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Holy Rule for May 4

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Jean, mother of our Oblate Phil Zaleski, and for Phil and all her family and all who mourn her. Prayers for the
    Message 1 of 149 , May 3, 2010
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      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Jean, mother of our Oblate Phil Zaleski, and for Phil and all her family and all who mourn her.

      Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Esteban Woods, stabbed to death in Venezuela for unknown motives, and for all who mourn him.

      Prayers for the success of a Rachel's Vineyard retreat being held later this month, and for more women to sign up. The retreat is for women who have had an abortion.

      Prayers for Adrian, renewing his private vows this Sunday.

      Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical well-being of Brian, in ICU and not likely to live, and for all his loved ones and all who take care of him. Prayers for his happy death, should God choose to call him now.

      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

      January 3, May 4, September 3
      Prologue (continued)

      And the Lord, seeking his laborer
      in the multitude to whom He thus cries out,
      says again,
      "Who is the one who will have life,
      and desires to see good days" (Ps. 33:13)?
      And if, hearing Him, you answer,
      "I am the one,"
      God says to you,
      "If you will have true and everlasting life,
      keep your tongue from evil
      and your lips that they speak no guile.
      Turn away from evil and do good;
      seek after peace and pursue it" (Ps. 33:14-15).
      And when you have done these things,
      My eyes shall be upon you
      and My ears open to your prayers;
      and before you call upon Me,
      I will say to you,
      'Behold, here I am'" (Ps. 33:16; Is. 65:24; 58:9).

      What can be sweeter to us, dear ones,
      than this voice of the Lord inviting us?
      Behold, in His loving kindness
      the Lord shows us the way of life.

      REFLECTION

      The tenderness of St. Benedict, as well as his tender image of God,
      is evident all through this portion, harking back to his fatherly
      affection at the beginning of the Prologue. The intensity, the
      sweetness of the last lines today is so great that it borders on too
      much. This must be St. Benedict at his all but gushingly most
      sincere, and that is a good time to listen with extra care to him,
      since he doesn't just gush on every other page!

      In the midst of all this sweetness, look at the question he puts in
      the Lord's mouth: "Who is the one who will have life and desires to
      see good days?" Granted, it is a quote from the Psalms, but St.
      Benedict could have used something else, or written his own, or
      employed a rhetorical question. He didn't, though, he used this one
      and that is most fortunate.

      He does not have God in the teeming marketplace hollering out: "Who
      wants to be a monk? Who wants to be a nun? Who wants to be an
      Oblate?" (Chuckle: if God DID call out "Who wants to be an Oblate?",
      how many people you know would yell back: "What's an Oblate??") No
      doubt, for some on the monastic way, those may have been the first
      questions. For many others, it was not nearly that direct.

      This question allows us to ponder (if God and you will pardon the
      phrase,) the Divine sneakiness. How many of the stories we hear of
      how people came to the monastic way and were drawn to the Benedictine
      life give witness to God's loving "sneakiness." God cannot lie and
      His query here is not a lie, but He can certainly CHOOSE the truth He
      uses to draw us. Like any parent of a stubborn child, He knows that
      some approaches work better than others.

      I know Brother Bernard Aurentz, now dead, joined St. Leo because he
      liked Florida and thought the monastery was on the Gulf of Mexico!
      The picture of a palm tree by water in a vocation ad sure sold him!
      He just didn't realize they were on a large lake, 40 miles inland!
      God didn't deceive him, He just didn't make the geography evident
      until the guy arrived and stayed for the rest of his life.

      God doesn't trick us in a wrong way, but He may allow us to do the
      right thing for the wrong reason! No doubt He knows that's the only
      way He could have gotten us in the door!

      There is a lot more than sneakiness in this question, however. How
      many times, when speaking of monastic life, or married life, or any
      vocation, do we stress its harsher aspects? To some extent, monastic
      life and married life get the brunt of this: "Oh, it isn't easy,
      blah, blah, blah...It's no cinch, there's a lot of hardship." OK,
      there is, no problem there, but there is also a lot of sweetness if
      any vocation is done right.

      How many people would have gotten married if the proposal included a
      litany of night-feedings and diaper pails, much less if the proposal
      could have announced the birth of a severely handicapped child or the
      paralysis of the spouse or the tragedy of an auto accident far in the
      future? We do both marriage and monastic life a great harm when we
      emphasize only the difficult things.

      There IS joy in marriage, great joy, and there is in the monastic
      way, too. Just like any good proposal, God asks us to respond to the
      good things He is offering and they are not slight!

      By the way, a traditional joke used when a monastic is writing his or her
      profession chart is to tell the person to leave a lot of space between the
      lines: so God can add things later!! He has a way of doing that, with or
      without the spaces between the lines!!

      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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