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Holy Rule for May 17

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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 who will
    Message 1 of 149 , May 16, 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 who will be in court tomorrow taking part in a rather nasty court case.

      Judy, after a long trying illness and losing nearly 100 pounds, she has finally been diagnosed with Amyloidosis. This is treated as a cancer, with stem cell transplant, even though it is not a malignancy.

      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 16, May 17, September 16
      Chapter 3: On Calling the Brethren for Counsel

      Whenever any important business has to be done
      in the monastery,
      let the Abbot call together the whole community
      and state the matter to be acted upon.
      Then, having heard the brethren's advice,
      let him turn the matter over in his own mind
      and do what he shall judge to be most expedient.
      The reason we have said that all should be called for counsel
      is that the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.

      Let the brethren give their advice
      with all the deference required by humility,
      and not presume stubbornly to defend their opinions;
      but let the decision rather depend on the Abbot's judgment,
      and all submit to whatever he shall decide for their welfare.

      However, just as it is proper
      for the disciples to obey their master,
      so also it is his function
      to dispose all things with prudence and justice.

      REFLECTION

      This whole reflection and chapter has many, many applications to
      family life. (Except that parents are not elected!) Otherwise, it all is very
      appropriate for a family!

      We elect our abbots, which may make obedience a bit easier for us
      than living under an appointed superior, but we are not a pure
      democracy. This is so hard for Americans in particular to learn, let
      alone value!! In terms of civil government comparisons, we may not be
      an absolute autocracy, but we are far from a constitutionally diluted
      monarchy! The abbot has a lot of power In fact, in most cases, he
      has, as this chapter indicates, the last word.

      St. Benedict was far too wise to leave all power to an elective
      community. That would frustrate any abbot's efforts to upgrade the
      life of his flock. Monastics tend to resist change, let alone reform.
      They'd simply vote him down and be done with it. Communities, like
      St. Peter, must sometimes be girded by another and led where they
      would not go! Pure democracy would make that impossible.

      There is a great reminder in this chapter that either the community
      or the abbot can be wrong. That is so important for both to remember.
      Indeed, if either forgets that fact, the danger to humility is
      extreme and we are nothing if not humble. There is also the lesson
      here of mutual respect. Even though the abbot actually has the
      authority to ignore the community's suggestions, he is bidden to ask
      for input. He is asked to receive it with prudence and justice, neither
      terrified by every passing whim of the group nor terrifying them with every
      passing whim of his own!

      So, if you will, the concept of mutual obedience and fraternal love
      and respect is writ large over the whole of this chapter. Letting
      anyone have that much power is scary if the group as a whole is not
      constrained to virtue, but we are. Sure, the ideal can be failed, we
      are human, but the ideal is there and it is under the conditions of
      that ideal that so much is entrusted with faith to the abbot.

      Though St. Benedict states we should never obey commands against God's law,
      every other instance demands our obedience and respect. We may think the
      Abbot is wrong and, humanly speaking, he might be, but we can never lose by
      obedience. Indeed, quite the reverse: we harm ourselves terribly by obstinately
      clinging to our own will and resisting.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@...
      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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