Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Holy Rule for Oct. 21

Expand Messages
  • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
    +PAX Prayers of Deo gratias, please, for Bob, recovering nicely from the transplant and will probably be allowed to return home next week. He is having
    Message 1 of 14 , Oct 20, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      +PAX

      Prayers of Deo gratias, please, for Bob, recovering nicely from the
      transplant and will
      probably be allowed to return home next week. He is having challenges
      sleeping,
      hence my his wife, Petrina, isn't sleeping either. prayers for the both.

      Prayers for Leah, she has been notified that there is a liver available for
      transplant today
      (Friday)! At 10 years old she is understandably frightened. Along with the
      good comes the bad:
      a 10 year old boy died which resulted in this liver becoming available.
      Please remember in your prayers
      the boy's family who made the generous gift of life of his organs, in the
      midst of their grief and sorrow.
      Prayers for his happy death and eternal rest in the arms of God.

      Prayers for Fred and Mary, married 60 years this Sunday, he collapsed and is
      in ICU, unconscious
      and on life support, also for their son, Bp. David, and all their family.
      Prayers for Pat, hospitalized
      with severe heart pain, cause as yet undiagnosed. Prayers for Jeanne, 8
      months pregnant and
      having trouble, also for Pat, her Mom, and all their family. Prayers prayer
      for Elizabeth in the last stages of bowel cancer
      who has opted for no further surgery and also for her lovely 7 yr.old cat,
      Bailey, who needs a home.
      Elizabeth is terribly concerned about Bailey's welfare more than her own.
      Prayers for one thinking
      of adopting Bailey, that the right thing be done. Prayers for Steve who is
      having surgery on Monday for his artery
      blockages and for AS worried about test results for her recent illness.
      Prayers for Pam who is recovering
      slowly from blood clot in her brain and fluid on lungs, all found yesterday
      when she collapsed.

      Prayers for Connie, brain aneurysm, decision about surgery pending. Please
      pray for understanding and
      reconciliation between two friends. Please pray for Susanne whose spouse Al
      recently died after a long
      battle with Alzheimer's Disease and for Al's happy death and eternal rest
      and for all their family. 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 20, June 21, October 21

      Chapter 17: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at These Hours


      We have already arranged the order of the psalmody
      for the Night and Morning Offices;
      let us now provide for the remaining Hours.


      At Prime let three Psalms be said,
      separately and not under one "Glory be to the Father."
      The hymn of that Hour
      is to follow the verse "Incline unto my aid, O God,"
      before the Psalms begin.
      Upon completion of the three Psalms
      let one lesson be recited,
      then a verse,
      the "Lord, have mercy on us" and the concluding prayers.


      The Offices of Terce, Sext and None
      are to be celebrated in the same order,
      that is:
      the "Incline unto my aid, O God," the hymn proper to each Hour,
      three Psalms, lesson and verse,
      "Lord, have mercy on us" and concluding prayers.


      If the community is a large one,
      let the Psalms be sung with antiphons;
      but if small,
      let them be sung straight through.


      Let the Psalms of the Vesper Office be limited to four,
      with antiphons.
      After these Psalms the lesson is to be recited,
      then the responsory, the Ambrosian hymn, the verse,
      the canticle from the Gospel book,
      the litany, the Lord's Prayer and the concluding prayers.


      Let Compline be limited to the saying of three Psalms,
      which are to be said straight through without antiphon,
      and after them the hymn of that Hour,
      one lesson, a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on us,"
      the blessing and the concluding prayers.


      REFLECTION

      A real short one here. People often ask me about the Benedictine
      Office and want to include it in their prayer lives. This chapter offers
      a great solution: the Benedictine Psalms of Compline.

      They are the same ones every day. You can use them with whatever
      format you have for Compline. Many houses, even today, still use the
      Psalms mentioned here, and all of them did for most of our history.
      The Psalms are 4, When I call...,90(91) He who dwells in the shelter
      of the Most High..., and 133(134) O come, bless the Lord..., the
      first number being the Septuagint numbering usually found in older
      Catholic Bibles and the parenthetical numbering the Hebrew one found
      in Protestant Bibles.

      Used daily, these Psalms sink quickly into memory. Pretty soon you'll
      be able to say Compline with no book. Now that is a great joy! We
      sometimes say it in the car when a couple of us have picked someone
      up at the airport in Boston. We can be together, singing Compline in
      a pitch dark car on the road home. No books needed. Warm and
      familiar. Enjoy!!

      For any who would like a copy of the 1963 Monastic Diurnal, which has
      all the day hours, but not Matins, it has been republished by Farnborough
      Abbey, in Latin and English, side by side columns. More info at:

      _http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/_ (http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/)

      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 Sandy and his wife Eileen and their fellow pilgrims as they travel tomorrow to Assisi for a Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer
      Message 2 of 14 , Oct 20, 2011
      • 0 Attachment
        +PAX

        Prayers, please, for Sandy and his wife Eileen and their fellow pilgrims as they travel tomorrow to Assisi for a Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world: Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace" with the Holy Father.

        Prayers for Chris, 7, who has taken a turn for the worse. MRI yesterday showed the tumor they were treating has grown
        around brain stem and doctors arent holding out much hope. Parents are on the way to hospital with a
        relic of Blessed Pope John Paul II and ask for prayers to same. Hoping for a miracle. All they can do
        now is make him comfortable.

        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 20, June 21, October 21

        Chapter 17: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at These Hours
        We have already arranged the order of the psalmody for the Night
        and Morning Offices;
        let us now provide for the remaining Hours.

        At Prime let three Psalms be said, separately and not under
        one "Glory be to the Father."
        The hymn of that Hour is to follow the verse "Incline unto my aid,
        O God," before the Psalms begin. Upon completion of the three
        Psalms let one lesson be recited,
        then a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on us" and the concluding
        prayers.

        The Offices of Terce, Sext and None are to be celebrated in the
        same order, that is:
        the "Incline unto my aid, O God," the hymn proper to each Hour,
        three Psalms, lesson and verse, "Lord, have mercy on us" and
        concluding prayers.

