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Holy Rule for May 27

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of Eileen, who has liver cancer, and for all her loved ones and all who take care of her.
    Message 1 of 149 , May 26, 2010
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of Eileen, who has liver cancer, and for all her loved ones and all who take care of her. MRI scheduled next week to check her treatment progress.

      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 26, May 27, September 26
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The first degree of humility, then,
      is that a person keep the fear of God before his eyes
      and beware of ever forgetting it.
      Let him be ever mindful of all that God has commanded;
      let his thoughts constantly recur
      to the hell-fire which will burn for their sins
      those who despise God,
      and to the life everlasting which is prepared
      for those who fear Him.
      Let him keep himself at every moment from sins and vices,
      whether of the mind, the tongue, the hands, the feet,
      or the self-will,
      and check also the desires of the flesh.

      REFLECTION

      Not just the ascent to humility, but every aspect of the spiritual
      journey may be improved by meditating on the ends to which our
      actions will lead us. How many times does a parent tell a child who
      is discouraged and about to quit that the child must think of the
      reward (bike, whatever,) at the end of the efforts. "How nice it will
      be to have that!" Precisely! It is not just children whose flagging
      spirits can be bolstered by recalling the achievement to come!

      A great deal of the monastic struggle is just plain distastefully
      hard and unpleasant.. Fail to lighten the load a bit by recalling the
      joys to come and you heighten the chances of failure. Heaven is real
      or our lives mean nothing at all. Trust it's reality, think about
      that reality, remind yourself of the wonders at hand.

      I write the following as one who has come as close as
      possible to believing that absolutely everyone is in heaven as the
      limits of Roman Catholic orthodoxy allow. We must believe hell
      exists. It is real, it may be empty and we must (out of charity,)
      hope to find it so, but hey, we COULD be wrong. Wouldn't be very
      nice, but it is just slightly possible that the spheres and wheels of
      eternal reward do not spin on the axis of our opinion! Nothing says
      things have to be the way we personally think they will be. Nor do
      the many visions of hell seen by saints seem to bear out this hope.
      They saw people there, alas.

      Hell is as real as heaven. Choices as real as those which lead to
      heaven can lead to hell. No one can WIN their own salvation, that has
      been done once for all by Christ, but anyone at all can LOSE their
      salvation. Choose something really dumb which would lead to hell and
      it is not a wise practice to assume one will have leisure to repent.
      Maybe. Maybe not. A well-timed 18-wheeler truck may just have your
      name on its front fender before lunch today. We never know.

      [But even in the event of that 18-wheeler, we never know what happens between
      God and the soul in the last moments, when we can no longer perceive any
      activity or change. Pray and fondly hope that all may be saved in the
      mystery of that hidden time!]

      I'll bet all of us have done things we would NOT want to do within
      seconds of death and facing God. That's what these meditations on
      hell and heaven are about. They point out forcefully to us that we
      ought not to do things that would put us in that sort of bind.

      It's not at all about figuring out whether or not hell exists, it does.
      The issue is not who is or isn't frying therein, we have no way of
      knowing. All those ideas are railroad sidings which lead to nowhere.
      Don't park your train in a dead end. It's a waste of precious time.

      Think on heaven and think on hell. If either one (and it's usually
      hell,) makes you crazy, balance your thinking. One of the surest
      signs of the devil's hands in the mud of our thoughts is loss of
      serenity. Truly divine things, even when unspeakably hard, do not
      produce the same haunting, panicky feeling that Satan can bring out
      of even the tiniest things. Another key is discouragement. If your
      obsessed focus is discouraging, that's bad news.

      It is, however, crucially important to think on our ends. Don't freak out
      on the road to heaven, because Jesus said: "I am the Way." As such,
      all the road to heaven is heaven (as St. Catherine of Siena said,)
      even when it seems otherwise, because Jesus IS that Way. On the
      other hand, rightly and wisely freak out like crazy on any path of action that
      leads away from heaven, away from Christ. That is a scary road, indeed!


      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      St. Mary's Monastery
      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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