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Holy Rule for Nov. 30

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayes, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and for all who take care of them: Tom and Dave,
    Message 1 of 244 , Nov 29 6:19 AM
      +PAX

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

      Tom and Dave, who had to put their beloved dog, Sunny, to sleep.

      Andrea, making her Final Oblation today, for graces galore and perseverance.

      Ann, cardiac problems.

      Amber, taking part two of her CPA exam. She did well on part one, thanks to prayers!

      Richard and his Mom, 87, a very delicate family situation that Richard has to untangle, plus the battle to get his Mom to go to a nursing home, which she badly needs. There is muh to pray for here.

      the Marks and Weter families, their duplex in a small Alaskan village burned to the ground and they lost everything, particularly bad at this time of year as they lost all the children's clothes and all their heavy winter clothing, plus housing is very limited in the villages. Lots of prayers here. Mrs. Marks is also expecting her third child.

      Samantha, 19, and her Mom, lots of acting out on Sam's part and she may be bi-polar. These problems have been going on for 6 years now.

      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 31, July 31, November 30

      Chapter 49: On the Observance of Lent

      Although the life of a monk
      ought to have about it at all times
      the character of a Lenten observance,
      yet since few have the virtue for that,
      we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent
      the brethren keep their lives most pure
      and at the same time wash away during these holy days
      all the negligences of other times.
      And this will be worthily done
      if we restrain ourselves from all vices
      and give ourselves up to prayer with tears,
      to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.

      During these days, therefore,
      let us increase somewhat the usual burden of our service,
      as by private prayers and by abstinence in food and drink.
      Thus everyone of his own will may offer God
      "with joy of the Holy Spirit" (1 Thess. 1:6)
      something above the measure required of him.
      From his body, that is
      he may withhold some food, drink, sleep, talking and jesting;
      and with the joy of spiritual desire
      he may look forward to holy Easter.

      Let each one, however, suggest to his Abbot
      what it is that he wants to offer,
      and let it be done with his blessing and approval.
      For anything done without the permission of the spiritual father
      will be imputed to presumption and vainglory
      and will merit no reward.
      Therefore let everything be done with the Abbot's approval.

      REFLECTION

      Because we read St. Benedict's 1500 year old Holy Rule with modern
      eyes, it often seems harsh. To balance our perspective, we need to
      see the radical nature of the Rule when written. Face it, folks, this
      was most definitely a gentler Rule for European wannabes who could
      never hack it in the Egyptian desert in their wildest dreams. His
      introductory paragraph points out his plan of adaptation: "...since
      few have the virtue for that..." Our founder was most certainly
      writing
      for the struggling plodders of monasticism and he knew it. Keeping
      that uppermost in our minds can be informatively humbling.

      The Desert Fathers were not terribly interested in mitigation in
      most cases.
      The early message of the desert was: "Get Lent to the max
      or get lost!" They went FAR beyond Lenten and they did it all year,
      without a break. Any who couldn't reach that ideal were sent away as
      unsuited, not called. If we look carefully at this, perhaps we can
      better see that, from the outset, St. Benedict's fatherly heart was
      with the underdogs, the also rans, the strays and losers that others
      could not be bothered with. He must have felt at some point that
      there HAD to be a way for the spiritually challenged to become
      monastics. A millennium and a half later, we are still benefiting
      from his attempts.

      Hence, for us Benedictines, when the Evil One tempts us with his lies
      like: "You could never do that! You could never be THAT holy!" our
      response must be "Yeah, so what? Your point is...???" We have no clue
      of how holy we can be. God alone knows that and God alone will lead
      us and show us in ways we are quite unlikely to ever understand.
      Whenever the demon of discouragement tells us we are far beneath this
      Rule for beginners, we must shrug indifferently and move on, briefly
      impressed for once with the Father of Lies' firm grasp on the
      obvious.

      Of *COURSE* we are beneath this Rule, beneath any of the earlier
      ones. Duh?!? We're Benedictines. Our Order was founded for people
      like us. That should never, ever be a cause to stop trying, to give
      up or quit. On the contrary, that fact should be a heartening
      confirmation that we are EXACTLY where we belong, in the best
      possible remedial education program for slow learners like us, right
      where God wants us.

      Like a mother to a crying child, devoid of hope, who moans "But I
      CAN'T, I just can't!" St. Benedict is softly saying, "Well, honey,
      just do what you can and that will be OK." Get the picture? OK!

      Now, go out, play nice and do what you can today... Don't be
      surprised if
      you find that God is increasing, sometimes imperceptibly, that "what
      you can" little by little to heights of great holiness, which we will
      achieve all but unawares and only with His help. Someday, we really
      SHALL "run in the way...with hearts enlarged."

      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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