        If the community is a large one, let the Psalms be sung with
        antiphons; but if small,
        let them be sung straight through.

        Let the Psalms of the Vesper Office be limited to four, with
        antiphons. After these Psalms the lesson is to be recited, then the
        responsory, the Ambrosian hymn, the verse, the canticle from the
        Gospel book, the litany, the Lord's Prayer and the concluding
        prayers.

        Let Compline be limited to the saying of three Psalms, which are to
        be said straight through without antiphon, and after them the
        hymn of that Hour, one lesson, a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on
        us," the blessing and the concluding prayers.



        REFLECTION

        A real short one here. People often ask me about the Benedictine
        Office and want to include it in their prayer lives. This chapter
        offers a great solution: the Benedictine Psalms of Compline.

        They are the same ones every day. You can use them with whatever
        format you have for Compline. Many houses, even today, still use
        the Psalms mentioned here, and all of them did for most of our
        history. The Psalms are 4, When I call...,90(91) He who dwells in
        the shelter of the Most High..., and 133(134) O come, bless the
        Lord..., the first number being the Septuagint numbering usually
        found in older Catholic Bibles and the parenthetical numbering the
        Hebrew one found in Protestant Bibles.

        Used daily, these Psalms sink quickly into memory. Pretty soon
        you'll be able to say Compline with no book. Now that is a great
        joy! No books needed. Warm and familiar. Enjoy!!

        For any who would like a copy of the 1963 Monastic Diurnal, which
        has all the day hours, but not Matins, it has been republished by
        Farnborough Abbey, in Latin and English, side by side columns. More
        info at:

        _http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/_
        (http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/)

        or contact: Brother Bernard 1.505.388.9279 -- Our Lady of Guadalupe
        Monastery, New Mexico, USA

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





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Br. Jerome Leo
        +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Chester, 98, and for his wife, Joan, and all their family and all who mourn him. Prayers for Michael D., his wife
        Message 3 of 14 , Oct 21, 2011
        • 0 Attachment
          +PAX

          Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Chester, 98, and for his wife, Joan, and all their family and all who mourn him.

          Prayers for Michael D., his wife and daughters and son and son in law. Special intentions involving a custody case, car accident and employment, as well as pain issues. Prayers for them all.

          Prayers, please, for Sisters Mary Emmanuele and Mary Therese, novices
          of our Nuns in Petersham, on the anniversary of their investiture. Only
          six more months in their 1 1/2 year novitiate!! May God fill them with His perfect will.

          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 21, June 22, October 22
          Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said

          Let this verse be said: "Incline unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make
          haste to help me,"
          and the "Glory be to the Father" then the hymn proper to each Hour.


          Then at Prime on Sunday four sections of Psalm 118 are to be said;
          and at each of the remaining Hours, that is Terce, Sext and None,
          three sections of the same Psalm 118.

          At Prime on Monday let three Psalms be said, namely Psalms 1, 2 and
          6. And so each day at Prime until Sunday let three Psalms be said
          in numerical order, to Psalm 19,
          but with Psalms 9 and 17 each divided into two parts. Thus it comes
          about that the Night Office on Sunday always begins with Psalm 20.


          REFLECTION

          Since Prime was to be said before work, its Psalms could vary. The
          Tuesday through Saturday repetition of the same 9 Psalms for minor
          hours excludes Prime, which was probably said in Church or Chapter
          room, or partially in both. Since Prime was celebrated where books
          were available, it could use different Psalms every day and did.
          There was no need for the memorization which would allow farmer
          monks to celebrate None in the midst of a hayfield.

          I was glad to hear from some who especially loved the prayers of
          Prime. So do I! Here, however, is yet another offering from the
          Office of Prime: its hymn. Being metrical, it is easily memorized.
          A nurse friend of mine told me years ago she used to sing this hymn
          every morning at an Episcopal summer camp for kids. Not a bad idea
          at all! Enjoy!

          Love and prayers,
          Jerome, OSB
          http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
          Petersham, MA 01366

          HYMN

          Now that the daylight fills the sky
          We lift our hearts to God on high,
          That He, in all we do or say,
          Would keep us free from harm today:

          Would guard our hearts and tongues from strife;
          From anger's din would hide our life;
          From evil sights would turn our eyes;
          Would close our ears to vanities.

          So we, when this new day is gone
          and night in turn is drawing on,
          With conscience by the world unstained
          Shall praise His name for vict'ry gained.

          To God the Father and the Son
          And Holy Spirit, three in one,
          Be endless glory as before
          The world began, so evermore. Amen.






          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Br. Jerome Leo
          +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of baby Mya, who died in a tragic accident, and for her Mom and Dad, brother and all their family, and for all who
          Message 4 of 14 , Oct 22, 2011
          • 0 Attachment
            +PAX

            Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of baby Mya, who died in a tragic accident, and for her Mom and Dad, brother and all their family, and for all who mourn her. May God have taken her right into His arms and may the living be consoled.

            Prayers for the eternal rest of the Mother of Nancy and Robin, and for Nancy and Robin and all her family, and all who mourn her.

            Prayers for Pete, that he may find quiet and peace, joy and hope, and discover warm people of good will around him'

            Prayers for clarity and quiet for John.

            Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of James, on the anniversary of his death,
            and for all who mourn him.

            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 22, June 23, October 23
            Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said
            At Terce, Sext and None on Monday let the nine remaining sections
            of Psalm 118 be said,
            three at each of these Hours.

            Psalm 118 having been completed, therefore, on two days, Sunday and
            Monday, let the nine Psalms from Psalm 119 to Psalm 127 be said at
            Terce, Sext and None, three at each Hour, beginning with Tuesday.
            And let these same Psalms be repeated every day until Sunday at the
            same Hours, while the arrangement of hymns, lessons and verses is
            kept the same on all days; and thus Prime on Sunday will always
            begin with Psalm 118.


