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Holy Rule for Nov. 29

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers, please for the happy death and eternal rest of Abbot Francis Sadlier, 2nd Abbot of St. Leo, on the 43rd anniversary of his death. He was a great
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 29, 2005
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      Prayers, please for the happy death and eternal rest of Abbot Francis Sadlier, 2nd Abbot of St. Leo, on the 43rd anniversary of his death. He was a great lover of the liturgy and a truly saintly man.

      Prayers for Peggy, suffering badly with a rare and hard to treat facial neuralgia since October, tremendous pain on eating or speaking. Prayers for Lou, diabetes. Prayers, too, for all suffering from mental illnesses. 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 30, July 30, November 29

      Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

      On Sundays, let all occupy themselves in reading,
      except those who have been appointed to various duties.
      But if anyone should be so negligent and shiftless
      that she will not or cannot study or read,
      let her be given some work to do
      so that she will not be idle.

      Weak or sickly sisters should be assigned a task or craft
      of such a nature as to keep them from idleness
      and at the same time not to overburden them or drive them away
      with excessive toil.
      Their weakness must be taken into consideration by the Abbess.

      REFLECTION

      The greatest mentor in my monastic life was Brother Patrick Creamer,
      OSB, of St. Leo Abbey in Florida, who died in September, 2004, nearly 90.
      I learned more from Patrick than I have from any other monk. He had more
      influence on my life than any man other than my father. Say a prayer for him.
      My debt to him is great and much of what I pass on to you I received from
      Patrick first. I have long hoped that even in the slightest and most occasional
      of ways, I could be a Patrick now and then to someone else.

      Years ago, Brother Patrick told me: "Never judge yourself by others-
      there will always be people who will do more than you and people who
      do less." There's a very obvious corollary to that maxim: never judge
      others by yourself, either! I have struggled for years to learn both.
      I still have not succeeded, but I keep trying. Every time I remember
      those words I am shamed at how many more times I forget them. I hope
      and pray all of you are much better students of life than I am!

      The Abbot is not the only one who has to see, really see weakness and
      allow for it. All of us do. That's what it means to bear one
      another's burdens as well as we can. If and when so-and-so finally
      gets their act together, it is highly unlikely that they will be an
      exact clone of someone so utterly perfect as ourselves! We can be so
      self-centered that we unwittingly actually expect that to happen. If
      we stop to look at how ludicrous such a thing is, we'll have to
      laugh, because if we didn't, we'd cry.

      God made individuals, tons of them. Their optimal state is going to
      be just as individual, just as different , one from another. Hey,
      that's the beauty of the mosaic, which would, after all, have all the
      charm of a tiled floor if all the pieces were the same color and
      boring shape...

      It is not just the weakness of others we have to see. We have to see
      our own, as well. How many people there are who may be thinking: "When
      Jerome gets his ducks in a row, he'll be just like me." Sorry, y'all.
      Ain't gonna happen, no more than you all are going to wind up (God
      forbid!) looking frighteningly like me. Strengths and weakness are
      the only tools we have to work with. If we don't even see them, they
      won't be much good.

      I confess that I do not know 10% of what my computer can do. I'll
      probably never know most of its ability. That's often the case with
      computers, but how tragic it is if we allow that to happen with
      ourselves. That's why the monastic struggle points us to even deeper
      self-examination, self-knowledge and humility.

      Hey, a hard drive is neither here nor there in many senses, but a
      human soul needs a LOT of disk scanning and defragmentation. There'd
      better be a good anti-virus program, too, as well as lots of extra
      memory! Fortunately, these things cost nowhere near what software
      does. They were all bought for us at a tremendous price. Just ask the
      Guy Who did that and He'll give you all the free downloads you could
      ever need!

      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 HUGE Deo gratias, John, whose aortic aneurysm repair we prayed for did so well he was out of surgery half an hour early and will probably be discharged to
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 28, 2007
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        HUGE Deo gratias, John, whose aortic aneurysm repair we prayed for did so well he was out of surgery half an hour early and will probably be discharged to his home on Thursday!

        Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Abbot Francis Sadlier, OSB, of St. Leo, on the anniversary of his death.

