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Holy Rule for May 21

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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: Susan, surgery to
    Message 1 of 149 , May 20, 2010
      +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:

      Susan, surgery to remove and ovarian cyst on Monday, and especially for her Dad, Sandy.

      Matthew, going into the Army in early June.

      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 20, May 21, September 20
      Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

      To fear the Day of Judgment.
      To be in dread of hell.
      To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
      To keep death daily before one's eyes.
      To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
      To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
      When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ
      immediately.
      And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
      To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
      Not to love much talking.
      Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
      Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
      To listen willingly to holy reading.
      To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
      Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past
      sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
      Not to fulfill the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
      To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she
      herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the
      Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
      Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be
      holy, that one may be truly so called.

      REFLECTION

      Why manifest one's evil thoughts to a spiritual mother or father?
      Heavens, many in communions that practice Confession have trouble
      enough stammering out our sins with a generic mention of evil
      thoughts, let alone a detailed description of them!

      By the time he wrote this, St. Benedict had no doubt listened to a
      LOT of monastics' confess their evil thoughts. He knew the carefree,
      breezy generalities of those who lacked depth and he also knew the
      excruciating details of the scrupulous, who had too much to tell. What
      he must have had to listen to in those years! Why on earth would he
      recommend a practice so difficult for both the father and the
      disciple?

      Because it works, as AA and other Twelve Step members could readily
      tell you. It offers an outside, objective opinion, a more impartial
      estimation of one's progress or lack thereof and a chance to give
      pertinent advice in the struggle.

      You can also get a fairly good barometer of where a person's struggles
      are focused by knowing where she is tempted. Satan does not waste time
      and effort, he does not duplicate services. If you are doing a wonderful job
      of running yourself to hell on a rail in a given area, you can be pretty sure
      he'll leave you alone. Remember, there are the world and the flesh to
      help him out. The devil delegates to one or the other!

      Some of our evil thoughts DO come from us, and these may be very
      informative, but others do not, and these also, give a better picture
      of where we actually are. A handy rule of thumb is that if a thought
      distresses you, upsets you, you likely did not will it. Try to let it
      go and be done with it. The fact that we are upset often means the thought
      did not come from us, we wouldn't care otherwise.

      Real assaults of Satan that are terribly
      noticeable usually come at a time when we are progressing. (Of
      course, there are subtle ones day in, day out, but the biggies
      usually mean we're doing SOMETHING right!) Hideous temptations
      are often a good sign, not a bad one: they can mean our progress has
      riled up the devil's anger. If we stop and look at some of those hideous
      temptations, to blasphemy, for instance, we can clearly see that they are
      not like us, not from us. Horrible thoughts that we would never dream of
      seriously thinking come from the Evil One.

      AA knew they were offering a spiritual program of recovery to people
      from all faiths, as well as to people of no religious background.
      They knew some Churches had one-on-one confession, others did not, so
      they included it in the 12 steps, stating that each must make known
      to oneself, to God AND to another "the exact nature" of their wrongs.
      Heavy stuff, there, but why?

      Because God, wonderful though He is, often seems not to talk back, or if
      He does, to speak indirectly in ways that many of us miss. Because we
      cannot tell from our own inventory what another person can tell us
      about ourselves: we're too close to the subject to be objective!

      AA just requires a one-time shot, what Catholics would call
      a "general Confession" of all one's past sins. Many people dread it,
      but I have never heard anyone come away from the experience without
      praise for it. What a weight was lifted from them!

      Our fears and shame are so terrible when they are horrible secrets to
      us alone. They paralyze us, wholly or partially, but they ALWAYS impede us.
      Break that panicky isolation, tell the worst and, finding that your
      listener has at least not dropped dead of shock, you are on the
      way to learning something wonderfully necessary. None of us are
      hopeless, none of us are unlovable (or unloved!)

      For all of our Oblates who come from Christian traditions that do not
      practice individual confession, I recommend it- so does St. Benedict!
      If AA members can feel so freed and cleansed and uplifted by one
      shot, think what a regular dose of such reality could do for one!

      A word of caution, however, for those to whom such confession is new.
      AA does not recommend that you spill your sins out to just anyone.
      It can take time to find the right person.

      Religious Confession, howver, is an obligation for Catholics. Finding a regular
      confessor may take time, but one cannot hold off confessing in the meantime.
      Pray to the Holy Spirit to find the right priest for you. Ask God to use the
      priest's lips to speak to you. I can't tell you how many times I have made this
      last prayer and had it richly answered. God does use His priests.

      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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