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Good Friday, Apr 18

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Michael, suicidal and depressed, also for Marie, his sister. Also for Louis, in prison for drugs and for Kim, married outside his
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 18, 2003
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for Michael, suicidal and depressed, also for Marie,
      his sister. Also for Louis, in prison for drugs and for Kim, married
      outside his Church. Thanks so much. God's will be done! NRN JL

      + + + + Please note that I am following the custom of the American
      Cassinese Congregation, whose Ordo states that the 3rd degree of
      humility is the Holy Rule reading for Good Friday. I don't know if
      other Congregations follow this custom, but I'd love to know.... JL

      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The third degree of humility is that a person
      for love of God
      submit himself to his Superior in all obedience,
      imitating the Lord, of whom the Apostle says,
      "He became obedient even unto death."

      REFLECTION

      Few things can be more annoying to our self-centered, false hearts
      than a reminder to compare our sufferings to the Cross of Jesus
      Christ, but nothing can be more accurate a standard. Face it,
      beloveds, we WANT our pains, hurts, rejections et al. to matter much
      more than they do. We often want them to be the axis on which the
      world of others reverently turns with hushed compassion. The silence
      of the Cross is the surest antidote to this poison, the sole Truth
      which can abort this lie.

      The Cross of Jesus Christ is firmly planted in every monastic heart,
      we place it their when we begin our struggle and put our hands to the
      plough. It is there, whether we look at it or not, and we avert our
      glance from it only at great peril. It is the only standard by which
      our obedience, humility and silence can be judged. Nothing less will
      do. Anything less will destroy our efforts.

      It is no accident that St. Paul compares obedience to Jesus' death on
      the Cross, nor that St. Benedict embraces that concept and reinforces
      it centuries later. We must be so careful that obedience is never
      relegated to the impotent and harmful level of clever manipulation to
      get another to order what we wanted anyway. Clever names for this
      process have arisen in our post-modern age, but they all hide the
      fact that obedience often (in fact, optimally!) means that we are
      decidedly not in control.

      Use the Passion as a standard. If you are in greater control of what
      your obedience entails than Jesus was on the way to Calvary, or
      whipped in a dungeon, or spat upon and crowned with thorns, something
      is quite possibly very wrong. If your frenzied defense is markedly
      greater than that of Jesus before Pilate, when so much less is at
      stake, something IS wrong. There is acceptance in Christ and there
      ought to be in us, too. He begged to be spared the Cross, but He bore
      it silently when it was inevitable.

      Use the Agony in the Garden as a standard, too. Yes, Jesus did ask
      deliverance from His Father. But only once, only briefly and the
      matter ended when the answer was no. I have known monks and nuns who
      would stop at virtually nothing to get their own way, who often got
      their way with or without permission. Think of where we would all be
      today had Jesus chosen that road, instead of the Cross.

      Remember that all of our crosses are tailor-made and that none of
      them will ever equal His cross. Recall, too, that Jesus has known
      from all eternity exactly the world in which we would live and placed
      us at this admittedly sometimes quite disagreeable point in history
      for reasons of the deepest love and infinite mercy. We live (I
      sometimes shudder to think...) in precisely the optimal times for our
      salvation.

      Being tailor-made, we should be very careful not to add to our
      crosses! The involuntary penances are the best. Messing around with
      skipping pain meds and the like is not a good idea. Our pride can
      very well make our proper cross so heavy that we will surely fall.
      Masochism is not the way of Jesus. As always, there is balance.
      Never, never for an instant fear that God will not give us enough to
      offer!

      Know that "enough" varies from age to age, too. People quite commonly
      died of pneumonia (called by old timer RN's "the old man's friend,")
      before the 1940's advent of penicillin. To avoid its relief now would
      be a grievous sin. What once was high-tech, even undreamed of
      treatment, has now become ordinary means. People were expected to
      tough out depression stoically in the 1950's, whether they could or
      not! To try that now would be to court disaster.

      May we all take our tailor-made crosses to the Cross of Jesus Christ
      today at 3pm. In the anguished hush of His death, may we remember,
      today and always, how the smallness of even our greatest crosses
      compares. Beloveds, comparing a hangnail to the falling Twin Towers
      would not begin to be as pathetic. There is an infinite standard
      here, one to which we are all called.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome Leo, OSB
      jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA
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