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Holy Rule for May 26

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for John, marriage in very serious trouble, also for his alcohol problem, that he get help, and for his wife, Esther, that somehow they can pull
    Message 1 of 244 , May 25, 2007
      +PAX

      Prayers for John, marriage in very serious trouble, also for his alcohol problem, that he get help, and for his wife, Esther, that somehow they can pull things together, also for John's very understandably worried parents and for all their family. Prayers, please, for Evalyn who will be having surgery for bowel cancer on Monday and for Maria, who is having chest and flu problems and will be staying with her son for a while to try to clear it out of her system.

      Little Griffin, for whom we have prayed, still needs prayers, his medical problems just seem to go on and on. He just turned ten this week and had surgery today to place a shunt to remove fluid pressure on his brain and skull. Ardent prayers for brave Griffin and his long-suffering family. Prayers, please, for an Oblate in Italy who's been battling with breast cancer for a year now. She's been through lots of chemo and will have another mammogram on June 18. Prayers for Mary F., Bell's palsy struck her suddenly.

      Prayers, too, for one going on a retreat for healing for those who have had abortions, and for all on that retreat. Her abortion was many, many years ago, may this bring healing and closure. God's grace is all powerful!

      A particularly tragic suicide, I ask all so inclined to also add a Divine Mercy chaplet for this poor man. Joseph took his own life three weeks after his home of many years was repossessed by the bank and he was evicted. His wife's mother just died earlier this week, and now he has gone, a terrible thing for his wife and his several grown children. Prayers for them all, and for the happy death and eternal rest of Joseph and his mother-in-law. 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 25, May 26, September 25
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying,
      "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,
      and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11).
      In saying this it shows us
      that all exaltation is a kind of pride,
      against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard
      when he says,
      "Lord, my heart is not exalted,
      nor are mine eyes lifted up;
      neither have I walked in great matters,
      nor in wonders above me."
      But how has he acted?
      "Rather have I been of humble mind
      than exalting myself;
      as a weaned child on its mother's breast,
      so You solace my soul" (Ps. 130:1-2).


      Hence, brethren,
      if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility
      and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation
      to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life,
      we must
      by our ascending actions
      erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream,
      on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending.
      By that descent and ascent
      we must surely understand nothing else than this,
      that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility.
      And the ladder thus set up is our life in the would,
      which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled.
      For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder,
      and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted
      the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.

      REFLECTION

      Today we begin St. Benedict's exhaustive treatment of humility.
      Humility and obedience are so closely linked that it is virtually
      impossible to speak of one without adding the other. Since both are
      essential Benedictine virtues, it is easy to say that there is no
      such thing as a holy Benedictine who has not climbed or is not
      climbing this ladder. I have never known a holy monk who was not
      humble, in fact, it was usually their most outstanding trait.

      A lot of this chapter will grate on modern ears. I will be the first
      to admit that some people need assertiveness training. However, in my
      experience, most of us do not. Most of us manage to be assertive on a
      daily- even hourly- basis without much difficulty. Remember, too,
      that modern psychology is a science which, like all science, is
      limited to observable data.

      Hence, it is not surprising that the generalities of psychology deal
      with relations between people and visible, created things. The catch
      here is that the humility St. Benedict speaks of is rooted in
      relationship of humans to God, a sphere in which psychology often
      finds itself woefully out of its element. It can see some things
      amiss, but not all. It lacks the supernatural basis of faith, and
      this impedes it somewhat in this area. Balance, always balance.

      A quickie on the Psalm quote today: "...neither have I walked in
      great matters, nor in matters above me." This was a favorite of
      Brother Patrick Creamer, my late mentor. He learned to do it quite
      well and in just 45 years or so!! Say a special prayer for Patrick's
      eternal rest with God.

      People can, alas, get sucked up by power, even in monasteries.
      There is very little difference from the secular workplace in this regard,
      which should point out to us that something is very wrong with the
      picture!

      There is another group, in both monastery and world, that is almost
      equally pathetic: the intriguers who think they are really involved
      with moving and shaking the movers and shakers. Sigh. Both of these
      groups are, let us face it, a sorry lot, surely to be pitied, but
      never to be emulated.

