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Holy Rule for Feb. 8

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Walter, 87, who died Sunday morning, for his niece and all his family, and for all who mourn him. Lord, help us
    Message 1 of 149 , Feb 7, 2010
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Walter, 87, who died Sunday morning, for his niece and all his family, and for all who mourn him.

      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

      Chapter 7: On Humility cont.
      February 8, June 9, October 9

      The eleventh degree of humility is that when a monk speaks he do so gently
      and without laughter, humbly and seriously, in few and sensible words, and
      that he be not noisy in his speech. It is written, "A wise man is known by
      the fewness of his words."

      REFLECTION

      I read this one and cringe, largely because I fail it so much. Part of my
      loudness is being 40% deaf, and while I try to control my levels of speech, I
      sometimes forget. That, however, in NO way absolves me from the wise man and
      fewness of words part, nor does it cover the sins of my tendency to make a
      big splash nearly every time I'm entering the pool. Face it, beloveds, for those
      at poolside dining on dry snacks like potato chips, those big splashes can get
      very old, very fast!

      I'm speaking of my own failure here, but I imagine some of it may apply to
      others' lives, too. So many wasted words, and at such volume! What is their
      purpose, what insecurities do they cover? How many times do I speak as if on
      stage and why? To show that I am cool or a big shot or clever or funny? All
      those things are ultimately lies and the person I may be trying most to
      convince is my pathetically false self.

      How many times do I call it teasing when another is really hurt? How many
      times do I go over the top and not even notice, because my focus is really on
      myself? Even if I am only futilely trying to overcome my own boredom by
      creating some excitement, the message reads frighteningly clear: I am more
      important,
      I am a big deal, I matter more than the people or silence that make me
      uncomfortable. None of that is true in the sense I am modeling it. None. So why
      do I bother?
      Why do any of us? These are tough and excellent questions!

      The twofold key is charity and balance. There have been times when I have
      seen a person- even been a person- who monopolized a recreation. There have been
      other times when I have longed for someone to do so. It requires that
      mindfulness
      born of love and balance to truthfully ascertain whether a situation would
      profit more from our silence or our speaking. But the key here is "profit
      more" and the recipients in mind must be others, not just ourselves. Buffoonery
      can
      certainly annoy, but silence can also sometimes hurt: this person doesn't
      care about me at all, it's like I didn't even exist. Somewhere between the
      extremes lies love, folks, and that is our precarious goal.

      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 1:33 PM
        +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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