. The stubborn attachment to
      our own will absolutely guarantees such potential!

      An interesting aside here. The dissenter often thinks she is a grand
      and eloquent witness for justice and truth. The stubborn monk thinks
      he has scored a real victory for integrity and correctness. In fact,
      those who live with them often think they're just pathetic fools. Of the
      two impressions, this last is closer to truth!

      It is also interesting to note (again, from sorry personal experience,)
      that the rebel often looks at other rebels (with whom he does not agree,
      so they are, of course, WRONG...) as silly fools. Wow! If one can be so right
      about those other rebels, how come the other monastics aren't right about
      oneself?? Hmmmm....

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      jeromeleo@...
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jerry Lee
      +PAX A blessed Feast of St. Boniface, OSB, Apostle of Germany! For MANY of us in the US, if there had been no German Church, our Abbeys and Priories would
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 5, 2006
        +PAX

        A blessed Feast of St. Boniface, OSB, Apostle of Germany! For MANY of us in the US, if there had been no German
        Church, our Abbeys and Priories would never have been founded. Hence, we owe this Anglo-Saxon Benedictine martyr
        big-time, as well as St. Lioba, and the many nuns and monks who came to help him. Deo gratias!!!

        Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Sr. Eileen, for whom we have prayed. She went to God yesterday. Prayers for her friend, Greg, who kept us posted, and all who mourn her. Prayers for Michael, given 6-12 months to live, and for his wife and family, youngest child is in 6th grade, also for his friends, Trish and John and all who are so concerned for him and his wife and children. Prayers for the doctors who treat us all. Prayers for two suffering terrible sexual temptations. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

        February 4, June 5, October 5
        Chapter 7: On Humility

        The seventh degree of humility
        is that he consider himself lower and of less account
        than anyone else,
        and this not only in verbal protestation
        but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
        humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
        "But I am a worm and no man,
        the scorn of men and the outcast of the people" (Ps. 21:7).
        "After being exalted, I have been humbled
        and covered with confusion" (Ps. 87:16).
        And again,
        "It is good for me that You have humbled me,
        that I may learn Your commandments" (Ps. 118:71).

        REFLECTION

        So many people get blown away arguing against the line: "I am a worm
        and no man..." that they completely miss a crucially important fact.
        Very ancient interpretation of this Psalm has the Suffering Servant,
        Jesus, as its focus. Jesus Himself quoted its opening line from the
        Cross: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" There are numerous
        allusions to the crucifixion in this Psalm, casting lots for
        garments, piercing hands and feet and the derision of the crowd, to
        name a few.

        OK, so if we dare to put these wormy terms in the mouth of Christ,
        how come we get upset about saying the same of ourselves? Good
        question! If HE can say it, even metaphorically, we surely should
        have no problem!

        But many seem to have a big problem there, so let's look at the
        matter from a different angle. We absolutely cannot know that others
        are worse than us. It's not possible, because we cannot see into
        their hearts, we cannot know every factor in their guilt or lack
        thereof. We cannot know that they are not better than us.

        God alone can know all those things. Even the individual involved
        knows less about her complicity and culpability in a given action
        than God does. That knowledge is always and everywhere partially
        withheld from human consciousness. No one will ever know it all until
        they die, when everything that was hidden will be made evident.

        OK, one argues, so if we can't know anyone is worse, we sure can't
        know if they're better, either. Quite right! Our God-given natural
        assessment abilities allow us to be sure of no one's wickedness or
        goodness, not even our own state of grace. But we have more facility
        in self-judgement than we have in regard to others. We have more
        parts of the puzzle there, even though we still don't have them all,
        we have windows into our own hearts and minds that we have in no
        other case.

        So, with all this ironclad uncertainty, why would Scripture and the
        Holy Rule ask us to think ourselves less than anyone else? For two
        very important reasons. First, it is the safest position to take.
        Even without full knowledge of ourselves, we have more information
        there than we have anywhere else. Secondly, it is the most profitable
        position for learning and spiritual growth.

