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May 1

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX I ask all of you to remember my friend, Sister Lany Jo, on her feastday. I have long teased her that she chose St. Joseph the WORKER because she was such
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1 4:53 AM
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      +PAX

      I ask all of you to remember my friend, Sister Lany Jo, on her
      feastday. I have long teased her that she chose St. Joseph the WORKER
      because she was such a workaholic! Pray for a Benedictine balance to
      soothe her! She gets this Holy Rule reading and will be thrilled at
      your prayers, as well as annoyed at my workaholic line!

      Prayers also for Father Robert, a Trappist of Spencer, who is slated
      for heart surgery ASAP. God's will be done. Thanks so much! NRN JL

      May 1, August 31, December 31
      Chapter 73: On the Fact That the Full Observance of Justice Is Not
      Established in This Rule

      Now we have written this Rule
      in order that by its observance in monasteries
      we may show that we have attained some degree of virtue
      and the rudiments of the religious life.

      But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life
      there are the teaching of the holy Fathers,
      the observance of which leads to the height of perfection.
      For what page or what utterance
      of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
      is not a most unerring rule for human life?
      Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers
      does not loudly proclaim
      how we may come by a straight course to our Creator?
      Then the Conferences and the Institutes
      and the Lives of the Fathers,
      as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil --
      what else are they but tools of virtue
      for right-living and obedient monks?
      But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent
      they are a source of shame and confusion.

      Whoever you are, therefore,
      who are hastening to the heavenly homeland,
      fulfill with the help of Christ
      this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners;
      and then at length under God's protection
      you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue
      which we have mentioned above.

      REFLECTION

      I used to love to teach 8th graders. At the top of a kindergarten
      through 8th grade school, they thought they had REALLY arrived, they
      were very pleased with themselves! My 8th graders knew that I loved
      them, so I could afford to tease them a bit. I used to narrow my eyes
      into a fake menacing gaze and say: "Ah, now you're the top, but next
      year? Next year you will be FRESHMEN! The lowest of the low! Just
      wait till high school." And they would laugh, secure in the fact that
      I MUST be joking....

      Well, folks, the beauty of this last chapter is that is tells us we
      are ALL eighth graders, if even that. We'd do well to take St.
      Benedict seriously on this one, but I'll bet he smiled with the same
      affection I used to show to my kids. Three times a year we read the
      Holy Rule entirely and three times a year he lovingly shakes us awake
      to the reality that we will for the most part of our lives, always be
      freshmen next year!

      That's the Benedictine surprise that's wrapped in conversion of
      manners: we never "arrive", we're not so hot as we thought ourselves
      to be, we are just barely ready for the next step.
      This is VERY different from the self-loathing we spoke about
      yesterday with the bitter zeal. This is the true self-knowledge, the
      smiling, even shrugging acceptance of the fact that we are just on
      the way, nothing special there!

      How great must our God be! I have never known anyone who kept all of
      the Holy Rule perfectly, but I have known many that I thought were
      great saints, very observant monastics. St. Benedict is clearly
      telling us that God is even more than we may attain by observing this
      Rule. God is so vast and beyond us, we are always taking the tumbling
      first steps of toddlers towards Him, but He is always holding on and
      beaming with the pride an love of a parent guiding those steps. Our
      Holy Rule is filled with awesome things, yet it is only
      the "rudiments" of the spiritual life!

      Eighth graders, eighth graders all, but ah, what a high school awaits!

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