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Holy Rule for Feb, 2

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of John and Colleen, for jobs for both of them that will meet their financial needs and for grace
    Message 1 of 149 , Feb 1, 2010
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      Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of John and Colleen, for jobs for both of them that will meet their financial needs and for grace and sterngth and friendship's support to
      meet their emotional needs, for trust in God and not fear, for serenity and faith.

      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 2, June 3, October 3
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The fifth degree of humility
      is that he hide from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts
      that enter his heart
      or the sins committed in secret,
      but that he humbly confess them.
      The Scripture urges us to this when it says,
      "Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in Him" (Ps. 36:5)
      and again,
      "Confess to the Lord, for He is good,
      for His mercy endures forever" (Ps. 105:1).
      And the Prophet likewise says,
      "My offense I have made known to You,
      and my iniquities I have not covered up.
      I said: 'I will declare against myself my iniquities to the Lord;'
      and 'You forgave the wickedness of my heart'" (Ps. 31:5).

      REFLECTION

      To hide one's symptoms from one's physician is to court misdiagnosis.
      If you lie to your therapist, why bother with analysis? Both these
      tactics obscure illness rather than produce health. The "health" they
      seek is nothing more than a falsehood, an illusion based on an
      incomplete view.

      It is natural for us to wish to wish that parents and abbots think
      the best of us. It is supernatural to want them to know the truth
      when they need to know it to help us. That "natural" tendency in us,
      however, is founded on a very unlovely kink: the desire to ALWAYS
      look good, ALWAYS seem in control, even when we are floundering in
      deep trouble. If parents or bosses or abbots think very highly of us,
      this temptation is even stronger; we'd rather not burst their bubble,
      we think it is to our advantage not to do so.

      The monastery is a school of the Lord's service, but it is a hospital
      of sorts, too. When we place ourselves under the care of the Holy
      Rule and an abbot, we have admitted our need for care, for treatment,
      for progress. Why deny ourselves any of those things now? I'm not
      sure, but I'll bet there are tons of easy ways to fake one's way out
      of chemical dependency treatment. Why bother? Unlike many in
      substance abuse treatment, we came to Benedictinism of our own accord.

      In Eastern monasticism, the tradition is for the disciple to confess
      thoughts to the elder every day. This is considered a crucially
      important part of monastic formation. It humbles the disciple and it
      leaves the elder in a much better position to train and advise.
      Granted, with many monastics in and out of house, most abbots would
      be unable to do this daily, but every monastic needs a confessor or
      spiritual director or spiritual co-struggler who can really know
      what's going on in their souls.

      Parents know how it feels when a child has need of them and never
      lets them know. It is an awful feeling and often the child's reasons
      (like fear or deceit,) for keeping them in the dark hurt even more.
      No parent, no boss and no abbot is perfect. They are all human and
      flawed, just like us. However, when we avoid trusting them with some
      of our dark side, we cheat ourselves of a chance to see their
      greatness called forth in compassion, mercy and wisdom.

      Balance, common sense and moderation obtain here, too. It is one
      thing not to tell one's abbot or boss something because one wishes to
      be thought well of, quite another to realize that some things, when
      there truly is no need to tell them, are best left unsaid. As Father
      Damian of St. Leo is fond of saying: "The truth is not always
      nourishing." However, SOMEONE needs to know: a spiritual director
      or confessor. We are too weak to trod the path alone and far too
      prideful. Let's not miss the chance of humbling ourselves.

      Family life, in either monastery or home church, must be founded on
      truth and reality to be healthy. All of us have seen flaming examples
      of dysfunction when it is not. Even though sometimes a mother will
      say: "For heaven's sake, don't tell your father!" there has to be
      SOME connection with reality. Not only is humility the reality of
      truth, but Jesus, too is the Truth. Why on earth bother seeking Him
      if we don't want Truth? Let this truth, however, always be told in
      gentleness and charity. There is a difference between the virtue of
      honesty and the vice of brutal frankness.

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


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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Don, for whom we prayed, has died without seeing the Priest. Ardent prayers for the repose of his soul and for his brother, Jim, his wife and family and
      Message 149 of 149 , Jun 6, 2010
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        +PAX

        Don, for whom we prayed, has died without seeing the Priest. Ardent prayers for the repose of his soul and for his brother, Jim, his wife and family and all who mourn him.

        Kaitlin, whose test we prayed for has also been able to get out of the bad real estate deal she was enmeshed in. Deo gratias, and thanksgiving prayers!

        Lola, whose back surgery we prayed for, has now developed pain/numbness in her other leg. Unsure of the cause, possibly a bone chip or spur, they are taking her back to surgery this afternoon. Continued prayers, please, and for her brother, Richard and all their family.

        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 6, June 7, October 7
        Chapter 7: On Humility

        The ninth degree of humility
        is that a monk restrain his tongue and keep silence,
        not speaking until he is questioned.
        For the Scripture shows
        that "in much speaking there is no escape from sin" (Prov. 10:19)
        and that "the talkative man is not stable on the earth" (Ps. 139:12).

        REFLECTION

        OK, if you are a parent, you cannot speak to your children only when
        they question you. The therapy bills in later years would be
        astronomical. There are many situations in a Benedictine life lived
        in the world, among non-monastics, where this has to be altered, but
        its kernel of truth must be discovered and maintained.

        WHY do we talk needlessly? Quite often it is nothing more than a
        trick to change the reality around us. We are bored, or we feel we
        are not getting enough attention or we think the mood too heavy, so
        we speak to change whatever annoys us at the moment. I should know.
        I am infamous for creating my own entertainment when things seem
        dull to me. That's not always a great idea...

        Some tough moments, some difficult stuff are meant to be endured.
        They are part of our necessary learning and growth. Ever notice how
        we assess a child's maturity by its ability to be quiet and non-
        fidgety in surroundings (like Church!) that do not spoon feed its
        attention span? Well, the same is true of us at every stage. We do
        ourselves harm if we defuse every single tense moment with a word or
        two. We cheat ourselves.

        All too often we speak only to remind the universe around us, which
        has carelessly forgotten for a second that we are its center, of a
        whole bevy of falsehoods: I am the cutest, smartest, or wittiest, I
        have the solution to all of this. What folly on the part of the
        entire cosmos to forget our importance! Better speak to clear the
        matter up...

        Those who know me are thinking: "HE wrote THIS?!?" Yes, alas, I am
        guilty of all I wrote. Three times a year the Holy Rule reminds me of
        that and each time I am aware that I need to work on it. Thanks be to
        God, the Rule IS read three times a year: usually by the time the
        next reading comes up, my interest has flagged and I have to start
        over. As for the part about the talkative not being "stable on the
        earth," well, there have been times in the last 18 years
        when God had to nail my feet to the floor to keep me faithful and I am
        not dead yet... I have not always been His most willing pupil, but
        oh, is He ever patient! And infinitely merciful!

        But, as one Desert Father said, that's what we do all day in
        monasteries: "We fall down and we get up."

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



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