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Holy Rule for Feb. 2

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX A blessed Candlemas, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, to all. Prayers for Mary McQ. on her birthday Thursday. God is outside of time
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 1, 2008
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      +PAX

      A blessed Candlemas, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, to all.

      Prayers for Mary McQ. on her birthday Thursday. God is outside of time>

      Prayers for the success of Dave's Confirmation class and their retreat on Saturday, may God fill their hearts.

      Prayers for the Trappist monks of Our Lady of Victory Abbey, in Kenya. Ethnic cleansing is going on and they are sheltering 125 families, no doubt at their own peril.

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

      Mary Kenny, who lived in our guesthouse for five years with Comet, her dog. Comet died last month and it was a crushing loss for Mary.

      Jordan. Has flu-like symptoms and went to work with a fever. Terrified of losing his job. Pray for his Mother, Sandra, too. She's very concerned, but knows his work situation.

      Shirley and her cat, Simon has a mass on his lung and a lot is undecided about his condition. Biopsy first.

      Theresa, fighting drug addiction.

      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

      February 2, June 3, October 3
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The fifth degree of humility
      is that he hide from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts
      that enter his heart
      or the sins committed in secret,
      but that he humbly confess them.
      The Scripture urges us to this when it says,
      "Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in Him" (Ps. 36:5)
      and again,
      "Confess to the Lord, for He is good,
      for His mercy endures forever" (Ps. 105:1).
      And the Prophet likewise says,
      "My offense I have made known to You,
      and my iniquities I have not covered up.
      I said: 'I will declare against myself my iniquities to the Lord;'
      and 'You forgave the wickedness of my heart'" (Ps. 31:5).

      REFLECTION

      To hide one's symptoms from one's physician is to court misdiagnosis.
      If you lie to your therapist, why bother with analysis? Both these
      tactics obscure illness rather than produce health. The "health" they
      seek is nothing more than a falsehood, an illusion based on an
      incomplete view.

      It is natural for us to wish to wish that parents and abbots think
      the best of us. It is supernatural to want them to know the truth
      when they need to know it to help us. That "natural" tendency in us,
      however, is founded on a very unlovely kink: the desire to ALWAYS
      look good, ALWAYS seem in control, even when we are floundering in
      deep trouble. If parents or bosses or abbots think very highly of us,
      this temptation is even stronger; we'd rather not burst their bubble,
      we think it is to our advantage not to do so.

      The monastery is a school of the Lord's service, but it is a hospital
      of sorts, too. When we place ourselves under the care of the Holy
      Rule and an abbot, we have admitted our need for care, for treatment,
      for progress. Why deny ourselves any of those things now? I'm not
      sure, but I'll bet there are tons of easy ways to fake one's way out
      of chemical dependency treatment. Why bother? Unlike many in
      substance abuse treatment, we came to Benedictinism of our own accord.

      In Eastern monasticism, the tradition is for the disciple to confess
      thoughts to the elder every day. This is considered a crucially
      important part of monastic formation. It humbles the disciple and it
      leaves the elder in a much better position to train and advise.
      Granted, with many monastics in and out of house, most abbots would
      be unable to do this daily, but every monastic needs a confessor or
      spiritual director or spiritual co-struggler who can really know
      what's going on in their souls.

      Parents know how it feels when a child has need of them and never
      lets them know. It is an awful feeling and often the child's reasons
      (like fear or deceit,) for keeping them in the dark hurt even more.
      No parent, no boss and no abbot is perfect. They are all human and
      flawed, just like us. However, when we avoid trusting them with some
      of our dark side, we cheat ourselves of a chance to see their
      greatness called forth in compassion, mercy and wisdom.

      Balance, common sense and moderation obtain here, too. It is one
      thing not to tell one's abbot or boss something because one wishes to
      be thought well of, quite another to realize that some things, when
      there truly is no need to tell them, are best left unsaid. As Father
      Damian of St. Leo is fond of saying: "The truth is not always
      nourishing." However, SOMEONE needs to know: a spiritual director
      or confessor. We are too weak to trod the path alone and far too
      prideful not miss the chance at humbling ourselves.

      Family life, in either monastery or home church, must be founded on
      truth and reality to be healthy. All of us have seen flaming examples
      of dysfunction when it is not. Even though sometimes a mother will
      say: "For heaven's sake, don't tell your father!" there has to be
      SOME connection with reality. Not only is humility the reality of
      truth, but Jesus, too is the Truth. Why on earth bother seeking Him
      if we don't want Truth?

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

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