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Holy Rule for Dec. 22

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Brittany, painful ulcer
    Message 1 of 139 , Dec 21, 2010

      Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Brittany, painful ulcer around a tooth, cause unknown, may it be a simple infection, and respond to antibiotics.

      M., having a hard time with chemo and family issues.

      For safe travel for:

      Ben, Sarah, and Jacob driving from AZ to MA for Christmas.

      Simon and Heather, returning from Vancouver to the north of Scotland for Christmas, and for everyone travelling to be with loved ones at this time of year.

      Please pray for everyone who will be spending the holidays alone, that they feel the peace and comfort of Christ, and are able to rejoice in the birth of the Holy babe.

      Prayers for Steve, applying to a highly competitive medical program in Seattle.

      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 22, August 22, December 22
      Chapter 65: On the Prior of the Monastery

      It happens all too often that the constituting of a Prior
      gives rise to grave scandals in monasteries.
      For there are some who become inflated with the evil spirit of pride
      and consider themselves second Abbots.
      By usurping power
      they foster scandals and cause dissensions in the community.
      Especially does this happen
      in those places where the Prior is constituted
      by the same Bishop or the same Abbots
      who constitute the Abbot himself.
      What an absurd procedure this is
      can easily be seen;
      for it gives the Prior an occasion for becoming proud
      from the very time of his constitution,
      by putting the thought into his mind
      that he is freed from the authority of his Abbot:
      "For," he will say to himself, "you were constituted
      by the same persons who constitute the Abbot."
      From this source are stirred up envy, quarrels, detraction,
      rivalry, dissensions and disorders.
      For while the Abbot and the Prior are at variance,
      their souls cannot but be endangered by this dissension;
      and those who are under them,
      currying favor with one side or the other,
      go to ruin.
      The guilt for this dangerous state of affairs
      rests on the heads of those
      whose action brought about such disorder.


      When I read the line about those governed "currying favor with one
      side or the other," I thought immediately of the children of divorce.
      Children, however, are quite perceptive, and it is not just divorce,
      but any noticeable drift between parents that they will manipulate.
      That is why, in family and monastery, unity in authority is very

      St. Benedict tries to guarantee this by letting the Abbot choose his
      own Prior, parents can do it by a struggle to overcome their own
      personal differences for the good of the children. This is not to say
      that the parents can necessarily get over their problems, but that
      they must at least try to be consistent with the children, for the
      children's sakes. As St. Benedict points out, this choosing of sides
      in child or monastic, can lead to ruin.

      Why does it lead to ruin? Because manipulation to some degree puts us
      in charge of ourselves, something no child and very, very few
      monastics are strong enough to be. As St. Bernard of Clairvaux
      said: "The one who has himself for a master has a fool for a
      disciple." One reason we took obedience upon ourselves was our
      knowledge of our own weakness. This knowledge can fade and dim with
      time, we can be convinced we know better. Our obedience is a real protection
      from harm.
      Benedictines not only are not in charge of themselves, but, as the
      Holy Rule defines cenobitic community life, they "desire" this lack
      of control. They "desire to live under a Rule and an Abbot."

      One cannot expect children to be wise enough to see how good and
      necessary obedience is at every turn, but it shouldn't be much of a
      stretch for us adults!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB

      [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. On this last day
      Message 139 of 139 , Nov 29, 2016



        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.


        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 the safety all the people, property, buildings and animals threatened by extreme fires in Tennessee. Many fires are being fought, prayers for those fighting them and trying to help.


        Prayers for the people of Mosul and Aleppo, and for all in danger and crisis from fighting and war in these areas.


        Prayers for Ann, who has a possible detached retina, that it can be treated successfully. She is also praying to accept God’s will, whatever that may be. The troubled retina is in the better of her eyes, so retaining vision there is very important.


        Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Andrew and for all his family and all who mourn him.


        Prayers for the recovery of the 11 injured in the Ohio State University attack, one of whom is critical. Prayers, too, for the repentance and conversion of the attacker, who was killed, and prayers for his eternal rest and for the families of all.


        Prayers for Val, who fell and broke her hip.  She is recovering from surgery but is not doing well with uncontrolled blood pressure and is in ICU.  Also prayers for her family.


        Prayers for Ron, for whom we've prayed, who had open heart surgery postponed.  His condition is not great and this surgery needs to happen as soon as possible.


        Prayers for Chiara's return to the Church.  She is doing so much helping others that she doesn't need to look far to discover Christ's presence in those she helps.


        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.  Also that Bev finds full time work soon.


        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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