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Holy Rule for Dec. 9

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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: Jason, who
    Message 1 of 228 , Dec 8, 2008
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      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Jason, who severely damaged his foot, ankle and leg and is facing major surgery to repair all the broken bones, of which there are many. He's facing a long recuperation, so for healing as well as Patience for him and his family
      Katie, who has entered Drug and Alchohol rehab, that God will grant her the strength to overcome the addiction and regain custody of her daughter

      Julie, that God will continue to bless her with the strength she needs to live with the four autoimmune diseases, the Primary Lymphedema, and multiple ruptured discs in her neck. She struggles with depression also, which makes it more difficult to handle these challenges.

      Mary, she is in hospital with a possible stroke. Also for her daughter who has other problems.

      Derek 48 years old in hospital with a heart attack.

      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 9, August 9, December 9
      Chapter 56: On the Abbess's Table

      Let the Abbess's table always be with the guests
      and the pilgrims. But when there are no guests,
      let it be in her power to invite whom she will of the sisters.
      Yet one or two seniors must always be left with the others
      for the sake of discipline.

      REFLECTION

      Let me give you a bit of pragmatic application here. I don't know if
      this is true everywhere, but in both houses I have actually lived in,
      the monks tended to eat rather fast. Secularly speaking, I have a
      reputation for being a fast eater when dining alone, even I have
      sometimes wondered about how good that is for digestion! Here,
      however, with no conversation to slow me down at all, the monks eat
      like the wind and I am always the last one, even when gulping down as
      fast as I can.

      Anyway, the upshot here is that guests OFTEN dine more slowly than
      the monastics and we all get up together for grace. If the guests are
      where the Abbot can see them, it is easier to check on who's done and
      who isn't. We wait for them to finish. (At least 99% of the time. I
      have known especially slow guests to win at this face-off once or
      twice! We just said grace and left them to finish...)

      Monastics (like children or spouses!) can be dreadful creatures of
      habit, you should pardon the pun... I can tell you that sometimes
      that waiting seems interminable. I can also tell you that it is good
      for us, for all of us, and this applies equally to families. We
      ALLOW, even enable and encourage the guest to inconvenience us to a
      certain extent. That's part of our hospitality, part of receiving
      Christ, often in a considerably annoying disguise.

      Oblates in families or the world, trust me on this one, I know
      company can sometimes be a pain. I had company most of the time
      for most of eleven years. While I relished the occasional day
      when the house is empty, they were fewer and farther between each
      year. The message here is not only for guests in our homes, but for
      others in general, at work, when shopping or (horrors!) driving. LET
      others put you out a bit. Adopt a courtesy that is greater than the
      world's. Many works of genuine mercy can be done in such situations.

      I used to work the desk in a public library. From that and from my
      hospital and teaching years, I can tell you that a courteous,
      hospitable, Christian attitude of charity can stand out, really touch
      people. You don't have to be obnoxiously preachy, in fact, that has
      the opposite effect! The subtle grace and love of courtesy will lead
      a lot of people to wonder about you and what motivates you. Some of
      the braver ones will one day even ask. And there is your chance! Go
      slowly and gently, but tell them why.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      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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        +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 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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