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Feb 2

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  • russophile2002 <jeromeleo@earthlink.net>
    +PAX A most blessed feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple to all! Happy Candlemas! Prayers, please, for Andrew, kidney cancer which is spreading
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2003

      A most blessed feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple to
      all! Happy Candlemas!

      Prayers, please, for Andrew, kidney cancer which is spreading to
      other organs. Thanks so much! NRN JL

      February 2, June 3, October 3
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The fifth degree of humility
      is that he hide from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts
      that enter his heart
      or the sins committed in secret,
      but that he humbly confess them.
      The Scripture urges us to this when it says,
      "Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in Him" (Ps. 36:5)
      and again,
      "Confess to the Lord, for He is good,
      for His mercy endures forever" (Ps. 105:1).
      And the Prophet likewise says,
      "My offense I have made known to You,
      and my iniquities I have not covered up.
      I said: 'I will declare against myself my iniquities to the Lord;'
      and 'You forgave the wickedness of my heart'" (Ps. 31:5).


      Fear controls us, leaves us bound and gagged. We can become the
      slaves and hostages of what we fear, weakened by terror, paralyzed
      with dread. Yet so often these fears are irrational, so often they
      can be completely cured by confessing, by opening up the secret
      horror to another. Satan loves fear, because it immobilizes us; it
      hobbles our gait and seriously impedes our spiritual progress.

      Sometimes our great fears are realized. Then we can either go off the
      deep end, or accept the fact that, although we would have had it
      otherwise, a HUGE burden is lifted from our shoulders. For years, as
      Dame Maggie grew older, I dreaded my cat's death. Now she is gone.
      What I feared has happened. I miss her terribly, but there is a great
      freedom in that, too. A very great fear has been removed,
      unfortunately by realization, but removed nonetheless. I always knew
      she had to die someday and I've pretty much known for a long time
      that I would not go first, even though it seemed I would years ago. I
      may have a broken heart, but that heartbreak also comes with a clean
      slate: something dreaded has been settled.

      Why on earth do you think an organization like AA, spiritual, but
      pointedly secular and non-religious, has a step which requires a
      general confession? Because those awful secrets hold us bound,
      because those terrible dreads of what might happen if another knew
      can drive one to drink or worse. But this is not true of just the
      addictive personality. All humanity can get trapped in the lunacy
      of: "Yeah, but if they ever knew..."

      Wait a minute, folks. What have we been reading about for several
      days now? GOD knew. He always knew. And God still loves us. Frankly,
      what else should matter? The fact that other less important things
      *DO* matter to us are merely stones in our road, signs of our
      deficient appreciation of reality, which is a lack of faith.

      Forgive me if I sound a little Catholic-chauvinist here, I'm not, but
      like AA I am convinced that all human beings NEED confession. Sadly,
      confession to God alone doesn't seem to be as effective. We seem to
      need some human reassurance that the privileged someone who hears our
      most terrible faults will not recoil in horror or repugnance, will
      not jump off the nearest bridge is despair of human goodness. We
      need, and need BADLY to get over the stupid pride that tells us no
      one else could be as bad as we are!

      That pride, even though inverse, works just as well as any other
      pride. Satan is all too well aware of that! Pride, any pride, will
      undo us if we allow it to rule us. That's why the humility of
      confession is so awesomely important.

      A big word of caution here- one the Holy Rule itself repeats- don't
      get thrilled with the idea of confession and dash off to spill your
      beans to just anyone. There is a big need for discernment. An abbot
      may well be told things that none of the other monastics know, nor
      should they. A confessor or spiritual director may well know things
      that an abbot need not. As Father Damian of St. Leo used to say: "The
      truth is not always nourishing." Without discernment, one could very
      well unwittingly CONFIRM one's suspicions of self-loathing by
      confessing to the wrong person. Not everyone can offer the levels of
      objectivity necessary here. Never miss that fact!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA
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