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Holy Rule for Jan. 20

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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 1 of 244 , Jan 19, 2009
      +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

      [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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