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Holy Rule for Oct. 23

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of James, on the anniversary of his death, and for all who mourn him. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God s
    Message 1 of 58 , Oct 22, 2010
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of James, on the anniversary of his death, and for all who mourn him.

      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 22, June 23, October 23
      Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said
      At Terce, Sext and None on Monday let the nine remaining sections
      of Psalm 118 be said,
      three at each of these Hours.

      Psalm 118 having been completed, therefore, on two days, Sunday and
      Monday, let the nine Psalms from Psalm 119 to Psalm 127 be said at
      Terce, Sext and None, three at each Hour, beginning with Tuesday.
      And let these same Psalms be repeated every day until Sunday at the
      same Hours, while the arrangement of hymns, lessons and verses is
      kept the same on all days; and thus Prime on Sunday will always
      begin with Psalm 118.


      REFLECTION

      Running psalmody, that is, reciting the Psalms in numerical order,
      no matter what came next, was a very common ancient monastic
      practice. Since one of the principles behind the Psalter was to "get
      it all in" in the space of a week, that running psalmody was a
      natural
      consequence. St. Benedict obviously had some of that on his mind:
      he goes from detailed directions about the spacing of the longest
      Psalm, 118, right into assigning the next 9 to the minor hours
      which are repeated throughout the week from Tuesday to Saturday.

      As a result, one could safely say that there is nothing specific to
      the time of day as such about these Psalms, but that is not
      entirely correct. These nine Psalms from 119-127 are gradual
      Psalms, pilgrimage songs. They were sung by the Jews as they were
      going up
      to Jerusalem. They are filled with the tension of anticipation and
      possession of God's Temple and His blessings, they are songs
      of "already" and "not yet".

      The gradual Psalms are short, compact units, easily memorized.
      Since memory is one thing the Holy Rule no doubt was providing for-
      these Offices frequently had to be said on the spot, in the fields-
      it is very likely that this group were quite deliberately chosen.
      No one in their right mind would suggest some of the longer Psalms
      from Matins
      for easy memorization!!

      Regardless of what St. Benedict may or may not have had in mind,
      the Holy Spirit can use all of us, even St. Benedict, in ways we do
      not realize. Read through these Psalms and picture yourself saying
      them in a distant field, with the Abbey in view, but far away. Get
      the
      idea? The pilgrim songs that speak of already AND not yet were the
      perfect thing for monastics to say in such circumstances.
      Jerusalem, the House of God, was both a distant view and a complete
      possession, since ALL of the monastery is the House of God.

      It is easy, terribly easy, to forget that we live "in the House of
      God." We do, all monastics do, Oblates do, everyone does. It IS
      God's world. Being reminded of this by those Psalms of journeying
      is a great idea. Our feet really are "standing within your gates, O
      Jerusalem!" yet we also see it as from a distance. We look from
      afar and see that Jerusalem is a city compact, a unity of peace and
      order. Who has seen a monastery on a hill and not had similar
      thoughts?

      Even the accidental end of the sequence (which continues in
      Vespers,) has a wonderful application. "Blessed are those who fear
      the Lord, who walk in His ways!" It recounts the joys and
      protections of a life lived for God and ends with the plea: "On
      Israel, peace!" Just
      picture yourself saying that at the end of a hard day's work in the
      field, looking at back Abbey Church, the safe home of gathered
      family and choir. Not shabby!

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

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for all Canadians celebrating Thanksgiving, and special prayers for Mary and her sisters, on the first Thanksgiving after their Mom s death.
      Message 58 of 58 , Oct 9, 2016

        +PAX

         

        Prayers for all Canadians celebrating Thanksgiving, and special prayers for Mary and her sisters, on the first Thanksgiving after their Mom’s death. Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of Margaret, their Mom.

         

        Prayers for our monks and nuns of Petersham, we are having our annual retreat this week. Prayers, too, for Abbot Matthew, former abbot of St. Anselm’s in Manchester, New Hampshire, who is our retreatmaster. May the Holy Spirit fill us all.

         

        Deo gratias and prayers of thanks,  Johnny, for whom we prayed before his quadruple bypass surgery, has gone home from the hospital and all is well.

         

        Prayers for Anneclaire, for healing of damage done by violent abuse in her past which is hurting her relationships today. May God heal all the wounds of her past.

