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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 140 , Dec 1 2:35 PM

      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.


      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
      indeed. And we are, after all Benedictines: hospitality is one of our

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for Pluscarden Abbey, on the feast of St. Andrew, one of its patrons, and for all of Scotland, whose patron is also St. Andrew. Prayers for the
      Message 140 of 140 , Nov 29



        Prayers for Pluscarden Abbey, on the feast of St. Andrew, one of its patrons, and for all of Scotland, whose patron is also St. Andrew. Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Andrew, OSB, on his feastday.

         On this last day of November, please remember the Holy Souls, the whole month is dedicated to prayer for them, and remember to pray for them throughout the year! Ask them to intercede for you, too, they are great friends to have and they are so very grateful to us for our prayers and help for them.

        Prayers for Jamie D., that she will pass all the exams in relation to her application to UK.

        Prayers for the happy death of Susan H.,  she has cancer, an inoperable tumor and is too weak for treatment.  She may not make it until Christmas, but is in denial.  She is not in a good relationship with God or her family.  Prayers of healing and peace, please! Divine Mercy Chaplets, especially, for a happy death.


        Prayers for the eternal rest of James C., a young man who died after years in a coma after a motorcycle accident, and for all his family and all who mourn him, especially his uncle, Fr. Paul.


        Prayers for the health of Patti F., diagnosed with myelofibrosis which is a very rare bone marrow illness related to leukemia.  She asks for prayers (not for a cure - there isn't one in her case,) but for energy and stamina to do the things this year she and her husband, Ernie,  have already planned.  Prayers for her happy death when God chooses to call her. Prayers for Ernie and all who will mourn her.


        Prayers for Brittany. She found a painful lump in her right breast. It might be a blocked milk duct, as she is breastfeeding and that is quite common.


        Prayers for Martin, rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. A CAT scan revealed a large mass near the pancreas.

        Prayers for Bev and Erika.  They are Jehovah's Witnesses.  Prayers that they discover the fullness of the faith and truth in the Catholic Church. 


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

        March 31, July 31, November 30

        Chapter 49: On the Observance of Lent

        Although the life of a monk
        ought to have about it at all times
        the character of a Lenten observance,
        yet since few have the virtue for that,
        we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent
        the brethren keep their lives most pure
        and at the same time wash away during these holy days
        all the negligences of other times.
        And this will be worthily done
        if we restrain ourselves from all vices
        and give ourselves up to prayer with tears,
        to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.

        During these days, therefore,
        let us increase somewhat the usual burden of our service,
        as by private prayers and by abstinence in food and drink.
        Thus everyone of his own will may offer God
        "with joy of the Holy Spirit" (1 Thess. 1:6)
        something above the measure required of him.
        From his body, that is
        he may withhold some food, drink, sleep, talking and jesting;
        and with the joy of spiritual desire
        he may look forward to holy Easter.

        Let each one, however, suggest to his Abbot
        what it is that he wants to offer,
        and let it be done with his blessing and approval.
        For anything done without the permission of the spiritual father
        will be imputed to presumption and vainglory
        and will merit no reward.
        Therefore let everything be done with the Abbot's approval.


        Because we read St. Benedict's 1500 year old Holy Rule with modern
        eyes, it often seems harsh. To balance our perspective, we need to
        see the radical nature of the Rule when written. Face it, folks, this
        was most definitely a gentler Rule for European wannabes who could
        never hack it in the Egyptian desert in their wildest dreams. His
        introductory paragraph points out his plan of adaptation: "...since
        few have the virtue for that..." Our founder was most certainly writing
        for the struggling plodders of monasticism and he knew it. Keeping
        that uppermost in our minds can be informatively humbling.

        St. Benedict's fatherly heart was
        with the underdogs, the also rans, the strays and those that others
        could not be bothered with. He must have felt at some point that
        there HAD to be a way for the spiritually challenged to become
        monastics. A millennium and a half later, we are still benefiting
        from his attempts.

        Hence, for us Benedictines, when the Evil One tempts us with his lies
        like: "You could never do that! You could never be THAT holy!"
        our reaction must be to ignore him totally. We have no clue
        of how holy we can be. God alone knows that and God alone will lead
        us and show us in ways we are quite unlikely to ever understand.
        Whenever the demon of discouragement tells us we are far beneath this
        Rule for beginners, we must shrug indifferently and move on, briefly
        impressed for once with the Father of Lies' firm grasp on the obvious.

        Of *COURSE* we are beneath this Rule, beneath any of the earlier
        ones. Duh?!? We're Benedictines. Our Order was founded for people
        like us. That should never, ever be a cause to stop trying, to give
        up or quit. On the contrary, that fact should be a heartening
        confirmation that we are EXACTLY where we belong, in the best
        possible remedial education program for slow learners like us, right
        where God wants us.

        Like a mother to a crying child, devoid of hope, who moans "But I
        CAN'T, I just can't!" St. Benedict is softly saying, "Well,
        just do what you can and that will be OK." Get the picture? OK! Then
        go out, play nice and do what you can today... Don't be surprised if
        you find that God is increasing, sometimes imperceptibly, that "what
        you can" little by little to heights of great holiness, which we will
        achieve all but unawares and only with His help. Someday, we really
        SHALL "run in the way...with hearts enlarged."

        Love and prayers,

        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA








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