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Holy Rule for Nov. 2

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Michael LoPicolo
    Message 1 of 244 , Nov 1 5:52 AM
      +PAX

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

      Michael LoPicolo and his Mother (Mary--89). She is in ICU under sedation after surgery which removed a massive tumor and tried to repair several organs. Doctors are not optimistic.

      Kevin, a young man, has a rare blood disorder. Drs. a bit baffled.

      Susan, a young woman who contracted some strange virus and is now in the hospital in a coma. Again, Drs. are baffled.

      Nick, with serious heart problems.

      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

      March 3, July 3, November 2
      Chapter 26: On Those Who Without an Order Associate with the
      Excommunicated

      If any sister presumes without an order from the Abbess to
      associate in any way with an excommunicated sister, or to speak
      with her,or to send her a message, let her incur a similar
      punishment of excommunication.


      REFLECTION

      The principle here goes well afield of monastic excommunication.
      Tempting though it often is, at some very real point one cannot
      (and ought not!) "protect" another from a parent or abbot or
      teacher or spouse. For better or worse, the one charged by God with
      the care of the child or monastic or student or partner really
      bears that charge, in ways that we cannot interfere with.

      This chapter was written for those who had already gone through all
      the earlier stages. They wound up in the ultimate form of monastic
      exclusion. At that point, one must leave the monastic and Abbot to
      themselves and pray. We are not called to play good cop/bad cop any
      longer.

      We must stand back in prayerful silence. God gave the monastic and
      the superior and the Abbey to each other. It is folly of the
      richest sort to assume He didn't know what He was doing. God also
      gave the parent and child, boss and employee, and the spouses to
      each other.

      Remember, I said "at some point" one must do nothing but pray.
      There are plenty of ways to be genuinely helpful before that point
      is reached and one ought to do so. I surely tried to love my
      students who broke my heart with their pain, but at some point I
      was helpless.
      God gave X this parent and God is not mean. Cannot be. Will never
      be. I had to trust Him at that extreme and pray for the best, which
      is all God works for anyway. And God works MUCH more efficiently
      than I do.

      Our railing at the seeming harshness of this chapter can cover
      another very important fact. Sometimes WE are the seemingly
      malevolent torturers and we don't even see that. Rare is the person
      who can truly judge themselves with the standards they cavalierly
      apply to others! Even worse, it often happens that we are BOTH the
      torturer and the innocent victim, doing it most hatefully within
      our hearts, where none but God can enter.

      Our own flawed and fallen hearts trash our own pathetic souls,
      beating them up with all kinds of useless recrimination and self-
      loathings. Whoops! Not what we would have first noticed, is it? Yet
      we sometimes lock the doors of that torture chamber with the key
      that locks out even God: free will. We and we alone can thwart God
      in our own regard. Scary power, isn't it?

      Check out the times we have "excommunicated" ourselves, check out
      the times we have damnably placed ourselves beyond any help from
      anyone. The injustice there is much harder for us to see, but it is
      terribly real. Whenever we do that, we affirm the terrible heresy
      that we know better than God, that His omniscience stops at the
      door to our inner
      selves. Wrong!!

      I love Gerard Manley Hopkins; he is my all-time favorite poet. I
      think he and I had more than a thing or two in common, not least of
      which were the tendencies to depression and beating oneself up with
      extreme efficiency. Here's something he wrote that sings to my
      heart, and I hope to yours as well.

      "My own heart let me more have pity on; let
      Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
      Charitable; not live this tormented mind
      With this tormented mind tormenting yet."

      Pray for the awful excommunications that you CANNOT help and look
      ever so carefully for those you and you alone can relieve, those of
      your own soul and heart! God alone can bring good from evil, any
      evil. Ask Him, let Him. He will never fail.

      A final word on this day when many of us are thinking on Purgatory.
      This is my own opinion, not official teaching, but I don't think it
      contradicts the teaching in any way. Try to think of Purgatory as
      also being our chance to forgive ourselves. Surely the awesome
      mercy and love of God are so infinite that many of us may have a
      hard time accepting them at first, a hard time forgiving OURSELVES
      for being so dumb. Purgatory might very well serve that purpose,
      too! We cannot, after all, be perfectly happy in Heaven until we
      are perfectly comfortable there. For that comfort, self-forgiveness
      is very necessary!

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






      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • russophile2002
      +PAX Prayers for Nina, admitted to hospice, and for her husband, Larry, who also has health concerns, and for their children and family and all who will mourn
      Message 244 of 244 , Aug 30

        +PAX

         

        Prayers for Nina, admitted to hospice, and for her husband, Larry, who also has health concerns, and for their children and family and all who will mourn Nina.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Abbot Benno Malfer, OSB, of Muri-Gries Abbey, 70, and for his family, Community and all who mourn him.

         

        Prayers for safe travels for Peter D., going to Europe. For a safe, happy and holy trip.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of my parents, Jerome and Louise, on what would have been the 76th anniversary of their wedding.

         

        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!

        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
        awaits!

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

         

         


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