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Holy Rule for Oct. 6

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  • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
    +PAX Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for Fr. Robert Taft: the intestinal tumor is benign. Prayers for the happy death of Ralph (I mistakenly put him on
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 5, 2006
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      +PAX

      Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for Fr. Robert Taft: the intestinal tumor
      is benign. Prayers for the happy death of Ralph (I mistakenly put him on
      yesterday as Rob, that's his son's name.) Ralph went to God today. Prayers for
      his eternal rest, for his son, Rob, and all his family and all those who mourn
      him. Prayers for Bonnie, who beat two forms of cancer and now has bone cancer,
      receiving radiation. Prayers for an Episcopal parish whose pastor is being
      received into the Roman Church. A small congregation, this confronts them with
      some difficult choices, and prayers, especially, for Jan. Prayers for their
      pastor, too, who cares deeply for them but is following his conscience. May
      God tenderly care for them all. 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

      February 5, June 6, October 6
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The eighth degree of humility
      is that a monk do nothing except what is commended
      by the common Rule of the monastery
      and the example of the elders.

      REFLECTION

      Well, this one looks deceptively simple enough. Just try it! I speak
      as one who has frequently failed it and who sometimes* fails it
      still. [* I only fail it on special occasions: Sunday, Monday,
      Tuesday, Wednesday.... you get the picture.] This step of humility,
      by the way, will translate very easily into family life, the
      neighborhood, or the workplace.

      The goal here is not just external uniformity so much as internal
      detachment. We are deeply attached to the things we do. Demanding to
      do things our own way is not humble. When vocation observers come to the
      monastery, for the monks or the nuns, I often see little quirks of
      external piety in church and think: "Well, that'll have to go..."

      One cannot profitably go through monastic formation cherishing the
      notion that one has got it right and one's elders have it wrong. You
      may even be right, or the matter may be completely neutral. (The
      term "optional" comes to mind, but that was NOT used to express
      neutrality!) That's not the issue here. Detachment and humility are.

      When we singularize ourselves without real moral imperative, the
      message given to the whole community is "I know better." That this is
      not warmly received in a junior or newcomer should come as no
      surprise. A monastic family is like any spouse: you had better not
      marry what you hope to change them into, but only what they ARE. If
      we fail this, we change "Thy will be done" into "MY will be done!"
      and we do so with sorry results.

      No spouse is perfect, neither is any family, monastery or job, but if
      you expect to change them right off the bat, you're doomed to woe. In
      monastery and marriage and workplace, the only person you can REALLY
      change is yourself and the sooner you get around to doing that, the
      better for all concerned.

      The sad thing (and I am guilty here!) is that sometimes these things
      we do on our own have nothing to do with piety at all. They are,
      pure and simple, revolt, passive aggression, small, though very
      public ways of expressing our scorn for this or that concept or
      person. Having lived in the Church of the 60's and 70's, I picked up
      the idea of refusal as a kind of non-violent demonstration. Not quite
      as laudable as my youthful self may have thought!

      I also must say that, in those less-than-halcyon days, I picked it up
      from my monastic seniors, just not always the best seniors! I still
      do it at times, and I still wrestle with paring those times down day
      by day. The hardest humility and obedience are to things we truly
      think are dumb and do not matter. The difficulty alone must mean
      there is great potential for growth there.

      An interesting aside here. The dissenter often thinks she is a grand
      and eloquent witness for justice and truth. The stubborn monk thinks
      he has scored a real victory for integrity and correctness. In fact,
      those who live with them often think they're just silly and pathetically
      foolish. Of the two impressions, this last is closer to truth!

      It is also interesting to note (again, from sorry personal experience,)
      that the rebel often looks at other rebels (with whom he does not agree,
      so they are, of course, WRONG...) as silly fools. Wow! If one can be so right
      about those other rebels, how come the other monastics aren't right about
      oneself?? Hmmmm....

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
      Petersham, MA





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please, for the safety of Fr. Brendan and Bp. Basil on their pilgrimage. Prayers, to, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 5, 2007
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        +PAX

        Prayers, please, for the safety of Fr. Brendan and Bp. Basil on their pilgrimage.

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

        Helen, stage three lung cancer with abdominal involvement, needing to make some important decisions about treatment and badly needing a priest to help her make them, also for her friends, Ann Marie and Bob, trying to help. Special prayers that a priest can get to her, please.

        Bill, mesothlioma, and for Peggy, his wife. Surgery for a bowel obstruction was nevessary, even though he as been on chemo and is a poor surgical risk. 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

        February 5, June 6, October 6
        Chapter 7: On Humility

        The eighth degree of humility
        is that a monk do nothing except what is commended
        by the common Rule of the monastery
        and the example of the elders.

        REFLECTION

        Well, this one looks deceptively simple enough. Just try it! I speak
        as one who has frequently failed it and who sometimes* fails it
        still. [* I only fail it on special occasions: Sunday, Monday,
        Tuesday, Wednesday.... you get the picture.] This step of humility,
        by the way, will translate very easily into family life, the
        neighborhood, or the workplace.

        The goal here is not just external uniformity so much as internal
        detachment. We are deeply attached to the things we do. Demanding to
        do things our own way is not humble. When vocation observers come to the
        monastery, for the monks or the nuns, I often see little quirks of
        external piety in church and think: "Well, that'll have to go..."

        One cannot profitably go through monastic formation cherishing the
        notion that one has got it right and one's elders have it wrong. You
        may even be right, or the matter may be completely neutral. (The
        term "optional" comes to mind, but that was NOT used to express
        neutrality!) That's not the issue here. Detachment and humility are.

        When we singularize ourselves without real moral imperative, the
        message given to the whole community is "I know better." That this is
        not warmly received in a junior or newcomer should come as no
        surprise. A monastic family is like any spouse: you had better not
        marry what you hope to change them into, but only what they ARE. If
        we fail this, we change "Thy will be done" into "MY will be done!"
        and we do so with sorry results.

        No spouse is perfect, neither is any family, monastery or job, but if
        you expect to change them right off the bat, you're doomed to woe. In
        monastery and marriage and workplace, the only person you can REALLY
        change is yourself and the sooner you get around to doing that, the
        better for all concerned.

        The sad thing (and I am guilty here!) is that sometimes these things
        we do on our own have nothing to do with piety at all. They are,
        pure and simple, revolt, passive aggression, small, though very
        public ways of expressing our scorn for this or that concept or
        person. Having lived in the Church of the 60's and 70's, I picked up
        the idea of refusal as a kind of non-violent demonstration. Not quite
        as laudable as my youthful self may have thought!

        I also must say that, in those less-than-halcyon days, I picked it up
        from my monastic seniors, just not always the best seniors! I still
        do it at times, and I still wrestle with paring those times down day
        by day. The hardest humility and obedience are to things we truly
        think are dumb and do not matter. The difficulty alone must mean
        there is great potential for growth there.

        An interesting aside here. The dissenter often thinks she is a grand
        and eloquent witness for justice and truth. The stubborn monk thinks
        he has scored a real victory for integrity and correctness. In fact,
        those who live with them often think they're just silly and pathetically
        foolish. Of the two impressions, this last is closer to truth!

        It is also interesting to note (again, from sorry personal experience,)
        that the rebel often looks at other rebels (with whom he does not agree,
        so they are, of course, WRONG...) as silly fools. Wow! If one can be so right
        about those other rebels, how come the other monastics aren't right about
        oneself?? Hmmmm....

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



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