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Brother Jerome Reflection on the Holy Rule Sept 3

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX Prayers please for a good Keith, who died after a brief illness. He was initially hospitalized for a minor matter that got out of hand and culminated in
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2007
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      Prayers please for a good Keith, who died after a brief illness. He
      was initially hospitalized for a minor matter that got out of hand
      and culminated in his death twelve days later.

      Please pray for Victoria, whose choices have her mired in financial
      trouble affecting her whole family, and worrying her mom. Please
      pray that she would find a way out of her hole.
      Please pray for a special intention.

      Please pray for a special intention.

      Please pray for Kevan who has an important meeting which he wishes
      to attend on Thursday but is in great need of inner peace.

      Please pray for Sarah who has cancer.

      +Please pray that Divine Mercy will shine upon all those who have
      taken their own lives.+

      Please pray for all those whose prayer requests were not able to be
      posted for whatever reason. God is outside of time and our prayers
      are never, ever late. 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

      Until the return of our good Brother Jerome please bless me with
      your prayer requests at:

      January 3, May 4, September 3

      And the Lord, seeking his laborer
      in the multitude to whom He thus cries out,
      says again,
      "Who is the one who will have life,
      and desires to see good days" (Ps. 33:13)?
      And if, hearing Him, you answer,
      "I am the one,"
      God says to you,
      "If you will have true and everlasting life,
      keep your tongue from evil
      and your lips that they speak no guile.
      Turn away from evil and do good;
      seek after peace and pursue it" (Ps. 33:14-15).
      And when you have done these things,
      My eyes shall be upon you
      and My ears open to your prayers;
      and before you call upon Me,
      I will say to you,
      'Behold, here I am'" (Ps. 33:16; Is. 65:24; 58:9).

      What can be sweeter to us, dear ones,
      than this voice of the Lord inviting us?
      Behold, in His loving kindness
      the Lord shows us the way of life.


      This is perhaps my all-time favorite reading from the Holy Rule.
      The gentle, loving tenderness of both the Divine Merciful Christ
      and our holy Father Benedict are here in abundance. One is tempted
      to merely bask in the warmth, rather than write, but I will try to

      Lest any of us (which, as the Holy Rule would say, God forbid,)
      tend to pride at undertaking the monastic way, this one deflates
      that balloon in a hurry. Christ seeks US. What mercy! Our very
      being is nothing but an act of His love and mercy, all that we have
      is His
      love and His mercy, yet, on top of all that, He seeks US! We're
      talking God here, not some other created being. We're talking the
      Alpha and Omega, end all and be all, the First Cause, you name it.
      The very force of life and light and truth and love and mercy in the
      cosmos, before all time, names us, knows us and calls us.

      I can get carried away writing about the Prologue, so indulge me
      here as I do so. Beloveds, for so you are to me, our fractured
      hearts and sin-veiled eyes just cannot see the way, nor can we name
      the hurts or their cures well. God and God alone can pierce that
      darkness and He offers to do so before we even ask. This is awesome
      grace, this is enough for a lifetime's meditation on humility. Hard
      things to come in the struggle are real, but their harshness is in
      some way illusory: "Behold, in His loving-kindness, the Lord shows
      us the way of life."

      In the midst of all this sweetness, look at the question he puts in
      the Lord's mouth: "Who is the one who will have life and desires to
      see good days?" Granted, it is a quote from the Psalms, but St.
      Benedict could have used something else, or written his own, or
      employed a rhetorical question. He didn't, though, he used this one
      and that is most fortunate.

      St. Benedict does not have God in the teeming marketplace hollering
      out: "Who wants to be a monk? Who wants to be a nun? Who wants to
      be an Oblate?" (Chuckle: if God DID call out "Who wants to be an
      Oblate?", how many people you know would say: "What's an Oblate??")
      No doubt, for some on the monastic way, those may have been the
      questions. For many others, it was not nearly that direct.

      This question allows us to ponder (if God and you will pardon the
      phrase,) the Divine sneakiness. How many of the stories we hear of
      how people came to the monastic way and were drawn to the
      Benedictine life give witness to God's loving "sneakiness." God
      cannot lie and His query here is not a lie, but He can certainly
      CHOOSE the truth He uses to draw us. Like any parent of a stubborn
      child, He knows that some approaches work better than others.

      I know Brother Bernard Aurentz, now dead, joined St. Leo because he
      liked Florida and thought the monastery was on the Gulf of Mexico!
      The picture of a palm tree by water in a vocation ad sure sold him!
      He just didn't realize they were on a large lake, 40 miles inland!
      God didn't deceive him, He just didn't make the geography evident
      until the guy arrived and stayed for the rest of his life. God
      doesn't trick us in a wrong way, but He often allows us to do the
      right thing for the wrong reason! No doubt He knows that's the only
      way He could have gotten us in the door!

      There is a lot more than sneakiness in this question, however. How
      many times, when speaking of monastic life, or married life, or any
      vocation, do we stress its harsher aspects? To some extent,
      monastic life and married life get the brunt of this: "Oh, it isn't
      easy, blah, blah, blah...It's no cinch, there's a lot of hardship."
      OK, there is, no problem there, but there is also a lot of
      sweetness if any vocation is done right.

      How many people would have gotten married if the proposal included
      a litany of night-feedings and diaper pails, much less if the
      proposal could have announced the birth of a severely handicapped
      child or the paralysis of the spouse or the tragedy of an auto
      accident far in the future. We do both marriage and monastic life a
      great harm when we
      emphasize only the difficult things. There IS joy in marriage,
      great joy, and there is in the monastic way, too. Just like any
      good proposal, God asks us to respond to the good things He is
      offering and they are not slight!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
      Petersham, MA
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