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Holy Rule for Oct. 2

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    A blessed feast of the Holy Guardian Angels to all, prayers especially for all members of the American Cassinese Congregation today, as this is their patronal
    Message 1 of 236 , Oct 1, 2008
      A blessed feast of the Holy Guardian Angels to all, prayers especially for all
      members of the American Cassinese Congregation today, as this is their patronal
      feast. May all our Guardian Angels watch over us and bring us ever closer to
      God's perfect will for us.

      Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of the following and for all who mourn them:

      Fr. Werner, 94, of Valyermo, St. Andrew's Abbey.

      Ken who we prayed for several weeks ago. He passed away this Sunday from cancer. For his wife Sue, mom Myra, and two brothers and a sister and for all who mourn him.

      continued prayers: Many thanks for all the prayers for Dave who lost an arm in the car crash. His progress has been very rapid and he has been moved to a nursing home. He will begin some limited therapy now and more when his leg finishes healing. The hospital staff helped arrange for his care at the nursing home as he has no health insurance. Deo Gratias!
      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.
      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).


      The stumbling block here is the part about holding "fast to patience with
      a silent mind." How on earth does one begin to do that? The trend in
      consumerist Western society is pretty much to form people- no, let's
      call them what consumerism does: "consumers"- in a mold that ALWAYS
      listens to very noisy minds. That, after all, is the root of desire
      and consumption (clever play on words there! Just think of the old
      name for tuberculosis,) and profit. Nothing else matters as much to a
      consumerist society.

      It's not surprising that living, moving and having our being in such
      waters, we more or less acquire consumerist gills in order to
      breathe. However, the Gospel itself, as well as the Holy Rule, tells
      us that we must adopt a view which contradicts that of the secular
      world. Learning to do this is neither easy nor fast.

      The really hard thing here is that sometimes, even when we are right,
      we have to put up and shut up, so to speak. The Rule speaks of
      bearing injustice and false brethren. There are no qualifiers here
      that say: "You may think it is unjust, but the truth is otherwise."

      No, sometimes we must actually endure stuff that really is unjust,
      endure people that truly are false. As one very wise old monk of
      Pluscarden once said: "Some things will only be fixed by a cross in
      the cemetery." That is frighteningly true. Some people, some
      dysfunctions will go unchecked and there are only two things one can
      do about it: leave or endure.

      This may feel like denial to us. It isn't. That's not what's asked of
      us. I may think I know very clearly that a person or situation is
      wrong, really know it, but what is asked of me is to react in a
      particularly controlled fashion, "with a silent mind."

      There is a big issue about judgment here. We are not to judge. We
      often think we can "assess" when we truly cannot. It is better to
      wisely abstain from such "assessments". We never have all the facts
      of another person's heart or soul, never. That's why we have been
      told not to judge.

      Jesus did say, after all, that He is the Truth. He is not calling us
      to stupidity or denial, but He can well afford to call us to silent
      endurance. The briefest look at Jesus in His Passion can affirm His
      rights there. There was never a greater injustice done than that, nor
      was there ever a victim so innocent and completely undeserving of all
      that brutality.

      Why is the "silent mind" such a big deal? Because you cannot get
      anywhere spiritually without one. Your focus will be shattered. The
      messy bit here is that your focus can be shattered by things
      apparently worthwhile- the devil, after all is no amateur at duping us.

      We can be tricked into spinning our wheels and expending all our
      emotional and spiritual energy on dead ends that look noble, or on
      things that truly are noble, but should not absorb all of our efforts
      or attention. We can distort our necessary caring and charity into
      anger and rage at injustice that does nothing other than perpetrate
      anger and rage in more religious attire. Big mistake there! We are
      to love, love and always love!

      I can recall some awful flame wars on religious lists about religious
      topics. Predictably, quite early on the tone stooped to hurling
      charges at people, not ideas. Whoops! Wrong way, folks. The holiest
      monks I know would not have even entered into that discussion. They
      would have smiled and maybe shrugged and gone to their room to read
      or pray.

      That's not denial, that's a fair assessment that Brother David Gormican,
      OSB, (the elderly monk I have in mind,) of Saint Leo would have made
      correctly. Br. David was a very, very holy nobody and he knew that. It was a
      freeing knowledge, one I completely lacked when I first lived with him. It
      was his strong sense of "nobodiness" that made him someone extremely special
      and free.

      At 18, I thought entering into heated argument was the thing to do. It was
      1967 and there was no shortage of such heat in the monastery or the Church.
      Br. David, quite rightly, knew that it would result in a night (or a whole
      day) of strife and nothing would be changed. David knew that a hidden
      lay brother in Florida was not going to change the Church at all by
      fighting with other people who were similarly powerless. Praying,
      maybe, but fighting, no! He was humble enough to know this and go to
      his room. How I wish I had been that smart- then or now!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Jerome and Louise, my parents, on the 65th anniversary of their wedding. Thanks all, for your prayers for them. Prayers
      Message 236 of 236 , Aug 30, 2016



        Prayers for the eternal rest of Jerome and Louise, my parents, on the 65th anniversary of their wedding. Thanks all, for your prayers for them.


        Prayers for Ken, in his 80’s, his cancer is in his lungs now and hospice care has been called, he is deteriorating rapidly. Prayers, too, for his wife, for Janet and Mel and Barry. Prayers for Ken’s happy death and for all who will mourn him.


        Prayers for Max’s older brother who is developmentally disabled. He faced years of medical complications in the past and was able to overcome difficulties. Now with age he faces possible surgery again and heightened risk during procedure because he is not totally independent of an oxygen vent which helps him to breathe. His elderly mother is distraught. May it be possible that physical ailment can be handled without surgery. Prayers for his Mom and all the family. All in accordance with God's will. 


        Please prayers for Sean, with a recovering alcoholic mother, who is full of hate. Diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, depression, bipolar. Please bring him peace. Prayers, too, for his Mom and all his family.


        Deo gratias, Georgia, Charlene’s dog, is doing well at home, continued prayers for her recovery.


        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.


        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

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA









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