        If we think someone is less than ourselves, there is little chance we
        will learn anything from her: we're so busy with patronizing
        condescension that only now and then will the woman's REAL words come
        through to us. On the other hand, if we think everyone has something
        to teach us, knowledge and growth start popping up all over the
        place, in some very unlikely locations! This attitude is part of
        listening, really listening.

        And after all, "Listen" is where our Rule begins!

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        jeromeleo@...
        Petersham, MA

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Br. Jerome Leo
        +PAX When I asked prayers for Brian and his family, I didn t know for sure the age of his two daughters. They are only 8 and 9 and both adored him. Continued
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 4, 2007
          +PAX

          When I asked prayers for Brian and his family, I didn't know for sure the age of his two daughters. They are only 8 and 9 and both adored him. Continued prayers for them and all the Magrath family. I was lucky to be able to see them this afternoon and told them of your prayers, for which they are most grateful.

          Prayers, please, for Chaldean Catholic Father Ragheed and Subdeacons Basman, Ghasan and Wadid, pulled from their car after Sunday Mass and murdered by militants in Mosul, Iraq, also for their families and all who mourn them. Prayers, too for the murderers and all those of any faith who are tragically misled to do violence in the name of God.

          Deo gratias, for T., the diabetic for whom we prayed after her parents arrest. To the great relief of all, she is beginning to take care of herself much better. Prayers for Jackie, an Oblate who has gone to God, for a happy death and eternal rest and for all the family. Prayers, too, for Carm, another Oblate,
          complications from heart surgery.

          Prayers, please, for Bill and for his wife, Peggy. He has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and both are deeply concerned. The stress is working havoc on Peggy's ulcers, so prayers for them both. Prayers, too, for Marianne, possible Parkinson's, but afraid to go to the doctor, and for her worried sister. Deo gratias and thanksgiving for Vic, his lymphoma is presently in remission.

          Prayers for Terry, just diagnosed with bone cancer, and for Doris, who asked for her. May God fill them both with grace and peace. Deo gratias, Kevin, for whom we prayed a while back, is doing much better though on heavy meds and tiring easily. This is quite hard on his toddler son, Declan, and on his exhausted wife, Hilda, so continued prayers for all. Prayers for Gordie, very near death from Parkinson's, and for all his family, prayers for his happy death and eternal rest. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

          February 4, June 5, October 5
          Chapter 7: On Humility

          The seventh degree of humility
          is that he consider himself lower and of less account
          than anyone else,
          and this not only in verbal protestation
          but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
          humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
          "But I am a worm and no man,
          the scorn of men and the outcast of the people" (Ps. 21:7).
          "After being exalted, I have been humbled
          and covered with confusion" (Ps. 87:16).
          And again,
          "It is good for me that You have humbled me,
          that I may learn Your commandments" (Ps. 118:71).

          REFLECTION

          So many people get blown away arguing against the line: "I am a worm
          and no man..." that they completely miss a crucially important fact.
          Very ancient interpretation of this Psalm has the Suffering Servant,
          Jesus, as its focus. Jesus Himself quoted its opening line from the
          Cross: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" There are numerous
          allusions to the crucifixion in this Psalm, casting lots for
          garments, piercing hands and feet and the derision of the crowd, to
          name a few.

          OK, so if we dare to put these wormy terms in the mouth of Christ,
          how come we get upset about saying the same of ourselves? Good
          question! If HE can say it, even metaphorically, we surely should
          have no problem!

          But many seem to have a big problem there, so let's look at the
          matter from a different angle. We absolutely cannot know that others
          are worse than us. It's not possible, because we cannot see into
          their hearts, we cannot know every factor in their guilt or lack
          thereof. We cannot know that they are not better than us.

          God alone can know all those things. Even the individual involved
          knows less about her complicity and culpability in a given action
          than God does. That knowledge is always and everywhere partially
          withheld from human consciousness. No one will ever know it all until
          they die, when everything that was hidden will be made evident.

