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Holy Rule for May 23

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Amy, Sean and Mary, all with important job interviews. May God give each of them the right job. Prayers for Dennis, seeking work in
    Message 1 of 5 , May 22, 2008
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      Prayers, please, for Amy, Sean and Mary, all with important job interviews. May God give each of them the right job.

      Prayers for Dennis, seeking work in another state so the family can move loser to his wife's 85 year old Mom.

      Deo gratias, someone whose anorexia we prayed for in the past is doing well with significant recovery.

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

      Audrey, serious diagnosis requiring dialysis, and Terry, her husband.

      Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Ivy, 98, who has gone to God, and for all who mourn her, especially her sons, William and Paul and John and his family.

      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 22, May 23, September 22
      Chapter 5: On Obedience

      The first degree of humility is obedience without delay.
      This is the virtue of those
      who hold nothing dearer to them than Christ;
      who, because of the holy service they have professed,
      and the fear of hell,
      and the glory of life everlasting,
      as soon as anything has been ordered by the Superior,
      receive it as a divine command
      and cannot suffer any delay in executing it.
      Of these the Lord says,
      "As soon as he heard, he obeyed Me" (Ps. 17:45).
      And again to teachers He says,
      "He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).

      Such as these, therefore,
      immediately leaving their own affairs
      and forsaking their own will,
      dropping the work they were engaged on
      and leaving it unfinished,
      with the ready step of obedience
      follow up with their deeds the voice of him who commands.
      And so as it were at the same moment
      the master's command is given
      and the disciple's work is completed,
      the two things being speedily accomplished together
      in the swiftness of the fear of God
      by those who are moved
      with the desire of attaining life everlasting.
      That desire is their motive for choosing the narrow way,
      of which the Lord says,
      "Narrow is the way that leads to life" (Matt. 7:14),
      so that,
      not living according to their own choice
      nor obeying their own desires and pleasures
      but walking by another's judgment and command,
      they dwell in monasteries and desire to have an Abbot over them.
      Assuredly such as these are living up to that maxim of the Lord
      in which He says,
      "I have come not to do My own will,
      but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38).


      A few monks were talking with a Brother with a charge who was
      expressing his frustration that people did not do what he asked. He
      had tried to be polite, but his requests were ignored or excuses were
      given at every turn. He was clueless as to why this was happening and
      honestly upset.

      Finally, a senior monk interrupted him with one of the nicest remarks
      I have ever heard made to a monastic. He said: "Wait a minute, Brother,
      you don't understand. You're not like other people, you do what you
      are told without further argument." Another monk added: "For most
      people being told to do something is merely a point to begin

      Sad, but true! Bluntly put, obedience doesn't do its best work until it
      messes with your life, until it disturbs you and stirs up your
      complacent, settled smugness. It's rather like a light switch. The
      bulb doesn't go on until someone throws the switch. The potential is
      always there, but no switch, no light. Potential light alone is not
      terribly enlightening, as anyone who's tried to read in a fully-wired,
      darkened room can tell you!

      There is a big difference between apathy and detachment.
      This chapter offers a prime example: one leaves one's own affairs,
      drops whatever one was in the midst of and forsakes one's own will.
      That's detachment. Apathy is selfish, detachment is selfless. Apathy
      makes oneself the center, detachment revolves around God and
      others. Detachment cares deeply, but not for the selfish will!

      Apathy, on the other hand, truly doesn't care one way or the other about
      anything. There is no ascesis in apathy, because all things are regarded with
      equal indifference. It is the LACK of indifference and the level of personal
      attachment that makes detachment work. Detachment is active, apathy
      is passive. Apathy is the uncaring state, detachment is the lover's struggle
      against undue caring. It sets our priorities aright and they need that badly!

      Satan hates monastic life, so different aspects will chafe different
      people; that's his only hope of success. Obedience may not bother one
      who goes off the deep end over chastity. Poverty may be a simple
      cinch for one who can scarcely endure stability. Having said this, if
      obedience is your thorn, any words I use to praise it will merely
      annoy. I know, because praise for the "gift" of celibacy sometimes
      drives me wild! But obedience- and celibacy- are deserving of praise.
      They work. When we allow them to work, they lead to immense freedom.

      Obedience was the victim of a lot of word play in the 60's and 70's.
      One must hope it was all sincere, but it was often misguided.
      Beloveds, if you call it "coordination" or "dialogue" or "consensus"
      you run a terrible risk of referring to a light switch more or less
      perpetually in the off position, or to one which casts light only where we'd
      like it to shine. Alas, we are not usually wise enough to request light
      where we need it most. That must be left to God and God uses obedience.

      Always be wary of euphemism, it can be a harbinger that something is askew.
      Euphemisms often stem from a chip on the shoulder and a chip on
      the shoulder usually means wood higher up- like in the cranial regions!
      When any of those euphemisms actually work, actually intervene in
      one's life dramatically, they do so as obedience, plain and simple.
      One might as well just call the rose a rose! It does smell wondrously
      sweet, but it also has thorns...

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

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