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Holy Rule for Sept. 24

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Continued prayers, please, for the ongoing recovery of Benedictine Sisters Charlotte and Connie Ruth, of Bristow, VA, and also for a special intention.
    Message 1 of 143 , Sep 23, 2010
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      +PAX

      Continued prayers, please, for the ongoing recovery of Benedictine Sisters Charlotte and Connie Ruth, of Bristow, VA, and also for a special intention.

      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 24, May 25, September 24
      Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence

      Let us do what the Prophet says:
      "I said, 'I will guard my ways,
      that I may not sin with my tongue.
      I have set a guard to my mouth.'
      I was mute and was humbled,
      and kept silence even from good things" (Ps. 38:2-3).
      Here the Prophet shows
      that if the spirit of silence ought to lead us at times
      to refrain even from good speech,
      so much the more ought the punishment for sin
      make us avoid evil words.


      Therefore, since the spirit of silence is so important,
      permission to speak should rarely be granted
      even to perfect disciples,
      even though it be for good, holy edifying conversation;
      for it is written,
      "In much speaking you will not escape sin" (Prov. 10:19),
      and in another place,
      "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21).


      For speaking and teaching belong to the mistress;
      the disciple's part is to be silent and to listen.
      And for that reason
      if anything has to be asked of the Superior,
      it should be asked
      with all the humility and submission inspired by reverence.


      But as for coarse jests and idle words
      or words that move to laughter,
      these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
      and for such conversation
      we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.

      REFLECTION

      Ever wonder why speech is considered so dangerous? Because it can
      build up the false self, the very false self that we are trying to
      tear down with our other hand. I have, to my shame, reveled in a
      flame war or two. I got JUST the right zinger and aimed it
      mercilessly. Once an astute reader commented that I had shot the
      olive branch of peace with a crossbow! Ouch! He was so right!

      I don't know about everyone, but I can be terribly pleased with
      myself over such things, things of which I should in fact be ashamed.
      Our arms can easily reach to the shoulders of that false self,
      patting it on the back and congratulating it for hours afterwards.
      Wrong, wrong, wrong. The false self will grow and thrive badly enough
      on its own. Why on earth would we wish to offer it any unwitting
      assistance?

      Let me speak for myself, here. Probably 90% of what comes out of my
      mouth other than prayer is unnecessary. A further per centage I am
      afraid to even stab at is downright harmful to me. I don't imagine I
      am terribly far from average in this respect.

      And talk about damage from second-hand speech. There are LOTS
      of things I wish I had never, ever heard. Wow, if only we would guard
      silence as zealously as smoke-free zones. Wouldn't that be right in line
      with fearing that which can destroy the soul more than that which kills the
      body alone? I seem to recall Someone having something to say along
      those lines.

      We aren't Trappists in the world. We cannot control our spaces as if
      they were monasteries, but we can and must control our own mouths.
      Total silence would likely be read as uncaring rudeness, but what
      about some alternative forms of silence? What if one resolved to
      speak not at all, all day, except in words of kindness, mercy or
      support, to never open one's mouth except to affirm.

      Now there's a thought. Could I have a seat in the no-griping section,
      please? Pursue that line of thinking, be creative. Fast for a week
      from contention and see what happens. Try a day of not talking at all
      about yourself. Try a whole day of asking others about themselves!
      One way or another, increase the levels of good one can do with
      speech and diminish those of harm.

      "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21)"

      Not just the tongue, folks, but the keyboard and any other writing
      instrument, too! Serenity cannot coexist with meanness of thought,
      word or deed. Doesn't happen. Serenity can be held only in a field of
      gentleness.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@...
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      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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