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Holy Rule for Dec. 19

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest and happy death of Joe, and for all his family and all his Oblate brothers and sisters who mourn his sudden death,
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 18, 2007

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest and happy death of Joe, and for all his family and all his Oblate brothers and sisters who mourn his sudden death, and for the happy death and eternal rest of Lita, on her first anniversary of death, and for her husband, Robert, on whom this is so hard.

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

      Jane's Dad, nearing death, and for Jane, trying to fly down to see him in time.

      Launetta, 96, renal failure and multiple medical problems, tired and eager to rest at last, also for her son, Paul.

      Brandon, and for his Dad, Joe, and for Lainie, that she know how to treat Brandon and gets the promotion she seeks.

      Baby Lilly, still very ill and now has an infection in her dialysis line, also for her parents.

      Jen's father-in-law, seriously ill.

      Fr. Kevin, breast cancer tumor not reducing, more radiation while doctors decide what to try next.

      Steve, anxiety high over his first ever root canal, many, I'm sure, can identify with that! 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

      April 18, August 18, December 18
      Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community

      Let all keep their places in the monastery
      established by the time of their entrance,
      the merit of their lives and the decision of the Abbot.
      Yet the Abbot must not disturb the flock committed to him,
      nor by an arbitrary use of his power ordain anything unjustly;
      but let him always think
      of the account he will have to render to God
      for all his decisions and his deeds.

      Therefore in that order which he has established
      or which they already had,
      let the brethren approach to receive the kiss of peace and Communion,
      intone the Psalms and stand in choir.
      And in no place whatever should age decide the order
      or be prejudicial to it;
      for Samuel and Daniel as mere boys judged priests.

      Except for those already mentioned, therefore,
      whom the Abbot has promoted by a special decision
      or demoted for definite reasons,
      all the rest shall take their order
      according to the time of their entrance.
      Thus, for example,
      he who came to the monastery at the second hour of the day,
      whatever be his age or his dignity,
      must know that he is junior
      to one who came at the first hour of the day.
      Boys, however, are to be kept under discipline
      in all matters and by everyone.


      St. Benedict, who has stressed fairness in so many ways, even
      equality, also insists on order, hence the title of this chapter. But
      it is an order which is largely established by God: the time of
      entrance. God calls when He chooses, whomever He chooses. When that
      person responds, that, for the most part, is going to determine their
      place in community.

      Families, too, need order. Yes, fairness and equality are important,
      but every child is not the equal of their siblings: anarchy would
      result. Imagine a teenager exactly equal to a toddler sibling, unable
      to interfere at all in the baby's whims to destroy its nursery or
      harm itself.

      We are used to hearing sibling rivalry horror stories that traipse
      far into adult life as psychological baggage. How many of them might
      have been avoided if, as St. Benedict prescribed for his family,
      order was never decided by capriciousness and affection was equal.

      Children cannot understand favoritism and rightly so. But a child
      could be a bit more comfortable with rewards for good behavior,
      "the merit of" their siblings lives. That might annoy them, true, but at
      least it is something they, too, can work towards. Arbitrary
      affectional preference is not.

      Note that St. Benedict leaves the Abbot free to advance anyone for
      his own reasons, but immediately tacks on a warning that the Abbot
      must not disturb his flock and that he must give an account of his
      stewardship. Abbots are human, not infallible. Human affection can
      enter into their choices and St. Benedict warns them against that.
      (PS: They have not always listened, but he did warn them...LOL!)

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for all our troops fighting in Afghanistan and elsewhere who can t be home for Christmas, special prayers for their safety and for their families.
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 18, 2016


        Prayers for all our troops fighting in Afghanistan and elsewhere who can’t be home for Christmas, special prayers for their safety and for their families.


        Prayers for all surgeons, that God guide their hands.


        Prayers for Sr. Dorothy and her Community she broke her ankle, requiring surgery, and had a heart attack. Prayers for her complete recovery.


        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

        April 19, August 19, December 19
        Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community

        The juniors, therefore, should honor their seniors,
        and the seniors love their juniors.

        In the very manner of address,
        let no one call another by the mere name;
        but let the seniors call their juniors Brothers,
        and the juniors call their seniors Fathers,
        by which is conveyed the reverence due to a father.
        But the Abbot,
        since he is believed to represent Christ,
        shall be called Lord and Abbot,
        not for any pretensions of his own
        but out of honor and love for Christ.
        Let the Abbot himself reflect on this,
        and show himself worthy of such an honor.

        And wherever the brethren meet one another
        the junior shall ask the senior for his blessing.
        When a senior passes by,
        a junior shall rise and give him a place to sit,
        nor shall the junior presume to sit with him
        unless his senior bid him,
        that it may be as was written,
        "In honor anticipating one another."

        Boys, both small and adolescent,
        shall keep strictly to their rank in oratory and at table.
        But outside of that, wherever they may be,
        let them be under supervision and discipline,
        until they come to the age of discretion.


        Abbot Fidelis, my late novicemaster, used to always say that
        Benedictines were "gentlemen monks." At that time, the phrase annoyed
        me a good bit, though I never said so. It seemed to have a ring of
        faint middle-class respectability about it, not a little bourgeois,
        as if we were monks who were "the right sort of people."

        It would still annoy me today if, one meant by that phrase nothing
        more than all those rather hollow social niceties. Not that there's
        anything wrong as such with social niceties, just that I have grown
        up in a country where courtesy, "civil" religion and the like often had
        precious little to do with faith motives.

        Living among monastics will teach one (hopefully!) by osmosis that
        many of the common courtesies which have become decidedly UNcommon in
        the world are the order of the day here. We get so immersed in that
        that often it is hard to even think of what they are, we just do
        them. The best example I can come up with right now is that there is
        FAR more restraint here against interrupting another's conversation
        here than in the world at large. We do it sometimes, I do it too
        much, but basically we do NOT "butt in."

        There are many other little things, rising when a superior enters,
        not sitting until the superior does in chapter, etc. These in
        themselves may seem empty at first, but when linked to the charity of
        Christ and His Divine Mercy, they become very real gestures of love.
        The fact that we don't think of them much after a while in no way
        diminishes the Treasure that motivates them, Christ Himself.

        Relationships between seniors and juniors are a two-way street. The
        behavior of one feeds the behavior and response of the other. Hey, this
        is true of all relationships, in every area of life. Want to be
        loved? Give respect. Want to be respected? Give love. It may not work
        in every instance, but, along with prayer,  it must be the first means we

        try and, again with prayer,  the only means we never abandon totally.

        Though the Holy Rule clearly exempts (in this passage,) the Abbess,
        because she represents Christ, the express command that the Abbess
        remember why she is treated as Christ is underscored. The Rule is the
        Rule and monastics are human. The treatment we
        give to others tends to reflect back upon us as from a mirror, often not
        without very good reason!

        So, yes, my dear Abbot Fidelis, hopefully we ARE gentlemen monks (and
        gentle monastics period!) No, we are not like some terribly proper and
        equally shallow social gathering of "the right sort" of people. Our motives to
        courtesy have a theological basis, not merely a social one. But we ARE gentle
        and we are so because of Him Whom we seek and have come to love.


        Please say a prayer for Abbot Fidelis' eternal rest, I learned much from him.

        Love and prayers,

        Jerome, OSB

        Petersham, MA


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