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Holy Rule for June 3

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers that Andrew, 63, may find his vocation in just the place that God wants him! Prayers of thanks to God, without Him, I would never be able to offer
    Message 1 of 102 , Jun 2, 2007
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      Prayers that Andrew, 63, may find his vocation in just the place that God
      wants him!

      Prayers of thanks to God, without Him, I would never be able to offer you
      anything at all, and prayers for my parents, Louise and Jerry, and all my ancestors.
      Without that divinely fine-tuned chain of folks I would not be here today to
      celebrate my 58th with you. Prayers, too, for my "birthday twin," Sr. Rita Marie, ASCJ,
      same day but not as old! May God see fit to use us both now and then in yet
      another year. 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

      February 2, June 3, October 3
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The fifth degree of humility
      is that he hide from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts
      that enter his heart
      or the sins committed in secret,
      but that he humbly confess them.
      The Scripture urges us to this when it says,
      "Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in Him" (Ps. 36:5)
      and again,
      "Confess to the Lord, for He is good,
      for His mercy endures forever" (Ps. 105:1).
      And the Prophet likewise says,
      "My offense I have made known to You,
      and my iniquities I have not covered up.
      I said: 'I will declare against myself my iniquities to the Lord;'
      and 'You forgave the wickedness of my heart'" (Ps. 31:5).

      REFLECTION

      A caution here: the Holy Rule uses the Septuagint version's numbering
      of the Psalms, not the Hebrew. Since most Bibles today use the latter
      system, even many Catholic editions, you might find that the Psalm
      referred to in this passage, which I strongly recommend you read
      through, is 32, not 31.

      Psalm 31 (32) is a wonderful exposition of sin and forgiveness. It
      begins by recounting the joy of one whose sin has been forgiven, then
      proceeds to unfold how concealing sin affects one and confessing sin
      heals one. In vv. 3-4, immediately prior to the 5th verse which St.
      Benedict quotes, we find the following: "I kept it secret and my
      frame was wasted. I groaned all the day long for night and day Your
      hand was heavy upon me. Indeed, my strength was dried up as by the
      summer's heat."

      How do we know- or think we know- when a person is hiding something?
      There are all kinds of human, natural signs, verbal and nonverbal
      messages, body language, the whole lot! This is far afield of
      theology. We're talking crime novels here! There is something rooted
      in our human nature that makes guilty concealment affect both our
      behavior and others' perceptions.

      Guilty secrets control us, they rob us of our freedom, they destroy
      our peace. Long before one's frame is wasted (though that, too will
      eventually happen,) one's mind and spirit are trashed, laid low by
      the relentless fear of discovery. It's very true that one can run,
      but not hide. It is also true that, without the peace such shameful
      hiding steals from us, we shall have a MUCH harder time with our spiritual
      life.

      What the guilty one is fleeing is within herself, and
      travels right along with her. Ever see a news clip about a fugitive
      who successfully hid for decades and then was caught? I wonder what
      kind of life they had in the meantime, a life never free, a life that
      always had to fear. This garbage is not what Jesus called us to.

      We cannot be Benedictines without serenity and peace. It will not
      happen. The tracks of our lives have a reasonable number of railway
      switches that must be set correctly, or we will wind up stalled on a
      siding. This confession is one of those switches.

      [And, by the way, "stalled on a siding" is the opposite of stability.
      Stability is great growth and moving forward in a fixed spot or vocation!]

      One may not belong to a tradition which practices sacramental
      confession, but all of us need the abscesses of our secret guilt
      lanced and drained somehow. AA, a spiritual program which can fit
      itself to any religion or no religion, insists that without confession to at
      least one other trustworthy person, our faults are likely to rule us forever.
      Don't spill your beans to just anyone, but don't hold them festering
      within, either! [A heavy PS, too: if you DO belong to a Church that
      has sacramental Confession, GO!! Too many put that off at great
      risk and harm to themselves.]