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

        A man trying to fight depression and anxiety without meds or help from his family, ardent prayers here, this is a very foolish road, as many of us know.

        Gloria, newly diagnosed with bladder cancer.

        Mary, in hospice as her husband can no loner care for her, needing assisted living himself.

        Hugh, aggressive prostate cancer.

        Bob, prostate cancer surgery next month.

        Frank and Rocco, both prostate cancer

        Bobby, on life-support after a stroke, virtually no brain activity, but he lacks a living will, so life support cannot be turned off, special prayers for his wife and family, too. 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 31, July 31, November 30

        Chapter 49: On the Observance of Lent

        Although the life of a monk
        ought to have about it at all times
        the character of a Lenten observance,
        yet since few have the virtue for that,
        we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent
        the brethren keep their lives most pure
        and at the same time wash away during these holy days
        all the negligences of other times.
        And this will be worthily done
        if we restrain ourselves from all vices
        and give ourselves up to prayer with tears,
        to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.

        During these days, therefore,
        let us increase somewhat the usual burden of our service,
        as by private prayers and by abstinence in food and drink.
        Thus everyone of his own will may offer God
        "with joy of the Holy Spirit" (1 Thess. 1:6)
        something above the measure required of him.
        From his body, that is
        he may withhold some food, drink, sleep, talking and jesting;
        and with the joy of spiritual desire
        he may look forward to holy Easter.

        Let each one, however, suggest to his Abbot
        what it is that he wants to offer,
        and let it be done with his blessing and approval.
        For anything done without the permission of the spiritual father
        will be imputed to presumption and vainglory
        and will merit no reward.
        Therefore let everything be done with the Abbot's approval.

        REFLECTION

        Because we read St. Benedict's 1500 year old Holy Rule with modern
        eyes, it often seems harsh. To balance our perspective, we need to
        see the radical nature of the Rule when written. Face it, folks, this
        was most definitely a gentler Rule for European wannabes who could
        never hack it in the Egyptian desert in their wildest dreams. His
        introductory paragraph points out his plan of adaptation: "...since
        few have the virtue for that..." Our founder was most certainly
        writing for the struggling plodders of monasticism and he knew it. Keeping
        that uppermost in our minds can be informatively humbling.

        The Desert Fathers were not terribly interested in mitigation in
        most cases. The early message of the desert was: "Get Lent to the max
        or get lost!" They went FAR beyond Lenten and they did it all year,
        without a break. Any who couldn't reach that ideal were sent away as
        unsuited, not called. If we look carefully at this, perhaps we can
        better see that, from the outset, St. Benedict's fatherly heart was
        with the underdogs, the also rans, the strays and losers that others
        could not be bothered with. He must have felt at some point that
        there HAD to be a way for the spiritually challenged to become
        monastics. A millennium and a half later, we are still benefiting
        from his attempts.

        Hence, for us Benedictines, when the Evil One tempts us with his lies
        like: "You could never do that! You could never be THAT holy!" our
        response must be "Yeah, so what? Your point is...???" We have no clue
        of how holy we can be. God alone knows that and God alone will lead
        us and show us in ways we are quite unlikely to ever understand.
        Whenever the demon of discouragement tells us we are far beneath this
        Rule for beginners, we must shrug indifferently and move on, briefly
        impressed for once with the Father of Lies' firm grasp on the
        obvious.

        Of *COURSE* we are beneath this Rule, beneath any of the earlier
        ones. Duh?!? We're Benedictines. Our Order was founded for people
        like us. That should never, ever be a cause to stop trying, to give
        up or quit. On the contrary, that fact should be a heartening
        confirmation that we are EXACTLY where we belong, in the best
        possible remedial education program for slow learners like us, right
        where God wants us.

        Like a mother to a crying child, devoid of hope, who moans "But I
        CAN'T, I just can't!" St. Benedict is softly saying, "Well, honey,
        just do what you can and that will be OK." Get the picture? OK!

        Now, go out, play nice and do what you can today... Don't be
        surprised if you find that God is increasing, sometimes imperceptibly, that "what
        you can" little by little to heights of great holiness, which we will
        achieve all but unawares and only with His help. Someday, we really
        SHALL "run in the way...with hearts enlarged."

        Love and prayers,

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








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