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June 2

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 2, 2003
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      +PAX

      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.
      8:36).
      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).

      REFLECTION

      Be careful how you read this fourth step of patience. It is an ideal,
      presented in its most flawless form. The danger for schleps like me
      is that it can give one an image of a perfect, 1950's sitcom Mom:
      shirt dress and pearls, cookies and milk always forthcoming in a
      kitchen as clean as a surgical suite and never a hair out of place.
      Full make-up on rising and wears hat and matching gloves to shop.
      PUHLEEEZE! That would make one gag and retch. Real patience in action
      is not at all like that.

      Patience in action is a fierce struggle. Never think it's easy for
      others and there is therefore something wrong with you: it isn't easy
      for anyone. One of the biggest flaws of the "I'm OK and you are
      not..." school of ministry is that it makes people think exactly
      this. "It's easy for her and there's something terribly wrong with
      me." Neither is true.

      Please drop that TV image of perfect models, who flit from flower to
      flower in life beamingly, fraught with about as much stress as a
      butterfly in a climate-controlled greenhouse in full bloom. That
      image will harm you. The Holy Rule and most of Scripture were not
      written for such brainless, clueless potted plants. They were written
      for real, average people, halt and lame, battle-scarred plodders like
      you and me, for people who have weathered life, but barely. Honey,
      there may be cookies and milk, but you'll probably have to get the
      plate yourself and brush aside a LOT of blood, sweat and tears to
      find one. Oh, and please drink the milk fast and take as much as you
      can... the fridge broke today.

      Patience is surely one of the most important fuels that perseverance
      runs on, but don't be surprised if it often is not very high octane!
      Neither should it surprise you if your engine is not a slant V-8, but
      rather a 4 horsepower lawnmower that has trouble starting. Patience
      is ENDURANCE, not ease. It may, after years of struggle, confer a
      great peace and serenity, but it rarely, if ever, feels like that in
      the middle of things.

      Brother Patrick Creamer, OSB, of Saint Leo Abbey in Florida, taught
      me patience and perseverance. He was able to do so because he was so
      transparent about his own struggles. Many others tried to tell me how
      hard it was, but their lack of candor made me dismiss their warnings
      as tokenism. It certainly didn't seem to be hard for them. I couldn't
      believe them. Patrick, my mentor, was so very different.

      Patrick entered the monastery in 1954, when he was 40, after a long
      career at sea. He missed being at sea so much (and for so long!) that
      it magnified many of the every day crosses of monastic life. Abbot
      Marion who loved brothers and had a very tender spot for them, used
      to send Patrick to the beach for a weekend now and then, in years
      when that sort of thing didn't often happen. +Marion was wise enough
      to know he'd lose Patrick if he didn't get a salt air fix now and
      then.

      Even the beach trips were not enough alone. Patrick told me he was
      tempted to leave every single day for ten years. Patrick, when I
      lived with him, literally stayed packed with a hidden suitcase for
      years and boasted of his ability to be gone in an hour. As a novice,
      my heart used to be selfishly in my throat. I wanted him to go, if
      that was what he was supposed to do, but I really didn't want to lose
      him. He even left for a while once, when he was over 60, to San
      Francisco, yet! Didn't take. One of the most clerical of the older
      priest monks, who was hardly noted for his fondness for brothers,
      wrote Patrick a personal letter begging him to come home. Astounded,
      Patrick did just that.

      I am breaking no confidence if I also tell you that, during the worst
      of those years, Patrick joined AA and has been faithfully sober for
      decades, helping scores of alcoholics who have come to him, because a
      transparent broken person usually can. I can also tell you that
      Brother Patrick finally decided to stay: when he was 83!!! What a
      witness of hope that was to me, to others struggling like me.

      Please, let us all be given patience. But when we get it, however
      little at a time, let NONE of us be TV Moms. Let us all be Patricks,
      let us show others how terribly hard, yet doable it can be. Patrick
      holds forth from his infirmary room most of the time now. A steady
      stream of visitors has not waned. On the head of his bed and on the
      shaving mirror over his sink are two small notes, written in his own
      inimitable hand: "Lord, let me come to You." They broke my heart the
      first time I saw them. I still don't want to lose him. But I know how
      right he is and how richly he deserves that embrace for which he
      waits.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome LEO, OSB (again and again you'll see why I took the second
      name!)
      jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery
      Petersham, MA
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