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Holy Rule for May 10

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for safe travels for Fr. Bede, flying to England to give the community s retreat at Ramsgate Abbey, Kent. Lord, Help us all as You know
    Message 1 of 149 , May 9 12:10 PM
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      Prayers, please, for safe travels for Fr. Bede, flying to England to give the community's retreat at Ramsgate Abbey, Kent.

      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 9, May 10, September 9
      Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be

      An Abbess who is worthy to be over a monastery
      should always remember what she is called,
      and live up to the name of Superior.
      For she is believed to hold the place of Christ in the monastery,
      being called by a name of His,
      which is taken from the words of the Apostle:
      "You have received a Spirit of adoption ...,
      by virtue of which we cry, 'Abba -- Father'" (Rom. 8:15)!

      Therefore the Abbess ought not to teach or ordain or command
      anything which is against the Lord's precepts;
      on the contrary,
      her commands and her teaching
      should be a leaven of divine justice
      kneaded into the minds of her disciples.

      REFLECTION

      It will no doubt come as a great relief to other cranky types like
      me to note that the leaven gently kneaded into the minds of certain
      disciples often seems to have a downright under-whelming effect. A
      hallmark of us curmudgeonly types is impatience: we do not suffer
      fools gladly, the miracle is that we endure them at all. Most of all,
      we want those fools FIXED, right now, or yesterday at the latest! The
      tragedy of this is that, in assuming we can recognize fools so
      terribly well, we completely miss the fool at work in ourselves, to say
      nothing of the Gospel injunction against calling others fools.

      God uses human means to accomplish His will, as my theology
      professor, Dr. Jean Ronan, so often said. Ah, but the abbacy scores
      doubly on this maxim. A very human abbot is elected by a very human
      community. Quite often, abbots are elected to counteract each other.
      The human community gets tired of the very human tendency of an abbot
      to stress one thing above others. Hence, tight reins are often
      replaced with loose ones and vice versa.

      It is also worthy of note that, within about three years, roughly the same
      number of people will be sorely complaining about either extreme
      or the lack thereof! Abbot Fidelis of St. Leo used to say that the first three
      years of abbacy are like Holy Week for Christ: they begin with "Hosanna!",
      then there is silence, and the third year it's "Crucify him!" There's
      a lot of truth to that rueful chuckle...

      Much that will be said of the abbot in the Holy Rule requires
      tremendous faith, from both the superior and the monastics. The lofty
      things said require grace to bring them fruition and grace is also
      necessary to see those fruits. This all boils down to a LOT of faith
      and trust on the part of all.

      Those human means which God uses are often quite firmly addicted
      to extremes. The extremes then vex a majority to the opposite extreme.
      (I know this is the Marxist dialectic and I know it is not always true, but it
      does have a kernel of application.) Usually, sometime after we are all so
      fatigued with polarization that we have briefly stopped watching, a median
      virtue ensues!

      And what about that leaven that I couldn't notice having much effect?
      Well, neither I nor anyone else knows, save the person and God. Some
      die, some leave before the effect is seen. Leaven works. It may work
      slowly, it may work in a variety of ways, but all leaven does
      something sooner or later!

      Faith and trust in God's Divine Mercy require that we have a LOT of patience
      with bread cast on waters in tremendous hope! It is our vocation to scatter such
      bread, not necessarily to see its results. God judges our efforts, not our
      results. Often an apparent failure turns to triumphal joy and salvation in the
      very last instants of a life, when the workings are known to God and the souls alone.

      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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