Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Holy Rule for Nov. 1

Expand Messages
  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers please for Mark, bowel cancer surgery on Monday - not sure what happens after that. Prayers also for Larry, heart and lung problems - on oxygen
    Message 1 of 57 , Oct 31, 2010
    • 0 Attachment
      +PAX

      Prayers please for Mark, bowel cancer surgery on Monday - not sure what happens after that.

      Prayers also for Larry, heart and lung problems - on oxygen part of the time.

      Prayers, please for Carol who has had a successful hip replacement (Deo Gratias!) and now requests prayer for her return home for recovery, that it be as quick and pain-free as His will allows, also prayers for her family as they help her in her healing.

      A blessed Solemnity of All Saints to all! May all the Saints, especially those
      of our own families, intercede to God for us and bring us closer to Him. May we
      all rejoice together in the Communion of Saints! JL

      Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All ismercy and
      grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

      +++++++++In yesterday's reflection, I said that there were times
      when we should NOT correct. Indeed, there are, but I should have
      fine-tuned it a bit more. There are situations in which one is
      morally obliged to say something, where one's silence could
      actually be complicity. Gentleness and courtesy and love are still
      the norm here, but one can actually harm another by not mentioning
      seriously sinful matters. Careful assessments must be made as to
      whom, when and how it is best to approach the matter, but we cannot
      excuse ourselves by shrugging it off, saying we are not "detached"
      enough to correct. That might be true in monastic issues that are
      not seriously sinful, but it is not true in grave moral
      issues. When in doubt, ask a pastor or spiritual director or
      confessor to help you with
      advice.+++++++++++

      March 2, July 2, November 1
      Chapter 25: On Weightier Faults

      Let the brother who is guilty of a weightier fault be excluded both
      from the table and from the oratory. Let none of the brethren join
      him either for company or for conversation.
      Let him be alone at the work assigned him, abiding in penitential
      sorrow and pondering that terrible sentence of the Apostle where he
      says that a man of that kind is handed over
      for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in
      the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5). Let him take his meals alone in
      the measure and at the hour which the Abbot shall consider suitable
      for him. He shall not be blessed by those who pass by, nor shall
      the food that is given him be blessed.

      REFLECTION

      OK, here's a meditation that fits the feast today: How many of
      those Saints we are celebrating today once found themselves under
      this stringent punishment and now find themselves in heaven's
      bliss? Probably more than one or two! Punishments like this are a
      wake-up call. Not everyone will take that call, but no doubt many
      who are whooping it up in heaven today would gladly give witness to
      the wisdom of doing so!

      Saints are perfected, not perfect. The final product is very
      different from any point that came before. Punishments like those
      today's chapter suggests are dreadful as end points, but they are
      not at all so as wake-up calls, as points on the way. On the
      contrary, in such cases they can have great beauty. "Amazing Grace,
      how sweet the sound!"

      We have different ways of giving wake-up calls today. I remember a
      priest whose Abbot walked unannounced into his rectory and
      said: "Pack a bag, Father, you are going into treatment for alcohol
      today at Guest House. Right now!" In his case, as in so many, that
      drastic step worked, thanks be to God. That priest died a very
      changed man.

      The error, however, and it is often made out of cowardice, is not
      to give ANY wake-up calls at all. Dump the penal code in the Holy
      Rule and let the failing monastics figure it out for themselves.
      This approach is utterly wrong.

      In the first place, it woefully fails charity. Genuine love often
      obliges us to do unpalatable things. To shirk that demand is
      terribly wrong. Secondly, the monastic mired in whatever delusion
      of sin or illness of addiction has, more often than not, lost the
      ability to see clearly. That's what the community and superior must
      do for such a monastic. To fail to help such a one to awaken to the
      Light that is there for all is a horrible thing.

      We must always remember that Christ came to call the sinners, not
      simply the just. We can pay a lot of lip service to that concept
      without realizing that it could be rendered as: "Christ came to
      call those monastics who need excommunication, not those who
      don't." Get the picture? The ones we most roundly judge (in spite
      of Jesus' insistence that we never do so!) are the ones for whom He
      came. To deny them any opportunity to wake up and get with the
      program is awfully short of genuine love.

      St. Benedict himself says that he wrote his Holy Rule "for
      beginners." Well, folks, check out any skating rink and watch the
      beginners there. You won't have any trouble figuring out who they
      are. Their arms are awkwardly outstretched in futile attempts at
      balance. They wobble, they're clumsy and inept. They fall down a LOT.

