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Holy Rule for Jan. 21

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  • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
    +PAX Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for Frances Grant, on her birthday. Ad multos annos, many years! Prayers for a broken family, wife and husband and
    Message 1 of 8 , Jan 20, 2007
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      +PAX

      Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for Frances Grant, on her birthday. Ad
      multos annos, many years!

      Prayers for a broken family, wife and husband and children. All need prayers
      so badly. Prayers for Cas, our Oblate, hospitalized with a urinary
      infection. Prayers for vocations to St. Mary's Monastery and to all our monasteries.
      Prayers for the many folks in England and other countries of Europe who are
      suffering from such extreme weather, and for the parts of the US also affected.
      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

      January 21, May 22, September 21
      Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

      To fulfil God's commandments daily in one's deeds.
      To love chastity.
      To hate no one.
      Not to be jealous, not to harbor envy.
      Not to love contention.
      To beware of haughtiness.
      And to respect the seniors.
      To love the juniors.
      To pray for one's enemies in the love of Christ.
      To make peace with one's adversary before the sun sets.
      And never to despair of God's mercy.
      These, then, are the tools of the spiritual craft.
      If we employ them unceasingly day and night,
      and return them on the Day of Judgment,
      our compensation from the Lord
      will be that wage He has promised:
      "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
      what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9).

      Now the workshop
      in which we shall diligently execute all these tasks
      is the enclosure of the monastery
      and stability in the community.

      REFLECTION

      One very quick little thought here: even the tools we do manage to
      pull off using are not our own: we are to return them on the Day of
      Judgment!!! Hey, before we fall all over ourselves, patting our own
      backs for this or that, we are doing it all with borrowed tools!
      Humbling thought there!

      Dryer sheets may have many other handy uses (cleaning your monitor or
      TV screen is one of them,) but they will not soften clothes unless
      the clothes stay in the dryer with them and tumble about for as long
      as necessary. Of course, one can use a dryer without such softening
      sheets, but then the clothes cling statically, inappropriately and
      inordinately to things and each other, resisting being pulled apart
      for their proper uses by (forgive me,) downright shocking means. How
      like monastics without stability, community and enclosure!

      Stability is not a lot of good without community, neither is
      enclosure. There is a mental illness appropriate to each: the
      catatonic moves hardly at all and the agoraphobic never goes out. The
      dryer sheet essential to both enclosure and stability is genuine,
      sometimes annoying, tumbling community. The heat employed, at times
      intense, is reality checks, objectivity, outside-referenced truth.
      Like any good dryer or community, there may be a separate setting for
      delicates and permanent press, but everybody gets the heat, one way
      or the other.

      If you are one of the many Benedictines living in the world, just
      substitute family or circle of friends for community and home for
      monastic enclosure. The stick-to-it-tiveness I'm afraid you'll have
      to provide yourself, but I think you get the picture. Community is
      any connected group, workplace or home. Enclosure is your home, as
      well as your heart.

      Without being obsessive, or making the people who live with you
      crazy, guard what comes into your enclosure, both heart and home.
      There is a switch on your TV. There is a less visible, but equally
      effective one on your mouth. There is a useful one on your heart and
      thoughts, too.

      Enclosure is not a prison, neither should your home
      be. The Middle Ages spoke of the "Paradisus claustralis" , the
      cloistered Paradise. Every home, for one or for several hundred, must
      strive for that paradise. It is comfort and leisure to an extent, it
      is peace and order to an extent, it is the proper arena of love and
      spiritual growth. The components will necessarily vary from case to
      case, as will their balanced levels.

      Guard the people who tumble in the dryer with you, too, especially
      the annoying ones. Without the moisture they share with you, you
      would soon wither in the heat and die, you would go well beyond
      simply drying to utter destruction. And please, the next time your
      think the dryer is hell (and we all do sometimes,) bear in mind the
      scarring charms and delicate fragrance of damp mildew.....Yecch!

      At the center of most older monasteries was a garden, a cloister
      garth, a deliberate attempt at a paradise in the heart of things. In
      the heart of those gardens, as Sister Donald Cocoran would gladly
      tell you, was usually a fountain. (Sr. Donald is justifiably proud of
      her Camaldolese emblem, a fountain refreshing two birds.) That
      fountain, the heart of the heart of everything, is love and mercy. Go
      for it, folks!

