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Holy Rule for June 5

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for all those on the Air France flight lost over the Atlantic Ocean. Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for
    Message 1 of 208 , Jun 4, 2009
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      Prayers for all those on the Air France flight lost over the Atlantic Ocean.

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

      Damon, now chronologically four years old he is too old for his special crib and will now require a special bed costing $10,000. Parents hope and pray that Medicaid will cover it. With all his physical infirmities it seems he is profoundly mentally disabled as well. He cannot really walk, nor talk, must still be changed and fed as would a baby. He still pays very little attention to the world around him and may be autistic.

      Prayers for George and Nicole, both seeking work and hoping they have found the right job, for the job that God wills for each of them.

      Frank, biopsies on Monday, however, the pathologist could not tell if the
      primary site is lung or it is metastasis from thyroid as he had cancer
      of thyroid five years ago. They sent his slides to Mayo in Rochester
      for second opinion. Prayers for him and his wife, Ruth, as are both stressed from all the waiting.

      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 4, June 5, October 5
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The seventh degree of humility
      is that he consider himself lower and of less account
      than anyone else,
      and this not only in verbal protestation
      but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
      humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
      "But I am a worm and no man,
      the scorn of men and the outcast of the people" (Ps. 21:7).
      "After being exalted, I have been humbled
      and covered with confusion" (Ps. 87:16).
      And again,
      "It is good for me that You have humbled me,
      that I may learn Your commandments" (Ps. 118:71).

      REFLECTION

      So many people get blown away arguing against the line: "I am a worm
      and no man..." that they completely miss a crucially important fact.
      Very ancient interpretation of this Psalm has the Suffering Servant,
      Jesus, as its focus. Jesus Himself quoted its opening line from the
      Cross: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" There are numerous
      allusions to the crucifixion in this Psalm, casting lots for
      garments, piercing hands and feet and the derision of the crowd, to
      name a few.

      OK, so if we dare to put these wormy terms in the mouth of Christ,
      how come we get upset about saying the same of ourselves? Good
      question! If HE can say it, even metaphorically, we surely should
      have no problem!

      But many seem to have a big problem there, so let's look at the
      matter from a different angle. We absolutely cannot know that others
      are worse than us. It's not possible, because we cannot see into
      their hearts, we cannot know every factor in their guilt or lack
      thereof. We cannot know that they are not better than us.
      God alone can know all those things.

      OK, one argues, so if we can't know anyone is worse, we sure can't
      know if they're better, either. Quite right! Our God-given natural
      assessment abilities allow us to be sure of no one's wickedness or
      goodness, not even our own state of grace. But we have more facility
      in self-judgement than we have in regard to others. We have more
      parts of the puzzle there, even though we still don't have them all,
      we have windows into our own hearts and minds that we have in no
      other case.

      So, with all this ironclad uncertainty, why would Scripture and the
      Holy Rule ask us to think ourselves less than anyone else? For two
      very important reasons. First, it is the safest position to take.
      Even without full knowledge of ourselves, we have more information
      there than we have anywhere else. Secondly, it is the most profitable
      position for learning and spiritual growth.

      If we think someone is less than ourselves, there is little chance we
      will learn anything from her: we're so busy with patronizing
      condescension that only now and then will the woman's REAL words come
      through to us. On the other hand, if we think everyone has something
      to teach us, knowledge and growth start popping up all over the
      place, in some very unlikely locations! This attitude is part of
      listening, really listening.

      And after all, "Listen" is where our Rule begins!

      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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