      To assume that, in our brave new world, all monastics have lost
      that clumsy ineptitude of beginners is a tragic mistake. We are all
      beginners and we will all die beginners. That's just the way the
      monastic struggle is. Daily we begin again... as the title of one
      commentary
      on the Holy Rule says!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA






      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX ******Somehow I skipped Nov. 28 and ran the 30th yesterday, so here s the reading for the 28th to catch up. March 29, July 29, November 28 Chapter 48: On
      Message 57 of 57 , Nov 28, 2010
      • 0 Attachment
        +PAX

        ******Somehow I skipped Nov. 28 and ran the 30th yesterday, so here's the
        reading for the 28th to catch up.

        March 29, July 29, November 28
        Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

        From the Calends of October until the beginning of Lent,
        let them apply themselves to reading
        up to the end of the second hour.

        At the second hour let Terce be said,
        and then let all labor at the work assigned them until None.
        At the first signal for the Hour of None
        let everyone break off from her work,
        and hold herself ready for the sounding of the second signal.
        After the meal
        let them apply themselves to their reading or to the Psalms.

        On the days of Lent,
        from morning until the end of the third hour
        let them apply themselves to their reading,
        and from then until the end of the tenth hour
        let them do the work assigned them.
        And in these days of Lent
        they shall each receive a book from the library,
        which they shall read straight through from the beginning.
        These books are to be given out at the beginning of Lent.

        But certainly one or two of the seniors should be deputed
        to go about the monastery
        at the hours when the sisters are occupied in reading
        and see that there be no lazy sister
        who spends her time in idleness or gossip
        and does not apply herself to the reading,
        so that she is not only unprofitable to herself
        but also distracts others.
        If such a one be found (which God forbid),
        let her be corrected once and a second time;
        if she does not amend,
        let her undergo the punishment of the Rule
        in such a way that the rest may take warning.

        Moreover, one sister shall not associate with another
        at inappropriate times.

        REFLECTION

        Lectio divina, sacred reading, is the Benedictine form of
        contemplation, more ancient than many later forms, both Carmelite and
        Athonite. Being so ancient, it comes with very few directions. Much
        of its "method" has been developed and handed down by monastics over
        the centuries since St. Benedict.

        Even in that embellished form, it remains a very, very simple and
        efficient means to contemplative prayer. One simply reads Scripture
        or the Fathers (or Mothers!) slowly, reflectively, ruminating (like a
        cow chewing its cud!) on each word and verse. As St. Romuald later
        observed, one waits like a chick for whatever its mother gives it.

        One does not read to get through the book. One reads to see if and
        when the Holy Spirit calls us to higher prayer with a word or phrase
        that strikes the heart. At that point, one should follow one's heart
        and not worry about finishing the page! Cleared for takeoff!

        It is interesting that St. Benedict weaves all these schedules of
        contemplative reading and prayer together with his manual labor
        concerns, without any ado. There's another example of the dignity and
        holiness of work in a Benedictine theology. Our work, too, is prayer.
        It must be.

        We must, somehow, learn to be all prayer. That same
        ruminative mindfulness that colors our lectio must color our labor as
        well. It is a different form of attention, a different form of
        prayer, but it is prayer nonetheless! Just ask any gardener or cook
        with a mystical heart or, for that matter, any toilet cleaner or
        diaper changer of the same ilk!

        The Carmelites prescribe mental prayer, which should, with
        recollection, spread throughout one's day. The hesychasts of Mount
        Athos, Romania and Russia stress the Jesus Prayer, said vocally until
        it becomes automatic in the heart at all times. Both of these are
        more explicit methodologies, but the Benedictine aim is the same:
        prayer without ceasing, prayer in choir and garden and cell, prayer
        at reading and prayer at work. Mindfulness of God at all times is the
        contemplative goal of all these systems.

        This is just my own opinion, but I am inclined to think that the
        Dominican concept of contemplation comes closest to our own, largely
        because of their love of study. Study, for the Dominican, is often
        very similar to lectio in the Benedictine scheme of things. Why?
        Because the Dominican seeks Truth, and Jesus said: "I am the Truth."
        A Dominican could be reading virtually anything and still know that
        every bit
        of real, objective truth garnered from that reading would be yet
        another shard, no matter how small, in the infinite mosaic of the
        face of Christ. That is a mosaic none of us shall ever complete in
        this life, but oh, how much more familiar He shall seem to us when we
        meet Him because of it!

        Maybe I'm just prejudiced, but I think that a Dominican education,
        such as I had, is a wonderful preparation for Benedictine life.

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




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.