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Holy Rule for July 19

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Lena, 13, for her family and all who mourn her. Prayers of thanksgiving and Deo gratias for Dave, his oral
    Message 1 of 209 , Jul 18, 2009
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Lena, 13, for her family and all who mourn her.

      Prayers of thanksgiving and Deo gratias for Dave, his oral surgery went well.

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

      T.J., his wife Angie and infant son Tommy. He is 27 and has a rare infection. He has been close to death for a couple weeks. Prayers that he will live and be able to raise his son and for Angie to stay with T.J. in the ICU and not have to go back to work.

      Theona. She's in her 80s and has been living on
      her own. She's had some pretty bad falls lately and had to be hospitalized
      after spending the night on the floor. She's having a tough time walking,
      sitting, etc. Prayers that her niece and nephew will be able to find a nice
      assisted living facility for her and that she's peacefully agree to go.

      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 19, July 19, November 18
      Chapter 40: On the Measure of Drink

      "Everyone has her own gift from God,
      one in this way and another in that" (1 Cor. 7:7).
      It is therefore with some misgiving
      that we regulate the measure of others' sustenance.
      Nevertheless, keeping in view the needs of the weak,
      we believe that a hemina of wine a day is sufficient for each.
      But those to whom God gives the strength to abstain
      should know that they will receive a special reward.


      If the circumstances of the place,
      or the work
      or the heat of summer
      require a greater measure,
      the superior shall use her judgment in the matter,
      taking care always
      that there be no occasion for surfeit or drunkenness.
      We read
      it is true,
      that wine is by no means a drink for monastics;
      but since the monastics of our day cannot be persuaded of this
      let us at least agree to drink sparingly and not to satiety,
      because "wine makes even the wise fall away" (Eccles. 19:2).


      But where the circumstances of the place are such
      that not even the measure prescribed above can be supplied,
      but much less or none at all,
      let those who live there bless God and not murmur.
      Above all things do we give this admonition,
      that they abstain from murmuring.

      REFLECTION

      NOTE: Looking at this a few years after I wrote it, I have more pity on Br. X.,
      who features in the end of this reflection. I toned down what I said a bit. I
      cannot read minds or souls: no one can. Only God knows what motivated Br. X,
      though I thought I did when I was younger. That he upset a lot of people in
      undeniable, why or how, or the root of his problem is a matter beyond any of us.
      JL

      It would a terrible wasted opportunity not to briefly mention alcoholism
      and other twelve step programs with this reading. So many in ALL walks of
      life, our own Benedictine families included, suffer from addictions. May
      all who abstain because they must offer the hardships of that road to recovery
      for all those who suffer still. May we all remember that addiction is an
      illness, not a moral scourge to whip people who suffer from it.

      "Above all...abstain from murmuring." The murmuring here (and
      everywhere it is mentioned in the Holy Rule,) is mean-spirited
      griping about people or conditions. Never for an instant think that
      Benedictine standards require one to be blind to real problems.
      Even Abbots can be removed and have been. The process is neither simple
      nor a great deal of fun, but it has been done. Real evils ought to be
      addressed and usually are.

      It's hard to write about this, because a certain unwritten law (well,
      written in the hearts of monastics!) governs what is and isn't
      murmuring. It's an intuitive sort of principle that one learns by
      living among and observing other monastics.

      There are healthy levels of opposition and resistance in a
      healthy community, but their boundaries must not be violated. In
      fact, any superior or community which mercilessly destroys ALL
      disagreement or opposition is in serious danger. Part of community's
      efficacy is that vastly different people live together in peace.

      Maybe peace is the key to assessing a lot of murmuring. The worst
      murumuring monk I ever knew- now dead some years- had a life of nearly
      non-stop murmuring and he seemed to report such things with an eye
      to harm. I once heard Bro. Patrick refer to this guy as "diabolical" and
      that was not an adjective he used lightly.

      Virtually nothing and no one measured up to Br. X's standards.
      He was awful to live with and I feared him when I was a novice. But
      there is the catch: he WAS awful to live with, even for himself. He
      perhaps was filled with anger and pain and sought to make the
      world around him match. What a convoluted mess!

      Listen up, m'dears, I cannot know what another's pain is or how they
      should seek help for it, but I do know that the Benedictine way is
      NOT to pass that on and not to stand idly by and watch another do so.
      Horrible to say, it took me years to get over Br. X's treatment of me. When
      I came here it took me years to learn that I no longer had to cover
      my flanks or look over my shoulder: we have no one that mean, nor
      would we accept someone who was.

