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Holy Rule for Dec. 24

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Ted, killed in a car wreck while travelling to see family at Christmas, and for all who mourn him. Prayers
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 23, 2007
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      Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Ted, killed in a car wreck while travelling to see family at Christmas, and for all who mourn him.

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

      Elaine's Dad, dementia, severe weight loss, and very sick just now. The Ted we prayed for above was a dear friend of his, who visited him regularly.

      Carolyn and John, trying to find God's will for their lives.Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's wi;; is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

      April 24, August 24, December 24
      Chapter 66: On the Porter of the Monastery

      At the gate of the monastery
      let there be placed a wise old woman,
      who knows how to receive and to give a message,
      and whose maturity will prevent her from straying about.
      This porter should have a room near the gate,
      so that those who come may always find someone at hand
      to attend to their business.
      And as soon as anyone knocks or a poor person hails her,
      let her answer "Thanks be to God" or "A blessing!"
      Then let her attend to them promptly,
      with all the meekness inspired by the fear of God
      and with the warmth of charity.

      Should the porter need help,
      let her have one of the younger sisters.

      If it can be done,
      the monastery should be so established
      that all the necessary things,
      such as water, mill, garden and various workshops,
      may be within the enclosure,
      so that there is no necessity
      for the sisters to go about outside of it,
      since that is not at all profitable for their souls.

      We desire that this Rule be read often in the community,
      so that none of the sisters may excuse herself
      on the ground of ignorance.


      Modern monasteries in our Order rarely have gatehouses, let alone
      porters waiting at them. In one way, that's too bad, because one
      often sees visitors come to a monastery without a clue as to where to
      go first, or how to contact someone. On the other hand, it would
      wasteful to employ one person full-time at such an endeavor in our
      smaller communities of today, since whole days may go by in many
      places with few or none needing assistance.

      What we have today is the phone, and phone manners are how this best
      translates into modern life for both Oblates and professed. I have
      certainly known monks who have answered the phone with an attitude
      that clearly said: "You've got some nerve putting me out like this,
      disturbing me, etc." One certainly wouldn't want to call such a
      monastery twice. If one had never called one before, it is unlikely
      that one would want to try another, to go for 2 out of 3, just in
      case. See the responsibility we have?

      When a phone or doorbell rings, whether in a great Benedictine abbey
      or an urban Benedictine apartment, we have the opportunity to
      practice the hospitable grace that the Holy Rule requires of all.
      Dorothy Day's friend and mentor, Father Hugo, used to say that we
      love God as much as the one we love the least.

      That would readily translate here. I LOVE to see certain guests arrive,
      look forward to it as soon as I hear they are coming. Those are not the
      receptions on which I should judge my hospitality. The tough-to-love
      ones are.

      The point here is that we ARE Benedictines, whether our answering
      style of door or phone makes that evident or not. I might not like to think
      so, but the anonymity of just saying "Hello," one the phone, without my
      name or title does not entitle me to be harsh or gruff or rude. All of us are
      bound by something Benedictine within us to be kind and gracious to all
      who call or visit.

      Someone who calls the guesthouse for the first time can be driven
      away or attracted by the way they are dealt with on the phone.
      A vocation could driven away by a smartingly cold response. To
      risk alienating someone because of our own moods might mean that we
      cheat someone out of a spiritual respite they sorely need.

      I can't tell you how many people who just called us out of nowhere in the
      last nine years have become real members of our family, greatly
      beneficial to themselves and to us. Anyone of those first experiences
      could have been irreparably soured by a cranky phone manner. Look at
      what all of us would have lost had that happened.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

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