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Holy Rule for Apr. 2

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Richard,
    Message 1 of 149 , Apr 1, 2010
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Richard, recovering from urological surgery.

      Alvin, surgery this morning.

      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

      April 2, August 2, December 2
      Chapter 51: On Brethren Who Go Not Very Far Away

      A Brother who is sent out on some business
      and is expected to return to the monastery that same day
      shall not presume to eat while he is out,
      even if he is urgently requested to do so
      by any person whomsoever,
      unless he has permission from his Abbot.
      And if he acts otherwise, let him be excommunicated.

      REFLECTION

      Coming right on the heels of the prescription to say the Office while
      away, it is easy to see that these two chapters are not just about
      eating and praying. The principle involved here is that one's
      monastic commitment does not switch off when one leaves the property.
      It is there all the time.

      Parents can identify with this readily. Children are not told to
      avoid drugs only at home. The moral values that parents try to
      instill are a way of life that (hopefully!) will be carried with the
      child in every situation. My high school promised that students who
      failed our standards AFTER school hours, on the way home, would be
      punished. If they were wearing our uniform, they were expected to
      reflect a certain standard of behavior.

      What St. Benedict is doing is pointing out that monasticism is not
      merely a job, a burden one doffs and dons. Monastic life is a
      becoming, not a set of standards one only follows when one is closely
      watched. The goal of monastic discipline is to make the disciple a
      monk more or less by nature. In this respect, it closely resembles
      any training: nursing school is designed to make people nurses, law
      school to make attorneys, and so forth. The difference is that
      monasticism is not a set number of hours per week, it's all the week,
      all the life. Just as any nurse in a disaster instantly can shift
      into nursing mode, whether on duty or not, the spiritually trained
      monastic is operative everywhere, not just in the cloister.

      This is a fine and consoling point for Oblates who must live abroad.
      Lovely though our monasteries may be, they are not what makes us
      monastics. That is something deep within, a cloister of our hearts
      that we must learn to carry with us everywhere. Lots of people who
      must live in crowded and noisy cities actually do a better job of
      this than many monastics who live in rural peace. Take heart! It is
      not all about place. It is about heart, always heart. Train and fix
      your heart and you will always be fine!

      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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