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Holy Rule for June 2

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers continued, please, for Virginia. She has now been admitted to Hospice and the cancer seems to have spread to her brain. Prayers for her happy
    Message 1 of 208 , Jun 1, 2009
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      Prayers continued, please, for Virginia. She has now been admitted to Hospice and the cancer seems to have spread to her brain. Prayers for her happy death and for all those taking care of her and all who will mourn her.

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

      Deo gratias for Debra. We prayed for her at exam time and she passed and has now been awarded her Master's degree. (Some prayers to St. Jospeh of Cupertino there, too. She thanks all who prayed.)

      Leann, 49, 2 heart attacks and her mother is stuck in Canada and cannot get down to her daughter's side.

      Romel and Jameson, very special intentions.

      Deo Gratias! Cathy, for whom we prayed for her breast cancer surgery, has had good news. Only one lymph node was involved, which surprised her doctor. She still needs prayers, as treatment starts, but at least she is more hopeful than before.

      Robert, very severe faith crisis.

      Steve, 13, muscular dystrophy, having surgery to place a rod in his back.

      Marissa, turning 22 this Wednesday. Happy birthday!

      Pat and her husband, their son dropped dead in the street, only in his forties. Pat and the son were in another country at the time. Prayers for all.

      Joe, divorcing his wife who was apparently unfaithful to him. Prayers for all concerned.

      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 1, June 2, October 2
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The fourth degree of humility
      is that he hold fast to patience with a silent mind
      when in this obedience he meets with difficulties
      and contradictions
      and even any kind of injustice,
      enduring all without growing weary or running away.
      For the Scripture says,
      "The one who perseveres to the end,
      is the one who shall be saved" (Matt. 10:22);
      and again
      "Let your heart take courage, and wait for the Lord" (Ps. 26:14)!

      And to show how those who are faithful
      ought to endure all things, however contrary, for the Lord,
      the Scripture says in the person of the suffering,
      "For Your sake we are put to death all the day long;
      we are considered as sheep marked for slaughter" (Ps. 43:22; Rom.
      Then, secure in their hope of a divine recompense,
      they go on with joy to declare,
      "But in all these trials we conquer,
      through Him who has granted us His love" (Rom. 8:37).
      Again, in another place the Scripture says,
      "You have tested us, O God;
      You have tried us a silver is tried, by fire;
      You have brought us into a snare;
      You have laid afflictions on our back" (Matt. 5:39-41).
      And to show that we ought to be under a Superior,
      it goes on to say,
      "You have set men over our heads" (Ps. 65:12).

      Moreover, by their patience
      those faithful ones fulfill the Lord's command
      in adversities and injuries:
      when struck on one cheek, they offer the other;
      when deprived of their tunic, they surrender also their cloak;
      when forced to go a mile, they go two;
      with the Apostle Paul they bear with false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26)
      and bless those who curse them (1 Cor. 4:12).


      Be careful how you read this fourth step of patience. It is an ideal,
      presented in its most flawless form. It is not an unreachable goal, but neither
      should we expect significant progress before noon today. It is our call and
      our vocation, but it is a lifelong task.

      The danger for schleps like me is that this step can give one an image
      of a perfect, 1950's TV sitcom Mom: shirt dress, high heels and pearls as
      everyday wear, cookies and milk always forthcoming in a kitchen as clean
      as a surgical suite and never a hair out of place. Full make-up on rising
      and wears hat and matching gloves to shop. PUHLEEEZE! Give me a break.
      Real patience in action is not at all like that.

      Patience in action is a fierce struggle. Never think that it's easy for
      others and therefore something is wrong with you: it isn't easy
      for anyone. One of the biggest flaws of the "I'm OK and you are
      not..." school of ministry is that it makes people think exactly
      this. "It's easy for her and there's something terribly wrong with
      me." Neither is true.

      Please drop that TV image of perfect models, who flit from flower to
      flower in life beamingly, fraught with about as much stress as a
      butterfly in a climate-controlled greenhouse in full bloom. That
      image will harm you. The Holy Rule and Scripture were not
      written for television's perfect, clueless potted plants. They were written
      for strays and plodders like ourselves.

      The Rule and Scriptures were meant for strugglers. They were written
      for real, average people, halt and lame, battle-scarred veterans like
      you and me, for people who have weathered life, but barely. Hey,
      there may be cookies and milk, but you'll probably have to get the
      plate yourself and brush aside a LOT of blood, sweat and tears to
      find one. Oh, and please drink the milk fast and take as much as you
      can... the fridge broke today.

      Patience is surely one of the most important fuels that perseverance
      runs on, but don't be surprised if it often is not very high octane!
      Neither should it surprise you if your engine is not a slant V-8, but
      rather a very cheap lawnmower that has trouble starting. Patience
      is ENDURANCE, not ease. It may, after years of struggle, confer a
      great peace and serenity, but it rarely, if ever, feels like that in
      the middle of things.

      Brother Patrick Creamer, OSB, of Saint Leo Abbey in Florida, taught
      me patience and perseverance. He was able to do so because he was so
      transparent about his own struggles. Many others tried to tell me how
      hard it was, but their lack of candor made me dismiss their warnings
      as tokenism. It certainly didn't seem to be hard for them. I couldn't
      believe them. Patrick, my late and beloved mentor, was so very different.

      Patrick entered the monastery in 1954, when he was 40, after a long
      career at sea. He missed being at sea so much (and for so long!) that
      it magnified many of the every day crosses of monastic life. Abbot
      Marion, who loved brothers and had a very tender spot for them, used
      to send Patrick to the beach for a weekend occasionally, in years
      when that sort of thing didn't often happen. +Marion was wise enough
      to know he'd lose Patrick if he didn't get a salt air fix now and then.

      Even the beach trips were not enough alone. Patrick told me he was
      tempted to leave every single day for ten years. Patrick, when I
      lived with him, literally stayed packed with a hidden suitcase for
      years and boasted of his ability to be gone in an hour. As a novice,
      my heart used to be selfishly in my throat. I wanted him to go, if
      that was what he was supposed to do, but I really didn't want to lose

      I can also tell you that, during the worst
      of those years, Patrick helped scores of folks who came to him, because a
      transparently wounded person usually can. I can also tell you that
      Brother Patrick finally decided to stay: when he was 83 or so!! What a
      witness of hope that was to me, to others struggling like me.

      Please, let us all be given patience. But when we get it, however
      little at a time, let NONE of us be "perfect" TV Moms. Let us all be Patricks,
      let us show others how terribly hard, yet doable it can be.

      Patrick held forth from his infirmary room until his death
      at two weeks short of 90. A steady stream of visitors never waned.
      On the head of his bed and on the shaving mirror over his sink were
      two small notes, written in his own inimitable hand: "Lord, let me
      come to You." They broke my heart the first time I saw them. I still
      didn't want to lose him. But I know how right he was and how richly he
      deserves that loving embrace for which he so patiently waited.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome LEO, OSB (again and again you'll see why I took the second
      Petersham, MA

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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      Message 208 of 208 , Oct 5, 2009
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        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.

        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.


        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
        Petersham, MA

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