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Holy Rule for May 25

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the following: Fr. Bede, and all our Bedes, on their patronal feast. Chris, a young father who is experiencing unknown head pain and
    Message 1 of 5 , May 24, 2008
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the following:

      Fr. Bede, and all our Bedes, on their patronal feast.
      Chris, a young father who is experiencing unknown head pain and for his wife Karen.

      Marie a elderly lady who is under hospice care and for her daughter Penny who is ill.

      The soul of Elizabeth who died this week and for her family who mourn her, for her happy death and eternal rest.

      Deo gratias, Monica, whose cancer we prayed for a while ago, seems to be in first stages of remission.

      Deo gratias, Deniis, whose phone interview went well now has a face-to-face scheduled for June.

      Prayers for Ella, 5, inoperable brain stem tumor, and for her distraught parents and family.

      Lisa, ovarian cancer for 14 years and is now in hospice; and for her husband Billy who is deeply suffering at the pending loss of his beloved spouse. And for Ralph, their Hospice Chaplain, for strength to minister according to the wishes and will of our Father in heaven during Lisa's final days.

      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 24, May 25, September 24
      Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence

      Let us do what the Prophet says:
      "I said, 'I will guard my ways,
      that I may not sin with my tongue.
      I have set a guard to my mouth.'
      I was mute and was humbled,
      and kept silence even from good things" (Ps. 38:2-3).
      Here the Prophet shows
      that if the spirit of silence ought to lead us at times
      to refrain even from good speech,
      so much the more ought the punishment for sin
      make us avoid evil words.


      Therefore, since the spirit of silence is so important,
      permission to speak should rarely be granted
      even to perfect disciples,
      even though it be for good, holy edifying conversation;
      for it is written,
      "In much speaking you will not escape sin" (Prov. 10:19),
      and in another place,
      "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21).


      For speaking and teaching belong to the mistress;
      the disciple's part is to be silent and to listen.
      And for that reason
      if anything has to be asked of the Superior,
      it should be asked
      with all the humility and submission inspired by reverence.


      But as for coarse jests and idle words
      or words that move to laughter,
      these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
      and for such conversation
      we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.

      REFLECTION

      Words, even kind words, are not always a blessing. In the absence of
      silence, basically meaningless rituals of speech may actually serve
      as distancers, shorthand acknowledgement of the other(s) with the
      unspoken agreement that "Sufficient, token attention has been paid, now
      leave me alone!" I'm not saying all such rituals are empty, they
      aren't, but most of us have a few that really could be examined.

      When we are alone is the best and easiest time to cultivate silence.
      Turn off the car radio, temporarily (or even permanently!) kill your
      television. Switch on the answer phone and turn the volume down.
      Examine all the areas where you have added noise you truly do not
      need.

      Why? Because noise is usually added as distraction, and
      distraction is what the monastic doesn't want. We don't want our focus
      scattered, because our work is to be looking at the very unlovely things
      in our deepest self that distraction helps us deny or ignore. We have a
      lifelong self-scrutiny and that requires a lot of dumping the stuff people
      generally employ to avoid such truthful self-confrontation.

      Even boredom- another reason we add noise- can be trotted out under
      its old monastic name of "accidie" and teach us lots. In the desert of boredom,
      one can confront the lackluster self! No wonder we don't like it!

      Some family church experimentation might be possible, but NEVER push
      others into your choice of monastic style. It will do them and you a
      great disservice. Anything attempted here must be done with consent
      of all and without being doctrinaire, especially if there are
      children involved. Do you really want to run the Villa von Trapp the
      way the Captain did?? I hope not...

      With those precautions, here's a suggestion or two for family/spouse
      silence. You might try a sort of "grand silence" in the morning, say
      just until after the first cup of coffee or so. This would be welcome
      to many who'd just as soon not speak in the AM anyhow. But don't
      leave it at silence. Remember those ritual phrases of affection or
      acknowledgment I spoke about? Learn to do them without words, with
      the eyes, with a smile, with a touch.

      Married Benedictines often err in the translation of monastic styles
      into their own lives on the side of celibacy. Hey, all Benedictines
      include a LOT of married people. For them, the celibate restraint is
      removed. An affectionate kiss or caress without words can often
      convey volumes of love that a clich├ęd "Good morning, dear." does not.
      We can blush at our own emotions, use words to cover them and our own
      embarrassment. Try- for however brief a time- to express all you feel
      without words. I think you'll be impressed.

      With children involved, great care must be taken and often silence
      foresworn altogether. Always remember that one's children and spouse
      have a higher moral claim on one's vocation than Oblation does. The
      will of God will come to you more clearly through your marriage or
      parenthood than it will from any secondary source, including the Holy
      Rule.

      If, and only if, children are willing to enter into a period of
      silence each day, for them, make it short. We are dealing, as you
      well know, with antsy kids and short attention spans. They're
      SUPPOSED to be that way: respect it. Suggestion? What about 5 minutes
      of taped reading at dinner? What about doing the cleanup in silence
      with smiles? What about trying either just for Lent?

      Be prepared for your efforts to fail. Not everyone can do these
      things. If the experiment doesn't work, DROP IT at once. Never, ever
      force your own vocation down the throats of others. Always remember
      that there is great asceticism in the acceptance of noise we wish we
      could avoid. Always remember that there is a hermitage of deep peace
      and serenity in every heart, but you must build it with God's help.

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



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