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Holy Rule for Nov. 1

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX A blessed Solemnity of All Saints to all! May all the Saints, especially those of our own families, intercede to God for us and bring us closer to Him.
    Message 1 of 78 , Oct 31, 2009

      A blessed Solemnity of All Saints to all! May all the Saints, especially those of our own families, intercede to God for us and bring us closer to Him. May we all rejoice together in the Communion of Saints! JL

      Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All ismercy and
      grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

      +++++++++In yesterday's reflection, I said that there were times
      when we should NOT correct. Indeed, there are, but I should have
      fine-tuned it a bit more. There are situations in which one is
      morally obliged to say something, where one's silence could
      actually be complicity. Gentleness and courtesy and love are still
      the norm here, but one can actually harm another by not mentioning
      seriously sinful matters. Careful assessments must be made as to
      whom, when and how it is best to approach the matter, but we cannot
      excuse ourselves by shrugging it off, saying we are not "detached"
      enough to correct. That might be true in monastic issues that are
      not seriously sinful, but it is not true in grave moral
      issues. When in doubt, ask a pastor or spiritual director or
      confessor to help you with

      March 2, July 2, November 1
      Chapter 25: On Weightier Faults

      Let the brother who is guilty of a weightier fault be excluded both
      from the table and from the oratory. Let none of the brethren join
      him either for company or for conversation.
      Let him be alone at the work assigned him, abiding in penitential
      sorrow and pondering that terrible sentence of the Apostle where he
      says that a man of that kind is handed over
      for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in
      the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5). Let him take his meals alone in
      the measure and at the hour which the Abbot shall consider suitable
      for him. He shall not be blessed by those who pass by, nor shall
      the food that is given him be blessed.


      OK, here's a meditation that fits the feast today: How many of
      those Saints we are celebrating today once found themselves under
      this stringent punishment and now find themselves in heaven's
      bliss? Probably more than one or two! Punishments like this are a
      wake-up call. Not everyone will take that call, but no doubt many
      who are whooping it up in heaven today would gladly give witness to
      the wisdom of doing so!

      Saints are perfected, not perfect. The final product is very
      different from any point that came before. Punishments like those
      today's chapter suggests are dreadful as end points, but they are
      not at all so as wake-up calls, as points on the way. On the
      contrary, in such cases they can have great beauty. "Amazing Grace,
      how sweet the sound!"

      We have different ways of giving wake-up calls today. I remember a
      priest whose Abbot walked unannounced into his rectory and
      said: "Pack a bag, Father, you are going into treatment for alcohol
      today at Guest House. Right now!" In his case, as in so many, that
      drastic step worked, thanks be to God. That priest died a very
      changed man.

      The error, however, and it is often made out of cowardice, is not
      to give ANY wake-up calls at all. Dump the penal code in the Holy
      Rule and let the failing monastics figure it out for themselves.
      This approach is utterly wrong.

      In the first place, it woefully fails charity. Genuine love often
      obliges us to do unpalatable things. To shirk that demand is
      terribly wrong. Secondly, the monastic mired in whatever delusion
      of sin or illness of addiction has, more often than not, lost the
      ability to see clearly. That's what the community and superior must
      do for such a monastic. To fail to help such a one to awaken to the
      Light that is there for all is a horrible thing.

      We must always remember that Christ came to call the sinners, not
      simply the just. We can pay a lot of lip service to that concept
      without realizing that it could be rendered as: "Christ came to
      call those monastics who need excommunication, not those who
      don't." Get the picture? The ones we most roundly judge (in spite
      of Jesus' insistence that we never do so!) are the ones for whom He
      came. To deny them any opportunity to wake up and get with the
      program is awfully short of genuine love.

      St. Benedict himself says that he wrote his Holy Rule "for
      beginners." Well, folks, check out any skating rink and watch the
      beginners there. You won't have any trouble figuring out who they
      are. Their arms are awkwardly outstretched in futile attempts at
      balance. They wobble, they're clumsy and inept. They fall down a LOT.

      To assume that, in our brave new world, all monastics have lost
      that clumsy ineptitude of beginners is a tragic mistake. We are all
      beginners and we will all die beginners. That's just the way the
      monastic struggle is. Daily we begin again... as the title of one
      on the Holy Rule says!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • carmelitanum
      +PAX Please continue prays for the recovery of our good Brother Jerome. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God s will is best. All is mercy and grace. God
      Message 78 of 78 , Oct 14, 2014

        Please continue prays for the recovery of our good Brother Jerome.

        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 14, June 15, October 15
        Chapter 12: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said

        The Morning Office on Sunday shall begin with Psalm 66
        recited straight through without an antiphon.
        After that let Psalm 50 be said with "Alleluia,"
        then Psalms 117 and 62,
        the Canticle of Blessing (Benedicite) and the Psalms of praise (Ps.
        then a lesson from the Apocalypse to be recited by heart,
        the responsory, the verse,
        the canticle from the Gospel book,
        the litany and so the end.


        Ever notice how a loving parent makes allowances so the kids WON'T
        slip up or be discouraged? Good teachers do the same thing. Some
        things are made so deliberately easy that all of the students can
        generally make it through the hoop!

        St. Benedict does this with both morning Offices, beginning Vigils
        and Lauds with 2 psalms that are said every day. He even stresses
        that, at Lauds, the 66th Psalm is to be said slowly, so that the
        monastics may have time to gather.

        Those two Offices are the time people are most likely to be running
        late, either because they had to bound out of bed at the last minute,
        or because the "necessities of nature" break between Vigils and Lauds
        delayed them unexpectedly. It is worth noting that only with these
        two Offices, when tardiness can so easily occur, does the Holy Rule
        make such allowance. For a further bit of trivia, these four Psalms
        are repeated every day: one could miss them several times in a week
        and still have said all 150 Psalms in that week.

        Sometimes people (including, alas, ourselves!) can make unrealistic
        conditions and demand that others meet them. The concept of failure
        is built into those demands. We fence people about with our own
        standards that they could not possibly meet, then condemn them for
        failing to meet them! What a sad and tragic game.

        Take a self-inventory and check to see if there is anyone you dislike so
        intensely that they cannot be right, no matter what they do. If there are any
        such folks, it's time for you to change, not them! I recall, alas, one pastor
        who annoyed me so much that even when he used incense (something I ordinarily
        love,) I carped to myself that he didn't do it right. With me, he just could NOT
        win. Sigh... When things get that bad, it's ourselves who need the overhaul,
        not the presumed "offender."

        St. Benedict, by his example, teaches us to be the exact opposite. He
        shows us that we should be gentle and loving, that we should not be
        about setting burdens on others that are guaranteed to make them fail
        or quit or be discouraged. If we have received such kindness, we
        should pass it on!

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA

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