            REFLECTION

            Running psalmody, that is, reciting the Psalms in numerical order,
            no matter what came next, was a very common ancient monastic
            practice. Since one of the principles behind the Psalter was to "get
            it all in" in the space of a week, that running psalmody was a
            natural
            consequence. St. Benedict obviously had some of that on his mind:
            he goes from detailed directions about the spacing of the longest
            Psalm, 118, right into assigning the next 9 to the minor hours
            which are repeated throughout the week from Tuesday to Saturday.

            As a result, one could safely say that there is nothing specific to
            the time of day as such about these Psalms, but that is not
            entirely correct. These nine Psalms from 119-127 are gradual
            Psalms, pilgrimage songs. They were sung by the Jews as they were
            going up
            to Jerusalem. They are filled with the tension of anticipation and
            possession of God's Temple and His blessings, they are songs
            of "already" and "not yet".

            The gradual Psalms are short, compact units, easily memorized.
            Since memory is one thing the Holy Rule no doubt was providing for-
            these Offices frequently had to be said on the spot, in the fields-
            it is very likely that this group were quite deliberately chosen.
            No one in their right mind would suggest some of the longer Psalms
            from Matins
            for easy memorization!!

            Regardless of what St. Benedict may or may not have had in mind,
            the Holy Spirit can use all of us, even St. Benedict, in ways we do
            not realize. Read through these Psalms and picture yourself saying
            them in a distant field, with the Abbey in view, but far away. Get
            the
            idea? The pilgrim songs that speak of already AND not yet were the
            perfect thing for monastics to say in such circumstances.
            Jerusalem, the House of God, was both a distant view and a complete
            possession, since ALL of the monastery is the House of God.

            It is easy, terribly easy, to forget that we live "in the House of
            God." We do, all monastics do, Oblates do, everyone does. It IS
            God's world. Being reminded of this by those Psalms of journeying
            is a great idea. Our feet really are "standing within your gates, O
            Jerusalem!" yet we also see it as from a distance. We look from
            afar and see that Jerusalem is a city compact, a unity of peace and
            order. Who has seen a monastery on a hill and not had similar
            thoughts?

            Even the accidental end of the sequence (which continues in
            Vespers,) has a wonderful application. "Blessed are those who fear
            the Lord, who walk in His ways!" It recounts the joys and
            protections of a life lived for God and ends with the plea: "On
            Israel, peace!" Just
            picture yourself saying that at the end of a hard day's work in the
            field, looking at back Abbey Church, the safe home of gathered
            family and choir. Not shabby!

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



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Br. Jerome Leo
            +PAX Prayers, please, for Jimmy and Al, special intentions for each. Prayers for the eternal rest of Msgr. John Scully, near his death anniversary. Lord, help
            Message 5 of 14 , Oct 23, 2011
            • 0 Attachment
              +PAX

              Prayers, please, for Jimmy and Al, special intentions for each.

              Prayers for the eternal rest of Msgr. John Scully, near his death anniversary.

              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 23, June 24, October 24
              Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said

              Vespers are to be sung with four Psalms every day. These shall
              begin with Psalm 109 and go on to Psalm 147, omitting those which
              are set apart for other Hours; that is to say that
              with the exception of Psalms 117 to 127 and Psalms 133 and 142, all
              the rest of these are to be said at Vespers. And since there are
              three Psalms too few, let the longer ones of the above number be
              divided, namely Psalms 138, 143 and 144. But let Psalm 116 because
              of its brevity be joined to Psalm 115.

              The order of the Vesper Psalms being thus settled, let the rest of
              the Hour -- lesson, responsory, hymn, verse and canticle -- be
              carried out as we prescribed above.

              At Compline the same Psalms are to be repeated every day, namely
              Psalms 4, 90 and 133.


              REFLECTION

              Vespers and Compline are very different
              and refreshing. They are evening hours, not followed by work,
              except for the light clean up after supper, which is not a main
              meal here anyway. Vespers makes one think of finally getting home
              and shutting the door after a long day and a tough commute. It ends the
              workday, leaving the evening for family. Not shabby! A rite of passage from
              the job to the home hearth!

              A brief glance at the Psalms for Vespers will show that they are
              yet another example of consecutive, running psalmody. One right
              after another, except for a few which get bumped elsewhere or
              thoughtfully divided because of their length. Apparently by
              numerical happenstance, Psalm 140 winds us in the Vespers grouping,
              and it is most appropriate: "Let my prayer ascend to You like
              incense and the lifting up of my hands like an evening sacrifice."
              Historically, Psalm 140 has appeared in the Vespers or services of
              light (Lucenaria) of many, many rites.

              For active monasteries, or for busy Oblates in the world, evening
              and early morning are often the only times we get of relative
              cloister and focus. The morning hours are largely available to
              anyone willing or able to get up while the rest of the world
              (including the kids!)
              sleeps, the evening hours perhaps less so. Those evenings are
              family times par excellence and our first vocations must always be
              respected.

              If, as a working parent or spouse, getting home means just getting
              started with dinner, don't despair! There is (or can be, if you
              provide for it,) a lot of undistracted solitude in cooking, even if
              it is rather harried cooking. If you can GENTLY establish a quiet
              space for yourself while cooking, go for it. The solitude of a
              kitchen at work feeding loved ones is a rich one, indeed. Be careful
              not to make your family crazy, though. That's why I stress GENTLY!
              The family comes first!

              If you are into CDs, get one of somebody else singing Vespers and
              play it. Heaven knows, if you can put up with the kids' music, they
              can put up with yours for half an hour a day. Even if you do not
              listen to every word, the soothing chant will settle into your bones,
              become a backdrop of peace on which you can position the rest of
              your evening. Give it a shot for two weeks and I'll bet you find
              your evening meals and later times very different, because YOU are
              different!

              A further plus is that the memory of you listening to Gregorian
              chant while cooking, admittedly a rather unusual practice, will
              stay in your children's minds long, long after you are gone. Who
              knows what a snippet of chant memory might do for a faith life years
              after you have died?

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



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Br. Jerome Leo
              +PAX Prayers, please, for Doug, health and insurance problems. Prayers for Catherine, job search. unemployment has not kicked in yet. Prayers for Jo,
              Message 6 of 14 , Oct 24, 2011
              • 0 Attachment
                +PAX

                Prayers, please, for Doug, health and insurance problems.

