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Holy Rule for May 8

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical helth of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Sr. Francesca, for
    Message 1 of 149 , May 7 9:00 AM
      +PAX

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

      Sr. Francesca, for whom we prayed (not the Petersham Sr. Francesca,) her chemo treatments are leaving her terribly fatigued.

      Russell, brain and lung cancer. He is having brain surgery and they will treat the lung cancer with chemo.

      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 7, May 8, September 7
      Prologue (concluded)

      And so we are going to establish
      a school for the service of the Lord.
      In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
      But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
      for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
      do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
      whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
      For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
      our hearts expand
      and we run the way of God's commandments
      with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
      Thus, never departing from His school,
      but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
      until death,
      we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
      and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.

      REFLECTION

      Sadly, a certain cynicism has been woven into my life like a
      repeating plaid. Happily, it has not grown worse with age, but has
      been moderated (how Benedictine!) into a faintly acceptable level of
      occasional curmudgeonhood. If my cynicism is now a rather muted
      tartan background, it was not always so. I can clearly recall reading
      the line about expanding hearts and running with unspeakable
      sweetness of love thirty some years ago and thinking: "Yeah, right!
      Real likely..."

      Now that passage is my all-time favorite in the Holy Rule. I thought
      twice before saying that, because there are so many things in the
      Rule that I deeply love, but yeah, this one is the best loved for me.
      Why? Because it is linked to love and, secondarily, because it alerts
      us to the necessary hope that the monastic struggle DOES get easier
      in time, in certain ways, even though it is never over until death.

      "Our hearts expand..." they truly do. Mine has already been
      wonderfully stretched and pulled and enlarged beyond my wildest
      dreams, often with me kicking and screaming every inch of the way. I
      have no doubt that it will grow larger still, capable of holding
      more, but I know I could not stand that now, it would be too much.
      God works slowly, according to our individual needs. Better than
      anyone, He knows that doing it all at once would reduce us to
      shivering panic.

      The biggest factor that I can see in God's work of heart renovation
      for me has been intercessory prayer. When you renovate a building,
      you have to tear down some walls, a dusty, ugly, painful mess. Ah,
      but the light and air and space that one finds in those new areas
      where walls had stood! In praying for God's people, I learned to love
      them, more prayer equaled more love and so it spiraled upward and
      spirals on!

      The rain for my roots was that work in progress, the expansion of my
      heart. It's not the same as other loves, but oh, it is deep. I am sure it is
      not incompatible with married love, but God seemed to want it so for
      me.

      I am often embarrassed to find that usually the Christ I
      can most nearly swell to rapture about is the One I encounter in praying for
      His members, for His Mystical Body. I have, however, attained a relative
      serenity about this: it is, after all, a very powerful reminder that Christ IS
      His members, that we are all cells in His awesome Body.

      When a novice in my twenties, I used to look at two real saints of
      St. Leo Abbey, Brothers David Gormican and Raphael Daly, both now
      gone to God. I am not even sure I thought it had become easier for
      them at the end of their lives, I thought, with the mindlessness so
      easy for me then, that they were just so old they didn't care
      anymore. Wrong!

      My dear friend Ann Chatlos was a FABULOUS cook and she had
      been at it for years. One day I went to see her and we sat talking in her
      kitchen, she was fiddling around, nothing special. Frankly, I didn't
      even notice any activity that would have produced a meal.

      She finally turned around and said to me: "Stay for dinner." I asked when it
      would be ready and she said, "Now." I was floored. While we spoke, a
      pie, chicken and roast potatoes and something else I forget had been
      going on. A full meal with nothing out of cans and a homemade
      dessert, yet it appeared that she had just been chatting.

      That's the nonchalance of Brother David and Brother Raphael. It
      wasn't that they didn't care, it was that things of sanctity had
      become so much second nature to them that many of those around them
      never noticed that dinner was ready. May that nonchalance of sanctity
      come to us all, and may Brothers David and Raphael and Ann, now also
      gone to God, pray us there.

      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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