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Holy Rule for Oct. 27

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  • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Donna who was just diagnosed with a tumor on one of her kidneys which will require surgery. She has great faith and is very much at
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 26, 2006
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      Prayers, please, for Donna who was just diagnosed with a tumor on one of her
      kidneys which will require surgery. She has great faith and is very much at
      peace about it. Prayers for her family, too, and for those treating her and
      those caring for all our prayer folks, spiritually or physically. Deo gratias
      and prayers of thanks for Pat, whom we prayed for last week with undiagnosed
      chest pain. She had a successful double bypass surgery and is recovering

      I ask prayers of all for the will of God in the upcoming United States
      elections in early November. So many crucial issues are at stake. Please pray that
      our voters- and those they elect- will be led by God to do His will. 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

      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
      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.


      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
      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,
      Petersham, MA

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