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Holy Rule for June 6

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Deo gratias, this is from the grandmother of the three year old we prayed for yesterday: Sometimes the power of prayer astounds me! My granddaughter was
    Message 1 of 244 , Jun 5, 2008
      +PAX

      Deo gratias, this is from the grandmother of the three year old we prayed for yesterday:

      Sometimes the power of prayer astounds me! My granddaughter was able to get her MRI today and, thanks be to God, she is just fine. No tumor, nothing wrong. Thank you and all the others who prayed for her.

      Prayers for the spiritual, mental and phsyical well-being of the following and for all thier loved ones and all who take care of them:
      Please pray or Vanessa, very serious trauma from an accident on a bicycle.
      Jim, mid-eighties, serious leg infection and kidney problems.

      V., vertigo of unknown origin, sorting out financial issues, too.

      Adrian, renewal of private vows, and for Terry, whose funeral is today.

      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 5, June 6, October 6
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The eighth degree of humility
      is that a monk do nothing except what is commended
      by the common Rule of the monastery
      and the example of the elders.

      REFLECTION

      Well, this one looks deceptively simple enough. Just try it! I speak
      as one who has frequently failed it and who sometimes* fails it
      still. [* I only fail it on special occasions: Sunday, Monday,
      Tuesday, Wednesday.... you get the picture.] This step of humility,
      by the way, will translate very easily into family life, the
      neighborhood, or the workplace.

      The goal here is not just external uniformity so much as internal
      detachment. We are deeply attached to the things we do. Demanding to
      do things our own way is not humble. When observers come to the
      monastery, for the monks or the nuns, I often see little quirks of
      external piety in church and think: "Well, that'll have to go..."

      One cannot profitably go through monastic formation cherishing the
      notion that one has got it right and one's elders have it wrong. You
      may even be right, or the matter may be completely neutral. (The
      term "optional" comes to mind, but that was NOT used to express
      neutrality!) That's not the issue here. Detachment and humility are.

      When we singularize ourselves without real moral imperative, the
      message given to the whole community is "I know better." That this is
      not warmly received in a junior or newcomer should come as no
      surprise. A monastic family is like any spouse: you had better not
      marry what you hope to change them into, but only what they ARE. If
      we fail this, we change "Thy will be done" into "MY will be done!"
      and we do so with sorry results.

      No spouse is perfect, neither is any family, monastery or job, but if
      you expect to change them right off the bat, you're doomed to woe. In
      monastery and marriage and workplace, the only person you can REALLY
      change is yourself and the sooner you get around to doing that, the
      better for all concerned.

      The sad thing (and I am guilty here!) is that sometimes these things
      we do on our own have nothing to do with piety at all. They are,
      pure and simple, revolt, passive aggression, small, though very
      public ways of expressing our scorn for this or that concept or
      person. Having lived in the Church of the 60's and 70's, I picked up
      the idea of refusal as a kind of non-violent demonstration.

      I also must say that, in those less-than-halcyon days, I picked it up
      from my monastic seniors, just not always the best seniors! I still
      do it at times, and I still wrestle with paring those times down day
      by day. The hardest humility and obedience are to things we truly
      think are dumb and do not matter. The difficulty alone must mean
      there is great potential for growth there.

      An interesting aside here. The dissenter often thinks she is a grand
      and eloquent witness for justice and truth. The stubborn monk thinks
      he has scored a real victory for integrity and correctness. In fact,
      those who live with them often think they're just silly fools. Of the
      two impressions, this last is closer to truth!

      It is also interesting to note (again, from sorry personal experience,)
      that the rebel often looks at other rebels (with whom he does not agree,
      so they are, of course, WRONG...) as silly fools. Wow! If one can be so right
      about those other rebels, how come the other monastics aren't right about
      oneself?? Hmmmm....

      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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