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Holy Rule for July 19

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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 for all who take care of them: Beth s
    Message 1 of 143 , Jul 18, 2010
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      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and for all who take care of them:

      Beth's father, who has cancer. He is in his nineties and has had good health and been active up to now. He has decided not to medicate. And for Beth, a cancer survivor, that the condition not return.

      Deo gratias for prayers answered in the past.

      Zeny, that he will find relief from the excruciating pain he is in from either
      sciatica or a herniated disc. May tests this week indicate the problem and
      that the doctors may be able to help him.

      Sandra, that she may find a job placement.

      Last week we asked for prayers for Fr Mike Carroll for his liver transplant. Please continue prayers for him as he has a 2nd liver transplant yesterday. Also, for those living in the Los Angeles area, he is in need of blood, which can be donated at UCLA Medical Ctr.

      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

      March 19, July 19, November 18
      Chapter 40: On the Measure of Drink

      "Everyone has her own gift from God,
      one in this way and another in that" (1 Cor. 7:7).
      It is therefore with some misgiving
      that we regulate the measure of others' sustenance.
      Nevertheless, keeping in view the needs of the weak,
      we believe that a hemina of wine a day is sufficient for each.
      But those to whom God gives the strength to abstain
      should know that they will receive a special reward.

      If the circumstances of the place,
      or the work
      or the heat of summer
      require a greater measure,
      the superior shall use her judgment in the matter,
      taking care always
      that there be no occasion for surfeit or drunkenness.
      We read
      it is true,
      that wine is by no means a drink for monastics;
      but since the monastics of our day cannot be persuaded of this
      let us at least agree to drink sparingly and not to satiety,
      because "wine makes even the wise fall away" (Eccles. 19:2).

      But where the circumstances of the place are such
      that not even the measure prescribed above can be supplied,
      but much less or none at all,
      let those who live there bless God and not murmur.
      Above all things do we give this admonition,
      that they abstain from murmuring.


      NOTE: Looking at this a few years after I wrote it, I have more pity on Br. X.,
      who features in the end of this reflection. I toned down what I said a bit. I
      cannot read minds or souls: no one can. Only God knows what motivated Br. X,
      though I thought I did when I was younger. That he upset a lot of people in
      undeniable, why or how, or the root of his problem is a matter beyond any of us.

      It would a terrible wasted opportunity not to briefly mention alcoholism
      and other twelve step programs with this reading. So many in ALL walks of
      life, our own Benedictine families included, suffer from addictions. May
      all who abstain because they must offer the hardships of that road to recovery
      for all those who suffer still. May we all remember that addiction is an
      illness, not a moral scourge to whip people who suffer from it.

      "Above all...abstain from murmuring." The murmuring here (and
      everywhere it is mentioned in the Holy Rule,) is mean-spirited
      griping about people or conditions. Never for an instant think that
      Benedictine standards require one to be blind to real problems.
      Even Abbots can be removed and have been. The process is neither simple
      nor a great deal of fun, but it has been done. Real evils ought to be
      addressed and usually are.

      It's hard to write about this, because a certain unwritten law (well,
      written in the hearts of monastics!) governs what is and isn't
      murmuring. It's an intuitive sort of principle that one learns by
      living among and observing other monastics.

      There are healthy levels of opposition and resistance in a
      healthy community, but their boundaries must not be violated. In
      fact, any superior or community which mercilessly destroys ALL
      disagreement or opposition is in serious danger. Part of community's
      efficacy is that vastly different people live together in peace.

      Maybe peace is the key to assessing a lot of murmuring. The worst
      murumuring monk I ever knew- now dead some years- had a life of nearly
      non-stop murmuring and he seemed to report such things with an eye
      to harm. I once heard Bro. Patrick refer to this guy as "diabolical" and
      that was not an adjective he used lightly.

      Virtually nothing and no one measured up to Br. X's standards.
      He was awful to live with and I feared him when I was a novice. But
      there is the catch: he WAS awful to live with, even for himself. He
      perhaps was filled with anger and pain and sought to make the
      world around him match. What a convoluted mess!

      Listen up, m'dears, I cannot know what another's pain is or how they
      should seek help for it, but I do know that the Benedictine way is
      NOT to pass that on and not to stand idly by and watch another do so.
      Horrible to say, it took me years to get over Br. X's treatment of me. When
      I came here it took me years to learn that I no longer had to cover
      my flanks or look over my shoulder: we have no one that mean, nor
      would we accept someone who was.

      Poor Br. X, I pray for his tortured soul. Nearly 30 years later, I still
      recall him with a shudder. However, it was not his fault alone. There was
      an Abbot who listened, there were monks who did, too. A united refusal
      to listen to such poison might have helped him, or it might have actually
      driven him out, but in fact that did not happen. We all bear a two-sided
      obligation to mean murmuring: don't start it, and don't listen to it. Venom
      doesn't have any effect if it doesn't get in the bloodstream. See to it that you
      never help it on it's way.

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      Prayers, please, for a woman who is trying to get established with a doctor;each one she has called either is not taking new patients or does not accept her
      Message 143 of 143 , May 21, 2014
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        Prayers, please, for a woman who is trying to get established with a doctor;each one she has called either is not taking new patients or does not accept her insurance. Several are retiring or leaving their practice.
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