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Holy Rule for July 30

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers of thanksgiving and Deo gratias for: Elaine, improved family situation. Will, still very seriously ill, but improving, God is good! Zachary, 1,
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 29, 2007
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      +PAX

      Prayers of thanksgiving and Deo gratias for:

      Elaine, improved family situation.

      Will, still very seriously ill, but improving, God is good!

      Zachary, 1, for whom we prayed. His colostomy has been successfully reversed and he is home with his twin brother and happy parents. Continued prayers for his progress and for them all!

      Sherry, whom we prayed for after her multiple fractures in a hit and run accident, is back attending Mass and doing very well, though some residual trouble with her left eye. Now she is particularly praying (and we should, too,) that the youth who hit her overcome his drug problems and turn his life around.

      St. Anne's intercession, on a very significant 30th anniversary for one of our readers.

      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

      March 30, July 30, November 29
      Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

      On Sundays, let all occupy themselves in reading,
      except those who have been appointed to various duties.
      But if anyone should be so negligent and shiftless
      that she will not or cannot study or read,
      let her be given some work to do
      so that she will not be idle.

      Weak or sickly sisters should be assigned a task or craft
      of such a nature as to keep them from idleness
      and at the same time not to overburden them or drive them away
      with excessive toil.
      Their weakness must be taken into consideration by the Abbess.

      REFLECTION

      Work in the corporate world is, for the most part, governed by two
      principles: profit and profit. Sigh... Work in the monastery is very
      different at its roots. Monastics work out of communal need and to
      avoid idleness. That means, put another way, that sometimes monastic
      labor is nothing more than "Keep 'em busy." That's OK in a monastic
      milieu, where the bottom line is not cost-efficiency.

      One reason so many Oblates are frustrated in trying to apply too much
      of the Holy Rule to their lives in the world is that it simply will
      not fit. Not only is the rationale of monastic labor radically
      different, but so is its schedule. Contemplative monasteries usually
      have about 20-25 hours of work per week, not 40. That may sound quite
      easy, until one considers the fact that about 5 hours a day are spent
      in choir and another two hours in lectio, with no weekends off!
      That's roughly 47 hours a week right there, add 20 to that and you
      get a 67 hour week. No, it is not all unbelievably hard and yes, you
      do get to work at home, but not on your own schedule.

      Parents who work- even many who stay at home- have often put in a lot
      more than 67 hours a week; a sick child will instantly guarantee that
      they put in a few more, too! It is not humanly possible to add the
      whole of the Rule to such a life, because what would need trimming
      would be the duties of parenting and marriage, which have priority
      and must not be neglected.

      Our Holy Rule is a delicate balance, finely tuned. That balance is
      built around its own standards. It was not, in this respect, written
      for secular life at all. If you are retired or very independently
      wealthy, you might pull it off. Otherwise, you're going to wind up
      like Sisyphus of the Greek myth, who was condemned to push the same
      huge rock up the same hill forever, always watching it roll right
      back down. Don't do it, folks, it will destroy your peace.

      Even active monasteries have to trim and rearrange the Rule's program
      to make room for their apostolic endeavors. Anyone who has taught can
      tell you that it is NOT a 20 hour a week job. The same goes for
      hospital work, and teaching and nursing are two of the most usual
      works in which our monasteries are engaged. Often choir or the Psalm
      arrangement has to be adjusted and the Holy Rule provides for this.

      Don't try to make the demands of your secular life seem less than
      those of monasteries themselves. They aren't. They are often your
      first vocation, your "day job", if you will. Like it or not, for
      most Oblates, our Benedictine calling is in addition to some other
      vocation. Both must always be respected, if anything has to suffer,
      the primary vocation comes first. (Hence the name!)

      By now I think most of you know me well enough to realize that I
      spend the great bulk of my time and effort trying to explain to you
      how the Holy Rule IS applicable to daily life anywhere. This is one
      time, however- and there are sure to be others- when I have to tell
      you that it is NOT applicable fully. If you have a problem in this
      area, please listen carefully. Nobody wants to be like Sisyphus!

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



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