                Prayers for Catherine, job search. unemployment has not kicked in yet.

                Prayers for Jo, pre-cancerous lesions on scalp and hoping for best results from treating them topically.

                Please pray for Nancy, who has died after great sufferings, and for her husband John and family and all who mourn her.

                Prayers for Marie, starting daily radiation and one day a week of chemo for cancer treatment, and her son Mike and all the family is very worried.

                Prayers for Fr. Tad, officially beginning his parish work today in the north of Scotland. Prayers also for Canon Doyle and Monsignor Robert, the retired priests who have filled in so selflessly while the parish was without a full-time shepherd. May the parish now have the stability so beloved of St. Benedict.

                Prayers for Star on the 25th October, the 2nd anniversary of her death. Prayers for her eternal rest, and for comfort for her family, esp. her daughter, Beth, and for 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

                February 24, June 25, October 25
                Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said

                The order of psalmody for the day Hours being thus arranged, let
                all the remaining Psalms be equally distributed among the seven
                Night Offices by dividing the longer Psalms among them and
                assigning twelve Psalms to each night.


                We strongly recommend, however, that if this distribution of the
                Psalms is displeasing to anyone, she should arrange them otherwise,
                in whatever way she considers better,
                but taking care in any case that the Psalter with its full number
                of 150 Psalms be chanted every week and begun again every Sunday at
                the Night Office. For those monastics show themselves too lazy in
                the service to which they are vowed, who chant less than the
                Psalter with the customary canticles in the course of a week,
                whereas we read that our holy Fathers strenuously fulfilled that
                task in a single day. May we, lukewarm that we are, perform it at
                least in a whole week!


                REFLECTION

                I am going to begin this by reprinting two paragraphs of very
                important qualifications from the last post on this chapter, in
                February.

                "I hasten to add a word of caution to Oblates here: the Holy Rule
                is referring to choral Office in monasteries. To undertake for
                oneself such an Office could well be unwise, and sometimes, even
                wrong. The conditions of one's state in life come first. Oblates who
                are parents or married have kept Vigils and Nocturns with sick children
                or spouses of which professed monastics would never dream. Don't get
                hung up on this one. SHARE the Office all you can, but tend first
                to the responsibilities of your state in life.

                Before I became a monk I used to OCCASIONALLY do all 150 Psalms
                alone. There were two things worthy of mention here: I was a single
                man with one (very loving!) cat, and I recited them. Even at that,
                I can assure you it took up a chunk of time. Hence, Oblates should
                take great care that they don't obsess on this notion. Do what you
                can and rest assured that your community, and the Order and the
                whole praying Church is "making up" whatever you can't offer."

                A couple of years ago, the guesthouse well died (temporarily,
                thanks be to God!) We had to gather 10 gallon plastic buckets for
                each bathroom, haul them down the hill to the monastery in the
                station wagon, fill them and bring them back. What a hassle! We
                also had to caution the guests rather indelicately about no
                unnecessary flushes. Even more recently, a storm left us without
                electricity for several hours. Afraid to open the fridge too much
                and with no oven, we ordered pizza in Athol for the guesthouse.

                Both of these things were tough, but neither were anything compared
                to the amount of labor required to maintain life in the first
                centuries of the Order's existence. Neither were there lay
                brothers to do all that work in those days, since they were a much
                later development. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, no running
                water, no phones, no Athol House of Pizza to call and no car to pick
                it up in. (OK aqueducts in some places, but you get the picture...)
                In the midst of a life that we would find crushingly different, St.
                Benedict insisted on the weekly 150. Hmmmm......

                We live in a world where countless labor-saving devices and perks
                give us far more time than anyone in history has ever had. Are we
                always good stewards of that abundance? Heaven knows, I don't want
                to give up those modern advantages, look at how hooked on computers
                I am. But what do we do with all that time? How much of the time we
                save goes to prayer? How much goes to mindless stuff we could well
                do without?


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












                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Br. Jerome Leo
                +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Troy, for all his family and all those who mourn him. Prayers, please, for Karen, who has just started her own
                Message 7 of 14 , Oct 25, 2011
                • 0 Attachment
                  +PAX

                  Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Troy, for all his family and all those who mourn him.

                  Prayers, please, for Karen, who has just started her own business. She asks for courage and to live God's will in all she does.

                  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 25, June 26, October 26
                  Chapter 19: On the Manner of Saying the Divine Office

                  We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that "the
                  eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the evil in every
                  place" (Prov. 15:3). But we should believe this especially without
                  any doubt when we are assisting at the Work of God. To that end let
                  us be mindful always of the Prophet's words, "Serve the Lord in
                  fear" (Ps. 2:11) and again "Sing praises wisely" (Ps. 46:8) and "In
                  the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to You" (Ps. 137:1).
                  Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves in
                  sight of the Godhead and of His Angels, and let us take part in the
                  psalmody in such a way that our mind may be in harmony with our
                  voice.


                  REFLECTION

                  If there were any phrase I could carve on the walls of every choir
                  in the Order, it would be: "In the sight of the Angels I will sing
                  praise to You." It stresses not only the lofty character (and
                  cast!) of our sacrifices of praise, but also the demeanor we should
                  have in offering them.

                  This applies to parishes as well as to monasteries. In either
                  milieu there can arise a certain foolish and unfortunate terrorism
                  in "ministers" of rubric or music. The foregoing italics were not
                  unintentional: when one terrorizes the flock over trivia, ministry
                  has stopped. We are in the presence of the Angels, yet we sometimes
                  easily forget that our brothers and sisters are each worth
                  infinitely more than aesthetics, than music, than rubric. We must
                  love people more than those!

                  Dump on your sister or brother in the name of such things and you
                  have missed the Bridegroom and married the Wedding March. Don't be
                  too surprised if you find the Wedding March to be a less than
                  thrilling spouse, a source of frustration rather than peace and joy!
                  Whenever we use the constructs of rubric or music to hurt or demean
                  one another, those Angels whose presence we ignore at our peril
                  weep, and I think God does as well.

