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Holy Rule for Aug. 31

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of baby Alexander, 2 days old, for whom we prayed. He has gone to God; and for his grieving parents
    Message 1 of 237 , Aug 30, 2008
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of baby Alexander, 2 days old, for whom we prayed. He has gone to God; and for his grieving parents and family.

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

      Karen, for success in her computer class and that she and her property be protected from harm in the dangerous environment in which she currently lives.

      Mark H. who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.... he
      was operated on this past week and faces a long recovery with chemo therapy
      to follow. Prayers that he will be open to God's grace.

      Doris for healing from a minor health problem. Brian, for direction. CM, for strength and courage in vocation choices.

      Steve, for his job search.

      Both my parents are long deceased, but today would have been their
      67th wedding anniversary, so prayers, please, for Jerome and Louise, who first
      gave me some of what I am able to pass on to others, who also first
      took me to St. Leo Abbey. That opened a lifelong love of both St.
      Leo and Benedictinism for me. How much I owe them! For their happy
      deaths, eternal rest and Deo gratias!

      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!

      How great must our God be! I have never known anyone who kept all of
      the Holy Rule perfectly, but I have known many that I thought were
      great saints, very observant monastics. St. Benedict is clearly
      telling us that God is even more than we may attain by observing
      this
      Rule.

      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 an 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
      Jeromeleo@...







      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for the safe release of Fr. Chito and 13 others held hostage by militants in Marawi, Philippines. Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of the police
      Message 237 of 237 , May 25

        +PAX

        Prayers for the safe release of Fr. Chito and 13 others held hostage by militants in Marawi, Philippines. Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of the police chief there, who was beheaded, and for his family and all who mourn him. Prayers for the conversion and repentance of his killers and all the attackers. Prayers for all those affected in any way and for peace in this troubled region.

         

        Prayers for our Sr. Christine, whose 20th anniversary of solemn vows was yesterday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!

         

        Sue asked prayers for all who suffer hearing loss.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. John Brioux, OMI, and for his family and all who mourn him.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Peter D’Alesandre, and for his family and all who mourn him, especially Rachel.

         

        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 25, May 26, September 25
        Chapter 7: On Humility

        Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying,
        "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,
        and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11).
        In saying this it shows us
        that all exaltation is a kind of pride,
        against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard
        when he says,
        "Lord, my heart is not exalted,
        nor are mine eyes lifted up;
        neither have I walked in great matters,
        nor in wonders above me."
        But how has he acted?
        "Rather have I been of humble mind
        than exalting myself;
        as a weaned child on its mother's breast,
        so You solace my soul" (Ps. 130:1-2).


        Hence, brethren,
        if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility
        and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation
        to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life,
        we must
        by our ascending actions
        erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream,
        on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending.
        By that descent and ascent
        we must surely understand nothing else than this,
        that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility.
        And the ladder thus set up is our life in the world,
        which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled.
        For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder,
        and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted
        the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.

        REFLECTION

        Today we begin St. Benedict's exhaustive treatment of humility.
        Humility and obedience are so closely linked that it is virtually
        impossible to speak of one without adding the other. Since both are
        essential Benedictine virtues, it is easy to say that there is no
        such thing as a holy Benedictine who has not climbed or is not
        climbing this ladder. I have never known a holy monk who was not
        humble, in fact, it was usually their most outstanding trait.

        A lot of this chapter will grate on modern ears. I will be the first
        to admit that some people need assertiveness training. However, in my
        experience, most of us do not. Most of us manage to be assertive on a
        daily- even hourly- basis without much difficulty. Remember, too,
        that modern psychology is a science which, like all science, is
        limited to observable data.

        Hence, it is not surprising that the generalities of psychology deal
        with relations between people and visible, created things. The catch
        here is that the humility St. Benedict speaks of is rooted in
        relationship of humans to God, a sphere in which psychology often
        finds itself woefully out of its element. It can see some things
        amiss, but not all. It lacks the supernatural basis of faith, and
        this impedes it in this area. Balance, always balance.

        A quickie on the Psalm quote today: "...neither have I walked in
        great matters, nor in matters above me." This would appeal to
        Brother Patrick Creamer, my late mentor. He learned to do it quite
        well and in just 45 years or so!! Say a special prayer for Patrick's
        eternal rest with God.

        I speak as one who has been all too focused at many times on the
        monastic soap opera, its hand-wringing tempests in teacups. About
        many things, even most, we must learn simply not to meddle, not to
        trouble ourselves with matters too great, even though we may have to
        call them "great" with an inner, rueful chuckle.

        You will never have peace until you learn to leave all that alone, to
        distrust it for the empty and tragic charade that it truly is. And
        you will never get anywhere if you don't have peace. The road to that
        peace is humility and love, both effective vaccinations against the
        fatal disease of power.

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

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