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





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please for a family in which some troubles have begun because of the obsessions of one of the siblings. It s causing tensions among everyone and
      Message 2 of 8 , Jan 20, 2008
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        +PAX

        Prayers, please for a family in which some troubles have begun because of the obsessions of one of the siblings. It's causing tensions among everyone and seems like a hopeless case. But we know that prayer can conquer all.

        Prayers for St. Meinrad's Archabbey and for Br. Meinrad, on their feastday. 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

        January 21, May 22, September 21
        Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

        To fulfil God's commandments daily in one's deeds.
        To love chastity.
        To hate no one.
        Not to be jealous, not to harbor envy.
        Not to love contention.
        To beware of haughtiness.
        And to respect the seniors.
        To love the juniors.
        To pray for one's enemies in the love of Christ.
        To make peace with one's adversary before the sun sets.
        And never to despair of God's mercy.
        These, then, are the tools of the spiritual craft.
        If we employ them unceasingly day and night,
        and return them on the Day of Judgment,
        our compensation from the Lord
        will be that wage He has promised:
        "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
        what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9).

        Now the workshop
        in which we shall diligently execute all these tasks
        is the enclosure of the monastery
        and stability in the community.

        REFLECTION

        One very quick little thought here: even the tools we do manage to
        pull off using are not our own: we are to return them on the Day of
        Judgment!!! Hey, before we fall all over ourselves, patting our own
        backs for this or that, we are doing it all with borrowed tools!
        Humbling thought there!

        Dryer sheets may have many other handy uses (cleaning your monitor or
        TV screen is one of them,) but they will not soften clothes unless
        the clothes stay in the dryer with them and tumble about for as long
        as necessary. Of course, one can use a dryer without such softening
        sheets, but then the clothes cling statically, inappropriately and
        inordinately to things and each other, resisting being pulled apart
        for their proper uses by (forgive me,) downright shocking means. How
        like monastics without stability, community and enclosure!

        Stability is not a lot of good without community, neither is
        enclosure. There is a mental illness appropriate to each: the
        catatonic moves hardly at all and the agoraphobic never goes out. The
        dryer sheet essential to both enclosure and stability is genuine,
        sometimes annoying, tumbling community. The heat employed, at times
        intense, is reality checks, objectivity, outside-referenced truth.
        Like any good dryer or community, there may be a separate setting for
        delicates and permanent press, but everybody gets the heat, one way
        or the other.

        If you are one of the many Benedictines living in the world, just
        substitute family or circle of friends for community and home for
        monastic enclosure. The stick-to-it-tiveness I'm afraid you'll have
        to provide yourself, but I think you get the picture. Community is
        any connected group, workplace or home. Enclosure is your home, as
        well as your heart.

        Without being obsessive, or making the people who live with you
        crazy, guard what comes into your enclosure, both heart and home.
        There is a switch on your TV. There is a less visible, but equally
        effective one on your mouth. There is a useful one on your heart and
        thoughts, too.

        Enclosure is not a prison, neither should your home
        be. The Middle Ages spoke of the "Paradisus claustralis" , the
        cloistered Paradise. Every home, for one or for several hundred, must
        strive for that paradise. It is comfort and leisure to an extent, it
        is peace and order to an extent, it is the proper arena of love and
        spiritual growth. The components will necessarily vary from case to
        case, as will their balanced levels.

        Guard the people who tumble in the dryer with you, too, especially
        the annoying ones. Without the moisture they share with you, you
        would soon wither in the heat and die, you would go well beyond
        simply drying to utter destruction. And please, the next time your
        think the dryer is hell (and we all do sometimes,) bear in mind the
        scarring charms and delicate fragrance of damp mildew.....Yecch!

        At the center of most older monasteries was a garden, a cloister
        garth, a deliberate attempt at a paradise in the heart of things. In
        the heart of those gardens, as Sister Donald Cocoran would gladly
        tell you, was usually a fountain. (Sr. Donald is justifiably proud of
        her Camaldolese emblem, a fountain refreshing two birds.) That
        fountain, the heart of the heart of everything, is love and mercy. Go
        for it, folks!

        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 monks and Oblates of St. Meinrad Archabbey, and for our Br. Meinrad of Pluscarden on their patronal feastday. May blessings abound!
        Message 3 of 8 , Jan 20, 2009
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          +PAX

          Prayers for the monks and Oblates of St. Meinrad Archabbey, and for our Br. Meinrad of Pluscarden on their patronal feastday. May blessings abound!