      Hey, what if they gave a power struggle and no one came? That's the
      idea folks! Pay no attention to such things at all, other than a bit
      of heartbreak for the poor losers who have missed the Bridegroom and
      married the Wedding March. No wonder they're frustrated!

      I speak as one who has been all too focused at many times on the
      monastic soap opera, its hand-wringing tempests in teacups. About
      many things, even most, we must learn simply not to care, not to
      trouble ourselves with matters too great, even though we may have to
      call them "great" with an inner, rueful chuckle.

      You will never have peace until you learn to leave all that alone, to
      distrust it for the empty and tragic charade that it truly is. And
      you will never get anywhere if you don't have peace. The road to that
      peace is humility and love, both effective vaccinations against the
      fatal disease of power.

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

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • russophile2002
      +PAX Prayers for Nina, admitted to hospice, and for her husband, Larry, who also has health concerns, and for their children and family and all who will mourn
      Message 244 of 244 , Aug 30

        +PAX

         

        Prayers for Nina, admitted to hospice, and for her husband, Larry, who also has health concerns, and for their children and family and all who will mourn Nina.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Abbot Benno Malfer, OSB, of Muri-Gries Abbey, 70, and for his family, Community and all who mourn him.

         

        Prayers for safe travels for Peter D., going to Europe. For a safe, happy and holy trip.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of my parents, Jerome and Louise, on what would have been the 76th anniversary of their wedding.

         

        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

        May 1, August 31, December 31
        Chapter 73: On the Fact That the Full Observance of Justice Is Not
        Established in This Rule

        Now we have written this Rule
        in order that by its observance in monasteries
        we may show that we have attained some degree of virtue
        and the rudiments of the religious life.

        But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life
        there are the teaching of the holy Fathers,
        the observance of which leads to the height of perfection.
        For what page or what utterance
        of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
        is not a most unerring rule for human life?
        Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers
        does not loudly proclaim
        how we may come by a straight course to our Creator?
        Then the Conferences and the Institutes
        and the Lives of the Fathers,
        as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil --
        what else are they but tools of virtue
        for right-living and obedient monks?
        But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent
        they are a source of shame and confusion.

        Whoever you are, therefore,
        who are hastening to the heavenly homeland,
        fulfill with the help of Christ
        this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners;
        and then at length under God's protection
        you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue
        which we have mentioned above.

        REFLECTION

        I used to love to teach 8th graders. At the top of a kindergarten
        through 8th grade school, they thought they had REALLY arrived, they
        were very pleased with themselves! My 8th graders knew that I loved
        them, so I could afford to tease them a bit. I used to narrow my
        eyes into a fake menacing gaze and say: "Ah, now you're the top, but next
        year? Next year you will be FRESHMEN! The lowest of the low! Just
        wait till high school." And they would laugh, secure in the fact
        that I MUST be joking....

        Well, folks, the beauty of this last chapter is that is tells us we
        are ALL eighth graders, if even that. We'd do well to take St.
        Benedict seriously on this one, but I'll bet he smiled with the same
        affection I used to show to my kids. Three times a year we read the
        Holy Rule entirely and three times a year he lovingly shakes us
        awake to the reality that we will for all of our lives, always be
        freshmen next year!

        That's the Benedictine surprise that's wrapped in conversion of
        manners: we never "arrive", we're not so hot as we thought ourselves
        to be, we are just barely ready for the next step.
        This is VERY different from the self-loathing we spoke about
        yesterday with the bitter zeal. This is the true self-knowledge, the
        smiling, even shrugging acceptance of the fact that we are just on
        the way, nothing special there!

        God is so vast and beyond us, we are always taking the tumbling
        first steps of toddlers towards Him, but He is always holding on and
        beaming with the pride and love of a parent guiding those steps. Our
        Holy Rule is filled with awesome things, yet it is only
        the "rudiments" of the spiritual life!

        Eighth graders, eighth graders all, but ah, what a high school
        awaits!

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

         

         


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