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Holy Rule for June 30

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please for the spiritual, mental and physicall well-being of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Marian,
    Message 1 of 228 , Jun 29, 2008
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      Prayers, please for the spiritual, mental and physicall well-being of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Marian, severe rheumatoid arthritis not responding to pain management.

      Mrs. H., possibly needing surgery in the near future, and for her son and family.

      Jim, lung cancer and in the hospital now with double pneumonia. He has been away from the Sacraments for many, many years, so special prayers that he return to them.

      David, who is in the hosipital with a serious staph infection and may have to have his arm amputated. He has two handicapped adult children he takes care of plus a wife.

      Prayers of thanks from Barb for getting a buyer for her Mom's house so quickly. Deo gratias!

      James, oral surgery is set for Monday, June 30. This will be his third oral surgery to remove possible cancer. The doctor indicates this growth is more intense than the other two. The other two surgeries resulted in cancerous growths removed from the cheek and the gum.

      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 29, June 30, October 30
      Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults

      If a brother is found to be obstinate,
      or disobedient, or proud, or murmuring,
      or habitually transgressing the Holy Rule in any point
      and contemptuous of the orders of his seniors,
      the latter shall admonish him secretly a first and a second time,
      as Our Lord commands (Matt. 18:15).
      If he fails to amend,
      let him be given a public rebuke in front of the whole community.
      But if even then he does not reform,
      let him be placed under excommunication,
      provided that he understands the seriousness of that penalty;
      if he is perverse, however,
      let him undergo corporal punishment.


      While some today may chafe at these chapters, known as the penal code
      of the Holy Rule, believe me, the modern problem is NOT that they are
      too stringently enforced. Quite the opposite. The Benedictine
      atmosphere of gentle moderation can cloak and empower a lot of
      timidity and cowardice, too. Neither are very loving, they're just
      useful means of avoidance.

      Not all love is tough love, but all love IS tough. When a parent or
      boss or superior chooses their own comfort by avoiding confrontation
      with a problem member, everyone suffers. Those in authority are
      called to love, and love leaves no stone unturned, not even those
      that are horribly difficult to lift.

      The message here for all of us is "Look at your own choir stall",
      which is a Benedictine way of saying "Mind your own business and
      examine your conscience." If you are in authority, or get there
      someday, don't be a flop or an unloving wimp. If you are not in
      charge, don't make yourself one of the problems. It is terribly hard
      for rank and file to ignore what seemingly ought not to be ignored, but
      sometimes we simply have to do so or leave. That is one of the VERY
      great ascetic disciplines of common life. Believe me, fasting pales
      to nothing beside this one. I'd rather fast any day!

      I have known monastics (and employees and managers and parents!) who
      forced more than one person out by their unchecked behavior, something a
      good superior could have fixed or at least mitigated. To assume that the
      offenders were ALWAYS the instruments of God's will in such cases, that the
      person was supposed to leave or "just couldn't take it," is blatantly false and
      pathetically stupid. It is even more tragic when the one in charge is taking the
      easy way out by non-intervention. That scenario would be tantamount to saying
      that child abuse was just an instrument of God's will. It isn't. No serious
      is and no monastic should be left in such peril uncorrected.

      God's will has to work around and in spite of human frailty, but
      human frailty can and does often put huge obstacles in the way.
      Meanness and abusiveness can destroy others' vocations as well as
      one's own. So can cowardice and inactivity in the name of false

      Over the years I have heard excuses close to whining from people in
      all areas of authority: political, ecclesiastical, parental, monastic
      and administrative. "Nothing can be done about so-and-so. My hands
      are tied." I hate to say that I remain unable to completely buy that,
      largely because sometimes I've been around long enough to see a
      successor (or the juvenile courts!) DO something about so-and-so.

      I have also been in charge enough times to realize that often
      something CAN be done. It is not palatable or easy, but it is
      possible. One of the things that strengthened me as listowner was the
      memory of weak superiors and ineffectual bosses and the tension of
      living in the chaotic messes they enabled by abdicating their
      responsibility. Responsibility is the ministry of service which is
      appropriate to authority, it is a necessary function of love.

      Monastics come to the Holy Rule for the benefit of discipline and
      growth and guidance toward holiness. We have a right to same, and no
      one should have to know that only for child abuse will he or she get
      it. There are many, many abuses that involve neither sex, nor
      children, nor outsiders that require equal attention.

      If we take an firm hand in one area only (an area which, it must be
      noted, is financially very dangerous...) we will look rather foolish
      in priding ourselves that we are left with a community or Church that
      can keep its hands off children. There's more to it than that. Much more.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Br. Tobias, OSB, for his monastic community, his family and for all who mourn him. Please pray
      Message 228 of 228 , Jan 19, 2009
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        Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Br. Tobias, OSB, for his monastic community, his family and for all who mourn him.

        Please pray that the US Congress and the new administration will respect all human life, from conception till natural death.

        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 20, May 21, September 20
        Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

        To fear the Day of Judgment.
        To be in dread of hell.
        To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
        To keep death daily before one's eyes.
        To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
        To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
        When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ
        And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
        To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
        Not to love much talking.
        Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
        Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
        To listen willingly to holy reading.
        To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
        Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past
        sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
        Not to fulfil the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
        To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she
        herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the
        Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
        Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be
        holy, that one may be truly so called.


        The first four on today's list are not very palatable to many modern
        ears, but, like all of the Instruments of Good Works, they are
        important, they are interrelated and each one helps one fulfill the
        others. Arguably, one could say that the focus of the first four is
        the fifth: "To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life."

        We have largely "gotten over" dreading Judgment. We went from a
        paralyzing, Jansenistic, scrupulous fear of it right into a smug
        assurance that everyone passes the test with honors. Well, there's got to
        be truth hidden between those two false extremes somewhere!

        I know, beyond any doubt that I shall be both delighted and very,
        very embarrassed and ashamed to meet God face to face, to find that
        my faith has been confirmed. Ah, joy at the confirmation, but oh,
        crushing shame at the simultaneous confirmation of how very far short
        of Him I have fallen, through choice, through laziness, through
        negligence, through sin.

        One can dread that realization without thinking that God is some
        intrinsically mean sort, just waiting for one to trip up, hunting for the
        slightest loophole to nail us. Quite the opposite is the truth! God's awesome
        Divine Mercy seeks every possible way to bring us to Himself and
        His rewards of bliss. Every possible way!!

        Let us admit that we have been all too good at tripping
        on our own: God has no need to duplicate services there! Fearing
        judgment is part and parcel of knowing who we are. We have all
        sinned. And I know I have failed faith, hope and love, again and again
        and again, usually with no more excuse than selfishness.

        We keep goals in sight while training. Forget the Olympic gold and
        you will quite likely forget why you are training so hard. For us,
        between now and the "Olympics" of death, it is only the training that
        matters. It is also good to recall that, as Benedictines, our goal is
        NOT simply to "pass", but to stand on the podium.

        That's not because we are any better, it is only because
        we ourselves have added great holiness to our goal. Why else embrace
        the Rule? Keeping "death daily before our eyes," we are ALWAYS at
        the Olympics, thanks to our vow of conversion of manner of life, we
        are daily in training, every minute, in fact.

        All of these four lead to the fifth, keeping guard over one's
        actions, or mindfulness. Here is a great connection between the
        Benedictine way and the Buddhist way.

        The Buddhists have a saying that monastics can preach a sermon just
        by the way they walk. That's what the care of mindfulness can do!
        Just wait till we get to the 12th degree of humility, which says that
        the monastics' humility will shine through their outward appearance,
        whether walking or sitting or working or praying.

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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