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Holy Rule for Nov. 14

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest and happy death of the following and for all who mourn them: Leonore, 83, and especially for Robin, taking this loss very
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 13, 2007
      +PAX

      Prayers for the eternal rest and happy death of the following and for all who mourn them:

      Leonore, 83, and especially for Robin, taking this loss very hard.

      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for their loved ones and all who treat or care for them:

      Please pray for John, brain tumor imbedded in the brain, so may or may not be operable. Also for his wife and family most of whom have no faith or faith family to support them. His daughter, Jennifer, just joined the Catholic Church and was married in July, John's illness is particularly hard for her and her husband, Kevin.
      Prayer for a suffering woman and her daughter and their family as she tries to find her way thru a very difficult divorce and drug problem.

      David, lymphoma, bone marrow transplant likely.

      Nick, dying, and for his wife, Barbara.

      Ken, bone marrow biopsy, possible leukemia.

      Susan, past abuse issues and depression.

      All who teach the Faith to children, that God my enlighten them. 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

      + + + Feast of All Souls of the Benedictine Order + + +

      Alas, today's feast got dumped in many congregations' new calendars.
      So, while this is a bit of nostalgia for some, it is lovely
      nonetheless!

      A blessed feast of All Souls OSB to all! Whatever your Church's
      feelings about prayers for the dead, this is the day when we remember
      all the courageous monastics in history who have gone before us.

      What a family of richness and tradition and HUMANITY we truly have!!
      Granted, for those who do believe in prayer for the departed, a lot
      of that should be going on, but for those who do not, well, think of
      it as a kind of supernatural Veterans' Day!

      We owe deep thanks to all who kept the Order alive and thriving
      through 15 centuries or so. Without them, it would never have been
      here for us to join. We owe our deepest thanks of all to God, Who
      strengthened them with His infinite Love and Mercy!

      And please say a little prayer for Dr. Jean Ronan, whose teaching
      helped me write today's reflection.

      March 15, July 15, November 14
      Chapter 36: On the Sick

      Before all things and above all things,
      care must be taken of the sick,
      so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person;
      for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" (Matt 25:36),
      and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me"
      (Matt.25:40).
      But let the sick on their part consider
      that they are being served for the honor of God,
      and let them not annoy their sisters who are serving them
      by their unnecessary demands.
      Yet they should be patiently borne with,
      because from such as these is gained a more abundant reward.
      Therefore the Abbess shall take the greatest care
      that they suffer no neglect.


      For these sick let there be assigned a special room
      and an attendant who is God-fearing, diligent and solicitous.
      Let the use of baths be afforded the sick
      as often as may be expedient;
      but to the healthy, and especially to the young,
      let them be granted more rarely.
      Moreover,
      let the use of meat be granted to the sick who are very weak,
      for the restoration of their strength;
      but when they are convalescent,
      let all abstain from meat as usual.


      The Abbess shall take the greatest care
      that the sick be not neglected by the cellarers or the attendants;
      for she also is responsible for what is done wrongly by her
      disciples.

      REFLECTION

      Visitors quite characteristically remark on the peace of Benedictine
      monasteries. They surely ought to be able to notice something very
      different from the world at large, something would probably be very
      wrong with the house if none could. On the other hand, no matter how
      politely we may respond to those who exclaim how peaceful things are,
      I'll bet that most monastic hearts can sinkingly say to
      themselves: "Yeah, but you don't LIVE here..."

      My dear theology professor, Dr. Jean Ronan, used to always say: "The
      mills of God grind slowly, yet exceeding fine...." She meant that in
      a karma sort of way, what goes around comes around sooner or later.
      However, today's reading and life in community have taught me to see
      an additional meaning. The mills of God truly DO turn very slowly.
      Sometimes their windmill blades are barely stirred by a hesitant
      breeze. No wonder that outsiders and first-time visitors cannot
      notice them grinding the wheat!

      Ah, denied the fall-into-the-ground-and-die brand of outright
      martyrdom, our grains of wheat must be ground into flour, a process
      of immolation no less complete, but most uncomfortably slower! St.
      Teresa of Avila said that the martyrs "bought Heaven cheaply" winning
      with one swing of the axe what we must struggle on many years to
      acquire.

      Don't make the mistake of looking only at the beauty of the ripe
      wheat swaying gently in the breeze and sunlight, the smoothness of a
      sack of pre-sifted flour and the fragrant warmth of a freshly baked
      loaf. Between and before those highlights comes a LOT of the
      grindstone! To say nothing of the sickle at first...oh, yeah, and
      that threshing and winnowing part- I almost forgot. What fun!

      What on earth does all this have to do with care of the sick? Ah, you
      have been patient and that is commendable. Take heart, the point of
      all this is at hand.

      The borders between sickness and meanness and evil are often blurred
      to indistinguishable levels. One age posited demons for epilepsy, our
      own sees exculpating psychological illness or impairment behind all
      manner of skullduggery. We have too little time, in many cases, to
      waste a lot of time with thorny and perhaps impossible diagnoses. In
      charity, we are usually obliged to assume that the meanest of people
      are simply not well. We do, after all, have to think the best of
      people.

      That can be damnably maddening. We WANT to ascribe blame when hurt or
      wronged. Every flawed human nerve in our body can begin to cry: "No
      quarter, no mercy!" Gee, in a flawed human way of speaking, wouldn't
      it be nice if we could! But we can't, we simply cannot. If we do, we
      become so unlike the mercy of Christ, the love of God, that our souls
      are in very great peril. This can sabotage our spiritual struggles in
      nothing flat.

