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OK, NOW the reading for May 8!

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Sorry I got my dates confused and sent the reading for May 9 out yesterday. Sigh.... Huge, huge, huge Deo gratias: the miners we have been praying for
    Message 1 of 1 , May 9, 2006

      Sorry I got my dates confused and sent the reading for May 9 out yesterday. Sigh....

      Huge, huge, huge Deo gratias: the miners we have been praying for were rescued and walked out on their own power. God is so good! What a joy and relief for so many, and God, in His goodness, has let us all participate in that wonder by our own prayers. What a tremendous gift! This is a shining example of what our prayers can do: they allow us to be part of wonderful things that a loving God does!

      Prayers, please, for Linda, whom we prayed for earlier this week a very rare blood problem has resulted in 11 new tumors this week alone. Doctors plan to put her in a drug-induced coma, as her pain is so excruciating. Prayers for a happy and merciful death and for all the Sacraments before she dies. Linda has no family at all, just a husband she has been separated from for many years, who is kindly standing by her at this time, and some dear friends, like Adam, who asked prayers. Prayers for them both, too!

      Prayers of Deo gratias for Br. Stephen, doing well after his back surgery, and for Fr. Paul, scheduled to have a shunt put in to relive fluid pressure. Prayers for Patrick, involved in a tragic and fatal car accident, and possibly facing vehicular homicide charges. Prayers for the victim, for her happy death and eternal rest, for her family and all who mourn her. 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

      January 7, May 8, September 7
      Prologue (concluded)

      And so we are going to establish
      a school for the service of the Lord.
      In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
      But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
      for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
      do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
      whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
      For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
      our hearts expand
      and we run the way of God's commandments
      with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
      Thus, never departing from His school,
      but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
      until death,
      we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
      and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.


      Sadly, a certain cynicism has been woven into my life like a
      repeating plaid. Happily, it has not grown worse with age, but has
      been moderated (how Benedictine!) into a faintly acceptable level of
      occasional curmudgeonhood. If my cynicism is now a rather muted
      tartan background, it was not always so. I can clearly recall reading
      the line about expanding hearts and running with unspeakable
      sweetness of love twenty some years ago and thinking: "Yeah, right!
      Real likely..."

      Now that passage is my all-time favorite in the Holy Rule. I thought
      twice before saying that, because there are so many things in the
      Rule that I deeply love, but yeah, this one is the best loved for me.
      Why? Because it is linked to love and, secondarily, because it alerts
      us to the necessary hope that the monastic struggle DOES get easier
      in time, in certain ways, even though it is never over until death.

      "Our hearts expand..." they truly do. Mine has already been
      wonderfully stretched and pulled and enlarged beyond my wildest
      dreams, often with me kicking and screaming every inch of the way. I
      have no doubt that it will grow larger still, capable of holding
      more, but I know I could not stand that now, it would be too much.
      God works slowly, according to our individual needs. Better than
      anyone, He knows that doing it all at once would reduce us to
      shivering panic.

      The biggest factor that I can see in God's work of heart renovation
      for me has been intercessory prayer. When you renovate a building,
      you have to tear down some walls, a dusty, ugly, painful mess. Ah,
      but the light and air and space that one finds in those new areas
      where walls had stood! In praying for God's people, I learned to love
      them, more prayer equaled more love and so it spiraled upward and
      spirals on!

      Gerard Manley Hopkins complained toward the end of
      his life, of being "time's eunuch,": "Mine, O Thou Lord of life,
      send my roots rain." I can certainly relate! Though I tried three
      times earlier, I did not become a monk till I was 43. Many of the
      years in between attempts were spent looking for love in all the
      wrong places, often with plenty of fleeting success.

      You may be sure that the gift of celibacy left me vastly less thrilled than
      a child with a pony..."Wow! New leg irons and manacles for my birthday!
      You shouldn't have!" Left to my own devices, I would quit tomorrow, or
      maybe this afternoon at the very latest. Single is most definitely
      NOT what I spent my life pining to become one day.

      The rain for my roots was that work in progress, the expansion of my
      heart. It's not the same as other loves I have known and in no way as
      graphic or immediate or intimate, but oh, it is deep. I am sure it is
      not incompatible with married love, but God seemed to want it so for
      me. True to form, I argued with Him for years about that and still do
      at times.

      Like many people, I do not have a spousal love for God, more power to
      those who do, but so far it has not been possible for me. [Though I am still
      working at it!] I am often embarrassed to find that usually the only Christ I
      can most nearly swell to rapture about is the One I encounter in praying for
      His members, for His Mystical Body. I have, however, attained a relative
      serenity about this: it is, after all, a very powerful reminder that Christ IS
      His members, that we are all cells in His awesome Body.

      When a novice in my twenties, I used to look at two real saints of
      St. Leo Abbey, Brothers David Gormican and Raphael Daly, both now
      gone to God. I am not even sure I thought it had become easier for
      them at the end of their lives, I thought, with the mindlessness so
      easy for me then, that they were just so old they didn't care
      anymore. Wrong!

      My dear friend Ann Chatlos was a FABULOUS cook and she had
      been at it for years. One day I went to see her and we sat talking in her
      kitchen, she was fiddling around, nothing special. Frankly, I didn't
      even notice any activity that would have produced a meal.

      She finally turned around and said to me: "Stay for dinner." I asked when it
      would be ready and she said, "Now." I was floored. While we spoke, a
      pie, chicken and roast potatoes and something else I forget had been
      going on. A full meal with nothing out of cans and a homemade
      dessert, yet it appeared that she had just been chatting.

      That's the nonchalance of Brother David and Brother Raphael. It
      wasn't that they didn't care, it was that things of sanctity had
      become so much second nature to them that many of those around them
      never noticed that dinner was ready. May that nonchalance of sanctity
      come to us all, and may Brothers David and Raphael and Ann, now also
      gone to God, pray us there.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

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