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Holy Rule for Dec. 29

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Megan and her family as she recovers from Strep Throat. Prayers, please, for Michael as he recovers from knee surgery. Prayers for
    Message 1 of 138 , Dec 28, 2010
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      Prayers, please, for Megan and her family as she recovers from Strep Throat.

      Prayers, please, for Michael as he recovers from knee surgery.

      Prayers for "Darkhorse" 3rd Battalion 5th Marines and their families. They are fighting it out in Afghanistan & they have lost 9 marines in 4 days. And for all serving overseas in harm's way.

      Prayers please for Mary, 95, failing health in hospital, and for her daughter Mary Jo and family, with whom she has lived for the past few years.

      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 29, August 29, December 29
      Chapter 71: That the Brethren Be Obedient to One Another

      Not only is the boon of obedience
      to be shown by all to the Abbot,
      but the brethren are also to obey one another,
      knowing that by this road of obedience they are going to God.
      Giving priority, therefore, to the commands of the Abbot
      and of the Superior appointed by him
      (to which we allow no private orders to be preferred),
      for the rest
      let all the juniors obey their seniors
      with all charity and solicitude.
      But if anyone is found contentious,
      let him be corrected.

      And if any brother,
      for however small a cause,
      is corrected in any way by the Abbot or by any of his Superiors,
      or if he faintly perceives
      that the mind of any Superior is angered or moved against him,
      however little,
      let him at once, without delay,
      prostrate himself on the ground at his feet
      and lie there making satisfaction
      until that emotion is quieted with a blessing.
      But if anyone should disdain to do this,
      let him undergo corporal punishment
      or, if he is stubborn, let him be expelled from the monastery.

      REFLECTION

      OK, now we're getting into radical. Any human group, from the
      military to a kindergarten at recess expects one to obey the leader.
      But each other? Give me a break! How many jobs would you have quit if
      you had to obey all of your co-workers? Yet St. Benedict calls such
      obedience a "boon", a wonderfully good thing.

      Well, giving a break is exactly what is intended here. The Kingdom of
      God, which the Holy Rule seeks to guide us to, is ruled by love, not
      hierarchy per se. It includes a hierarchy, yes, but that, too, is
      founded on love. The Kingdom of God strives for peace and serenity.

      The quickest way to soften an environment and let peace flourish is
      to keep people more or less happy, and the quickest way to do that is
      to give in to their legitimate wishes whenever possible. So long as the
      matter at hand is morally neutral, why not give way?

      Now we're getting to the heroic stuff. There are ulterior benefits to
      obeying the boss, but another peer? What's the big deal there? The
      big deal is love, the big deal is forgetfulness of self, the big deal
      is the abdication of control issues.

      It's a snap to be a pain. Anybody can pull that off with no effort at
      all. Lots of folks do, all the time! The harvest, however, is
      isolation and loneliness, which result in bitterness that only fuels
      the vicious cycle.

      In contrast, it may be a bit difficult at first to be easy, but it is
      ALSO addictive when done right! One will soon be hunting for ways to
      be easy, because every drop of water makes the ocean a tiny bit less
      salty. The harvest, too, is far more precious: a growing warmth that
      makes one ever more gentle, more open, more loving and glad to be so.
      The harvest is joy and love, not the lie of possession and bitterness.
      You may not change the world alone, but the change in yourself will be
      awesome and dramatic. That alone will go farther still to improve the
      world, to build up the Mystical Body of Christ.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB







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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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        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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