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Holy Rule for Dec. 1

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Huge Deo gratias: Larry, for whom we prayed for employment, has received answers to the prayers. After 1017 days, and 535 job applications he has landed
    Message 1 of 237 , Nov 30, 2008
      +PAX

      Huge Deo gratias: Larry, for whom we prayed for employment, has received answers to the prayers. After 1017 days, and 535 job applications he has landed a job!

      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

      April 1, August 1, December 1

      Chapter 50: On Sisters Who are Working Far From the Oratory or Are on
      a Journey

      Those sisters who are working at a great distance
      and cannot get to the oratory at the proper time --
      the Abbess judging that such is the case --
      shall perform the Work of God
      in the place where they are working,
      bending their knees in reverence before God.

      Likewise those who have been sent on a journey
      shall not let the appointed Hours pass by,
      but shall say the Office by themselves as well as they can
      and not neglect to render the task of their service.

      REFLECTION

      Look, if you think your marriage vows take a powder while you're
      traveling on business, chances are a lot of people pity your spouse.
      There are jobs that we do not carry with us. We are not surgeons,
      welders or toll booth ticket-takers at home- at least hopefully! But
      marriage is not a job, it's a vocation and so is monastic life.
      Vocations stay with one everywhere, at all times and places. One is
      ALWAYS a spouse, always a parent, always a monastic.

      Hey, it is World AIDS Day, and there are a lot of similarities
      between monasticism done right and HIV. I should know- I've been HIV+
      for nearly 20 years and a monk for nearly 17. For rather crass starters,
      both get in your blood and if they do, there is no cure! Done right,
      both are always with you. Since my diagnosis, even in my dreams,
      I am always HIV+, never once have I dreamed of my current self
      otherwise. I wish I could say exactly the same of monasticism, but
      even there, my dreams that are not flashbacks are most usually about
      Jerome, not my secular name, Phil!

      Writ large across my heart are the letters "HIV" and I am still
      working on making "OSB" stand out in equally high relief there! At
      some point, if we are lucky, we realize that our vocation really is
      who we've become. My high school buddy, Sr. Lany Jo, referred to me
      as Phil on the phone a while back. As I often do, I jokingly reminded
      her that Phil was "dead"- a distressing half-truth at best, since
      Phil can be terribly stubborn about refusing to expire totally... Quickly,
      I added, "Of course, if you want Phil, I could resurrect him with
      very little trouble. Just give me a really big bottle of liquor and a
      piano bar full of good-looking customers. No problem!" Lany was very
      quick to assure me that she preferred the monk she Southernly refers
      to as Jerry Lee, and to reassure me that, while she loved Phil, she
      loves Jerry Lee much more!

      Virus and vows! Believe me, there were times I wished I had neither, but I always
      have both! Most of the time, I am glad of that, in very mysterious
      ways, mysteriously grateful for both. In my case, at least, neither
      would have been my totally free first choice, but they are undeniably
      where God has placed me and both have done me a world of good, most
      often through their hassles, but also through their ordinary days!
      Cured of either tomorrow, I would never be the same exactly. Nothing
      could completely obliterate the years that either have given me,
      nothing could completely uproot their lessons in my heart.

      We live in a secular society that urges us to follow our dreams.
      Well, m'dears, I have swooned at the poetry in that one for more
      decades than I care to admit, but it ain't always true. Why on earth
      should we ascribe an infallibility to our own dreams that we are
      unwilling under any but the most exceptionally extreme circumstances
      to apply to anyone else? Whoops! There's a real passing chance our
      dreams may be wrong, may have to be given up. I am living proof to
      myself that fighting that surrender is terribly hard and just as
      useless. Yes, choice often enters into whom we become, but not
      always, and sometimes the things that become us are the ones we quite
      pointedly have NOT chosen.

      Few, if any, choose to be gay or straight, some do not choose to be
      parents, some choose one spouse only to find that person changes
      horrifically later on and nobody in their right mind chooses to
      become HIV+. Many, many things are in some ways forced upon us, but
      those things can become fully graced things of wonder, if only we let
      God work. If only we would trust Him...

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome Leo, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for the safe release of Fr. Chito and 13 others held hostage by militants in Marawi, Philippines. Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of the police
      Message 237 of 237 , May 25

        +PAX

        Prayers for the safe release of Fr. Chito and 13 others held hostage by militants in Marawi, Philippines. Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of the police chief there, who was beheaded, and for his family and all who mourn him. Prayers for the conversion and repentance of his killers and all the attackers. Prayers for all those affected in any way and for peace in this troubled region.

         

        Prayers for our Sr. Christine, whose 20th anniversary of solemn vows was yesterday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!

         

        Sue asked prayers for all who suffer hearing loss.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. John Brioux, OMI, and for his family and all who mourn him.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Peter D’Alesandre, and for his family and all who mourn him, especially Rachel.

         

        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 25, May 26, September 25
        Chapter 7: On Humility

        Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying,
        "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,
        and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11).
        In saying this it shows us
        that all exaltation is a kind of pride,
        against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard
        when he says,
        "Lord, my heart is not exalted,
        nor are mine eyes lifted up;
        neither have I walked in great matters,
        nor in wonders above me."
        But how has he acted?
        "Rather have I been of humble mind
        than exalting myself;
        as a weaned child on its mother's breast,
        so You solace my soul" (Ps. 130:1-2).


        Hence, brethren,
        if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility
        and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation
        to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life,
        we must
        by our ascending actions
        erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream,
        on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending.
        By that descent and ascent
        we must surely understand nothing else than this,
        that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility.
        And the ladder thus set up is our life in the world,
        which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled.
        For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder,
        and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted
        the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.

        REFLECTION

        Today we begin St. Benedict's exhaustive treatment of humility.
        Humility and obedience are so closely linked that it is virtually
        impossible to speak of one without adding the other. Since both are
        essential Benedictine virtues, it is easy to say that there is no
        such thing as a holy Benedictine who has not climbed or is not
        climbing this ladder. I have never known a holy monk who was not
        humble, in fact, it was usually their most outstanding trait.

        A lot of this chapter will grate on modern ears. I will be the first
        to admit that some people need assertiveness training. However, in my
        experience, most of us do not. Most of us manage to be assertive on a
        daily- even hourly- basis without much difficulty. Remember, too,
        that modern psychology is a science which, like all science, is
        limited to observable data.

        Hence, it is not surprising that the generalities of psychology deal
        with relations between people and visible, created things. The catch
        here is that the humility St. Benedict speaks of is rooted in
        relationship of humans to God, a sphere in which psychology often
        finds itself woefully out of its element. It can see some things
        amiss, but not all. It lacks the supernatural basis of faith, and
        this impedes it in this area. Balance, always balance.

        A quickie on the Psalm quote today: "...neither have I walked in
        great matters, nor in matters above me." This would appeal to
        Brother Patrick Creamer, my late mentor. He learned to do it quite
        well and in just 45 years or so!! Say a special prayer for Patrick's
        eternal rest with God.

        I speak as one who has been all too focused at many times on the
        monastic soap opera, its hand-wringing tempests in teacups. About
        many things, even most, we must learn simply not to meddle, not to
        trouble ourselves with matters too great, even though we may have to
        call them "great" with an inner, rueful chuckle.

        You will never have peace until you learn to leave all that alone, to
        distrust it for the empty and tragic charade that it truly is. And
        you will never get anywhere if you don't have peace. The road to that
        peace is humility and love, both effective vaccinations against the
        fatal disease of power.

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

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