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

          Deo gratias for Lib, on her 91st birthday.

          Dot, COPD and her meds are not working, doctor trying to find another regimen that will work.

          Linda, oral surgery last week.

          Frank, for whom we have prayed, will be released from hospital in a few days, with only a minor infection in his arm to trouble him. Deo gratias!

          Linda's surgery was so successful that she has been home for 5 days now. Deo Gratias!

          Donna continues to weaken. Prayers for her strength, both physical and emotional are very much needed.

          Vince, sinus infection

          Megan and her husband Roger are expecting in September

          Polly, for whom we prayed, is having problems swallowing. They tried to run a test but encountered problems as she was coughing up blood clots. Please pray for her and her family.

          Dick, who is having surgery on Wednesday at the Mayo Clinic, for pancreatic cancer, and for his wife Phyllis.

          Caitlin and Adam, who just learned that they are expecting their first baby, that all go well with the pregnancy. And for Cynthia, Caitlin's mom, who will now be a grandmother.

          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

          January 21, May 22, September 21
          Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

          To fulfil God's commandments daily in one's deeds.
          To love chastity.
          To hate no one.
          Not to be jealous, not to harbor envy.
          Not to love contention.
          To beware of haughtiness.
          And to respect the seniors.
          To love the juniors.
          To pray for one's enemies in the love of Christ.
          To make peace with one's adversary before the sun sets.
          And never to despair of God's mercy.
          These, then, are the tools of the spiritual craft.
          If we employ them unceasingly day and night,
          and return them on the Day of Judgment,
          our compensation from the Lord
          will be that wage He has promised:
          "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
          what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9).

          Now the workshop
          in which we shall diligently execute all these tasks
          is the enclosure of the monastery
          and stability in the community.

          REFLECTION

          One very quick little thought here: even the tools we do manage to
          pull off using are not our own: we are to return them on the Day of
          Judgment!!! Hey, before we fall all over ourselves, patting our own
          backs for this or that, we are doing it all with borrowed tools!
          Humbling thought there!

          Dryer sheets may have many other handy uses (cleaning your monitor or
          TV screen is one of them,) but they will not soften clothes unless
          the clothes stay in the dryer with them and tumble about for as long
          as necessary. Of course, one can use a dryer without such softening
          sheets, but then the clothes cling statically, inappropriately and
          inordinately to things and each other, resisting being pulled apart
          for their proper uses by (forgive me,) downright shocking means. How
          like monastics without stability, community and enclosure!

          Stability is not a lot of good without community, neither is
          enclosure. There is a mental illness appropriate to each: the
          catatonic moves hardly at all and the agoraphobic never goes out. The
          dryer sheet essential to both enclosure and stability is genuine,
          sometimes annoying, tumbling community. The heat employed, at times
          intense, is reality checks, objectivity, outside-referenced truth.
          Like any good dryer or community, there may be a separate setting for
          delicates and permanent press, but everybody gets the heat, one way
          or the other.

          If you are one of the many Benedictines living in the world, just
          substitute family or circle of friends for community and home for
          monastic enclosure. The stick-to-it-tiveness I'm afraid you'll have
          to provide yourself, but I think you get the picture. Community is
          any connected group, workplace or home. Enclosure is your home, as
          well as your heart.

          Without being obsessive, or making the people who live with you
          crazy, guard what comes into your enclosure, both heart and home.
          There is a switch on your TV. There is a less visible, but equally
          effective one on your mouth. There is a useful one on your heart and
          thoughts, too.

          Enclosure is not a prison, neither should your home
          be. The Middle Ages spoke of the "Paradisus claustralis" , the
          cloistered Paradise. Every home, for one or for several hundred, must
          strive for that paradise. It is comfort and leisure to an extent, it
          is peace and order to an extent, it is the proper arena of love and
          spiritual growth. The components will necessarily vary from case to
          case, as will their balanced levels.

          Guard the people who tumble in the dryer with you, too, especially
          the annoying ones. Without the moisture they share with you, you
          would soon wither in the heat and die, you would go well beyond
          simply drying to utter destruction. And please, the next time your
          think the dryer is hell (and we all do sometimes,) bear in mind the
          scarring charms and delicate fragrance of damp mildew.....Yecch!

