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Holy Rule for Feb. 24

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for all the times petitions here have been answered by God that we don t know about. Lord, help us all as You know and
    Message 1 of 149 , Feb 23, 2010
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      +PAX

      Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for all the times petitions here have been answered by God that we don't know about.

      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! Thabks so much. JL

      February 24, June 25, October 25
      Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said

      The order of psalmody for the day Hours being thus arranged,
      let all the remaining Psalms be equally distributed
      among the seven Night Offices
      by dividing the longer Psalms among them
      and assigning twelve Psalms to each night.


      We strongly recommend, however,
      that if this distribution of the Psalms is displeasing to anyone,
      she should arrange them otherwise,
      in whatever way she considers better,
      but taking care in any case
      that the Psalter with its full number of 150 Psalms
      be chanted every week
      and begun again every Sunday at the Night Office.
      For those monastics show themselves too lazy
      in the service to which they are vowed,
      who chant less than the Psalter with the customary canticles
      in the course of a week,
      whereas we read that our holy Fathers
      strenuously fulfilled that task in a single day.
      May we, lukewarm that we are, perform it at least in a whole week!

      REFLECTION

      I am going to begin this by reprinting two paragraphs of very
      important qualifications from the last post on this chapter, in
      February.

      "I hasten to add a word of caution to Oblates here: the Holy Rule is
      referring to choral Office in monasteries. To undertake for oneself
      such an Office could well be unwise, and sometimes, even wrong. The
      conditions of one's state in life come first. Oblates who are parents
      or married have kept Vigils and Nocturns with sick children or
      spouses of which professed monastics would never dream. Don't get
      hung up on this one. SHARE the Office all you can, but tend first to
      the responsibilities of your state in life.

      Before I became a monk I used to OCCASIONALLY do all 150 Psalms
      alone. There were two things worthy of mention here: I was a single
      man with one (very loving!) cat, and I recited them. Even at that, I
      can assure you it took up a chunk of time. Hence, Oblates should take
      great care that they don't obsess on this notion. Do what you can and
      rest assured that your community, and the Order and the whole praying
      Church is "making up" whatever you can't offer."

      A couple of years ago, the guesthouse well died (temporarily, thanks
      be to God!) We had to gather 10 gallon plastic buckets for each
      bathroom, haul them down the hill to the monastery in the station
      wagon, fill them and bring them back. What a hassle! We also had to
      caution the guests rather indelicately about no unnecessary
      flushes: "Mellow yellow, brown down..." Even more recently, a storm
      and left us without electricity for about twelve hours. Afraid to
      open the fridge too much and with no oven, we ordered pizza in Athol
      for the guests.

      Both of these things were tough, but neither were anything compared
      to the amount of labor required to maintain life in the first
      centuries of the Order's existence. Neither were there lay brothers
      to do all that work in those days, since they were a much later
      development. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, no running water, no
      phones, no Athol House of Pizza to call and no car to pick it up in.
      (OK aqueducts in some places, but you get the picture...) In the
      midst of a life that we would find crushingly different, St. Benedict
      insisted on the weekly 150. Hmmmm......

      We live in a world where countless labor-saving devices and perks
      give us far more time than anyone in history has ever had. Are we
      always good stewards of that abundance? Heaven knows, I don't want to
      give up those modern advantages, look at how hooked on computers I
      am. But what do we do with all that time? How much of the time we
      save goes to prayer? How much goes to mindless stuff we could well do
      without?


      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      jeromeleo@...
      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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