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Holy Rule for April 6

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  • jeromeleo@stmarysmonastery.org
    +PAX HUGE DEO GRATIAS for M., who has returned to the Sacraments after many years. Divine Mercy is awesome! Deo gratias for those in Cullman, Alabama, who were
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2008

      HUGE DEO GRATIAS for M., who has returned to the Sacraments after many years. Divine Mercy is awesome!

      Deo gratias for those in Cullman, Alabama, who were not affected by the tornado there, and for those who were.

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

      a woman taking a leave of absence from a terribly abusive work situation, for all involved.

      Jan, Oblate novice, in CCU on life support and hospice has been suggested, forĀ graceĀ and strength for her and her husband, Dave, and their boys.

      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 6, August 6, December 6
      Chapter 54: Whether a Monastic Should Receive Letters or Anything Else

      On no account shall a monastic be allowed
      to receive letters, blessed tokens or any little gift whatsoever
      from parents or anyone else,
      or from her sisters,
      or to give the same,
      without the Abbess's permission.
      But if anything is sent her even by her parents,
      let her not presume to take it
      before it has been shown to the Abbess.
      And it shall be in the Abbess's power to decide
      to whom it shall be given,
      if she allows it to be received;
      and the sister to whom it was sent should not be grieved,
      lest occasion be given to the devil.

      Should anyone presume to act otherwise,
      let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.


      At first glance, it might seem that there is little or nothing for
      Oblates in the world in this chapter. Not so! However, we shall have
      to look a bit deeper and pick about a bit...

      OK, remember the Abbot holds the place of Christ in the community.
      Now look again. The monastic is to rely on and look to no one but
      Christ, and to receive nothing more or less than what is needed,
      unless the Abbot, in Christ's place grants it. Remember the chapter
      about no monastic defending another, taking another into their
      special protection? One can easily see that this is covered here,
      too. No one should ever be able to say: "I am well-off and secure
      because Sister X. is my ally." Sister X. takes care of zero. God
      takes care of all!

      We can have such a distorted of view of our own income and property.
      We can think we have "earned" what we have and can therefore use it
      with impunity. Not so, and not Christian teaching, either. All goods
      are held with stewardship for the common good of all. No ownership is
      outright and exclusive, except for the sad ownership of our sins.

      No matter what our skills or gifts or how we have developed them, no
      matter if we were born with inherited comfort, no matter at all! ALL
      of that came from God, every bit. We are literally nothing at all but
      beneficiaries. All that we have or hope to have is nothing more or
      less than a windfall from God and His mercy.

      Now that is what this chapter is really all about, and it applies to
      everyone within the cloister and without. St. Benedict wanted to use
      these principles to focus his disciples on the truth that everything,
      utterly everything comes from Christ, not from Sister X. or the lucky
      stroke of having wealthy family or friends elsewhere, or even from
      our own work. The job or business itself came from God, so did the
      strength to be productive in any way.

      Every Benedictine heart, beloveds, must examine itself by what we
      learn from this passage in the Holy Rule. Absolutely nothing
      whatsoever is ours, everything comes from God. Never take more than
      we need, never share less than we ought to share. Freely, fully have
      we all received all that we have from God. No less freely should our
      hearts let it go, spread it around to others.

      Make no mistake that there are at least two ways to react to the
      array of God's giftings. One is grateful largesse, a truly holy
      detachment from things as we honestly desire others to share in our
      blessings. (This is as true of the spiritual goods as it is of the

      The other, a most pathetic one, is stinge and miserliness,
      a panicky, insecure fear that another might get more or have it
      easier than oneself. Nothing I can think of is more unbecoming to any
      who have received magnificently, yet we can all think of tragic
      examples of just such reactions. Guard very, very carefully against
      this last pitfall. I have seen it ensnare many a cloistered monastic,
      no one is exempt, and it will throw a dreadful cancer into one's very

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB

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