                  The Presence of God that we miss so often should change our
                  demeanour. Students act differently (usually worse, alas...) for a substitute
                  teacher. Employees are different when the boss is off for the day.
                  These assortments of different behavior are pretty much shot
                  through the human condition, though not necessarily always a good
                  idea.

                  The message here is no masks. Know Him in Whose presence and House
                  you are. But really KNOW Him. That can take a lifetime of trying on
                  and shedding as false different modes of conduct.

                  God is Parent and Creator and we are always creatures, but we are
                  not always children. We have to grow to the adult relationship with
                  God that fortunate children eventually share with their parents.
                  (If we never got to do this with our parents, and many haven't, establishing
                  such
                  honesty with God is going to perhaps be a bit of a chore... Keep trying!)

                  As we grow in our knowledge of God, our behavior around Him (and we
                  are ALWAYS "around Him", that's another clear message of the Holy
                  Rule!) changes. It becomes more real and more natural. It changes
                  with a very clear eye to Whom God is and who we are. It changes
                  from knowledge born of love and security.


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






                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Br. Jerome Leo
                  +PAX A lot of intentions, folks. Prayers today for the following, eternal rest for the dead and for all their families and all who mourn them; and spiritual,
                  Message 8 of 14 , Oct 26, 2011
                  • 0 Attachment
                    +PAX

                    A lot of intentions, folks. Prayers today for the following, eternal rest for the dead and for all their families and all who mourn them; and spiritual, mental and physical health of the living, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

                    Suze's mother

                    Baby Leo, gross birth defects caused death at a few weeks leaving deeply grieving parents,

                    conversion of life for Mary Elizabeth

                    special intention, Henrietta

                    special intention for Ben and continued prayers for real estate issues - home sold but still owes money,

                    Arjahn, new business, relationship issues, health issues -- just had a stroke (early 40s) affecting one side of body - 10%

                    Elizabeth's son and also her close friend, DJ. the latter is suffering from leukemia, he appears to be responding well to meds.

                    B. - special intention

                    JS-- tough studies and tough decisions -- guidance from the Holy Spirit

                    Deo gratias for all answered prayers.

                    Denise, many tests and hoping it isn't cancer.

                    Ruth and Barth, celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary.

                    Jean, who passed away 8 years ago.

                    Alida, who passed away after a full life of 98 years. Prayers, also, for her daughter, Sr. Mary David of Holy Wisdom Monastery, Alida's other children and extended family.

                    Genny, severe back pain.

                    a Christian family in Pakistan. A daughter named Nancy is very ill & they have no money for her medicine.

                    George. some problems at one of his jobs and he will have to discuss the issue/s with the director.

                    Special intention for Fr. Paul.

                    Eternal rest of Joe and Faith, and for their son and daughter-in-law, John and Anne.

                    Fr. Joe, on his 29th birthday, and for his parents and siblings.



                    February 26, June 27, October 27
                    Chapter 20: On Reverence in Prayer

                    When we wish to suggest our wants to persons of high station, we do
                    not presume to do so
                    except with humility and reverence. How much the more, then, are
                    complete humility and pure devotion necessary in supplication of
                    the Lord who is God of the universe! And let us be assured that it
                    is not in saying a great deal that we shall be heard (Matt 6:7),
                    but in purity of heart and in tears of compunction. Our prayer,
                    therefore, ought to be short and pure, unless it happens to be
                    prolonged by an inspiration of divine grace. In community, however,
                    let prayer be very short, and when the Superior gives the signal
                    let all rise together.


                    REFLECTION

                    There is a necessary tension in Benedictine prayer, both public and
                    private, between the awesome majesty and otherness of God and His
                    infinite closeness and approachability. God is among us. He is not
                    the guy next door, but neither is He some untouchable, easily
                    offended emperor or sultan. Both these truths must be addressed in
                    order to maintain a correct balance.

                    God doesn't need ceremony, He doesn't need anything. All the high
                    church in the world might (or might not...) tickle His fancy, but
                    it does not one whit for Him personally. The rub here is that WE
                    need what we offer to God, and that has been all too often
                    forgotten.

                    In a very real and subtle sense, we BECOME what we offer to God,
                    often quite unnoticed by ourselves. The upshot of all this is
                    clear: offer God the lowest possible common denominator and that is
                    what those offering same will become. Offer Him empty and
                    presumptuous high church as theatre and be not surprised when those
                    offering such
                    things become rather ridiculously silly themselves. In very sad
                    fact, either empty extreme will make people pathetically silly and
                    spiritually impoverished besides.

                    St. Benedict says far less about personal prayer than the
                    Carmelites, but everything he says here would warm the hearts of
                    Sts. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. The "short and pure"
                    prayer that he recommends was already a great favorite of the
                    Desert Fathers and Mothers. They loved "one-liners", often just
                    repeating "O God, come to my assistance," or other phrases from
                    the Psalms, many of which figure in the Office to our own day.

                    This is another truly Benedictine form of prayer, one that can be
                    started without any preparation at all, the "short and pure"
                    aspirations repeated from the heart. The Jesus Prayer would work
                    well here, or any other of a number of phrases from devotional
                    prayer or
                    Scripture. Like the early Desert monastics, one may weave them into
                    virtually any part of the day or work.

                    Even a surprise moment of solitude on an elevator is a chance for a
                    few good Jesus Prayers! In line at the grocery store one could
                    choose to only read the scandal sheet headlines every other day
                    (LOL!) and use some of that time for aspirations instead.
                    Opportunities abound! The shortness of this prayer is perfect for
                    busy Oblates, a real connection to our Benedictine family and way
                    that is accessible to all.

