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Non-Leap Year catching up

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Since this year is not a Leap Year, a reading got skipped that should have been appended to the 28th. Here it is: February 29, June 30, October 30 Chapter
    Message 1 of 139 , Mar 1, 2011
      +PAX

      Since this year is not a Leap Year, a reading got skipped that
      should have been appended to the 28th. Here it is:

      February 29, June 30, October 30
      Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults
      (If there is no 29th of Feburary, append this entry to the previous.)

      If a brother is found to be obstinate,
      or disobedient, or proud, or murmuring,
      or habitually transgressing the Holy Rule in any point
      and contemptuous of the orders of his seniors,
      the latter shall admonish him secretly a first and a second time,
      as Our Lord commands (Matt. 18:15).
      If he fails to amend,
      let him be given a public rebuke in front of the whole community.
      But if even then he does not reform,
      let him be placed under excommunication,
      provided that he understands the seriousness of that penalty;
      if he is perverse, however,
      let him undergo corporal punishment.

      REFLECTION

      It is sad, indeed, that a chapter like this ever had to be written,
      sad in St. Benedict's time, sad in our own. How little human beings
      change in some ways! Why on earth would anyone come to a monastic
      struggle with an attitude that says: "I know better. I'm right and
      they're wrong."? Why would anyone persist in staying with such an
      attitude?

      Because they are blind. It's another favorite trick of Satan.
      Blurred
      or clouded assessments of the reality at hand are his forte.
      Especially when these phony lenses get applied to religious matters,
      the obstinacy and self-righteousness can go to extremes.

      Look, beloveds, every single one of us, from the newest Oblate
      candidate to the Abbot Primate, came to the monastic life, to the
      Holy Rule, to be CHANGED. We came to learn, not to teach. We came to
      reform ourselves, not the monastery. We not only arrived with that
      attitude, we must keep it all of our lives. We came to surrender,
      not
      to demand.

      That's why this chapter is both so very sad and so very important.
      The monastic at any point in life who has renounced that attitude of
      discipleship has abandoned the struggle. We must hope it is a
      temporary abandonment, because it can be fatal to one's vocation. It
      can undo all the good work we have behind us. It can delude us into
      thinking we are persevering when we have actually long ago quit.

      Superiors and community (or family!) can be a big reality check here
      and that is what this chapter seeks to provide. Gentleness, love and
      tact are in order, but something must be done. One must be very
      careful at such times not to lord it over another smugly. But one
      must also be very careful not to do nothing at all, especially if
      one
      is in authority. The risk to the falling member is too great to
      ignore.

      If, alas, you find yourself to be that falling member, for heaven's
      sake (quite literally!) LISTEN. That is such a Benedictine trait,
      our
      Holy Rule begins with that word. If others are that upset, there may
      well be something wrong. Don't deny it. Check it out with all the
      humility you can muster, but be very aware that your humility may
      well be the thing that is currently terribly impaired. Be as honest
      as truthful as you can. Try, try with all your strength, to let
      yourself always be changed for the good, and strive to see that
      good,
      even when it is hard.

      If you are one of the lucky ones not in this leaking boat, be deeply
      humbled and grateful to God. Pray every day for all of those in the
      Order, the Church, the world, who are sinking. They need our prayers
      badly. Think how different the Titanic might have been with enough
      lifeboats...

      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

        +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 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.

        REFLECTION

        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
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA

         

         

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