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Holy Rule for Jan. 2

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of Sr. Gemma s Mom and Br. Isidore s Dad, both of whom are ill, and for both monastics and
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 1, 2008
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      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of Sr. Gemma's Mom and Br. Isidore's Dad, both of whom are ill, and for both monastics and all their families. Lord, help us 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

      January 2, May 3, September 2
      Prologue (continued)

      Let us arise, then, at last,
      for the Scripture stirs us up, saying,
      "Now is the hour for us to rise from sleep" (Rom. 18:11).
      Let us open our eyes to the deifying light,
      let us hear with attentive ears
      the warning which the divine voice cries daily to us,
      "Today if you hear His voice,
      harden not your hearts" (Ps. 94:8).
      And again,
      "Whoever has ears to hear,
      hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Matt. 11-15; Apoc. 2:7).
      And what does He say?
      "Come, My children, listen to Me;
      I will teach you the fear of the Lord" (Ps. 33:12).
      "Run while you have the light of life,
      lest the darkness of death overtake you" (John 12:35).


      Check out the similarities of this section, at the beginning of the
      Holy Rule, and the readings of early Lent, which stress that "now is
      the acceptable time." It brings to mind St. Benedict's later chapter
      which says that the monastic life ought always to have some semblance
      of Lent.

      That perpetual Lent chapter is the source of a lot of grumbling about
      austerity from one camp and cheering about it from another. Both may
      have missed a salient point. Perhaps the greatest element of
      perpetual Lent has less to do with austerity- even the monastic fast
      did not last all year. What IS perpetually in style is wakefulness
      and self-examination.

      Monastic life withers in either smugness or a rut. What St. Benedict
      wants us to do is always to try and stay at that serious moment of
      taking inventory that many of us feel at Lent's beginning. We need to
      always be checking what needs to be cleaned up and we need to be
      prepared, even a bit eager, to start working on it.

      This is why a daily examination of conscience is so necessary.
      Compline, the traditional liturgical place for such examens, is a
      very apt place for same. As we prepare for sleep, which prefigures
      death, we prepare also for death, by examining our faults and asking

      The Holy Rule, like Lent, is by no means the gateway to an easier
      life, but to a holier one. As we actually grow in holiness much of it
      will become easier, more natural to us. But until that time, it is a
      struggle and, in unconquered areas, it remains something of a
      struggle for all of our lives. What's hard about that struggle isn't
      fasting or penance, but changing ourselves. Austere practices are
      just a means to that end, not ends in themselves.

      The whole idea of Lent and the Holy Rule is lasting change for the
      better. Lent is a seasonal construct to get us to begin anew, the
      Holy Rule says that beginning anew must be a daily thing. Lent is an
      attempt to get us to do for forty days what we ought to have been
      doing all year. The Holy Rule is a way to do what we ought to do all
      year, every day.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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