                    We can get distracted when repeating a one-line prayer many times.
                    On the one hand, one should struggle to remain focused, but on the
                    other, a Desert Father once quipped that, if God counted
                    distraction at Psalmody, no one could be saved! I have always taken
                    great
                    comfort in that saying, since frequently (like, say, daily...) I
                    more closely resemble a Tibetan prayer wheel than a praying,
                    conscious monk. It may be folly, but I hope God is pleased with
                    even those "prayer wheel" times. Another Desert saying has it that,
                    even when we are distracted at prayer, it still annoys the demons
                    and is worth at least that!!

                    A very Benedictine warning here that the Carmelites would strongly
                    approve: prayer is only to be prolonged by "inspiration of divine
                    grace." When God does let us feel something wonderful in prayer, a
                    very understandable temptation is to hang onto the feeling, to
                    prolong it, to produce it again. Doesn't work, folks, and it could
                    very well turn into a trap. When God prolongs prayer or gives us
                    graces, fine! Relax, swim in His grace and enjoy it, but never,
                    ever try to fill the pool for a quick dip on your own. That's not
                    the way prayer- or God- works.

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



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Br. Jerome Leo
                    +PAX Prayers, please, for Br. Simon of Pluscarden, on his feastday, blessings and graces galore and many more, ad multos annos! Prayers, too, for the eternal
                    Message 9 of 14 , Oct 27, 2011
                    • 0 Attachment
                      +PAX

                      Prayers, please, for Br. Simon of Pluscarden, on his feastday, blessings and graces galore and many more, ad multos annos! Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of Fr. Jude of St. Leo, on his feastday. And for all our Simons and Judes, prayers and blessings and happy feastday!!

                      Prayers for Joe and his wife Carney... Joe is experiencing serious complications from his heart transplant... may they find peace of heart and mind in God's love and mercy, and may Joe find renewed health to sustain them both.

                      Prayers for George, still needs help wityh a complex situation at work and a difficult director to deal with.

                      Prayers for Joyce and her family whose members are dealing with life-threatening health issues and economic hardships. They are deeply grateful to God for His help and pray for His continued graces.

                      Prayers for Helene, special needs.

                      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 27, June 28, October 28
                      Chapter 21: On the Deans of the Monastery

                      If the community is a large one, let there be chosen out of it
                      brethren of good repute and holy life, and let them be appointed
                      deans. These shall take charge of their deaneries in all things,
                      observing the commandments of God and the instructions of their
                      Abbot.

                      Let men of such character be chosen deans that the Abbot may with
                      confidence
                      share his burdens among them. Let them be chosen not by rank but
                      according to their worthiness of life and the wisdom of their
                      doctrine.

                      If any of these deans should become inflated with pride and found
                      deserving of censure,
                      let him be corrected once, and again, and a third time. If he will
                      not amend, then let him be deposed and another be put in his place
                      who is worthy of it.

                      And we order the same to be done in the case of the Prior.


                      REFLECTION

                      St. Benedict reverences seniority- a traditional monastic value- in
                      many places, but he also moderates that tradition, keeping it from
                      turning into ageism. When considering the appointment of these
                      deans, their worthy lives and teachings are the criteria, not their
                      age. Unspoken here, but nevertheless evident, is the demand that seniors
                      obey such young officials.

                      There is no room for griping about young "whipper-snappers" here!
                      Obedience is not about the age or wisdom or human perfection of the
                      superior. It is about faith that God leads us through such flawed
                      human beings of every sort. When "X" crosses you or breaks your
                      heart or stokes your anger, it is imperative to recall that this
                      often has precious little to do with "X" and his or her
                      personality. It's is God's gift to your self-study. He wants you to
                      learn something about yourself and tests you. "X" might not even be
                      faintly aware of being used as an instrument of His will!
                      (Recalling this all the time is a LOT harder than it sounds, for some a
                      lifelong struggle.)

                      A further check here is given by the insistence on personal
                      holiness. Granted, even in monasteries, the clever and
                      manipulatively ambitious sort can get around this and sometimes do,
                      but what if all our offices, in monastery AND Church went to really
                      holy people? The first objection (usually put forward by the
                      ambitious who would be overlooked under this system!) is that they
                      would be TERRIBLE administrators. So? The point there was what?

                      Next time you want a fun day-dream, try to picture a Church and
                      Order run entirely by the holy and wise. Wow! Now usually, day-
                      dreaming is an utter waste of time, but this one is not. After you
                      have spent some time envisioning all those things, go out and BE
                      what you
                      dreamed. Truly live as if the dream had come to pass. Be prepared
                      to be a little lonely: none of us are likely soon to see a Church
                      run entirely by saints. But we can all make that dream one person
                      closer to coming true, by changing ourselves, by incarnating that
                      ideal as best we can. The only ones we can surely change are
                      ourselves!

                      Of course, there will be loud complaints about saints in charge,
                      too. For one thing, as Dorothy Day observed, saints can be terribly
                      hard to live with. For another, the problem is our lack of faith,
                      a problem even good governance will not remove. Only with the
                      help of God's grace, we can remove that problem. It starts with us
                      asking Him for that grace!

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




                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Br. Jerome Leo
                      +PAX Prayers, please, for G. and his wife, serious marriage problems. Prayers for fidelity to each other and that they can stay together. Prayers, please, for
                      Message 10 of 14 , Oct 28, 2011
                      • 0 Attachment
                        +PAX

                        Prayers, please, for G. and his wife, serious marriage problems. Prayers for fidelity to each other and that they can stay together.

                        Prayers, please, for Jim and his wife. He is in the hospital with unknown neurological problems. They have him in a medically induced coma while they try to find the cause.

                        Prayers for JR, doing well afrer a liver transplant but still very ill and facing the possibility of transplant rejection.

                        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 28, June 29, October 29
                        Chapter 22: How the Sisters Are to Sleep

                        Let each one sleep in a separate bed. Let them receive bedding
                        suitable to their manner of life, according to the Abbess's
                        directions. If possible let all sleep in one place; but if the
                        number does not allow this, let them take their rest by tens or
                        twenties with the seniors who have charge of them.

                        A candle shall be kept burning in the room until morning.

                        Let them sleep clothed and girded with belts or cords -- but not
                        with their knives at their sides, lest they cut themselves in their
                        sleep -- and thus be always ready to rise without delay when the
                        signal is given and hasten to be before one another at the Work of
                        God,
                        yet with all gravity and decorum.

