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Holy Rule for July 11

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers, please, for all the great Benedictine family today, past, present and future, on the Solemnity of St. Benedict. May we all grow in grace and love
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 11, 2005
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      Prayers, please, for all the great Benedictine family today, past, present and future, on the Solemnity of St. Benedict. May we all grow in grace and love above all else to do God's will, may we all prefer nothing to Christ!

      O God, Who deigned to fill Your most blessed confessor Benedict with the spirit of all righteousness, grant unto us, Your servants who celebrate his solemnity, that filled with his spirit we may faithfully accomplish by Your assistance that which we have promised. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

      Prayers, please, for Ann, cancerous spot on her lung, and for Rosalie, complications after heart surgery. Prayers for Matthew, 3, irreparable damage to the optic nerve of one eye, surgery to investigate the condition of his other eye and his prognosis. Prayers for vocations to our Order, and to all Orders, that the witness of religious life may flourish in years to come. 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

      March 11, July 11, November 10
      Chapter 33: Whether Monks Ought to Have Anything of Their Own

      This vice especially
      is to be cut out of the monastery by the roots.
      Let no one presume to give or receive anything
      without the Abbot's leave,
      or to have anything as his own --
      anything whatever,
      whether book or tablets or pen or whatever it may be --
      since they are not permitted to have even their bodies or wills
      at their own disposal;
      but for all their necessities
      let them look to the Father of the monastery.
      And let it be unlawful to have anything
      which the Abbot has not given or allowed.
      Let all things be common to all,
      as it is written (Acts 4:32),
      and let no one say or assume that anything is his own.

      But if anyone is caught indulging in this most wicked vice,
      let him be admonished once and a second time.
      If he fails to amend,
      let him undergo punishment.


      REFLECTION

      Benedictine poverty is easily translatable for the lay monastic,
      married or single, into terms of simplicity and detachment, a holy
      indifference to non-essentials. As such, it offers a powerful
      opportunity for a witness against some of the real falsehoods of
      modern consumerist society. This is not (nor need it be,) a preachy
      attack on today's values, just a quiet refusal to go along with them.
      It involves personal practice and choice, not confrontation.

      Benedictine teaching on material goods is based on needs, not
      desires. We ought to have all that is necessary and if, as sometimes
      happens, that is not possible, we ought not to grumble.
      Benedictine simplicity insists that we live in the moment of now with
      gratitude.

      Does your family have all that you really need today? If so, then
      don't put your heart on hold till you can swing a below-ground
      swimming pool. That's exactly why inordinate desires can be so
      harmful: they DO put our hearts on hold, they take us out of the
      contented present and force us to live in an uncertain future
      of "when" and "if".

      That future is not real, except for our futures after death. We
      might never live to see the earthly future, even the next moment.
      We have no way of knowing whether or not we will live till lunch today.

      The present is all we have and anything that distracts our view from it
      is often a complete waste of time. Living in the now is a great
      reality check! It is also the place of contemplative reality: the holiness
      of now, of the present instant, standing before God in love, awe and thanks.

      I always hate discussions of simplicity that are so general that they
      leave people thinking: "Well, great, but how do I DO that?" Hence a
      few suggestions, not at all as norms, but just as ideas. With them
      comes a huge warning for Oblates who are spouses and parents. You can
      make choices like this for yourself, in some cases, even for the
      household, but you must never force such things on children or
      spouses. That can be disastrous and produces the very same loss of
      serenity that simplicity is designed to protect us from.

      Clothes. Almost everyone can make do with less, male or female.
      Before I became a monk, I generally had two pairs of slacks- one
      khaki and one navy blue. They looked preppy. They went with
      everything. Yes, after a while, people did notice I was always in one
      or the other, but so what? The shirts were different and I was clean.
      The shirts came from the Salvation Army: years of wear in good
      clothes for less than $5 a pop, less than $2 a pop if one waited till
      sale day.