          OK, one argues, so if we can't know anyone is worse, we sure can't
          know if they're better, either. Quite right! Our God-given natural
          assessment abilities allow us to be sure of no one's wickedness or
          goodness, not even our own state of grace. But we have more facility
          in self-judgement than we have in regard to others. We have more
          parts of the puzzle there, even though we still don't have them all,
          we have windows into our own hearts and minds that we have in no
          other case.

          So, with all this ironclad uncertainty, why would Scripture and the
          Holy Rule ask us to think ourselves less than anyone else? For two
          very important reasons. First, it is the safest position to take.
          Even without full knowledge of ourselves, we have more information
          there than we have anywhere else. Secondly, it is the most profitable
          position for learning and spiritual growth.

          If we think someone is less than ourselves, there is little chance we
          will learn anything from her: we're so busy with patronizing
          condescension that only now and then will the woman's REAL words come
          through to us. On the other hand, if we think everyone has something
          to teach us, knowledge and growth start popping up all over the
          place, in some very unlikely locations! This attitude is part of
          listening, really listening.

          And after all, "Listen" is where our Rule begins!

          Love and prayers,
          Jerome, OSB
          http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
          jeromeleo@...
          Petersham, MA

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Br. Jerome Leo
          +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of the seven dead in the London terror attack, and for the recovery of the 48 injured, 21 of whom are in critical condition
          Message 4 of 6 , Jun 4

            +PAX

             

            Prayers for the eternal rest of the seven dead in the London terror attack, and for the recovery of the 48 injured, 21 of whom are in critical condition and fighting for their lives. Prayers for the conversion and repentance of those responsible for this and for the families of all.

             

            Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Dunstan’s Dad, Ian, whose first death anniversary was yesterday, and for Fr. Dunstan and his brother and sister and all their family.

            Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is
            mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

            February 4, June 5, October 5
            Chapter 7: On Humility

            The seventh degree of humility
            is that he consider himself lower and of less account
            than anyone else,
            and this not only in verbal protestation
            but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
            humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
            "But I am a worm and no man,
            the scorn of men and the outcast of the people" (Ps. 21:7).
            "After being exalted, I have been humbled
            and covered with confusion" (Ps. 87:16).
            And again,
            "It is good for me that You have humbled me,
            that I may learn Your commandments" (Ps. 118:71).

            REFLECTION

            So many people get blown away arguing against the line: "I am a worm
            and no man..." that they completely miss a crucially important fact.
            This Psalm has the Suffering Servant,
            Jesus, as its focus. Jesus Himself quoted its opening line from the
            Cross: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" There are numerous
            allusions to the crucifixion in this Psalm, casting lots for
            garments, piercing hands and feet and the derision of the crowd, to
            name a few.

            OK, so if we dare to put these wormy terms in the mouth of Christ,
            how come we get upset about saying the same of ourselves? Good
            question! If HE can say it, even metaphorically, we surely should
            have no problem!

            But many seem to have a big problem there, so let's look at the
            matter from a different angle. We absolutely cannot know that others
            are worse than us. It's not possible, because we cannot see into
            their hearts, we cannot know every factor in their guilt or lack
            thereof. We cannot know that they are not better than us.
            God alone can know all those things.

            So, with all this ironclad uncertainty, why would Scripture and the
            Holy Rule ask us to think ourselves less than anyone else? For two
            very important reasons. First, it is the safest position to take.
            Even without full knowledge of ourselves, we have more information
            there than we have anywhere else. Secondly, it is the most profitable
            position for learning and spiritual growth.

            If we think someone is less than ourselves, there is little chance we
            will learn anything from her: we're so busy with patronizing
            condescension that only now and then will the woman's REAL words come
            through to us. On the other hand, if we think everyone has something
            to teach us, knowledge and growth start popping up all over the
            place, in some very unlikely locations! This attitude is part of
            listening, really listening.

            And after all, "Listen" is where our Rule begins!

            Love and prayers,
            Jerome, OSB
            http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
            Petersham, MA

             

             

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