                        The younger shall not have beds next to one another, but among
                        those of the older ones.

                        When they rise for the Work of God let them gently encourage one
                        another, that the drowsy may have no excuse.


                        REFLECTION

                        Hastening "yet will all gravity and decorum" has prompted many a
                        community joke, many a wry comment as one ran most ungracefully,
                        parts of the habit flapping wildly in the breeze, to whatever the
                        bell was about to make one late for! St. Benedict far antedates the
                        Three Stooges, but he still took precautions to ensure that we
                        would not look EXACTLY like Moe, Larry and Curly when we went to
                        choir or dinner! Admittedly, some of our human tendency still
                        arises to give a partial glimpse of that comedic trio, but, as
                        always, the picture is balanced!

                        As for the candle, the elderly may have problems during the
                        night if their health is declining. Hale and hearty (and hopefully
                        easily awakened!) juniors nearby promise them assistance, if
                        needed. However, if you want a humorous take on the knives issue,
                        it may
                        have been to prevent mayhem and murder of the snorers, an idea
                        which has doubtlessly occurred to many light sleepers!

                        Of course, dormitory sleeping is a thing of the past in our Order
                        today, but its nice to see the thoughtfulness behind its original
                        expression in the Holy Rule. There's a bit of the "mother" in St.
                        Benedict, going out of his way to mention a small detail like not
                        sleeping with knives. It is worthy of note, however, that St.
                        Benedict, as always is MODERATELY maternal, not neurotically so! He
                        doesn't get all bent out of shape, but he cares greatly and deeply.

                        One of the most beautiful images in this passage is the exhortation
                        to "gently encourage one another" at the hour of rising. Remember
                        that the strictest silence of all prevailed at this time. Now
                        picture the monastics gently encouraging one another! With no
                        words, there
                        had to be a lot of touch, a lot of gentle smiles, a lot of warmth
                        and care expressed NON-verbally.

                        There is a particularly good suggestion for Oblates: practice
                        showing non-verbal affection some time! Try to express your care,
                        concern and camaraderie for those around you with smiles, winks,
                        pats on the back and such. Not ALL the time, but hone this skill. A
                        wordless message of praise or solidarity or love can be treasured
                        by another, often much more than what we might have said.

                        A very good idea of how loving a monastic is can be had by
                        disturbing their silence (or sleep, I imagine!!) Is the reaction
                        cross and withering? Watch out for that one! Is there a smile, even
                        a warm one, a reaction of sweetness? Well, when silence is over,
                        that is a monastic to whose words you may want to listen carefully.

                        One species of Australian eucalyptus keeps the ground around itself
                        clear by emitting a toxic substance that renders other growth
                        impossible. Sad to say, but sometimes monastics in community (or in
                        families, or in workplaces!) can engage in a very similar activity.
                        There is a terrible facial message that says: "Don't even come near
                        me- with anything at all!" We need to watch ourselves carefully for
                        that one.

                        Everyone has bad days, now and then. Good communities and good
                        families know how to spot them in each other. If, however, those
                        days get strung together for some time and fairly often, something
                        is very, very wrong. The monastic life, in
                        cloister or marketplace, is not the proper arena for eucalyptus
                        toxicity!


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




                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Br. Jerome Leo
                        +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of a man who died from deep vein thrombosis suddenly, and for his wife, Denise, all their family, his friend Maurice and all
                        Message 11 of 14 , Oct 29, 2011
                        • 0 Attachment
                          +PAX

                          Prayers for the eternal rest of a man who died from deep vein thrombosis suddenly, and for his wife, Denise, all their family, his friend Maurice and all who mourn him.

                          Prayers for a family who have lost three children and their father, all to the same kidney ailment. The survivors are, in addition to grief, understandably scared. Prayers for the eternal rest of the dead and for all the family and all who mourn them.

                          Prayers for all in the US northeast impacted by the severe snowstorm, many without power. Prayers that we keep our power on here, 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

                          Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults

                          If a brother is found to be obstinate, or disobedient, or proud, or
                          murmuring, or habitually transgressing the Holy Rule in any point
                          and contemptuous of the orders of his seniors,
                          the latter shall admonish him secretly a first and a second time,
                          as Our Lord commands (Matt. 18:15). If he fails to amend, let him
                          be given a public rebuke in front of the whole community. But if
                          even then he does not reform, let him be placed under
                          excommunication,
                          provided that he understands the seriousness of that penalty; if he
                          is perverse, however,
                          let him undergo corporal punishment.


                          REFLECTION

                          Calm down, folks! Nobody uses corporal punishment any more, though
                          I can tell you that its use in certain cases has often been a
                          daydreaming temptation! It's worth noting that, for most people,
                          such daydreams always chuckle at the thought of someone ELSE getting
                          corporal punishment, not themselves! Sigh... Me included.

                          While some today may chafe at these chapters, known as the penal
                          code of the Holy Rule, believe me, the modern problem is NOT that
                          they are too stringently enforced. Quite the opposite. The
                          Benedictine atmosphere of gentle moderation can cloak and empower a
                          lot of timidity and cowardice, too. Neither are very loving,
                          they're just useful means of avoidance.

                          Not all love is tough love, but all love IS tough. When a parent or
                          boss or superior chooses their own comfort by avoiding
                          confrontation with a problem member, everyone suffers. Those in
                          authority are called to love, and love leaves no stone unturned, not
                          even those that are horribly difficult to lift.

                          Most of us can think of far too many examples of timid authority
                          failures in families and workplaces. One probably cannot change the
                          people in charge that effect such negligence. One ought to bravely
                          try, but it often doesn't work. One can moan a lot about it, but
                          that gets to murmuring in no time and is also counter-productive.
                          The message here for all of us is "Look at your own choir stall",
                          which is a Benedictine way of saying "Mind your own business and
                          examine your conscience."