      Recycle in your own home. Towels go down from the bath, to the
      kitchen, to rags. With all the rags you will soon accumulate living
      this way, you can say goodbye to paper towels, unless there is some
      reason you really need them. Cloth napkins? Wow! They even seem a bit
      upscale and you can stop buying one-use paper. Trust me, ordinarily
      washing them once a week is fine.

      This is not stinge, folks. Insofar as possible, consume stuff that is
      really good for you, avoid stuff that is wasteful or harmful. We
      become immune to the very high levels that our society actually
      encourages waste, almost demands it.

      How many people over fifty recall their first reactions to disposable
      lighters, ballpoint pens and razors when they first came out? It was
      like: "Huh??? You throw them away???" When was the last time you
      bought a refill for a ballpoint pen? Now one hardly sees any pens BUT
      disposable ones. Big, big money and profits were made by the
      companies teaching us to throw away and waste the WHOLE item, not
      just the used part. We got used to that, sadly.

      I went back to non-disposable razors some time ago, but they cost a
      good deal more than the throw away kind, which have filled who knows
      how many garage dumps in 30 years. Somebody gave me a Zippo lighter
      for Christmas two years ago. It is a bit of a hassle to keep it in
      flints and fluid, but it means that I have spared the planet from at
      least a little plastic.

      By the way, you don't do this because it will end over-consumption.
      It won't. The world has not moved to Schick razors and Zippos, nor
      are they likely to do so any time soon. What it does, and this is
      important, is limit your complicity in the nonsense. That, so long as
      one does not become self-righteous, can be an immensely freeing thing.

      Always remember the Zen principle: the only thing that is lacking is
      the sense that nothing is lacking. Modern consumerism thrives on and
      insists that we ALWAYS feel something is lacking. Not so, we can be
      free of that. Why be lied to any more?

      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 A most blessed Solemnity of St. Benedict to all! May all of us and all his sons and daughters be filled with ever greater graces to walk in the path of
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 10, 2007
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        +PAX

        A most blessed Solemnity of St. Benedict to all! May all of us and all his sons and daughters be filled with ever greater graces to walk in the path of his Holy Rule and the Gospel. May we all be privileged by God to give to others from what we have received ourselves. Special prayers for all those really named Benedict today, too, whether in Baptism or Oblation!

        Deo gratias and prayers of thanksgiving for:

        Brother John Mary, making his final vows and two other young men, one professing first vows and the other entering novitiate, all at Mary, Mother of the Church Abbey, Richmond, VA. This is a community which had a long wait for vocations to come, may they all persevere, if God wills!

        Baby Lily, whom we have been praying for. She has now started dialysis 3 times a week, is taking solid food and gaining weight. Continued prayers for her and her grateful family, please.

        Prayers, please for the happy death and eternal rest of Roy, and for all who mourn him.

        Prayers for the spiritual, physical and mental health of the following, for their families and all who treat or care for them:

        Horrell, stroke in his late fifties, now 65, has been in a nursing home 8 years with left side paralysis. He has no family, and few friends have remained faithful to him all this time.

        Carl, Meniere's (sp.?) syndrome, an inner ear malady affecting him so badly he is unable to work.

        Malinda, severe alcoholism and backed out of going to detox, those concerned for her do not know where she went, but it wasn't to treatment.

        Aaron, for whom we prayed yesterday, and his fiancée, Aliki. His test for aggressive leukemia came back positive. They are due to be married August 25.
        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

        March 11, July 11, November 10
        Chapter 33: Whether Monks Ought to Have Anything of Their Own

        This vice especially is to be cut out of the monastery by the roots. Let
        no one presume to give or receive anything
        without the Abbot's leave, or to have anything as his own -- anything
        whatever, whether book or tablets or pen or whatever it may be -- since
        they are not permitted to have even their bodies or wills at their own
        disposal;
        but for all their necessities let them look to the Father of the
        monastery. And let it be unlawful to have anything
        which the Abbot has not given or allowed. Let all things be common to
        all, as it is written (Acts 4:32), and let no one say or assume that
        anything is his own.

        But if anyone is caught indulging in this most wicked vice,
        let him be admonished once and a second time. If he fails to amend, let
        him undergo punishment.