      What keeps us chained to our dirty secrets is lack of faith, lack of
      trust: no one will love me if they know this, not God, not anyone.
      Well, the ending verses of Psalm 31(32) deal quite neatly with this
      falsehood:

      "Many sorrows have the wicked, but those who trust in the Lord,
      loving mercy surrounds them. Rejoice, rejoice in the Lord, exult, you
      just! O come, ring out your joy, all you upright of heart!" (Ps.
      31:10-11)

      Not only does God forgive, but the guilty one now freed is accounted
      as among the just and the upright of heart, without any further ado.
      Now THAT is divine mercy! No heart is more full of such infinite
      mercy than the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Trust Him!

      Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You. Jesus, meek and
      humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto Yours.

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

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for Dot, 86, COPD, on her birthday. Continued prayers for Beckham, surgery to remove bladder blockage was successful, kidney damage remains to be
      Message 102 of 102 , Sep 6 5:11 PM
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        Prayers for Dot, 86, COPD, on her birthday.
         
        Continued prayers for Beckham, surgery to remove bladder blockage was successful, kidney damage remains to be determined.
         
        Deo gratias, Bone scan for DJ shows cancer is contained in the prostate and he will have surgery Sept 30. Of your kindness please continue to pray that surgery will eradicate all the cancer.
         
        God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Thanks so much! JL

        January 7, May 8, September 7
        Prologue (concluded)

        And so we are going to establish
        a school for the service of the Lord.
        In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
        But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
        for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
        do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
        whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
        For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
        our hearts expand
        and we run the way of God's commandments
        with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
        Thus, never departing from His school,
        but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
        until death,
        we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
        and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.

        REFLECTION

        "Our hearts expand..." they truly do. Mine has already been
        wonderfully stretched and pulled and enlarged beyond my wildest
        dreams, often with me kicking and screaming every inch of the way. I
        have no doubt that it will grow bigger still, capable of holding
        more, but I know I could not stand that now, it would be too much.
        God works slowly, according to our individual needs. Better than
        anyone, He knows that doing it all at once would reduce us to
        shivering panic.

        The biggest factor that I can see in God's work of heart renovation
        for me has been intercessory prayer. When you renovate a building,
        you have to tear down some walls, a dusty, ugly, painful mess. Ah,
        but the light and air and space that one finds in those new areas
        where walls had stood! In praying for God's people, I learned to love
        them, more prayer equaled more love and so it spiraled upward and
        spirals on!

        The rain for my roots was that work in progress, the expansion of my
        heart. It's not the same as other loves I have known and in no way as
        graphic or immediate or intimate, but oh, it is deep. I am sure it is
        not incompatible with married love, but God seemed to want it so for
        me. True to form, I argued with Him for years about that and still do
        at times.

        When a novice in my twenties, I used to look at two real saints of
        St. Leo Abbey, Brothers David Gormican and Raphael Daly, both now
        gone to God. I am not even sure I thought it had become easier for
        them at the end of their lives, I thought, with the mindlessness so
        easy for me then, that they were just so old they didn't care
        anymore. Wrong!

        My dear friend Ann Chatlos was a FABULOUS cook and she had been at it
        for years. One day I went to see her and we sat talking in her
        kitchen, she was fiddling around, nothing special. Frankly, I didn't
        even notice any activity that would have produced a meal. She finally
        turned around and said to me: "Stay for dinner." I asked when it
        would be ready and she said, "Now." I was floored. While we spoke, a
        pie, chicken and roast potatoes and something else I forget had been
        going on. A full meal with nothing out of cans and a homemade
        dessert, yet it appeared that she had just been chatting.

        That's the nonchalance of Brother David and Brother Raphael. It
        wasn't that they didn't care, it was that things of sanctity had
        become so much second nature to them that many of those around them
        never noticed that dinner was ready. May that nonchalance of sanctity
        come to us all, and may Brothers David and Raphael and Ann, now also
        with God, pray us there.

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