          At the center of most older monasteries was a garden, a cloister
          garth, a deliberate attempt at a paradise in the heart of things. In
          the heart of those gardens, as Sister Donald Cocoran would gladly
          tell you, was usually a fountain. (Sr. Donald is justifiably proud of
          her Camaldolese emblem, a fountain refreshing two birds.) That
          fountain, the heart of the heart of everything, is love and mercy. Go
          for it, folks!

          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 Lillian, on her birthday, and for me on the 50th anniversary of my Confirmation and for my Dad, Jerome, whose name I took first in
          Message 4 of 8 , Jan 21, 2009
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            +PAX

            Prayers, please, for Lillian, on her birthday, and for me on the 50th anniversary of my Confirmation and for my Dad, Jerome, whose name I took first in that Sacrament.

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

            Edmund, fractured his neck at C2 in a fall.

            Alex, medication bad reaction left him disoriented

            Brie, lung and kidney infections

            Garret, for whom we prayed is doing great. Continued prayers, please. He was taken out of the medically induced coma two days ahead of schedule. He was moved from ICU to a room tonight, 5 days ahead of schedule.


            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

            January 22, May 23, September 22
            Chapter 5: On Obedience

            The first degree of humility is obedience without delay.
            This is the virtue of those
            who hold nothing dearer to them than Christ;
            who, because of the holy service they have professed,
            and the fear of hell,
            and the glory of life everlasting,
            as soon as anything has been ordered by the Superior,
            receive it as a divine command
            and cannot suffer any delay in executing it.
            Of these the Lord says,
            "As soon as he heard, he obeyed Me" (Ps. 17:45).
            And again to teachers He says,
            "He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).


            Such as these, therefore,
            immediately leaving their own affairs
            and forsaking their own will,
            dropping the work they were engaged on
            and leaving it unfinished,
            with the ready step of obedience
            follow up with their deeds the voice of him who commands.
            And so as it were at the same moment
            the master's command is given
            and the disciple's work is completed,
            the two things being speedily accomplished together
            in the swiftness of the fear of God
            by those who are moved
            with the desire of attaining life everlasting.
            That desire is their motive for choosing the narrow way,
            of which the Lord says,
            "Narrow is the way that leads to life" (Matt. 7:14),
            so that,
            not living according to their own choice
            nor obeying their own desires and pleasures
            but walking by another's judgment and command,
            they dwell in monasteries and desire to have an Abbot over them.
            Assuredly such as these are living up to that maxim of the Lord
            in which He says,
            "I have come not to do My own will,
            but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38).

            REFLECTION

            Ever wonder what was so great about obedience? I sure have and I
            vowed it, still wondering a bit. What is so hot about dumping our own
            wills? Sometimes our wills are innocent, sometimes they're even
            downright good. Let's be truthful, sometimes our own wills seem even
            BETTER than the choices presented to us by other circumstances. What
            gives?

            Good rhetorical question, that one: what GIVES. Genuine obedience is
            a gift, to God and to all His people. Make the monastic better and
            you have made the home or monastery better, and so the neighborhood,
            the city, the state and onwards to the whole world. We forget the
            ripple effect, because we cannot clearly see it. We are not giving
            that gift to falsehood, but to truth. If we look at particle physics, it is
            very true that what we do with our hearts really DOES affect the whole
            universe.

            Our self-gift of obedience heightens truth in the world, and Jesus
            is the Truth. There is a very incarnational aspect of obedience. Like
            Mary, we are, in our own halt and lame, partial ways, birthing God.
            In our actions Christ today can become visibly human in us, in our
            tiniest drop of fresh water, the sea becomes less salty, the desert,
            less dry. No one can make the Sahara a rain forest alone, and God
            knows that, but He wants us to try, to be part of the solution, not
            the problem. Enough drops together WOULD make the Sahara bloom.

            Obedience and humility are conjoined twins which share one heart:
            both will die if they are separated. Humility, in its healthiest
            perfection, is truth and that truth births bits of God into the
            world, confetti mosaics that the wind of the Spirit can blow into
            fuller, more accurate portraits. Yes, humility is the most often
            mentioned of connections, but the root of humility is truth and the
            root of truth is God. Obedience without humility would be no
            better than a Nazi lockstep.