        REFLECTION

        Benedictine poverty is easily translatable for the lay monastic, married
        or single, into terms of simplicity and detachment, a holy indifference
        to non-essentials. As such, it offers a powerful opportunity for a
        witness against some of the real falsehoods of modern consumerist
        society. This is not (nor need it be,) a preachy attack on today's
        values, just a quiet refusal to go along with them.
        It involves personal practice and choice, not confrontation.

        Benedictine teaching on material goods is based on needs, not desires.
        We ought to have all that is necessary and if, as sometimes happens,
        that is not possible, we ought not to grumble. Benedictine simplicity
        insists that we live in the moment of now with gratitude.

        Does your family have all that you really need today? If so, then don't
        put your heart on hold till you can swing a below-ground swimming pool.
        That's exactly why inordinate desires can be so harmful: they DO put our
        hearts on hold, they take us out of the contented present and force us
        to live in an uncertain future of "when" and "if".

        That future is not real, except for our futures after death. We might
        never live to see the earthly future, even the next moment. We have no
        way of knowing whether or not we will live till lunch today.

        The present is all we have and anything that distracts our view from it
        is often a complete waste of time. Living in the now is a great reality
        check! It is also the place of contemplative reality: the holiness of
        now, of the present instant, standing before God in love, awe and
        thanks.

        I always hate discussions of simplicity that are so general that they
        leave people thinking: "Well, great, but how do I DO that?" Hence a few
        suggestions, not at all as norms, but just as ideas. With them comes a
        huge warning for Oblates who are spouses and parents. You can
        make choices like this for yourself, in some cases, even for the
        household, but you must never force such things on children or spouses.
        That can be disastrous and produces the very same loss of serenity that
        simplicity is designed to protect us from.

        Clothes. Almost everyone can make do with less, male or female. Before I
        became a monk, I generally had two pairs of slacks- one khaki and one
        navy blue. They looked preppy. They went with everything. Yes, after a
        while, people did notice I was always in one or the other, but so what?
        The shirts were different and I was clean.
        The shirts came from the Salvation Army: years of wear in good clothes
        for less than $5 a pop, less than $2 a pop if one waited till sale day.

        Recycle in your own home. Towels go down from the bath, to the kitchen,
        to rags. With all the rags you will soon accumulate living this way, you
        can say goodbye to paper towels, unless there is some reason you really
        need them. Cloth napkins? Wow! They even seem a bit upscale and you can
        stop buying one-use paper. Trust me, ordinarily
        washing them once a week is fine.

        This is not stinge, folks. Insofar as possible, consume stuff that is
        really good for you, avoid stuff that is wasteful or harmful. We become
        immune to the very high levels that our society actually encourages
        waste, almost demands it.

        How many people over fifty recall their first reactions to disposable
        lighters, ballpoint pens and razors when they first came out? It was
        like: "Huh??? You throw them away???" When was the last time you bought
        a refill for a ballpoint pen? Now one hardly sees any pens BUT
        disposable ones. Big, big money and profits were made by the companies
        teaching us to throw away and waste the WHOLE item, not just the used
        part. We got used to that, sadly.

        I went back to non-disposable razors some time ago, but they cost a good
        deal more than the throw away kind, which have filled who knows how many
        garbage dumps in 30 years. Somebody gave me a Zippo lighter for Christmas
        two years ago. It is a bit of a hassle to keep it in flints and fluid,
        but it means that I have spared the planet from at least a little
        plastic.

        By the way, you don't do this because it will end over-consumption. It
        won't. The world has not moved to Schick razors and Zippos, nor are they
        likely to do so any time soon. What it does, and this is important, is
        limit your complicity in the nonsense. That, so long as one does not
        become self-righteous, can be an immensely freeing thing.

        Always remember the Zen principle: the only thing that is lacking is the
        sense that nothing is lacking. Modern consumerism thrives on and insists
        that we ALWAYS feel something is lacking. Not so, we can be free of
        that. Why be lied to any more?

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



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