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Holy Rule: Brother Jerome Aug 11

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX ++ Please continue your prayers for Bob (very painful therapy), Patrick (spinal surgery), Julie (colon surgery) and Val (open heart surgery). ++ ++
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 11, 2006
      +PAX ++ Please continue your prayers for Bob (very painful therapy),
      Patrick (spinal surgery), Julie (colon surgery) and Val (open heart
      surgery). ++ ++ Please pray for Bill who is recovering from back
      surgery of 8/10. Please pray for Sandra who took and overdose of insulin
      and is dying. ++ Please pray for the soul of Luke who committed
      suicide this week and for all those affected by his death, especially
      his girlfriend who has terminal breast cancer. I ask your prayers also
      for Alexandria, an elderly woman with a broken hip and messed up medical
      insurance, her son Rudy with terminal liver disease and her daughter
      Alice who is trying to hold things together while working full-time.
      Also please pray for Diana's mother-in-law, another Alice, that she may
      recognize the need she and her husband have for a full-time caregiver
      situation. ++ ++ Prayers please for Ben who is hospitalized for
      schizophrenia and physical injury. ++ ++ Joyce has a good suggestion
      for our prayers. Yesterday during Mass I had an idea. It was the feast
      of St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, who was killed in
      the Holocaust. Since that event was instrumental in making the UN
      decide to give the land of the Arabs to the Jewish people, maybe we
      should be praying to this saint to intercede for the warring parties in
      the Israel-Lebanon war. ++ ++ Bea S. is having good and bad days.
      Another bad one Tuesday. Please keep Praying. ++ Please pray for all
      those whose prayer requests are not able to be posted for whatever
      reason. God is outside of time and our prayers are never, ever late.
      Lord, help us 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 Please pray
      for all those who have ended or will this day end their earthly lives by
      their own hands. May Almighty God in His infinite mercy grant them
      eternal rest. Amen. In the interim please bless me by sending prayer
      requests to: mlopiccolo@... or:
      April 11, August 11, December 11
      Chapter 58: On the Manner of Receiving Sisters

      When anyone is newly come for the reformation of her life,
      let her not be granted an easy entrance;
      but, as the Apostle says,
      "Test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
      If the newcomer, therefore, perseveres in her knocking,
      and if it is seen after four or five days
      that she bears patiently the harsh treatment offered her
      and the difficulty of admission,
      and that she persists in her petition,
      then let entrance be granted her,
      and let her stay in the guest house for a few days.

      After that let her live in the novitiate,
      where the novices study, eat and sleep.
      A senior shall be assigned to them who is skilled in winning souls,
      to watch over them with the utmost care.
      Let her examine whether the novice is truly seeking God,
      and whether she is zealous
      for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials.
      Let the novice be told all the hard and rugged ways
      by which the journey to God is made.

      If she promises stability and perseverance,
      then at the end of two months
      let this rule be read through to her,
      and let her be addressed thus:
      "Here is the law under which you wish to fight.
      If you can observe it, enter;
      if you cannot, you are free to depart."
      If she still stands firm,
      let her be taken to the above-mentioned novitiate
      and again tested in all patience.
      And after the lapse of six months let the Rule be read to her,
      that she may know on what she is entering.
      And if she still remains firm,
      after four months let the same Rule be read to her again.

      Then, having deliberated with herself,
      if she promises to keep it in its entirety
      and to observe everything that is commanded,
      let her be received into the community.
      But let her understand that,
      according to the law of the Rule,
      from that day forward she may not leave the monastery
      nor withdraw her neck from under the yoke of the Rule
      which she was free to refuse or to accept
      during that prolonged deliberation.


      The Holy Rule is an awesome document about 1,500 years old. Since it is
      always both these things, it is helpful to look at then and now in
      reading it.
      In St. Benedict's time, and for many centuries after him, numerous less
      lofty social reasons obtained for joining a monastery.

      This was, alas, as true for the nobility and it was for the serfs.
      Got an unmarriageable daughter? Ship her off to join the "unclaimed
      treasures" abbey, if they won't take her, found and fund of your
      own.Got a younger son with no inheritance or title, not the sharpest
      in the drawer, either? Sounds like a vocation to the Church to me...
      queen or ex-wife a governmental problem? Have I got a convent for YOU!

      For the lower socioeconomic groups, it was often flat out social
      climbing to join the monastery. Hey, if you couldn't be a yuppie in
      the Middle Ages, this is what you did, or tried to do! You not only
      came out well-dressed and well-fed, but you often got educated in the
      bargain, too. If one was not born noble, or if one was less than
      wonderful at
      warfare, the Church was the ONLY way to climb to power.

      History has removed or severely limited many of these shoddy reasons for
      joining. Hence, it is not always wise to play hard to get with the
      reasons for
      same out of the way. I have known communities who played too hard to get
      too long and now get nothing at all.

      Whooops! Poetic justice there! Maybe you should have just stuck to
      not sleeping with knives at your side when you wanted to get literal
      the Holy Rule!

      Before the worst of the vocations crunch came, there was a terrible
      myth afloat in the late 60's and early 70's: "the perfect vocation."
      out for these ephemeral dreams has seriously harmed more than one house.
      Just as women were learning to debunk the Cinderella myth, many houses
      prey to the foolish notion that Prince or Princess Charming really WOULD
      on a charger one day.

      Sometimes the only thing worse than a "perfect vocation" who leaves
      is one who stays. One such widely acclaimed "dream team vocation" I
      know arrived with education all completed, and a master's degree, as
      Hosanna and hoo-hah!! Couldn't have fit the 1970 dream more perfectly.
      My, was this arrival ever heralded and sadly used as the standard to
      the vocations of others who applied later. (In the interests of
      anonymity, I
      even use the gender here.)

      This one grew up to be- and remained for years- one of the most serious
      treacherous problems the community in question has ever faced in its
      history. The damage will take years to correct and has already taken
      quite a
      few. Not all dreams are nightmares, but all nightmares are dreams!

      See what I mean? It's balance again, always, always balance. This is
      not only of monasteries, but of single Oblates seeking a mate and of any
      seeking to fill a job slot or assign a task to a child. The apparently
      "perfect" one may not always be the best bet! I can speak from long and
      none-too-bright personal experience as a layman of begging the wrong
      ones to
      love me that being too easy isn't a great idea, either.

      Balance, look at the person, the REAL person, not the "perfect" one
      you desire so much that you see an illusion. Mindfulness, here!
      Really, really, look at the real, strive to see it well and then act
      accordingly. Jesus, after all, IS the Truth.

      Ask any employer, many a plodder who was given a chance and knows it
      try harder and actually perform much better than the "dream" who arrived
      all ducks neatly in a row. In any situation in life, it is crucially
      to remember that carved-in-stone standards are never subjective and
      ALWAYS are. Thus, a little flexibility is going to be required unless
      you are
      totally content with never getting anywhere.

      In my years before becoming a monk, I often campaigned for, insisted
      and ultimately GOT the wrong one desired. Sigh... Any surprise that I
      was still
      single at 43 to profess vows? God is in charge of these things, but God
      terribly polite. Get in His way and He will usually leave you to your
      devices, since they can be the most effective teachers! Be too picky or
      picky enough and you will miss whatever treasure He has for you. Don't
      take that

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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