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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 228 , May 25, 2007
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      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.


      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

      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
      Petersham, MA

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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Br. Tobias, OSB, for his monastic community, his family and for all who mourn him. Please pray
      Message 228 of 228 , Jan 19, 2009
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        Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Br. Tobias, OSB, for his monastic community, his family and for all who mourn him.

        Please pray that the US Congress and the new administration will respect all human life, from conception till natural death.

        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 20, May 21, September 20
        Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

        To fear the Day of Judgment.
        To be in dread of hell.
        To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
        To keep death daily before one's eyes.
        To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
        To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
        When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ
        And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
        To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
        Not to love much talking.
        Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
        Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
        To listen willingly to holy reading.
        To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
        Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past
        sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
        Not to fulfil the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
        To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she
        herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the
        Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
        Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be
        holy, that one may be truly so called.


        The first four on today's list are not very palatable to many modern
        ears, but, like all of the Instruments of Good Works, they are
        important, they are interrelated and each one helps one fulfill the
        others. Arguably, one could say that the focus of the first four is
        the fifth: "To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life."

        We have largely "gotten over" dreading Judgment. We went from a
        paralyzing, Jansenistic, scrupulous fear of it right into a smug
        assurance that everyone passes the test with honors. Well, there's got to
        be truth hidden between those two false extremes somewhere!

        I know, beyond any doubt that I shall be both delighted and very,
        very embarrassed and ashamed to meet God face to face, to find that
        my faith has been confirmed. Ah, joy at the confirmation, but oh,
        crushing shame at the simultaneous confirmation of how very far short
        of Him I have fallen, through choice, through laziness, through
        negligence, through sin.

        One can dread that realization without thinking that God is some
        intrinsically mean sort, just waiting for one to trip up, hunting for the
        slightest loophole to nail us. Quite the opposite is the truth! God's awesome
        Divine Mercy seeks every possible way to bring us to Himself and
        His rewards of bliss. Every possible way!!

        Let us admit that we have been all too good at tripping
        on our own: God has no need to duplicate services there! Fearing
        judgment is part and parcel of knowing who we are. We have all
        sinned. And I know I have failed faith, hope and love, again and again
        and again, usually with no more excuse than selfishness.

        We keep goals in sight while training. Forget the Olympic gold and
        you will quite likely forget why you are training so hard. For us,
        between now and the "Olympics" of death, it is only the training that
        matters. It is also good to recall that, as Benedictines, our goal is
        NOT simply to "pass", but to stand on the podium.

        That's not because we are any better, it is only because
        we ourselves have added great holiness to our goal. Why else embrace
        the Rule? Keeping "death daily before our eyes," we are ALWAYS at
        the Olympics, thanks to our vow of conversion of manner of life, we
        are daily in training, every minute, in fact.

        All of these four lead to the fifth, keeping guard over one's
        actions, or mindfulness. Here is a great connection between the
        Benedictine way and the Buddhist way.

        The Buddhists have a saying that monastics can preach a sermon just
        by the way they walk. That's what the care of mindfulness can do!
        Just wait till we get to the 12th degree of humility, which says that
        the monastics' humility will shine through their outward appearance,
        whether walking or sitting or working or praying.

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA

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