      Hence, the care of the sick comes very much into play with the way we
      deal with those who hurt or harm us. This is a far different affair
      from doormat policy. Any who have ever worked in health care could
      readily attest that the sick must often be treated with a lot of less
      than lovely stuff: cautery, surgery, pumps and tubes and even, yes,
      at times, amputation. Having any of the procedures one has routinely
      performed on others done to oneself can be MOST enlightening!

      Hey, all of us are nice, good people in our own eyes much of the
      time. Our biggest gaffs are usually those to which we are all but
      completely blind. We must realize that this is not just true of
      ourselves, but of others as well. And, perhaps most difficult of all,
      we must see that sometimes WE are the ones who really need to be in
      the waiting room for cautery or amputation... Sigh... Ain't life and
      humility grand?

      Hence, whenever a relationship or person truly does require
      remediation, we must behave as we would like to be treated in the
      same circumstance. Compassion, love and gentle kindness, not
      patronization or scorn or abrupt roughness must rule the day. Many of
      us have experienced both the kind of nurse one loved and the kind
      that one would gladly forget if one could! Which sort of treatment do
      you wish to give?

      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 Today was formerly kept as the Feast of All Benedictine Souls. Let us pray for all the faithful departed of our Order, may they speed their way to heaven
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 13, 2016

        +PAX

         

        Today was formerly kept as the Feast of All Benedictine Souls. Let us pray for all the faithful departed of our Order, may they speed their way to heaven and may they intercede for us with their prayers. So many have gone before us, let us pray that we all are together one day in heaven!

         

        Prayers for the safety and well-being of all affected by a strong earthquake in New Zealand. Prayers for P. and A. especially, and for Eileen’s son and his wife. Prayers for all trying to help.

         

        Prayers for discernment for P., perhaps beginning a new chapter in life in January.

         

        Jack, on his 5th birthday, and for his Mom and grandparents.

         

        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. BJL

        November 14
        Chapter 36: On the Sick

        Before all things and above all things,
        care must be taken of the sick,
        so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person;
        for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" (Matt 25:36),
        and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me"
        (Matt.25:40).
        But let the sick on their part consider
        that they are being served for the honor of God,
        and let them not annoy their sisters who are serving them
        by their unnecessary demands.
        Yet they should be patiently borne with,
        because from such as these is gained a more abundant reward.
        Therefore the Abbess shall take the greatest care
        that they suffer no neglect.


        For these sick let there be assigned a special room
        and an attendant who is God-fearing, diligent and solicitous.
        Let the use of baths be afforded the sick
        as often as may be expedient;
        but to the healthy, and especially to the young,
        let them be granted more rarely.
        Moreover,
        let the use of meat be granted to the sick who are very weak,
        for the restoration of their strength;
        but when they are convalescent,
        let all abstain from meat as usual.


        The Abbess shall take the greatest care
        that the sick be not neglected by the cellarers or the attendants;
        for she also is responsible for what is done wrongly by her disciples.

        REFLECTION

        "Before all things and above all things..." is a very strong
        statement. If St. Benedict meant that, and we must assume he did,
        monasteries and families should not only make sure that the sick are
        full and equal members, but even that they have priority. The sick
        bear a responsibility in this: they are not to "vex" those caring for
        them, but even if they fail in that, they must be borne with
        patiently.

        Let's face it, at a certain point, the sick are definitely "out of
        the loop" in human society. This is even more true of the long-term,
        chronically ill. Christianity and Benedictinism, however call us to rise far

        above such limitations of natural response. We are called to be more than

        natural. We are bound to strive for the SUPERnatural.

        Even in monasteries, especially large ones, the sick can be shelved
        and forgotten by some members. In this aspect, the monastics mirror a similar
        flaw in the secular world and in many families: out of sight, out of mind.
        The concerns of one's active daily life can lead to a certain
        selfishness, and the Holy Rule is trying to prevent this. We must be
        different from the world. We must be more. Both Gospel and Rule, baptism and monastic
        commitment demand that.

        The flip side of this coin- and I think those who have worked in
        hospitals and nursing homes can confirm this- is that there is
        something very special about those who quite resolutely do NOT leave
        the sick out of the loop. In both monastery and world, those with a
        heart for the ill seem to be a special breed.

        Oblates in the world, there is a rich field of endeavor here and you
        will hardly have to get in line to enter it. Nursing homes freak you
        out? There are adult day care programs that might be easier for you.
        I used to do four Communion services a week in such places when I was
        in Boston, and, had I been able, they would have gladly let me do
        more. When I left to come here, seven years ago, every single one of
        those services dropped to once a month or less. There is work for you
        to do if you want to get yourself commissioned as a Eucharistic
        minister and go for it. These were people that not only the world,
        but even the Church had largely forgotten. The chance to do anything
        for them enriched my life immeasurably.

        Does even day care get to you? Then turn to the families of the
        chronically ill. To a large extent, they often share the isolation of
        the patient in a very real and very unfair way. Find some ways to not
        forget them, to give them a breath of normalcy and relief and you
        will find their lives, the patient's life and your own changing for
        the better. Everyone can do something, and there is plenty to do!

        Ask most people what the hallmark of the Benedictine Order is and
        they will likely respond with either liturgy or hospitality. Our Holy
        Rule's prescription that all guests be received as Christ is
        justifiably famous, as is our concern for the liturgy. However,
        another hallmark less attended to is this chapter's insistence that
        we receive and serve Christ in the sick, too. Would that we deserved
        to have people choosing between THREE hallmarks for their answer-
        care of the sick, liturgy and hospitality!

         

        And please pray for my Brothers, Sisters and Oblates here, who showed

        me such tender care and prayer when I was ill in 2014 and continue

        to do so.


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

         

         

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