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Holy Rule for Dec. 19

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  • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
    +PAX Prayers, please, Colleen, who is having eye surgery on Thursday. She ministers to the sick and dying who needs to see in order to continue her work.
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 18, 2006
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      Prayers, please, Colleen, who is having eye surgery on Thursday. She
      ministers to the sick and dying who needs to see in order to continue her work.
      Please pray she can continue to do God’s work In this holy ministry. Prayers for
      vocations to all our monasteries. Prayers for all traveling during this
      holiday season and for their safety. 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

      April 19, August 19, December 19
      Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community

      The juniors, therefore, should honor their seniors,
      and the seniors love their juniors.

      In the very manner of address,
      let no one call another by the mere name;
      but let the seniors call their juniors Brothers,
      and the juniors call their seniors Fathers,
      by which is conveyed the reverence due to a father.
      But the Abbot,
      since he is believed to represent Christ,
      shall be called Lord and Abbot,
      not for any pretensions of his own
      but out of honor and love for Christ.
      Let the Abbot himself reflect on this,
      and show himself worthy of such an honor.

      And wherever the brethren meet one another
      the junior shall ask the senior for his blessing.
      When a senior passes by,
      a junior shall rise and give him a place to sit,
      nor shall the junior presume to sit with him
      unless his senior bid him,
      that it may be as was written,
      "In honor anticipating one another."

      Boys, both small and adolescent,
      shall keep strictly to their rank in oratory and at table.
      But outside of that, wherever they may be,
      let them be under supervision and discipline,
      until they come to the age of discretion.


      Abbot Fidelis, my late novicemaster, used to always say that
      Benedictines were "gentlemen monks." At that time, the phrase annoyed
      me a good bit, though I never said so. It seemed to have a ring of
      faint middle-class respectability about it, not a little bourgeois,
      as if we were monks who were "the right sort of people."

      It would still annoy me today if, one meant by that phrase nothing
      more than all those rather hollow social niceties. Not that there's
      anything wrong as such with social niceties, just that I have grown
      up in a country where courtesy, "civil" religion and the like often had
      precious little to do with faith or charity. Such things, though
      indubitably polite, usually seemed to me to be the basically
      disconnected veneer of an often mediocre faith.

      Living among monastics will teach one (hopefully!) by osmosis that
      many of the common courtesies which have become decidedly UNcommon in
      the world are the order of the day here. We get so immersed in that
      that often it is hard to even think of what they are, we just do
      them. The best example I can come up with right now is that there is
      FAR more restraint here against interrupting another's conversation
      here than in the world at large. We do it sometimes, I do it too
      much, but basically we do NOT "butt in."

      There are many other little things, rising when a superior enters,
      not sitting until the superior does in chapter, etc. These in
      themselves may seem empty at first, but when linked to the charity of
      Christ and His Divine Mercy, they become very real gestures of love.
      The fact that we don't think of them much after a while in no way
      diminishes the Treasure that motivates them, Christ Himself.

      Relationships between seniors and juniors are a two-way street. The
      behavior of one feeds (or stokes the fires!) of the other. Hey, this
      is true of all relationships, in every area of life. Want to be
      loved? Give respect. Want to be respected? Give love. It may not work
      in every instance, but it must be the first means we try and the only
      means we never abandon totally.

      Though the Holy Rule clearly exempts (in this passage,) the Abbess,
      because she represents Christ, the express command that the Abbess
      remember why she is treated as Christ is underscored. The Rule is the
      Rule and monastics are human. I have known abbots who treated their
      subjects like fools and were rewarded accordingly! The treatment we
      give to others tends to reflect back upon as from a mirror, often not
      without very good reason!

      So, yes, my dear Abbot Fidelis, hopefully we ARE gentlemen monks (and
      gentle monastics period!) No, we are not like some terribly proper and
      shallow social gathering of "the right sort" of people. Our motives to
      have a theological basis, not merely a social one. But we ARE gentle and we
      are so because of Him Whom we seek and have come to love.

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
      _brjeromeleo@..._ (mailto:brjeromeleo@...)
      Petersham, MA

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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest and happy death of Joe, and for all his family and all his Oblate brothers and sisters who mourn his sudden death,
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 18, 2007
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        Prayers, please, for the eternal rest and happy death of Joe, and for all his family and all his Oblate brothers and sisters who mourn his sudden death, and for the happy death and eternal rest of Lita, on her first anniversary of death, and for her husband, Robert, on whom this is so hard.

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

        Jane's Dad, nearing death, and for Jane, trying to fly down to see him in time.

        Launetta, 96, renal failure and multiple medical problems, tired and eager to rest at last, also for her son, Paul.

        Brandon, and for his Dad, Joe, and for Lainie, that she know how to treat Brandon and gets the promotion she seeks.

        Baby Lilly, still very ill and now has an infection in her dialysis line, also for her parents.

        Jen's father-in-law, seriously ill.

        Fr. Kevin, breast cancer tumor not reducing, more radiation while doctors decide what to try next.

        Steve, anxiety high over his first ever root canal, many, I'm sure, can identify with that! 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

        April 18, August 18, December 18
        Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community

        Let all keep their places in the monastery
        established by the time of their entrance,
        the merit of their lives and the decision of the Abbot.
        Yet the Abbot must not disturb the flock committed to him,
        nor by an arbitrary use of his power ordain anything unjustly;
        but let him always think
        of the account he will have to render to God
        for all his decisions and his deeds.

        Therefore in that order which he has established
        or which they already had,
        let the brethren approach to receive the kiss of peace and Communion,
        intone the Psalms and stand in choir.
        And in no place whatever should age decide the order
        or be prejudicial to it;
        for Samuel and Daniel as mere boys judged priests.

        Except for those already mentioned, therefore,
        whom the Abbot has promoted by a special decision
        or demoted for definite reasons,
        all the rest shall take their order
        according to the time of their entrance.
        Thus, for example,
        he who came to the monastery at the second hour of the day,
        whatever be his age or his dignity,
        must know that he is junior
        to one who came at the first hour of the day.
        Boys, however, are to be kept under discipline
        in all matters and by everyone.


        St. Benedict, who has stressed fairness in so many ways, even
        equality, also insists on order, hence the title of this chapter. But
        it is an order which is largely established by God: the time of
        entrance. God calls when He chooses, whomever He chooses. When that
        person responds, that, for the most part, is going to determine their
        place in community.

        Families, too, need order. Yes, fairness and equality are important,
        but every child is not the equal of their siblings: anarchy would
        result. Imagine a teenager exactly equal to a toddler sibling, unable
        to interfere at all in the baby's whims to destroy its nursery or
        harm itself.

        We are used to hearing sibling rivalry horror stories that traipse
        far into adult life as psychological baggage. How many of them might
        have been avoided if, as St. Benedict prescribed for his family,
        order was never decided by capriciousness and affection was equal.

        Children cannot understand favoritism and rightly so. But a child
        could be a bit more comfortable with rewards for good behavior,
        "the merit of" their siblings lives. That might annoy them, true, but at
        least it is something they, too, can work towards. Arbitrary
        affectional preference is not.

        Note that St. Benedict leaves the Abbot free to advance anyone for
        his own reasons, but immediately tacks on a warning that the Abbot
        must not disturb his flock and that he must give an account of his
        stewardship. Abbots are human, not infallible. Human affection can
        enter into their choices and St. Benedict warns them against that.
        (PS: They have not always listened, but he did warn them...LOL!)

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA

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