                          If you are in authority, or get there
                          someday, don't be a flop or an unloving wimp. If you are not in
                          charge, don't make yourself one of the problems. It is terribly
                          hard for rank and file to ignore what seemingly ought not to be
                          ignored, but sometimes we simply have to do so or leave. That is one
                          of the VERY great ascetic disciplines of common life. Believe me,
                          fasting pales to nothing beside this one. I'd rather fast any day!

                          Over the years I have heard excuses close to whining from people in
                          all areas of authority: political, ecclesiastical, parental,
                          monastic and administrative. "Nothing can be done about so-and-so.
                          My hands are tied." I hate to say that I remain unable to
                          completely buy that,
                          largely because sometimes I've been around long enough to see a
                          successor (or the courts!) DO something about so-and-so. My own time
                          as list owner of Monastic Life taught me that deciding to do
                          something can heap tons of abuse on one's head, but something often
                          can be done.

                          Monastics come to the Holy Rule for the benefit of discipline and
                          growth and guidance toward holiness. We have a right to same, and
                          no one should have to know that only for the most flagrant of abuses
                          will he or she get it. St. Benedict points us toward the "bonum
                          obedientiae", the good, the gift of obedience.

                          That means that, for Benedictines, there must be something much more
                          than mere non- intervention. There has to be someone on the rudder.
                          There has to be something more stable than the ever-changing weather
                          vanes of consensus or self-will. Micro managing is a
                          terrible fault, but no management at all is far worse in many ways.
                          BOTH extremes are to be avoided. Virtue stands in the middle: virtus
                          in media stat!

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




                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Br. Jerome Leo
                          +PAX Thanks so much and prayers for Brian, an Oblate candidate of our house who was staying with us and did MUCH to help us get out from under around 19 inches
                          Message 12 of 14 , Oct 30, 2011
                          • 0 Attachment
                            +PAX

                            Thanks so much and prayers for Brian, an Oblate candidate of our house who was staying with us and did MUCH to help us get out from under around 19 inches of snow (according to Br. Vincent's estimate of snowfall.) Thanks, too, to all who prayed for us. Power went out only an hour or so in the middle of the early morning hours and the house didn't even get cold. God is good!

                            Prayers for all who did lose power in the storm, for all who had their lives impacted negatively.

                            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 1, July 1, October 31
                            Chapter 24: What the Measure of Excommunication Should Be

                            The measure of excommunication or of chastisement should correspond
                            to the degree of fault, which degree is estimated by the judgment
                            of the Abbess.

                            If a sister is found guilty of lighter faults, let her be excluded
                            from the common table. Now the program for one deprived of the
                            company of the table shall be as follows: In the oratory she shall
                            intone neither Psalm nor antiphon nor shall she recite a lesson
                            until she has made satisfaction; in the refectory she shall take
                            her food alone after the community meal,
                            so that if they eat at the sixth hour, for instance, that sister
                            shall eat at the ninth, while if they eat at the ninth hour she
                            shall eat in the evening, until by a suitable satisfaction she
                            obtains pardon.


                            REFLECTION

                            Let's face it, St. Benedict has a lot to say about excommunication-
                            a clumsy term, perhaps, because people often assume it means
                            excommunication from the Church, which is the only sense of the
                            word we commonly have today. It does not, of course mean that, just
                            a punishment of exclusion from certain community functions.

                            Let's face something else, at least in this chapter. Fasting an
                            extra three hours might not be lovely, but no intoning in choir?
                            What bad news! Gosh... Even many of us who CAN sing would look at
                            that as a nice break!

                            And eating alone? Well, the extra fast wasn't great, but I sure
                            missed that droning reader and the tedious book we've been reading.
                            What awful luck!

                            See the difference in perception a millennium or so can make? That
                            may be a large part of why the penal code is not followed today:
                            some of its punishments simply make little sense to modern
                            monastics, some seem mean, and others (as above,) seem like
                            downright vacations.

                            The rest of this applies with great ease to family situations,
                            marital situations and the workplace. Something must be gleaned
                            from all this legislation for punishment: the one at fault must be
                            told when something is wrong. That, after all, is the only reason
                            for punishment, to be a wake up call.

                            Unfortunately, the monastic hatred of personal confrontation
                            endemic in our ranks assumes (because it is easiest to do so,)
                            sufficient brilliance for all to sooner or later figure out that
                            they are amiss. It just ain't so, folks, sorry! Things fester when
                            they go ignored
                            for years. Things that someone should have dealt with gently, but
                            firmly and even summarily, in formation or childhood, torture the
                            family in later years.

                            Look, it is hard, VERY hard, to confront a predictably stubborn or
                            difficult child or monastic or spouse or employee.
                            It's easy to see why one would rather not do so. But the Holy Rule
                            asks many things that are difficult of us, and this one is
                            unquestionably
                            for the good of all, both the offender and the offended.

                            Please take very careful note, however, of the gentleness and real
                            concern that is essential if such confrontations are to succeed.
                            Explosive, violent tactics, harsh words and actions at the first
                            hint of trouble are not the monastic way. There is charity, always
                            charity first. If we must be sure of that selfless love in ourselves.
                            Not every correction is morally necessary. When that is the case, we
                            should often remain silent if we are not loving.

                            Timing is important, too. Not every day or time is the best time to broach
                            something difficult. One ought to be careful to avoid instant reactions
                            that
                            might do little good. One also ought to go to the person alone first, as
                            the
                            Gospel says. Instant rebukes in the presence of others are not the
                            Gospel's
                            way.

                            We must avoid the false charity, (really just cowardice in polite
                            drag,) that omits making these difficult corrections. It goes a
                            long way to making everyone's life hellish in the future.

                            Also, in workplace especially, bear in mind that the authority
                            figure here is the abbot, not the rank and file. One dare not
                            assume all those prerogatives as a peer and equal. Fraternal
                            correction will get a chapter of its own later on, but it is not a
                            mantle to be assumed lightly. We must beware of the other extreme:
                            becoming universal policing agents for all and sundry. A tiny spark
                            of Gestapo flickers in many of our all too human hearts. Do nothing
                            to fan the flame!

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




                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.