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Holy Rule for Jan. 20

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of the following, for all their families and loved ones and all who mourn them: Jane s Dad, whom we have
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 18, 2008
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      Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of the following, for all their families and loved ones and all who mourn them:

      Jane's Dad, whom we have prayed for, passed away this morning.

      Tim, three small children. Lost his wife to breast cancer 2 1/2 years ago and took his own life at her gravesite, having given no clues to any he was so depressed. He had been very active raising funds for cancer since her death and his suicide was a total shock.

      Ivan, who died in his sleep, and for his wife, Carol.

      Darla, for whom we prayed, passed away peacefully last night.

      Fr. Reynaldo Roda, OMI, 55, a missionary in the Philippines, murdered in a kidnap attempt.

      Jennie, and peace for her daughter Jeanie and her husband Sam

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

      Adrian, post-op hip follow-up, and for his Mother, who has been ill.

      Deo gratias, Al, for whom we prayed, came through his kidney removal surgery very well and is already up and walking about.

      J, first doctoral comprehensive exams tomorrow, and dealing with a stomach virus for the past two weeks, so not really ready. Finances are really difficult (as for most grad students), and struggling with my chronic depression and alcoholism.

      Karen, and a business partner.

      Cathy, newly diagnosed with breast cancer, double masectomy scheduled.
      Alice, about to have an evaluation by hospice, and for her family who have been in denial
      Evelyn - health concerns

      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

      January 19, May 20, September 19
      Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

      Not to give way to anger.
      Not to nurse a grudge.
      Not to entertain deceit in one's heart.
      Not to give a false peace.
      Not to forsake charity.
      Not to swear, for fear of perjuring oneself.
      To utter truth from heart and mouth.
      Not to return evil for evil.
      To do no wrong to anyone, and to bear patiently wrongs done to
      oneself.
      To love one's enemies.
      Not to curse those who curse us, but rather to bless them.
      To bear persecution for justice' sake.
      Not to be proud.
      Not addicted to wine.
      Not a great eater.
      Not drowsy.
      Not lazy.
      Not a grumbler.
      Not a detractor.
      To put one's hope in God.
      To attribute to God, and not to self, whatever good one sees in
      oneself.
      But to recognize always that the evil is one's own doing, and to
      impute it to oneself.

      REFLECTION

      A beginning warning as we read these instruments of good works: don't
      focus on the few you already can more or less manage! Lots of people
      do that, carefully skimming over the ones they can't dream of doing
      or fathoming, patting themselves on the back for the stray one here
      and there they can. (E.g., "Hey, I don't murder anybody...") None of
      us could do any of these things at all without grace and mercy. It is
      all God's gift that allows us to do good. The most important
      instruments of good works are the ones we HAVEN'T mastered... yet!!

      Just a quickie on one of these: "Not to forsake charity." St. Paul
      tells us that love never gives up. There is a similarity here to the
      vow of conversion of manners: one never gives up striving for
      holiness or the vow is broken. So it is with love: if we give up, it
      is broken.

      If we deny that a person can ever change, we deny an important truth: all
      people can change, even those who annoy or hurt us the most. Insisting that a
      person will never be any better is clinging to a falsehood. The person MIGHT
      never change, sure, but to insist that we KNOW someone never will improve is a
      lie. We know nothing of the sort. Every lie diminishes our sharing in truth.
      Since Jesus said He is the Truth, we must grasp and gather every bit of truth
      that we can. To cling to a false (and uncharitable,) conviction of a
      person's perpetual inability to become better is to work against ourselves. we
      should be gathering truth, not lies.

      One of the Dominican applications of their motto, "Veritas", Truth,
      to spirituality is to justify study by Jesus' statement that He is
      the Truth. Hence, every bit and fragment of real truth that
      Dominicans gain in their learning is like one more piece of the
      puzzle, one more shard of the shattered mirror of human consciousness
      that reflects Christ. The more we learn of truth, the more familiar
      His face will be to us when we finally see Him.

      Jesus said He was the Truth, St. John tells us God is love. The two
      are intertwined in the essence of God. They must also be wound
      together tightly in our ways of loving, forgiving and knowing each
      other.