      Poor Br. X, I pray for his tortured soul. Nearly 30 years later, I still
      recall him with a shudder. However, it was not his fault alone. There was
      an Abbot who listened, there were monks who did, too. A united refusal
      to listen to such poison might have helped him, or it might have actually
      driven him out, but in fact that did not happen. We all bear a two-sided
      obligation to mean murmuring: don't start it, and don't listen to it. Venom
      doesn't have any effect if it doesn't get in the bloodstream. See to it that you
      never help it on it's way.

      Love and prayers,

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





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      I have no idea why this didn t go through yesterday. Catching up. BJL +PAX Prayers for the grace-filled success of our Oblate Day and our Sisters Monastic
      Message 209 of 209 , Mar 14
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        I have no idea why this didn't go through yesterday. Catching up. BJL
         
        +PAX
        Prayers for the grace-filled success of our Oblate Day and our Sisters' Monastic Experience weekend at Petersham and for all participating.
         
        Urgent prayers needed for Brian's brother-in-law, Paul. He is a diabetic, and now has been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. It is stage 3, and a biopsy this coming Tuesday will check to see if he is stage 4. He will be starting chemo & radiation. His wife is devastated. Brian has known Paul since they were very young, loves him like a brother and is crushed. Please pray for Paul, his wife, Brian and all their family and friends.
        Deo gratias, the twin's fluid build up is gone.

        Prayer for Brian T.,( another Brian,) who is being viciously harrassed.

        Prayers for JS, discernment and assistance in making an important life decision.

        Prayers for Beverly, special intention plus dicernment regarding another of perplexing issues..

        Deo gratias for all prayers and graces of the past.
        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 14, July 14, November 13
        Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen

        An hour before the meal let the weekly servers each receive a drink
        and some bread over and above the appointed allowance, in order
        that at the meal time they may serve their brethren without
        murmuring and without excessive fatigue. On solemn days, however,
        let them wait until after Mass.

        Immediately after the Morning Office on Sunday, the incoming and
        outgoing servers shall prostrate themselves before all the brethren
        in the oratory and ask their prayers. Let the server who is ending
        his week say this verse: "Blessed are You, O Lord God, who have
        helped me and consoled me." When this has been said three times and
        the outgoing server has received his blessing, then let the
        incoming server follow and say, "Incline unto my aid, O God; O
        Lord, make haste to help me." Let this also be repeated three times
        by all, and having received his blessing let him enter his service.

        REFLECTION

        Families, and parents and caregivers, listen up! There's an
        important lesson here. No task is too small to be blessed by
        prayer. More than that, no task is so easy that it can be done
        without God's help, so remember to thank Him. Of ourselves, we can
        do nothing, literally nothing. All our strength and power comes from God.

        Making dinner or washing the dishes? Take a quiet moment in the
        midst of either to say "Help!" and "Thanks!" Two simple, one word
        prayers. No matter how chaotic your household, everyone will find
        time for at least that. God knows the details, knows your heart and
        can readily fill in the blanks! We may think God needs essay-length
        prayers, but He doesn't. He may enjoy hearing from us, but trust
        me, we NEVER tell Him anything that's news to Him.

        This chapter is not simply the humility and charity of service, it
        is also the honest acknowledgment of complete helplessness without
        God. For most folks, only sickness or debility will teach them
        that. It may seem like nothing to bend down and pick up a pin off
        the floor until a bad back makes that impossible. Handicaps hone
        our perceptions of being in charge very, very well.

        Of course, there is another side to simple things like serving
        table, picking up pins and the like. One could not have done
        anything without God's help, but ah, if one does them out of love
        and care! Bingo! Double coupons, so to speak! If that pin got
        carefully picked up because of a barefoot and running child, or a
        beloved pet who is prone to "tasting" whatever she can find on the
        floor, simplicity becomes a very much greater matter, indeed. Now
        it is very close to the heart of God, and that is a wonderful place
        to be.

        By the way, though some might think me daft for saying this, it is
        not at all that crazy. There is no reason why families could not
        bless whomever is assigned to a domestic task for a week or month
        or whatever. A simple prayer asking God to help them serve us all
        and get over any rough times could be tastefully done without a lot
        of fuss. This could really help drive home the message of the worthwhile
        merit to be had in doing small things with love!

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