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Holy Rule for Dec. 11

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for Kristian, on his 22nd birthday, and for Joy and Dick, his parents, and all their family. Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and
    Message 1 of 78 , Dec 10, 2009

      Prayers for Kristian, on his 22nd birthday, and for Joy and Dick, his parents, and all their family.

      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of Linda, a much respected High School teacher, who had a stroke while she was teaching. She is in hospital at the moment. Also for her students who are understandably upset. Prayers, too, for all her loved ones and all those taking care of her.

      Lord, help us all as
      You know and will. Helps us believe and know that You take care of us. God's
      will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so
      much. JL

      April 11, August 11, December 11
      Chapter 58: On the Manner of Receiving Sisters

      When anyone is newly come for the reformation of her life,
      let her not be granted an easy entrance;
      but, as the Apostle says,
      "Test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
      If the newcomer, therefore, perseveres in her knocking,
      and if it is seen after four or five days
      that she bears patiently the harsh treatment offered her
      and the difficulty of admission,
      and that she persists in her petition,
      then let entrance be granted her,
      and let her stay in the guest house for a few days.

      After that let her live in the novitiate,
      where the novices study, eat and sleep.
      A senior shall be assigned to them who is skilled in winning souls,
      to watch over them with the utmost care.
      Let her examine whether the novice is truly seeking God,
      and whether she is zealous
      for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials.
      Let the novice be told all the hard and rugged ways
      by which the journey to God is made.

      If she promises stability and perseverance,
      then at the end of two months
      let this rule be read through to her,
      and let her be addressed thus:
      "Here is the law under which you wish to fight.
      If you can observe it, enter;
      if you cannot, you are free to depart."
      If she still stands firm,
      let her be taken to the above-mentioned novitiate
      and again tested in all patience.
      And after the lapse of six months let the Rule be read to her,
      that she may know on what she is entering.
      And if she still remains firm,
      after four months let the same Rule be read to her again.

      Then, having deliberated with herself,
      if she promises to keep it in its entirety
      and to observe everything that is commanded,
      let her be received into the community.
      But let her understand that,
      according to the law of the Rule,
      from that day forward she may not leave the monastery
      nor withdraw her neck from under the yoke of the Rule
      which she was free to refuse or to accept
      during that prolonged deliberation.


      The Holy Rule is an awesome document about 1,500 years old. Since it
      is always both these things, it is helpful to look at both past and present
      in reading it. In St. Benedict's time, and for many centuries after him,
      numerous less than lofty social reasons obtained for joining a
      monastery. This was, alas, as true for the nobility and it was for
      the serfs.

      Got an unmarriageable noble daughter? Ship her off to join the "unclaimed
      treasures" abbey, if they won't take her, found and fund of your own.
      Got a younger son with no inheritance or title, not the sharpest
      knife in the drawer, either? Sounds like a vocation to the Church to
      me... Dowager queen or ex-wife a governmental problem? Have I got a
      convent for YOU!

      For the lower socioeconomic groups, it was often flat out social
      climbing to join the monastery. You not only
      came out well-dressed and well-fed, but you often got educated in the
      bargain, too. If one was not born noble, or if one was less than
      wonderful at warfare, the Church was the ONLY way to climb to power.

      History has removed or severely limited many of these shoddy reasons
      for joining. Hence, it is not always wise to play hard to get with
      the reasons for same out of the way. I have known communities who
      played too hard to get for too long and now get nothing at all.
      Whooops! Poetic justice there! Maybe you should have just stuck to
      not sleeping with knives at your side when you wanted to get literal
      about the Holy Rule!

      Before the worst of the vocations crunch came, there was a terrible
      myth afloat in the late 60's and early 70's: "the perfect vocation."
      Holding out for these ephemeral dreams has seriously harmed more than
      one house. Just as women were learning to debunk the Cinderella myth,
      many houses fell prey to the foolish notion that Prince or Princess
      Charming really WOULD arrive on a charger one day.

      It's balance again, always, always balance. This is
      true not only of monasteries, but of single Oblates seeking a mate
      and of any Oblate seeking to fill a job slot or assign a task to a
      child. The apparently "perfect" one may not always be the best bet!

      Balance, look at the person, the REAL person,
      not the "perfect" one you desire so much that you see an illusion.
      Mindfulness, here! Really, really, look at the real, strive to see it
      well and then act accordingly. Jesus, after all, IS the Truth.

      Ask any employer, many a plodder who was given a chance and knows it
      will try harder and actually perform much better than the "dream" who
      arrived with all ducks neatly in a row. In any situation in life, it
      is crucially important to remember that carved-in-stone standards are
      never subjective and people ALWAYS are. Thus, a little flexibility is
      going to be required unless you are totally content with never
      getting anywhere.

      God is in charge of
      these things, but God is terribly polite. Get in His way and He will
      usually leave you to your own devices, since they can be the most
      effective teachers! Be too picky or not picky enough and you will
      miss whatever treasure He has for you. Don't take that risk!

      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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