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Holy Rule for Mar. 3

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Andrew, vocation
    Message 1 of 54 , Mar 2, 2009
      +PAX

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

      Andrew, vocation discernment and has made his first visit here.

      John, still unable to find a job and getting very frustrated.

      Two special intentions for C.

      for C.'s brother who will have a pacemaker battery changed. They will have to stop and restart his heart.

      Peggy, recently widowed, who was just diagnosed with a couple of growths in her brain. They think one is not problematic, but aren't sure of the other. Will see a neurosurgeon on Tuesday. She is in the midst of selling and moving out of her beautiful home, to make matters worse.

      Stephen and Heather, expecting a baby boy in July, already named Seth Richard!

      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 3, July 3, November 2
      Chapter 26: On Those Who Without an Order Associate with the
      Excommunicated

      If any sister presumes without an order from the Abbess to
      associate in any way with an excommunicated sister, or to speak
      with her, or to send her a message, let her incur a similar
      punishment of excommunication.

      REFLECTION

      When punishment is necessary, the community should support it, at
      least passively. This united front should be far different from the
      human tendency we often see to abandon those in trouble. Quite the
      reverse, like everything in the Holy Rule, this must be fueled by
      the concern born of love.Times of crisis like this should awaken us to the necessary
      depth of love for all.

      Hard though it may sometimes be, we may not rejoice at the downfall
      of another. We must participate in common punishments because they
      are for the good of all, but also because they are primarily for
      the good of the offender, whom we must love. Admittedly, sometimes
      the only way one can express that concern is prayer, but we must
      pray!

      Sometimes, both superiors and communities can have an inordinate
      fear of giving punishment. What if she leaves? Yeah, what if....?
      Maybe she is supposed to leave, maybe this is God's way of telling
      her something about herself that she cannot see. Some people who
      really, truly do NOT belong in monastic life cannot be convinced of
      this.

      Some people who are terrible at a given job will not wake up to
      that fact in any other way. In some cases toxic folks must be told
      gently, but explicitly, that if they insist on continuing to harm
      themselves and others, they'll have to do it elsewhere, without
      destroying the rest of the family any longer.

      Some find the Rule harsh in this respect, but there is a great love
      and mercy here. The Holy Rule forbids what many people in groups
      will do: passive aggression. We cannot just wordlessly force the
      person out without a clue as to why.

      Punishment must be named and specific, the offender must know and
      those around her must care. It may in fact force a monk out, but he
      will know why when he leaves. This is vastly different from the
      ordinary human means of exclusion and expulsion. It includes grace.
      It includes love. Lots of love! And its justice is always somehow
      wrapped in mercy.

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

      [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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