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Holy Rule for May 31

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Forty-two years ago today, I graduated from Tampa Catholic High School. Prayers, please for all the teachers and students there who changed my life
    Message 1 of 208 , May 30, 2009
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      +PAX

      Forty-two years ago today, I graduated from Tampa Catholic High School. Prayers,
      please for all the teachers and students there who changed my life forever for
      the better. Much of what I give you I received from them. I urge all of you to
      pray daily for those who taught you and, if this applies, for those you've
      taught. It is a practice I love very much. 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 29, May 30, September 29
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      We must be on our guard, therefore, against evil desires,
      for death lies close by the gate of pleasure.
      Hence the Scripture gives this command:
      "Go not after your concupiscences" (Eccles. 18:30).


      So therefore,
      since the eyes of the Lord observe the good and the evil (Prov. 15:3)
      and the Lord is always looking down from heaven
      on the children of earth
      "to see if there be anyone who understands and seeks God" (Ps. 13:2),
      and since our deeds are daily,
      day and night,
      reported to the Lord by the Angels assigned to us,
      we must constantly beware, brethren,
      as the Prophet says in the Psalm,
      lest at any time God see us falling into evil ways
      and becoming unprofitable (Ps. 13:3);
      and lest, having spared us for the present
      because in His kindness He awaits our reformation,
      He say to us in the future,
      "These things you did, and I held My peace" (Ps. 49:21).

      REFLECTION

      The theme of God seeking His laborers first expressed in the Prologue
      comes back here, like background hints of melody woven through an
      overture. God SEES us, yes, but He also SEEKS us, seeks those who
      seek Him. If we forget that, God's loving, watchful care over us (He
      assigns angels to us!) is reduced to the lackluster charm of a security camera,
      an "Eye in the sky."

      Ever lose somebody in airport? It's a funny sort of panic, because
      both of you know that ultimately, somehow you will connect. Until
      that happens, however, a lot of anxious hunting takes place. Do you
      know the joy when two such people finally find each other? It ain't
      slight! While one says "Thank heavens I found you!" the other is
      saying, "But I was looking for you, too, EVERYWHERE!" There is a
      great common blessing in such moments, one which far transcends the
      anxiety of the search which preceded it.

      That's how it is with God. While we are seeking Him, even BEFORE we
      are seeking Him, He is seeking us. There is so much love in that searching,
      on both parts. The novice is to be examined to see if she truly seeks God.
      But the question is not just for novices. "Quaeremus inventum," said St.
      Augustine: "Let us seek Him Whom we have found." And so it goes. A monastic
      life done right has seeking and finding writ large on every page, from
      beginning to end.

      Angels got a bad press in the Roman Catholic world in the late 60's
      and beyond. It became fashionable to be rather scornful of such
      belief and some skeptics viewed guardian angels as only a slight step
      beyond the fairy godmothers of children's tales. Well, folks, it was
      one time they weren't on the crest of a wave. The signs of the times
      told them that emphatically when a ground swell of popularity arose
      with angels as its focus.

      The angels are
      more than human, but less than divine. They share our status of being
      creatures, but they have powers beyond our ken. No wonder popular
      culture embraced them: they are a very good entry level awareness of
      something beyond, something spiritual. Whatever else they may be,
      they are real. Why waste 'em? Let them help us all they can and let
      us ask for more besides! There may be reservations among some of our
      readers about praying to saints, but Scripture abounds with examples of
      conversations with angels, a comforting assurance for our Protestant readers.
      Go for it!

      A couple of years ago, a confessor recommended that I pray to
      my Guardian Angel about a problem. No one had said that to me in years! I
      took his advice, however, and loved the results. Growing tired of always just
      calling on him generically, I decided to give my guardian angel a name.
      I call him Hal, short for the Hebrew "hallelujah", a word I'm sure he says quite
      a lot. He seems happy enough with his new moniker! Thanks, Hal. I owe you
      big time!!

      By the way, the Guardian Angels are the patrons of the American
      Cassinese Congregation. I know some guys who probably would have
      loved to change that during the "bad press" years. Thankfully, no one
      did! Holy Guardian Angels, pray for us!

