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Holy Rule for June 1

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Vladimir, on the anniversary of his death, for his happy death and eternal rest and all who mourn him. Prayers, too, for the
    Message 1 of 244 , May 31, 2008
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for Vladimir, on the anniversary of his death, for his happy death and eternal rest and all who mourn him.

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

      Joan and her husband, Bob, who is in ICU on a ventilator, with congestive heart failure
      due to severe bladder/kidney infection. Please pray that they are held close
      to God during this trial.

      Deo gratias, Basil's cataract surgery went well.

      For Vince, that he be able to better pray.

      For Michael, resolution of a neighborhood rift.

      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 31, June 1, October 1
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The third degree of humility is that a person
      for love of God
      submit himself to his Superior in all obedience,
      imitating the Lord, of whom the Apostle says,
      "He became obedient even unto death."

      REFLECTION

      Looks a little repetitious here, doesn't it? Almost like St. Benedict
      was scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something to use for a
      third step, so he'd still wind up with twelve. Not so.

      This short passage tempts one to a short reading and that casual
      perusal will miss the terribly important things here. These are the
      important elements that frame and sustain our obedience: it is done
      for love of God, it is submission to another and it is lifelong.
      Remove any one of those mainstays and you no longer have a
      Benedictine.

      It is nothing to persevere to the end without love. Nothing. It is
      nothing to obey without love, Eichmann did that quite admirably. Nor
      does it avail us anything at all to be obedient to ourselves: big
      challenge there! We'd wind up Sarabaites for sure, worshipping
      nothing but the idol of our own wills.

      This third degree gives the reason for Benedictine obedience: "for
      the love of God." We do not obey for so little as an orderly community,
      our obedience is not mere sociology, it is love. More even than just
      love, it is love of the One Who is Love at its highest perfection.

      We obey Love's delegates, our superiors, unto death. There are two
      meanings hidden in that phrase. It can mean martyrdom, obeying even
      to the point of being killed, but it also means obeying all of our lives,
      till the moment of our deaths. Frankly, few of us will be martyrs, because
      few of us are worthy of that grace. ALL of us, however, are called to the
      lifelong white martyrdom of obedience, which can often remind us that
      St. Teresa of Avila said that the martyrs "bought heaven cheaply", that
      they gained in one instant what the rest of us must plod on for many
      decades in a lifelong struggle to gain.

      Like Christ, for love, we become "obedient even unto death." During
      the Spanish Civil War, in the 30's, Communist forces raided the
      Benedictine monastery of El Pueyo, taking its 18 monks prisoner. One
      of the very significant things about this group is that many were
      just average monks, nothing special. All of them were martyred and
      one witness said that they went to their death "joyfully, as if going
      to a fiesta." These martyrs were members of our Subiaco Congregation
      and we are justifiably proud to have them as our brothers.

      Benedictine obedience of love, even unto death is decidedly not the
      kind that would please earthly tyrants. In fact, they'd gladly kill
      us for it. There is quite a likeness to our crucified Lord if we
      embrace that peril fully.

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




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • russophile2002
      +PAX Prayers for Nina, admitted to hospice, and for her husband, Larry, who also has health concerns, and for their children and family and all who will mourn
      Message 244 of 244 , Aug 30

        +PAX

         

        Prayers for Nina, admitted to hospice, and for her husband, Larry, who also has health concerns, and for their children and family and all who will mourn Nina.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Abbot Benno Malfer, OSB, of Muri-Gries Abbey, 70, and for his family, Community and all who mourn him.

         

        Prayers for safe travels for Peter D., going to Europe. For a safe, happy and holy trip.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of my parents, Jerome and Louise, on what would have been the 76th anniversary of their wedding.

         

        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

        May 1, August 31, December 31
        Chapter 73: On the Fact That the Full Observance of Justice Is Not
        Established in This Rule

        Now we have written this Rule
        in order that by its observance in monasteries
        we may show that we have attained some degree of virtue
        and the rudiments of the religious life.

        But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life
        there are the teaching of the holy Fathers,
        the observance of which leads to the height of perfection.
        For what page or what utterance
        of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
        is not a most unerring rule for human life?
        Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers
        does not loudly proclaim
        how we may come by a straight course to our Creator?
        Then the Conferences and the Institutes
        and the Lives of the Fathers,
        as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil --
        what else are they but tools of virtue
        for right-living and obedient monks?
        But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent
        they are a source of shame and confusion.

        Whoever you are, therefore,
        who are hastening to the heavenly homeland,
        fulfill with the help of Christ
        this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners;
        and then at length under God's protection
        you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue
        which we have mentioned above.

        REFLECTION

        I used to love to teach 8th graders. At the top of a kindergarten
        through 8th grade school, they thought they had REALLY arrived, they
        were very pleased with themselves! My 8th graders knew that I loved
        them, so I could afford to tease them a bit. I used to narrow my
        eyes into a fake menacing gaze and say: "Ah, now you're the top, but next
        year? Next year you will be FRESHMEN! The lowest of the low! Just
        wait till high school." And they would laugh, secure in the fact
        that I MUST be joking....

        Well, folks, the beauty of this last chapter is that is tells us we
        are ALL eighth graders, if even that. We'd do well to take St.
        Benedict seriously on this one, but I'll bet he smiled with the same
        affection I used to show to my kids. Three times a year we read the
        Holy Rule entirely and three times a year he lovingly shakes us
        awake to the reality that we will for all of our lives, always be
        freshmen next year!

        That's the Benedictine surprise that's wrapped in conversion of
        manners: we never "arrive", we're not so hot as we thought ourselves
        to be, we are just barely ready for the next step.
        This is VERY different from the self-loathing we spoke about
        yesterday with the bitter zeal. This is the true self-knowledge, the
        smiling, even shrugging acceptance of the fact that we are just on
        the way, nothing special there!

        God is so vast and beyond us, we are always taking the tumbling
        first steps of toddlers towards Him, but He is always holding on and
        beaming with the pride and love of a parent guiding those steps. Our
        Holy Rule is filled with awesome things, yet it is only
        the "rudiments" of the spiritual life!

        Eighth graders, eighth graders all, but ah, what a high school
        awaits!

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

         

         


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