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Holy Rule for Feb. 28

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Rex, and for his wife, Patricia Ann, and his daughter, Michaela and all who mourn him. Lord, help us all as You
    Message 1 of 149 , Feb 27, 2010
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Rex, and for his wife, Patricia Ann, and his daughter, Michaela and 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

      February 28, June 29, October 29
      Chapter 22: How the Sisters Are to Sleep

      Let each one sleep in a separate bed. Let them receive bedding
      suitable to their manner of life, according to the Abbess's
      directions. If possible let all sleep in one place; but if the
      number does not allow this, let them take their rest by tens or
      twenties with the seniors who have charge of them.

      A candle shall be kept burning in the room until morning.

      Let them sleep clothed and girded with belts or cords -- but not
      with their knives at their sides, lest they cut themselves in their
      sleep -- and thus be always ready to rise without delay when the
      signal is given and hasten to be before one another at the Work of
      God,
      yet with all gravity and decorum.

      The younger shall not have beds next to one another, but among
      those of the older ones.

      When they rise for the Work of God let them gently encourage one
      another, that the drowsy may have no excuse.

      REFLECTION

      Hastening "yet will all gravity and decorum" has prompted many a
      community joke, many a wry comment as one ran most ungracefully,
      parts of the habit flapping wildly in the breeze, to whatever the
      bell was about to make one late for! St. Benedict far antedates the
      Three Stooges, but he still took precautions to ensure that we
      would not look EXACTLY like Moe, Larry and Curly when we went to
      choir or dinner! Admittedly, some of our human tendency still
      arises to give a partial glimpse of that comedic trio, but, as
      always, the picture is
      balanced!

      In the dormitory, the elderly may have problems during the
      night if their health is declining. Hale and hearty (and hopefully
      easily awakened!) juniors nearby promise them assistance, if
      needed. Of course, if you want a humorous take on the knives issue,
      it may have been to prevent mayhem and murder of snorers, an idea
      which has occurred to many light sleepers!

      Dormitory sleeping is a thing of the past in our Order
      today, but its nice to see that thoughtfulness behind its original
      expression in the Holy Rule. There's a bit of the mother in St.
      Benedict, going out of his way to mention a small detail like not
      sleeping with knives. It is worthy of note, however, that St.
      Benedict, as always is MODERATELY maternal, not neurotically so! He
      doesn't get all bent out of shape, but he cares greatly and deeply.

      One of the most beautiful images in this passage is the exhortation
      to "gently encourage one another" at the hour of rising. Remember
      that the strictest silence of all prevailed at this time. Now
      picture the monastics gently encouraging one another! With no
      words, there
      had to be a lot of touch, a lot of gentle smiles, a lot of warmth
      and care expressed NON-verbally.

      A very good idea of how loving a monastic is can be had by
      disturbing their silence (or sleep, I imagine!!) Is the reaction
      cross and withering? Watch out for that one! Is there a smile, even
      a warm one, a reaction of sweetness? Well, when silence is over,
      that is a
      monastic to whose words you may want to listen carefully.


      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
        +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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