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Holy Rule for Oct. 2

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for two special intentions. Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who
    Message 1 of 209 , Oct 1, 2009
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      Prayers, please, for two special intentions.

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

      Richard, prostrate cancer. He has had surgery and follow-ups, but the P.S.A. numbers are high and the prognosis does not look too good. His father and grandfather died of prostate cancer. And for Pat, his sister and only sibling.

      Judith, diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, for her happy death and all who will mourn her.

      Maryann, on her birthday.

      Enes, having a radical mastectomy.

      C., going on a discernment retreat to the Cistercians.

      Pat who is waiting to get an MRI. She previously had a CT scan which revealed a 2.2 center thickening on her frontal brain lobe. Prayers that she quickly gets in to get the MRI.

      A blessed feast of the Holy Guardian Angels to all, prayers especially for all
      members of the American Cassinese Congregation today, as this is their patronal
      feast. May all our Guardian Angels watch over us and bring us ever closer to
      God's perfect will for us.

      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).


      The stumbling block here is the part about holding "fast to patience with
      a silent mind." How on earth does one begin to do that? The trend in
      consumerist Western society is pretty much to form people- no, let's
      call them what consumerism does: "consumers"- in a mold that ALWAYS
      listens to very noisy minds. That, after all, is the root of desire
      and consumption (clever play on words there! Just think of the old
      name for tuberculosis,) and profit. Nothing else matters as much to a
      consumerist society.

      It's not surprising that living, moving and having our being in such
      waters, we more or less acquire consumerist gills in order to
      breathe. However, the Gospel itself, as well as the Holy Rule, tells
      us that we must adopt a view which contradicts that of the secular
      world. Learning to do this is neither easy nor fast.

      The really hard thing here is that sometimes, even when we are right,
      we have to put up and shut up, so to speak. The Rule speaks of
      bearing injustice and false brethren. There are no qualifiers here
      that say: "You may think it is unjust, but the truth is otherwise."

      No, sometimes we must actually endure stuff that really is unjust,
      endure people that truly are false. As one very wise old monk of
      Pluscarden once said: "Some things will only be fixed by a cross in
      the cemetery." That is frighteningly true. Some people, some
      dysfunctions will go unchecked and there are only two things one can
      do about it: leave or endure.

      This may feel like denial to us. It isn't. That's not what's asked of
      us. I may think I know very clearly that a person or situation is
      wrong, really know it, but what is asked of me is to react in a
      particularly controlled fashion, "with a silent mind."

      There is a big issue about judgment here. We are not to judge. We
      often think we can "assess" when we truly cannot. It is better to
      wisely abstain from such "assessments". We never have all the facts
      of another person's heart or soul, never. That's why we have been
      told not to judge.

      Jesus did say, after all, that He is the Truth. He is not calling us
      to stupidity or denial, but He can well afford to call us to silent
      endurance. The briefest look at Jesus in His Passion can affirm His
      rights there. There was never a greater injustice done than that, nor
      was there ever a victim so innocent and completely undeserving of all
      that brutality.

      Why is the "silent mind" such a big deal? Because you cannot get
      anywhere spiritually without one. Your focus will be shattered. The
      messy bit here is that your focus can be shattered by things
      apparently worthwhile- the devil, after all is no amateur at duping us.

      We can be tricked into spinning our wheels and expending all our
      emotional and spiritual energy on dead ends that look noble, or on
      things that truly are noble, but should not absorb all of our efforts
      or attention. We can distort our necessary caring and charity into
      anger and rage at injustice that does nothing other than perpetrate
      anger and rage in more religious attire. Big mistake there! We are
      to love, love and always love!

      I can recall some awful flame wars on religious lists about religious
      topics. Predictably, quite early on the tone stooped to hurling
      charges at people, not ideas. Whoops! Wrong way, folks. The holiest
      monks I know would not have even entered into that discussion. They
      would have gone to their room to read
      or pray.

      That's not denial, that's a fair assessment that Brother David Gormican,
      OSB, (the elderly monk I have in mind,) of Saint Leo would have made
      correctly. Br. David was a very, very holy nobody and he knew that. It was a
      freeing knowledge, one I completely lacked when I first lived with him. It
      was his strong sense of "nobodiness" that made him someone extremely special
      and free.

      At 18, I thought entering into heated argument was the thing to do. It was
      1967 and there was no shortage of such heat in the monastery or the Church.
      Br. David, quite rightly, knew that it would result in a night (or a whole
      day) of strife and nothing would be changed. David knew that a hidden
      lay brother in Florida was not going to change the Church at all by
      fighting with other people who were similarly powerless. Praying,
      maybe, but fighting, no! He was humble enough to know this and go to
      his room. How I wish I had been that smart- then or now!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      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
        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.


        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
        Petersham, MA
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