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Holy Rule for Dec. 2

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Pfrayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical heaalth of he following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Peg, recovering
    Message 1 of 138 , Dec 1, 2010
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      Pfrayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical heaalth of he following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Peg, recovering from surgery.

      L., dealing with a host of major medical, psychological and addiction problems.

      Frank, who we've been praying for due to a number of health issues, really needs some heavy prayers. The doctor has decided that they must amputate his leg, from just below the knee because 3 of his toes are already dead and they fear gangrene is setting in.

      Theresa, the one we prayed for recently because part of the family wanted to put her into a different care center. They went ahead and did it , and now the aunt seems to be dying due to being heavily drugged and denied sufficient food and water.

      Linda, desperately trying to finish her dissertation this year and it's been one thing after another getting in the way, serious family medical problems. It's really wearing her out.

      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

      April 2, August 2, December 2

      Chapter 51: On Brethren Who Go Not Very Far Away

      A Brother who is sent out on some business
      and is expected to return to the monastery that same day
      shall not presume to eat while he is out,
      even if he is urgently requested to do so
      by any person whomsoever,
      unless he has permission from his Abbot.
      And if he acts otherwise, let him be excommunicated.



      REFLECTION

      Some of us may recall childhood playmates who were not allowed to eat
      at our homes or anywhere else, just at their own home. I know I do.
      She came from a VERY close-knit Seventh Day Adventist family.

      That girl's family had a high level of what sociologists term
      liminality. The term is used often to describe Hasidic Jews and the
      Old Order Amish. It is the degree of difference from the rest of the
      world that is undertaken voluntarily and its effect is to heighten
      the connectedness of the group in question, to strengthen bonds.

      Even though he could not have named it that, maybe liminality is
      something of what St. Benedict is aiming at in this chapter. Surely
      we ARE meant to be communal, to be cenobitic families that are very
      closely bonded to one another. Surely a meal is one way of both
      stressing that bond and limiting outside competitive ones. There is
      also the problem- greater in St. Benedict's day than in our own- of
      the monastic dining on heaven knows what that was forbidden.

      These days, far less is forbidden to us dietarily as monastics, but
      there are still dangers of monastics being wined and dined and
      getting far too accustomed to "only-the-best-for-me-thanks!" We are
      certainly allowed to eat out, but I think that it is significant
      that, in my monastery, we are ordinarily forbidden to eat in expensive places or
      in people's homes without permission.

      That's just our custom here. In many ways, it is very good, too.
      Remember that we usually go out in our habits. I sure don't mind
      being seen in Taco Bell or some family restaurant in my habit, but I
      would be woefully embarrassed and ashamed to be seen so attired in
      the most expensive restaurant in Boston. What kind of a statement
      would that make?

      Our homes are domestic churches, they are temples. However humble,
      they are the banquet halls of a great King.That's what we are called
      to remember in this chapter. Our homes are sacred, whether Oblate or Abbot
      Primate, we live in the houses of God. To His dwelling place, others must
      never be preferred. Ask me where I'd like to eat my last meal and the answer
      would be right here at home.

      Having said that we all dwell in domestic temples, banquet halls of
      the Greatest King, let us also take care to invite others to share that
      tremendous grace. The simplest meal in such a setting, provided the host sees it
      for the splendor of God's presence that it truly is, is a rich blessing for the
      guests,
      indeed. And we are, after all Benedictines: hospitality is one of our
      trademarks!

      Love and prayers,

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



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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for Fr. E., discerning a vocation to religious life. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God s will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is
      Message 138 of 138 , Apr 10, 2011
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        +PAX

        Prayers for Fr. E., discerning a vocation to religious life.

        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

        April 11, August 11, December 11
        Chapter 58: On the Manner of Receiving Sisters

        When anyone is newly come for the reformation of her life,
        let her not be granted an easy entrance;
        but, as the Apostle says,
        "Test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
        If the newcomer, therefore, perseveres in her knocking,
        and if it is seen after four or five days
        that she bears patiently the harsh treatment offered her
        and the difficulty of admission,
        and that she persists in her petition,
        then let entrance be granted her,
        and let her stay in the guest house for a few days.

        After that let her live in the novitiate,
        where the novices study, eat and sleep.
        A senior shall be assigned to them who is skilled in winning souls,
        to watch over them with the utmost care.
        Let her examine whether the novice is truly seeking God,
        and whether she is zealous
        for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials.
        Let the novice be told all the hard and rugged ways
        by which the journey to God is made.

        If she promises stability and perseverance,
        then at the end of two months
        let this rule be read through to her,
        and let her be addressed thus:
        "Here is the law under which you wish to fight.
        If you can observe it, enter;
        if you cannot, you are free to depart."
        If she still stands firm,
        let her be taken to the above-mentioned novitiate
        and again tested in all patience.
        And after the lapse of six months let the Rule be read to her,
        that she may know on what she is entering.
        And if she still remains firm,
        after four months let the same Rule be read to her again.

        Then, having deliberated with herself,
        if she promises to keep it in its entirety
        and to observe everything that is commanded,
        let her be received into the community.
        But let her understand that,
        according to the law of the Rule,
        from that day forward she may not leave the monastery
        nor withdraw her neck from under the yoke of the Rule
        which she was free to refuse or to accept
        during that prolonged deliberation.

        REFLECTION

        The most important thing that St. Benedict asks of all of us on
        entrance into the monastic way is whether we truly seek God. Whether
        Abbot Primate or newest Oblate novice, that is what we are asked by
        the Holy Rule. It is a question we shall be asked for the rest of our
        lives, and one to which we must strive (and often struggle!) to say yes,
        again and again, day after day.

        "Quaeremus inventum," said St. Augustine: "Let us seek Him Whom we
        have found." In truth a certain "finding" of God is necessary to whet
        our appetite, to lead us to seek Him more deeply. Once that happens,
        however, we can go on seeking God for the rest of time and eternity
        and never get to the end of His infinite love and mercy. Even in
        heaven the journey will go on, with us always being creature and Him
        always loving Creator. We will never end our quest, but we will love
        it, we will never reach the essence of God, but that will never
        frustrate us in heaven. It's an adventure we shall love.

        If we do not seek God, there is no point whatever in becoming a monastic.
        St. Bernard once said something to the effect that, if one is going to go to
        hell, one should choose the broad way of the world, where at least there
        is comfort of a sort on the way, not the narrow way of the monastery, where
        one would go from hard life to hell. I haven't paraphrased him too well, but
        I hope it is clear enough. No one should waste time with monastic life if
        they
        are not seeking God, seeking to go deeper into Him. To do so would be
        folly.

        After novitiate, our commitment to conversion of manners obliges us to
        ever seek, to ever try to improve, to never give up the quest
        entirely. A Benedictine who has stopped trying to be better and
        stopped seeking God is in deep, maybe even fatal trouble. We always
        seek and strive. It is the very stuff of our lives as monastics.

        This chapter, by the way, led to the traditional division we now have
        of the Holy Rule into dates that will result in it all being read
        three times a year. The novices had to hear it three times anyway and
        elsewhere St. Benedict had asked that all in community hear
        it "frequently." Hence, this system was devised to cover both fronts!

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


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