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Holy Rule for Aug. 3

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and phsyical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who treat them: Izak, child with cancer.
    Message 1 of 228 , Aug 2, 2008
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      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and phsyical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who treat them:

      Izak, child with cancer.

      Gloria, who recently suffered a fall and has badly injured her shoulder. She sees a surgeon on Tuesday, and her doctor has told her there may be nothing that can be done.

      Prayers of thanksgiving for Barb's son Brian who starts a new job today and is
      taking his medicine. Please pray for her husbands return to the Faith, and
      for her Mom's house to sell and for important decisions her husband and she must
      make concerning buying land, selling our house where we work and live etc.

      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

      April 3, August 3, December 3
      Chapter 52: On the Oratory of the Monastery

      Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
      and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
      When the Work of God is ended,
      let all go out in perfect silence,
      and let reverence for God be observed,
      so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
      will not be hindered by another's misconduct.
      And at other times also,
      if anyone should want to pray by herself,
      let her go in simply and pray,
      not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.
      She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore,
      shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory
      when the Work of God is ended,
      lest another be hindered, as we have said.

      REFLECTION

      Would to God that the oratories of our hearts were as easy to keep
      clean as those of our monasteries! Having been sacristan, in my
      youth, of the large and lovely Abbey Church at St. Leo, FL, I can
      assure you that Benedictines tend to be very good about this part of
      the Holy Rule. One usually gets a Church in good condition and it is
      not too hard to keep it that way. In fact, doing so was only one of
      my several charges at the time!

      Ah, but those cardiac oratories! How easily they can get cluttered
      and more or less stay that way! God alone knows how many times I have
      written books or articles, essays or posts in mid-prayer, how many
      times I have "capably and completely" reformed Order or monastery,
      Church, liturgy or world! I certainly hope He isn't counting too
      closely, and I have a fairly good feeling that He isn't. One of the
      Desert Fathers said that, if God counts distractions in psalmody, no one
      could be saved!

      The aim is good, beloveds, but about the time I envision my heart
      dancing in pure prayer like Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the
      moonlit park, Jerome's Jezebel of a heart petulantly clumps out in a
      sleazy mini-skirt, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. My jaded
      streetwalker of a heart is the easy and willing prey of a wide field
      of distractions and infidelities! Jerome's Jezebel heart is a harlot
      floozy, indeed!

      But, m'dears, and hopefully to lesser degree than my own, ALL of our
      hearts have that Jezebel lurking within, dying to be asked to dance,
      dancing alone, if need be! No smooth sophistication of a fox trot to
      Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter for us. Nope! Many times, the
      best we can do is stumble about disorientedly to a musically barren
      gangsta rap, whose harsh dissonance and strident attacks of
      percussion all too closely mirror our chaotic world.

      Calm down! The Divine Aim of our poor hearts is their Author and
      Maker. Better than anyone and FAR better than ourselves, He knows the
      limitations of His creations! How often God must be like a tender and
      loving and delighted Mother who tries with all Her might to keep from
      laughing at a child's graceless attempts at being exquisite grace.

      Truly, in many a stumbling child there is GREAT poetry in motion, but
      not at all in the way that the child THINKS there is! So it is with
      God and ourselves. Relax, therefore, and rejoice! Again I say,
      rejoice!

      The great and merciful God flat out delights in our clumsy efforts
      and knows from the start that we shall be far more like funny home
      videos than the best and most tasteful films ever produced. Funny how
      we often lack the humility to see that ourselves! If we seek to gain
      it, Satan, who loves to see us despondent and discouraged, will be
      trounced but good.

      It is our efforts which delight God, not our results. He knows that
      the results we seek are far beyond many of us. The more clearly we
      come to know that, the more adequate our sense of our own abject
      poverty of skills, the greater our peace shall be. And in that peace
      we shall find God, the loving parent on Whose long-suffering insteps
      we tiptoe and dance, in Whose tender arms we swoon like children
      dreaming of a grand ballroom with mirrors!

      Oh, yeah, ESPECIALLY the mirrors part!!

      Love and prayers and a fox trot or two!
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      jeromeleo@...
      Petersham, MA








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    • 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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        +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 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
        immediately.
        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.

        REFLECTION


        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
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA

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