Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Holy Rule for June 2

Expand Messages
  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for a safe trip for Pat and Lisa this week. Prayers for S., obsessive/complusive disorder. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God s
    Message 1 of 244 , Jun 1, 2008
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for a safe trip for Pat and Lisa this week.

      Prayers for S., obsessive/complusive disorder.

      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 1, June 2, October 2
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The fourth degree of humility
      is that he hold fast to patience with a silent mind
      when in this obedience he meets with difficulties
      and contradictions
      and even any kind of injustice,
      enduring all without growing weary or running away.
      For the Scripture says,
      "The one who perseveres to the end,
      is the one who shall be saved" (Matt. 10:22);
      and again
      "Let your heart take courage, and wait for the Lord" (Ps. 26:14)!


      And to show how those who are faithful
      ought to endure all things, however contrary, for the Lord,
      the Scripture says in the person of the suffering,
      "For Your sake we are put to death all the day long;
      we are considered as sheep marked for slaughter" (Ps. 43:22; Rom.
      8:36).
      Then, secure in their hope of a divine recompense,
      they go on with joy to declare,
      "But in all these trials we conquer,
      through Him who has granted us His love" (Rom. 8:37).
      Again, in another place the Scripture says,
      "You have tested us, O God;
      You have tried us a silver is tried, by fire;
      You have brought us into a snare;
      You have laid afflictions on our back" (Matt. 5:39-41).
      And to show that we ought to be under a Superior,
      it goes on to say,
      "You have set men over our heads" (Ps. 65:12).


      Moreover, by their patience
      those faithful ones fulfill the Lord's command
      in adversities and injuries:
      when struck on one cheek, they offer the other;
      when deprived of their tunic, they surrender also their cloak;
      when forced to go a mile, they go two;
      with the Apostle Paul they bear with false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26)
      and bless those who curse them (1 Cor. 4:12).

      REFLECTION

      Be careful how you read this fourth step of patience. It is an ideal,
      presented in its most flawless form. It is not an unreachable goal, but neither
      should we expect significant progress before noon today. It is our call and
      our vocation, but it is a lifelong task.

      The danger for schleps like me is that this step can give one an image
      of a perfect, 1950's TV sitcom Mom: shirt dress, high heels and pearls as
      everyday wear, cookies and milk always forthcoming in a kitchen as clean
      as a surgical suite and never a hair out of place. Full make-up on rising
      and wears hat and matching gloves to shop. PUHLEEEZE! Give me a break.
      Real patience in action is not at all like that.

      Patience in action is a fierce struggle. Never think that it's easy for
      others and therefore something is wrong with you: it isn't easy
      for anyone. One of the biggest flaws of the "I'm OK and you are
      not..." school of ministry is that it makes people think exactly
      this. "It's easy for her and there's something terribly wrong with
      me." Neither is true.

      Please drop that TV image of perfect models, who flit from flower to
      flower in life beamingly, fraught with about as much stress as a
      butterfly in a climate-controlled greenhouse in full bloom. That
      image will harm you. The Holy Rule and Scripture were not
      written for television's perfect, clueless potted plants. They were written
      for strays and plodders like ourselves.

      The Rule and Scriptures were meant for strugglers. They were written
      for real, average people, halt and lame, battle-scarred veterans like
      you and me, for people who have weathered life, but barely. Hey,
      there may be cookies and milk, but you'll probably have to get the
      plate yourself and brush aside a LOT of blood, sweat and tears to
      find one. Oh, and please drink the milk fast and take as much as you
      can... the fridge broke today.

      Patience is surely one of the most important fuels that perseverance
      runs on, but don't be surprised if it often is not very high octane!
      Neither should it surprise you if your engine is not a slant V-8, but
      rather a very cheap lawnmower that has trouble starting. Patience
      is ENDURANCE, not ease. It may, after years of struggle, confer a
      great peace and serenity, but it rarely, if ever, feels like that in
      the middle of things.

      Brother Patrick Creamer, OSB, of Saint Leo Abbey in Florida, taught
      me patience and perseverance. He was able to do so because he was so
      transparent about his own struggles. Many others tried to tell me how
      hard it was, but their lack of candor made me dismiss their warnings
      as tokenism. It certainly didn't seem to be hard for them. I couldn't
      believe them. Patrick, my late and beloved mentor, was so very different.

      Patrick entered the monastery in 1954, when he was 40, after a long
      career at sea. He missed being at sea so much (and for so long!) that
      it magnified many of the every day crosses of monastic life. Abbot
      Marion, who loved brothers and had a very tender spot for them, used
      to send Patrick to the beach for a weekend occasionally, in years
      when that sort of thing didn't often happen. +Marion was wise enough
      to know he'd lose Patrick if he didn't get a salt air fix now and then.

      Even the beach trips were not enough alone. Patrick told me he was
      tempted to leave every single day for ten years. Patrick, when I
      lived with him, literally stayed packed with a hidden suitcase for
      years and boasted of his ability to be gone in an hour. As a novice,
      my heart used to be selfishly in my throat. I wanted him to go, if
      that was what he was supposed to do, but I really didn't want to lose
      him.

      I am breaking no confidence if I also tell you that, during the worst
      of those years, Patrick joined AA and remained faithfully sober for
      decades, helping scores of alcoholics who came to him, because a
      transparently wounded person usually can. I can also tell you that
      Brother Patrick finally decided to stay: when he was 83 or so!! What a
      witness of hope that was to me, to others struggling like me.

      Please, let us all be given patience. But when we get it, however
      little at a time, let NONE of us be "perfect" TV Moms. Let us all be Patricks,
      let us show others how terribly hard, yet doable it can be.

      Patrick held forth from his infirmary room until his death
      at two weeks short of 90. A steady stream of visitors never waned.
      On the head of his bed and on the shaving mirror over his sink were
      two small notes, written in his own inimitable hand: "Lord, let me
      come to You." They broke my heart the first time I saw them. I still
      didn't want to lose him. But I know how right he was and how richly he
      deserves that loving embrace for which he so patiently waited.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome LEO, OSB (again and again you'll see why I took the second
      name!)
      jeromeleo@...
      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

         

         


      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.