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Holy Rule for Feb.2: Candlemas!

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Candlemas! A blessed feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple to all. Candles have been associated with this feast since the time of Pope
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 2, 2006

      Candlemas! A blessed feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple to all.
      Candles have been associated with this feast since the time of Pope Sergius, in
      the 8th century. We bless all the candles we use on the altar on this day,
      before the procession, then we process into Church with lighted candles, just
      blessed. Pope Paul VI said something wonderful about the symbolism of the
      candles to ourselves and and I wanted to share it with you.

      �Christ Himself says, �I am the light of the world.� And we are the light, we
      ourselves, if we receive it from him.... But how do we receive it, how do we
      make it shine? ... The candle tells us: by burning, and being consumed in the
      burning. A spark of fire, a ray of love, an inevitable immolation are celebrated
      over that pure, straight candle, as, pouring forth its gift of light, it
      exhausts itself in silent sacrifice�

      Prayers, please, for Sr. Carol, who entered the Adrian Dominicans 51 years ago today.
      Prayers, too, for Sr. John Aquin, today is a very special feast to her.

      Prayers for Jeff and Kathleen, very, very painful marriage troubles. Prayers for
      Kaye, obstinately refusing the extra home care she truly needs, a very independent
      woman whose long life has left her quite dependent, and for her children. Prayers
      for CD, 22 months, broken leg and in a body cast, and for her parents, Scott and Kim,
      and her twin sister, Emmalley. Prayers for a man in his 80's with liver cancer, now
      also at risk from apparent aspiration pneumonia, fro all his family and friends. Prayers for
      Alix and her Dad, 85, in ICU with serious, but undetermined infection symptoms, and for his
      wife, 80, facing long drives to the hospital he must be moved to. Prayers for Malinda, in
      a very emotionally abusive marriage and for her husband's conversion. Lord, help us
      as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent,
      Alleluia! Thanks so much. 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).


      To hide one's symptoms from one's physician is to court misdiagnosis.
      If you lie to your therapist, why bother with analysis? Both these
      tactics obscure illness rather than produce health. The "health" they
      seek is nothing more than a falsehood, an illusion based on an
      incomplete view.

      It is natural for us to wish to wish that parents and abbots think
      the best of us. It is supernatural to want them to know the truth
      when they need to know it to help us. That "natural" tendency in us,
      however, is founded on a very unlovely kink: the desire to ALWAYS
      look good, ALWAYS seem in control, even when we are floundering in
      deep trouble. If parents or bosses or abbots think very highly of us,
      this temptation is even stronger; we'd rather not burst their bubble,
      we think it is to our advantage not to do so.

      The monastery is a school of the Lord's service, but it is a hospital
      of sorts, too. When we place ourselves under the care of the Holy
      Rule and an abbot, we have admitted our need for care, for treatment,
      for progress. Why deny ourselves any of those things now? I'm not
      sure, but I'll bet there are tons of easy ways to fake one's way out
      of chemical dependency treatment. Why bother? Unlike many in
      substance abuse treatment, we came to Benedictinism of our own accord.

      In Eastern monasticism, the tradition is for the disciple to confess
      thoughts to the elder every day. This is considered a crucially
      important part of monastic formation. It humbles the disciple and it
      leaves the elder in a much better position to train and advise.
      Granted, with many monastics in and out of house, most abbots would
      be unable to do this daily, but every monastic needs a confessor or
      spiritual director or spiritual co-struggler who can really know
      what's going on in their souls.

      Parents know how it feels when a child has need of them and never
      lets them know. It is an awful feeling and often the child's reasons
      (like fear or deceit,) for keeping them in the dark hurt even more.
      No parent, no boss and no abbot is perfect. They are all human and
      flawed, just like us. However, when we avoid trusting them with some
      of our dark side, we cheat ourselves of a chance to see their
      greatness called forth in compassion, mercy and wisdom.

      Balance, common sense and moderation obtain here, too. It is one
      thing not to tell one's abbot or boss something because one wishes to
      be thought well of, quite another to realize that some things, when
      there truly is no need to tell them, are best left unsaid. As Father
      Damian of St. Leo is fond of saying: "The truth is not always
      nourishing." However, SOMEONE needs to know: a spiritual director
      or confessor. We are too weak to trod the path alone and far too
      prideful not miss the chance at humbling ourselves.

      Family life, in either monastery or home church, must be founded on
      truth and reality to be healthy. All of us have seen flaming examples
      of dysfunction when it is not. Even though sometimes a mother will
      say: "For heaven's sake, don't tell your father!" there has to be
      SOME connection with reality. Not only is humility the reality of
      truth, but Jesus, too is the Truth. Why on earth bother seeking Him
      if we don't want Truth?

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

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