         

        Prayers for Jenny R., just diagnosed with malignant nodular melanoma, a very aggressive form of skin cancer. She will find out what stage it is and if its spread to other parts of her body soon. Prayers that it hasn’t spread and that it can be treated successfully.

         

        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

        [This portion seems to beg for division into two parts, so I have done
        that in the reflection.]

        February 9, June 10, October 10
        Chapter 7: On Humility

        The twelfth degree of humility
        is that a monk not only have humility in his heart
        but also by his very appearance make it always manifest
        to those who see him.
        That is to say that whether he is at the Work of God,
        in the oratory, in the monastery, in the garden, on the road,
        in the fields or anywhere else,
        and whether sitting, walking or standing,
        he should always have his head bowed
        and his eyes toward the ground.
        Feeling the guilt of his sins at every moment,
        he should consider himself already present at the dread Judgment
        and constantly say in his heart
        what the publican in the Gospel said
        with his eyes fixed on the earth:
        "Lord, I am a sinner and not worthy to lift up my eyes to heaven"
        (Luke 18:13; Matt. 8:8);
        and again with the Prophet:
        "I am bowed down and humbled everywhere" (Ps. 37:7,9; 118:107).

        REFLECTION

        Alcoholics Anonymous jokes about what they call "Two-steppers," that
        is, people who decide to jump right from Step 1, acknowledging their
        problem, to Step 12, carrying the message to others, with nothing in
        between! Wrong! Doesn't work that way...

        We sometimes see a similar mistake in folks and humility.
        Bingo, they go right to the twelfth degree with nothing to build
        their external humility on but the images of Hollywood. Such
        individuals are usually well-intentioned enough, but one look at
        their demeanor will tell one that there is probably a very badly worn
        tape of "The Nun's Story"!
        I'm not knocking the film, I loved it, too! But it WAS Hollywood and it
        is not real life! Monastic life will do a lot of things but sorry, it will
        never make
        you Audrey Hepburn!

        People who learn that have a chance to stay, people who don't often
        leave because no monastery fits the Hollywood model, though they
        often keep looking for one that does!

        Second Section of the Reading:

        Having climbed all these steps of humility, therefore,
        the monk will presently come to that perfect love of God
        which casts out fear.
        And all those precepts
        which formerly he had not observed without fear,
        he will now begin to keep by reason of that love,
        without any effort,
        as though naturally and by habit.
        No longer will his motive be the fear of hell,
        but rather the love of Christ,
        good habit
        and delight in the virtues
        which the Lord will deign to show forth by the Holy Spirit
        in His servant now cleansed from vice and sin.

        This crucially important second part is why none of those Hollywood
        roles quite make it AND why the first section is spared from
        Jansenism. (Jansenism, you may recall, was a heresy which held that
        we could NEVER be worthy, NEVER do enough penance and so forth. In
        its sad extremes, it harked to a sort of Pelagian attitude, implying
        that we might be able to do something if we did enough harsh stuff!
        But, of course, even that would never be enough. It was a rather mean
        idea of God.)

        Humility is NOT affected, not presupposing, hence efforts to LOOK
        humble when one is not so will fall woefully short of the mark. No
        Academy Awards for this one! When they call for the envelope, it will
        be empty!

        Genuine humility is the most unself-conscious thing in the
        world. It produces the external demeanor without any further ado,
        because the person actually (and usually unwittingly!) BECOMES the
        truth they are striving to live. Humility shows up in the face, in
        everything, just as years of bitterness or years of love often do.

        You couldn't hide humility if you wanted to, but you don't need to,
        because the true humility is rarely even noticed and those who are
        less humble tend to discount the really humble as nobodies. In one
        sense, they are quite right! Both would agree on that!

        If one never gets to the joy and love of the end of this passage,
        there will be no reason not to look artificially rather glum over
        sins that one probably doesn't believe at heart are that great anyhow.
        This is where some folks miss the mark. They can stop at the
        perpetual gloom and dread point, without realizing the contemplative
        joy and love beyond that.

        Monasticism is true, but the Gospel is more so. Neither Jansenism nor
        perpetual gloom would play very well with Matthew, Mark, Luke or
        John. That means they wouldn't play well with St. Benedict, either,
        as his second portion surely guarantees. Love and joy and humility
        are an inseparable trio! When fear is cast out, gloom goes right
        along with it!

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA

         

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