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






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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX PLEASE NOTE THAT I WILL BE AWAY FROM OCT. 6-14. ON THOSE DAYS, PLEASE SEND PRAYER REQUESTS TO MICHAEL LOPICCOLO. If you are on his list or my Holy Rule
      Message 208 of 208 , Oct 5, 2009
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        +PAX

        PLEASE NOTE THAT I WILL BE AWAY FROM OCT. 6-14. ON THOSE DAYS, PLEASE SEND PRAYER REQUESTS TO MICHAEL LOPICCOLO. If you are on his list or my Holy Rule list, you can just reply to the Holy Rule post, otherwise, send them to carmelitanum@...


        Bishop Rawsthorne, for whom we prayed as a member of the African Synod, is staying at the Venerable English College in Rome, where one of our readers, Sr. Mary Joseph, OSB, works. She told him that he was on our list for prayers and he was delighted and asked that thanks be extended to all. Small world! Continued prayers for him and the Synod, please.

        Prayers for all Carthusians on the feast of St. Bruno, their founder. They spend their lives praying for the world, for all of us, let us return the favor.

        Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the folloiwng, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

        Deo gratias, for Maggi, free of cancer, now prayers that the lung damage from chemo and radiation may be repaired.

        Heather, about to have tests done on her heart, having a lot of problems with chest and neck pain. Please pray this turns out to be nothing serious.

        Continued prayers for Cheryl and all evacuated by the wildfire in California.

        Cindy who is being operated on today for pancreatic cancer.


        Kelia, in the hospital with abdominal pain and a high white cell count.



        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

        February 5, June 6, October 6
        Chapter 7: On Humility

        The eighth degree of humility
        is that a monk do nothing except what is commended
        by the common Rule of the monastery
        and the example of the elders.

        REFLECTION

        Well, this one looks deceptively simple enough. Just try it! I speak
        as one who has frequently failed it and who sometimes* fails it
        still. [* I only fail it on special occasions: Sunday, Monday,
        Tuesday, Wednesday.... you get the picture.] This step of humility,
        by the way, will translate very easily into family life, the
        neighborhood, or the workplace.

        The goal here is not just external uniformity so much as internal
        detachment. We are deeply attached to the things we do. Demanding to
        do things our own way is not humble. When vocation observers come to the
        monastery, for the monks or the nuns, I often see little quirks of
        external piety in church and think: "Well, that'll have to go..."

        One cannot profitably go through monastic formation cherishing the
        notion that one has got it right and one's elders have it wrong. You
        may even be right, or the matter may be completely neutral. (The
        term "optional" comes to mind, but that was NOT used to express
        neutrality!) That's not the issue here. Detachment and humility are.

        When we singularize ourselves without real moral imperative, the
        message given to the whole community is "I know better." That this is
        not warmly received in a junior or newcomer should come as no
        surprise. A monastic family is like any spouse: you had better not
        marry what you hope to change them into, but only what they ARE. If
        we fail this, we change "Thy will be done" into "MY will be done!"
        and we do so with sorry results.

        No spouse is perfect, neither is any family, monastery or job, but if
        you expect to change them right off the bat, you're doomed to woe. In
        monastery and marriage and workplace, the only person you can REALLY
        change is yourself and the sooner you get around to doing that, the
        better for all concerned.

        The sad thing (and I am guilty here!) is that sometimes these things
        we do on our own have nothing to do with piety at all. They are,
        pure and simple, revolt, passive aggression, small, though very
        public ways of expressing our scorn for this or that concept or
        person. Having lived in the Church of the 60's and 70's, I picked up
        the idea of refusal as a kind of non-violent demonstration. Not quite
        as laudable as my youthful self may have thought!

        I also must say that, in those less-than-halcyon days, I picked it up
        from my monastic seniors, just not always the best seniors! I still
        do it at times, and I still wrestle with paring those times down day
        by day. The hardest humility and obedience are to things we truly
        think are dumb and do not matter. The difficulty alone must mean
        there is great potential for growth there.

        An interesting aside here. The dissenter often thinks she is a grand
        and eloquent witness for justice and truth. The stubborn monk thinks
        he has scored a real victory for integrity and correctness. In fact,
        those who live with them often think they're just silly and pathetically
        off the mark. Of the two impressions, this last is closer to truth!

        It is also interesting to note (again, from sorry personal experience,)
        that the rebel often looks at other rebels (with whom he does not agree,
        so they are, of course, WRONG...) as silly. Wow! If one can be so right
        about those other rebels, how come the other monastics aren't right about
        oneself?? Hmmmm....

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






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