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








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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please, for the mother we prayed for, killed with her 4 and 5 year old on a highway, suspicions now arise that it may have been intentional on
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 19, 2008
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        Prayers, please, for the mother we prayed for, killed with her 4 and 5 year old on a highway, suspicions now arise that it may have been intentional on the Mom's part.

        Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Joanna, for many years a faithful cook at Holy Name Monastery, St. Leo, FL. and for all her loved ones and those who mourn her.

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

        Aida, 45, who has a cyst in her brain. Still undergoing tests to determine treatment.
        Reggie, 50's, suffering from shingles and stress of caring for her elderly Mom.

        J2., another doctoral candidate with a host of problems employment and haelth-related, many obstacles as she tries to write her dissertation.

        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


        January 20, May 21, September 20
        Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

        To fear the Day of Judgment.
        To be in dread of hell.
        To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
        To keep death daily before one's eyes.
        To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
        To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
        When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ
        immediately.
        And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
        To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
        Not to love much talking.
        Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
        Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
        To listen willingly to holy reading.
        To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
        Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past
        sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
        Not to fulfil the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
        To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she
        herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the
        Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
        Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be
        holy, that one may be truly so called.

        REFLECTION


        The first four on today's list are not very palatable to many modern
        ears, but, like all of the Instruments of Good Works, they are
        important, they are interrelated and each one helps one fulfill the
        others. Arguably, one could say that the focus of the first four is
        the fifth: "To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life."

        We have largely "gotten over" dreading Judgment. We went from a
        paralyzing, Jansenistic, scrupulous fear of it right into a smug
        assurance that everyone passes the test with honors. Well, there's got to
        be truth hidden between those two false extremes somewhere!

        I know, beyond any doubt that I shall be both delighted and very,
        very embarrassed and ashamed to meet God face to face, to find that
        my faith has been confirmed. Ah, joy at the confirmation, but oh,
        crushing shame at the simultaneous confirmation of how very far short
        of Him I have fallen, through choice, through laziness, through
        negligence, through sin.

        One can dread that realization without thinking that God is some
        intrinsically mean sort, just waiting for one to trip up, hunting for the
        slightest loophole to nail us. Quite the opposite is the truth! God's awesome
        Divine Mercy seeks every possible way to bring us to Himself and
        His rewards of bliss. Every possible way!!

        Let us admit that we have been all too good at tripping
        on our own: God has no need to duplicate services there! Fearing
        judgment is part and parcel of knowing who we are. We have all
        sinned. And I know I have failed faith, hope and love, again and again
        and again, usually with no more excuse than selfishness.

        We keep goals in sight while training. Forget the Olympic gold and
        you will quite likely forget why you are training so hard. For us,
        between now and the "Olympics" of death, it is only the training that
        matters. It is also good to recall that, as Benedictines, our goal is
        NOT simply to "pass", but to stand on the podium. (Figuratively
        speaking. Don't carry this limping analogy too far, or you'll wind up
        with only three people getting saved, all of them Benedictine. Not
        only is that NOT where I am heading, but it would annoy the Jesuits
        terribly.)

        That's not because we are any better, it is only because
        we ourselves have added great holiness to our goal. Why else embrace
        the Rule? Keeping "death daily before our eyes," we are ALWAYS at
        the Olympics, thanks to our vow of conversion of manner of life, we
        are daily in training, every minute, in fact.

        All of these four lead to the fifth, keeping guard over one's
        actions, or mindfulness. Here is a great connection between the
        Benedictine way and the Buddhist way. Mindfulness is the vestibule of
        ecstasy. That is no exaggeration!

        So, also with religious mystical experience. St. Teresa of Avila
        could not make it through the Our Father without falling into
        ecstasy. Whoa! How many times do we make it through without ecstasy,
        even with full attention? The ordinary becomes ecstatic in mysticism
        because of grace, working on mindfulness and purity of heart, which
        are so clearly linked.

        Kierkegaard was right about this one: "Purity of heart is to will one
        thing." When that one thing is God, grace can lead us to dizzying
        heights. And purity of heart is a very, very Benedictine concept!

        The Buddhists have a saying that monastics can preach a sermon just
        by the way they walk. That's what the care of mindfulness can do!
        Just wait till we get to the 12th degree of humility, which says that
        the monastics' humility will shine through their outward appearance,
        whether walking or sitting or working or praying.

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







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