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Holy Rule for Dec. 25

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX A very blessed and grace-filled Christmas to all, may the Christ Child fill your hearts with joy, peace and love! Prayers, please, for the spiritual,
    Message 1 of 138 , Dec 24, 2010
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      +PAX

      A very blessed and grace-filled Christmas to all, may the Christ Child fill your hearts with joy, peace and love!

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

      Pat, newly diagnosed with lung cancer

      Ed, undergoing treatment for lung cancer

      Vera, on Christmas Day it is her 81st birthday, and the first one on her own, as Bert died this year.

      Margaret and Doris, lifelong friends, who have been apart ever since Doris went into a home. Margaret lives on her own and feels the isolation badly

      All those who are housebound and alone this Christmas.

      Prayers are asked for a mother, who died this week, and for all members of her family who grieve for her.

      Also for a young man awaiting a pre-sentencing report over Christmas, that he has the courage and fortitude to accept whatever decisions are made for his future.

      For two men who will be spending time in prison this Christmas, with the wish that the time they have spent there will have given them new perspectives and new horizons to aim for on release.

      Finally, for ALL involved in the difficulties in Afghanistan, on both sides, that the peace of Christmas may be the start of a new beginning there for everyone.

      Franny who is in CICU for a heart problem. She took a turn for the worse. One of her sons is in Tennessee and cannot get back right now.

      Sister Mildred, OSB who is undergoing emergency gall bladder surgery today, Christmas Eve, and for her speedy recovery and return to community.

      Dot, 80's, hospitalized with pneumonia and electrolyte problems, no energy and very down

      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 25, August 25, December 25
      Chapter 67: On Brethren Who Are Sent on a Journey

      Let the brethren who are sent on a journey
      commend themselves
      to the prayers of all the brethren and of the Abbot;
      and always at the last prayer of the Work of God
      let a commemoration be made of all absent brethren.

      When brethren return from a journey,
      at the end of each canonical Hour of the Work of God
      on the day they return,
      let them lie prostrate on the floor of the oratory
      and beg the prayers of all
      on account of any faults
      that may have surprised them on the road,
      through the seeing or hearing of something evil,
      or through idle talk.
      And let no one presume to tell another
      whatever he may have seen or heard outside of the monastery,
      because this causes very great harm.
      But if anyone presumes to do so,
      let him undergo the punishment of the Rule.
      And let him be punished likewise who would presume
      to leave the enclosure of the monastery
      and go anywhere or do anything, however small,
      without an order from the Abbot.

      REFLECTION

      Rare is the person who can manage to stay employed without at least a
      slightly different persona at work. We are one thing there, because
      we have to be, but when we clock out, much, if not all of the work
      persona is shed. In fact, we usually have a whole repertoire of
      different selves, being one thing with our grandmother and quite
      another with a childhood friend we have known all our lives, one
      thing with the promising new date and quite another with the spouse
      of many years!

      Secular society has enlarged upon this tendency to its own ends.
      Because the tendency is so deeply rooted in us, we may fail to see
      its dangers when carried to extremes. Thanks to a society often
      glaringly unassisted by revelation, we have the unhappy concept of
      different umbrellas, different sets of ethics to cover different
      areas of life. "Hey, religion is fine if you want it, but this is
      BUSINESS!" or "I may be a Christian, but this is public service. I
      was elected by a constituency that expected me to leave some of that
      Gospel stuff at the door." Well, folks, such notions do not
      wash well. In fact, they really don't wash at all.

      The message of the Holy Rule and of the Gospel is that there is one
      umbrella, period. There is one persona, period. Granted, in the
      latter, shades and gradations may last throughout most of our
      struggling lives, but the goal is clear. All monastic, all Christian,
      all the time. One heart, one umbrella, one Lord, one faith, one
      baptism.

      That work persona that we drop when we clock out, the totally free
      and other person we are on days off or on trips away can be an OK
      notion in relation to work. Wouldn't we find someone who was a
      salesperson or teacher or secretary or manager ALL the time to be a
      dreadful drip? The concept fails, however, when it is applied to
      vocations, to any vocation at all. One does not take a vacation from
      being married or a parent or ordained or a monastic.

      Do I hear loud screams in cyber-space as I mention BALANCE again?
      Sorry, but it is true. There is a balanced way to be under one
      umbrella all the time that we must strive to achieve. Yes, I am
      different with different friends, we all are, we have to be, charity
      demands that. But there is a commonality between all the threads of
      our behavior. We are monastics. We are freer within defined limits.
      It is to the balance of those defined limits that this chapter refers.

      At Petersham, we still follow this custom of prayer for one who will
      be away overnight. The prayers are said in the refectory, after
      grace. One is blessed leaving and returning, while kneeling in the
      center of the ref. It's just a way of saying, as a community, that we
      all know that maintaining that one umbrella can be tough, especially
      when one is away alone. We want to support each other with our
      prayers, we want our brother to know that our hearts are with him all
      the way.

      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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