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Holy Rule for Oct. 3

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Sharon, and for her family and all who mourn her. Prayers for the spiritual, physical and mental
    Message 1 of 228 , Oct 2, 2008
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      Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Sharon, and for her family and all who mourn her.

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

      Craig, two wrongful lawsuits and multiple financial problems all at once, for God's perfect will.

      Maybelle, 99, in hopsice with cancer and for her children.

      Deo gratias, Amy passed her postal exam, now hoping for a position to open up for her.

      Santana, his family and all involved. He fell into a pool at 22 months. By God's grace, Santana survived after 45 minutes of no oxygen and 30 minutes being clinically dead. Santana now has multiple, very serious health issues.

      J., special intentions for some very tough times.

      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 2, June 3, October 3

      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The fifth degree of humility
      is that he hide from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts
      that enter his heart
      or the sins committed in secret,
      but that he humbly confess them.
      The Scripture urges us to this when it says,
      "Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in Him" (Ps. 36:5)
      and again,
      "Confess to the Lord, for He is good,
      for His mercy endures forever" (Ps. 105:1).
      And the Prophet likewise says,
      "My offense I have made known to You,
      and my iniquities I have not covered up.
      I said: 'I will declare against myself my iniquities to the Lord;'
      and 'You forgave the wickedness of my heart'" (Ps. 31:5).

      REFLECTION

      As the saying goes, friendship doubles our joy and divides our grief.
      There's something to that, something we all know and demonstrate when
      something pleases us so much that we just can't wait to tell someone
      else about it. Unfortunately, we don't often show the same eagerness
      when something is wrong. Granted, our sorrows and griefs may be
      shared, but often our most treacherous wounds and illnesses are not.
      Neither are we particularly eager to let our weakest areas show.

      Few things can be more pathetic (or more frustrating to those who
      love them!) than a patient's refusal to tell the doctor that
      something is wrong out of some misguided fear. "I was afraid he'd
      tell me it was cancer!" Well, he might have, and it might be, but if
      he doesn't know, he cannot treat it in time and it is a nearly
      certain death sentence. Beyond that, what a waste it is for all the
      times we left things untreated out of fears that were totally unfounded!

      So it is with the spiritual life, the monastic struggle, and even
      with 12 step recovery programs. Our wounds must be exposed and shared
      if they are to heal. I can say from personal experience that, at some
      of the worst crisis times in my own vocation, I resolutely kept my
      mouth shut. Part of that was stupidly not wishing to upset anybody,
      but another part was afraid that if I did say something, they'd help! God
      got me through those times. Apparently He insisted on doing so, because He
      got precious little help from me.

      For heaven's sake- literally- if you belong to a Church that has a tradition
      sacramental Confession, GO! Christ left us that sacrament for a reason,
      not out of whimsy or folly. He had too short a public life to fritter His
      time away and leave us non-essentials. Confession is a necessary and very
      effective medicine! Go!

      Pick whichever popular image you wish for the monastery, school of
      the Lord's service or hospital, but neither of them are going to be
      much good if you are unwilling to let anyone know what you need to
      learn or what ails you. Face it, apart from their primary goals of
      education and healing, neither school nor hospital has much to offer
      in the way of a vacation resort. We come here because we ARE unwise
      and unwell. Pretending otherwise is a huge disservice to ourselves.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@...
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      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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        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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