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Holy Rule for Dec. 6

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Deo gratias, Frank may have to just lose some toes, not his foot. A procedure the doc tried worked better than expeted. Deo gratias, Theresa is less
    Message 1 of 138 , Dec 5, 2010
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      +PAX

      Deo gratias, Frank may have to just lose some toes, not his foot. A procedure the doc tried worked better than expeted.

      Deo gratias, Theresa is less medicated than before and doing better.

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Fr. Jude on the anniversary of his
      death.

      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 6, August 6, December 6
      Chapter 54: Whether a Monastic Should Receive Letters or Anything
      Else

      On no account shall a monastic be allowed
      to receive letters, blessed tokens or any little gift whatsoever
      from parents or anyone else,
      or from her sisters,
      or to give the same,
      without the Abbess's permission.
      But if anything is sent her even by her parents,
      let her not presume to take it
      before it has been shown to the Abbess.
      And it shall be in the Abbess's power to decide
      to whom it shall be given,
      if she allows it to be received;
      and the sister to whom it was sent should not be grieved,
      lest occasion be given to the devil.

      Should anyone presume to act otherwise,
      let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.

      REFLECTION

      Part of this is about equality, part of it is about depending on
      one's community for everything. But there is another part that is
      more readily available to monastics and Oblates in the world, a
      certain cloister of the heart, a partial flight from the secular.

      Outside news, to which we all can become so easily addicted, is not
      always useful, let alone nourishing. When I was a pastoral associate
      in Boston, I was the slave of the weather channel: knew the five day
      forecast ALL the time. Then I moved here- no cable anywhere- and
      pretty much let God surprise me each morning with whatever was
      available. Granted, traveling on foot and by subway to do a lot of
      ministry in Boston, I did have a greater need to know, but not THAT
      great!

      We get a Sunday paper (the NY Times,) once a week and that is it. If
      something really big happens between Sundays, the regulars who come
      to Mass will tell us. That's how we found out about Princess Diana.
      Our contractor told us about 9/11. We were in Mass, praying for the
      world anyway, with no clue that the towers were literally falling as
      we prayed, that the Pentagon was on fire and thousands were dead.

      It really didn't matter, in one sense, whether we knew or not: we
      were already praying. Our prayers did not need details to be
      effective. The heart of God was already breaking, already knew, HAD
      already known from all time and beyond. We were just begging Him to
      look at His people while not knowing which ones needed it most. That
      made no difference. We ALWAYS know less than Him. It is the usual
      human condition!

      You may be sure we all watched Diana's funeral, and you may be sure
      we all watched the 9/11 news. We're not dinosaurs and we cared
      deeply. However, having lived on both sides now (what a song cue for
      Judy Collins!) of the media divide, I can assure you that a whole lot
      of extraneous stuff got mixed in with a very little bit of worthwhile
      data.

      There is much that is false, truly false and illusory in the
      world. We all know that quite well. What we can miss is that media's
      job is to make a lot of things much, much more real and pressing than
      they are or will ever be. That sort of illusion we can easily do
      without.

      This is in no way obscurantist or anti-intellectual, but a part of
      the monastic heart actually LIKES to be out of touch in some areas
      and profits from same. No one has to live in a cave, but I, as I
      imagine most of us without any dream of large stock holdings, would
      have managed quite well without knowing about every corporate scandal
      in excruciating detail.There's a lot of stuff we DON'T need to
      know, and in not knowing some of it there lies a great peace!

      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 2:00 PM
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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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