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Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. Nov 27

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX Roland, for whom we have prayed, is fighting liver cancer. He is doing very well with an experimental chemo. The biggest challenge for him now is his
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 26, 2006
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      +PAX


      Roland, for whom we have prayed, is fighting liver cancer. He is
      doing very well with an experimental chemo. The biggest challenge
      for him now is his lack of faith in the afterlife; he is terrified
      of dying into nothingness. After 12 years of sobriety with AA
      he has now developed an addiction to his pain meds as a way of
      masking his
      fear and anxiety. Please pray for his enlightenment. +Please,
      please, please pray that Divine Mercy will shine upon those souls
      who have taken their own lives. +

      Lord, help them 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 28, July 28, November 27
      Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

      Idleness is the enemy of the soul.
      Therefore the sisters should be occupied
      at certain times in manual labor,
      and again at fixed hours in sacred reading.
      To that end
      we think that the times for each may be prescribed as follows.

      From Easter until the Calends of October,
      when they come out from Prime in the morning
      let them labor at whatever is necessary
      until about the fourth hour,
      and from the fourth hour until about the sixth
      let them apply themselves to reading.
      After the sixth hour,
      having left the table,
      let them rest on their beds in perfect silence;
      or if anyone may perhaps want to read,
      let her read to herself
      in such a way as not to disturb anyone else.
      Let None be said rather early,
      at the middle of the eighth hour,
      and let them again do what work has to be done until Vespers.

      And if the circumstances of the place or their poverty
      should require that they themselves
      do the work of gathering the harvest,
      let them not be discontented;
      for then are they truly monastics
      when they live by the labor of their hands,
      as did our Fathers and the Apostles.
      Let all things be done with moderation, however,
      for the sake of the faint-hearted.

      REFLECTION

      I offer this as further proof of St. Benedict's tenderness and
      gentleness: take a nap. OK, say the siesta is Italian and cultural.
      Fine, but there were plenty of cultural elements he didn't let
      through the monastery gate. It was a LOT hotter in Egypt and one
      doesn't hear the Fathers telling people to lie down and rest, much
      less saying that those who cannot sleep dare not wake those who can
      with their noisiness! This is a gentle Father we have!

      Surely moderation is one of the key elements woven throughout the
      Holy Rule, but isn't it at least worthy of note that it is stressed
      here, in the chapter on work? St. Benedict may not have had all the
      handy psycho babble terms that we use today to name things, but he
      had
      a piercingly clear perception of human nature.

      He knew that some people were workaholics and that their
      contemplative
      focus would be shattered by that. He knew some people were obsessive
      about trivia that didn't matter. He knew that some people were very
      loving
      caregivers who would turn into flaming doormats, abused by their own
      kindness and inability to say "No," politely.

      So, he counters all that by saying: "Take a nap!" Hey, what a great
      reality check! Wake up, y'all, the world has an axis to spin on
      already
      and there is no need for you to duplicate services! St. Benedict
      certainly knows that many things are important, even essential and he
      is not at all shy about pointing them out. In the midst of all that,
      he says: "Take a nap!" If you can't nap, he doesn't even say "pray,"
      he tells the insomniac to read quietly!!

      Look, we are known for our motto of pray and work, ora et labora. One
      might well assume that if you couldn't be working, you ought to at
      least be praying. Not so. Take a nap. Balance it out. Try pulling
      your arm out of a bucket of water and see what happens. Water closes
      right in, no problem. Much depends on us, but usually much less than
      we are prone to pridefully think! Take a nap!

      Our world around us will gladly and readily tell us that we are worth
      nothing other than our productivity, our work, our profitability. St.
      Benedict wants to be sure that when we come to his monastery, we see
      those distorted values of human dignity for the falsehoods they
      really are.

      He wants us to work, yes, but to see work in the deep
      humility of truth. A consumerist society has taught us the exact
      opposite of that and we all need to patiently spend lots of time
      peeling those scales from our eyes with the help of God and St.
      Benedict.

      Take a nap!

      Love and prayers,

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