            All of us spend large portions of our lives carefully building a
            false self, who lives in a false world, with matching false
            imperatives. Merton speaks of this false self again and again. The
            goal of monastic struggle is to uncover and nurture the TRUE self,
            the true world view and values. We often cheerfully ignore the real
            imperatives of God and life, substituting our own and elevating them
            to a level they truthfully (literally!) do not deserve. It's a moral
            displacement activity. We fail altogether in one area, so we
            compensate by raising another. Trouble is, the other one raised is
            false. Sigh... It becomes a vicious circle.

            Give a good parent a critically ill child and you will find out
            what's true or important in a hurry. Everything gets dropped at once,
            without hesitation or care. Everything. Give a single person a really
            bad case of the flu and you will soon find imperatives pared to very
            few. (The flu or any illness is a superlative teacher: if it doesn't
            matter when you're that sick, it often doesn't matter, period!)

            The sentiment is not mine originally, but I have often said that the
            truly neat thing about being HIV+ is that it hit me over the head
            with a 2x4 board and woke me up to a fact that is true for all of us:
            I'm gonna die. Big deal. Didn't happen when I thought it would, may
            not for a long time, I'm quite healthy, but I'm gonna die. So are
            you. Who knows when? Maybe both of us by lunch and neither of us from
            AIDS!

            See what obedience points us toward? Obedience says: here is Jesus, the
            Truth. Embrace Him now, don't wait for the threatened child or the
            ghastly flu or AIDS to scare you into appropriate action. The Truth Whom
            we only see in crisis is here all along. Keep what you have learned
            from crisis. Live it all the time. Make it a gift, because it is one
            that will enrich others AND yourself!

            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 Kasey, on her birthday: graces and many more years!! Please continue prayers for 16 year old Brandon (who was in the snowmobile accident 10
            Message 5 of 8 , Jan 22, 2009
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              +PAX


              Prayers for Kasey, on her birthday: graces and many more years!!

              Please continue prayers for 16 year old Brandon (who was in the snowmobile accident 10 days ago) and his family. Brandon has had a stroke on his right side of his brain and some of his brain stem. Doctors say that the prognosis is very grim. 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

              January 24, May 25, September 24
              Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence

              Let us do what the Prophet says:
              "I said, 'I will guard my ways,
              that I may not sin with my tongue.
              I have set a guard to my mouth.'
              I was mute and was humbled,
              and kept silence even from good things" (Ps. 38:2-3).
              Here the Prophet shows
              that if the spirit of silence ought to lead us at times
              to refrain even from good speech,
              so much the more ought the punishment for sin
              make us avoid evil words.


              Therefore, since the spirit of silence is so important,
              permission to speak should rarely be granted
              even to perfect disciples,
              even though it be for good, holy edifying conversation;
              for it is written,
              "In much speaking you will not escape sin" (Prov. 10:19),
              and in another place,
              "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21).


              For speaking and teaching belong to the mistress;
              the disciple's part is to be silent and to listen.
              And for that reason
              if anything has to be asked of the Superior,
              it should be asked
              with all the humility and submission inspired by reverence.


              But as for coarse jests and idle words
              or words that move to laughter,
              these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
              and for such conversation
              we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.

              REFLECTION

              Ever wonder why speech is considered so dangerous? Because it can
              build up the false self, the very false self that we are trying to
              tear down with our other hand. I have, to my shame, reveled in a
              flame war or two. Once I got JUST the right zinger and aimed it
              mercilessly- in an apology yet!! One astute list member commented
              that I had shot the olive branch of peace with a crossbow! Ouch!
              He was so right!

              I don't know about everyone, but I can be terribly pleased with
              myself over such things, things of which I should in fact be ashamed.
              Our arms can easily reach to the shoulders of that false self,
              patting it on the back and congratulating it for hours afterwards.
              Wrong, wrong, wrong. The false self will grow and thrive badly enough
              on our own. Why on earth would we wish to offer it any mindless
              assistance?

              Let me speak for myself, here. Probably 90% of what comes out of my
              mouth other than prayer is unnecessary. A further percentage I am
              afraid to even stab at is downright harmful to me. I don't imagine I
              am terribly far from average in this respect. And talk about damage
              from second-hand speech. There are LOTS of things I wish I had never,
              ever heard. Wow, if only we would guard silence as zealously as smoke-
              free zones. Wouldn't that be right in line with fearing that which
              can destroy the soul more than that which kills the body alone? I
              seem to recall some Guy having something to say along those lines.

