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Catching up... Missed reading

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    Since last year was a Leap Year and this year is not, a reading got skipped that should have been appended to the 28th. Here it is: February 29, June 30,
    Message 1 of 54 , Feb 28, 2009
      Since last year was a Leap Year and this year is not, a reading got skipped that should have been appended to the 28th. Here it is:

      February 29, June 30, October 30
      Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults
      (If there is no 29th of Feburary, append this entry to the previous.)

      If a brother is found to be obstinate,
      or disobedient, or proud, or murmuring,
      or habitually transgressing the Holy Rule in any point
      and contemptuous of the orders of his seniors,
      the latter shall admonish him secretly a first and a second time,
      as Our Lord commands (Matt. 18:15).
      If he fails to amend,
      let him be given a public rebuke in front of the whole community.
      But if even then he does not reform,
      let him be placed under excommunication,
      provided that he understands the seriousness of that penalty;
      if he is perverse, however,
      let him undergo corporal punishment.

      REFLECTION

      It is sad, indeed, that a chapter like this ever had to be written,
      sad in St. Benedict's time, sad in our own. How little human beings
      change in some ways! Why on earth would anyone come to a monastic
      struggle with an attitude that says: "I know better. I'm right and
      they're wrong."? Why would anyone persist in staying with such an
      attitude?

      Because they are blind. It's another favorite trick of Satan.
      Blurred
      or clouded assessments of the reality at hand are his forte.
      Especially when these phony lenses get applied to religious matters,
      the obstinacy and self-righteousness can go to extremes.

      Look, beloveds, every single one of us, from the newest Oblate
      candidate to the Abbot Primate, came to the monastic life, to the
      Holy Rule, to be CHANGED. We came to learn, not to teach. We came to
      reform ourselves, not the monastery. We not only arrived with that
      attitude, we must keep it all of our lives. We came to surrender,
      not
      to demand.

      That's why this chapter is both so very sad and so very important.
      The monastic at any point in life who has renounced that attitude of
      discipleship has abandoned the struggle. We must hope it is a
      temporary abandonment, because it can be fatal to one's vocation. It
      can undo all the good work we have behind us. It can delude us into
      thinking we are persevering when we have actually long ago quit.

      Superiors and community (or family!) can be a big reality check here
      and that is what this chapter seeks to provide. Gentleness, love and
      tact are in order, but something must be done. One must be very
      careful at such times not to lord it over another smugly. But one
      must also be very careful not to do nothing at all, especially if
      one
      is in authority. The risk to the falling member is too great to
      ignore.

      If, alas, you find yourself to be that falling member, for heaven's
      sake (quite literally!) LISTEN. That is such a Benedictine trait,
      our
      Holy Rule begins with that word. If others are that upset, there may
      well be something wrong. Don't deny it. Check it out with all the
      humility you can muster, but be very aware that your humility may
      well be the thing that is currently terribly impaired. Be as honest
      as truthful as you can. Try, try with all your strength, to let
      yourself always be changed for the good, and strive to see that
      good,
      even when it is hard.

      If you are one of the lucky ones not in this leaking boat, be deeply
      humbled and grateful to God. Pray every day for all of those in the
      Order, the Church, the world, who are sinking. They need our prayers
      badly. Think how different the Titanic might have been with enough
      lifeboats...

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for our Sister Mary Paula, on her feastday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos! Prayers for Mary, on her birthday, graces galore and
      Message 54 of 54 , Jan 24

        +PAX

         

        Prayers for our Sister Mary Paula, on her feastday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos!

         

        Prayers for Mary, on her birthday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos!

         

        Deo gratias, Moira, for whom we prayed, safely delivered Victor, 11 lbs, and 2 oz., 22 inches long! Prayers, too, for all the family, Dad and brother, Angel and Angel 3rd, and for Gerry and Eva and Victor’s other set of grandparents.

         

        Prayers for three couples that need to get their marriages blessed and receive the Sacraments.

         

        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!

        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 would,
        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 extensive 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, along with charity, 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 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 finds itself woefully out
        of its element. It lacks the supernatural basis of faith; this impedes it in this
        area. Balance, always balance. Keep God in focus in these areas.
        The model is His greatness, not our own.

        A quickie on the Psalm quote today: "...neither have I walked in
        great matters, nor in matters above me." This was a favorite of
        Brother Patrick Creamer, my mentor. He learned to do it quite
        well and in just 46 years or so!! He'd laugh at my saying that.

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

        That's not apathy, simply a frank admission that, in many cases, others
        have charge of areas so that the rest need NOT worry or concern themselves.
        The purpose of the division of responsibility is to give the community the
        chance to focus their energy on the one thing really needful. This is especially
        true in monasteries, but the principle has applications in the workplace, too.
        In the latter, there may be times when one is morally obliged to get involved,
        but the key word is "morally". About trivia or non-essentials in any milieu,
        shrug, say nothing and keep your sanity.

        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.

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

         

         

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