              We aren't Trappists in the world. We cannot control our spaces as if
              they were monasteries, but we can and must control our own mouths.
              Total silence would likely be read as uncaring rudeness, but what
              about some alternative forms of silence? What if one resolved to
              speak not at all, all day, except in words of kindness, mercy or
              support, to never open one's mouth except to affirm.

              Now there's a thought. Could I have a seat in the no-griping section,
              please? Pursue that line of thinking, be creative. Fast for a week
              from contention and see what happens. Try a day of not talking at all
              about yourself. Try a whole day of asking others about themselves!
              One way or another, increase the levels of good one can do with
              speech and diminish those of harm.

              "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21)"

              Not just the tongue, folks, but the keyboard and any other writing
              instrument, too! Serenity cannot coexist with meanness of thought,
              word or deed. Doesn't happen. Serenity can be held only in a field of
              gentleness and deep, tender mercy!

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

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Br. Jerome Leo
              +PAX SINCE I ACCIDENTALLY SENT OUT THE 24TH YESTERDAY, THIS IS THE MISSING READING FOR JAN. 23. Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Mary, 97, who
              Message 6 of 8 , Jan 23, 2009
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                +PAX

                SINCE I ACCIDENTALLY SENT OUT THE 24TH YESTERDAY, THIS IS THE MISSING READING
                FOR JAN. 23.

                Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Mary, 97, who has gone to God and for all who mourn her.

                Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Mr. Kelliher, and for all his family and all who mourn him.

                Prayers for the spiritual, mental and phsyical health of the following and for all who love them and all who take care of them:

                Zinie, physical healing and that she find her way to Jesus.

                Chris, who has 6 blockages in his heart each ranging from 70-90 %. He is having open heart surgery as soon as it can be scheduled.

                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

                January 23, May 24, September 23
                Chapter 5: On Obedience

                But this very obedience
                will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
                only if what is commanded is done
                without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.
                For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God,
                since He Himself has said,
                "He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).
                And the disciples should offer their obedience with a good will,
                for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
                For if the disciple obeys with an ill will
                and murmurs,
                not necessarily with his lips but simply in his heart,
                then even though he fulfill the command
                yet his work will not be acceptable to God,
                who sees that his heart is murmuring.
                And, far from gaining a reward for such work as this,
                he will incur the punishment due to murmurers,
                unless he amend and make satisfaction.

                REFLECTION

                Trust me, folks, I am not second-guessing St. Benedict on this one, I
                just think there is a chance that he is often misread and that
                something not at all contrary to his precepts needs to be emphasized.

                Few who share my cynical bent would fail to chafe at a reading of
                this passage which implies that we must all be cheerful, Pollyanna
                optimists, blithely smiling automatons. Yes, we are told not to
                murmur, and to put the very best face on our obedience that we
                possibly can. Often the real miracle of grace is that we can just
                barely obey in silence, without any comment at all. No doubt that is
                a tender mercy to those who live with us! We must not read St.
                Benedict harshly, even less so God. We must keep the loving parent
                image ever before our eyes in both instances.

                I want to expand the image of the non-murmuring heart a bit. Some
                days one's heart cannot murmur, because it is numb and paralyzed,
                unable to do much of anything more explicit than ache. After being racked
                and tortured brutally in prison, St. Edmund Campion's keeper asked him
                how he felt. He replied: "Not ill, because not at all."

                Some days everything seems like another trip to the rack, some days
                one's heart is Ground Zero, and everything coming at it seems to be
                just one more horrible plane. Never, never think that St. Benedict is
                telling us to put a happy face on this. A brave face or even a blank
                expressionless one may be all one can muster. We are asked to try, to
                do our best, to be as brave as we can.

                How very great is the love of God for us at such times. A favorite
                image I have used before is very apt here: the heart of God is like a
                Mother's refrigerator door, plastered with children's bad, even
                ghastly art. (OK, I KNOW it may be age-appropriate art, but bear with
                me on this one....) God is bursting and beaming with pride at our
                struggling efforts. He cares not a wit that we are not beaming with
                false cheer ourselves. With all that mud on our faces, who could see
                the forced smile anyhow?

                There will never be a time, in this world or in the next, when God
                loves us more than He does when we are fallen, crawling toward Him on
                all fours and still barely hanging on. The effort, always the effort
                is what God sees.

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



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