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Holy Rule for Mar. 12

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Urgent prayers needed: Japan was hit by a 8.9 earthquake a few hours ago that has resulted in major damage, injuries, loss of life and then the northern
    Message 1 of 140 , Mar 11, 2011

      Urgent prayers needed:
      Japan was hit by a 8.9 earthquake a few hours ago that has resulted in major damage, injuries, loss of life and then the northern island was hit by a tsunami that caused even more damage and most likely loss of more lives. Reports say that most of Tokyo is without power. A tsunami warning has been issued for the west coast of all the Hawaiian Islands and warning sirens have already begun to go off. Pray for all who have been and will be affected by the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami and for all trying to help.

      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

      March 12, July 12, November 11
      Chapter 34: Whether All Should Receive in Equal Measure What Is

      Let us follow the Scripture,
      "Distribution was made to each
      according as anyone had need" (Acts 4:35).
      By this we do not mean that there should be respecting of persons
      (which God forbid),
      but consideration for infirmities.
      She who needs less should thank God and not be discontented;
      but she who needs more
      should be humbled by the thought of her infirmity
      rather than feeling important
      on account of the kindness shown her.
      Thus all the members will be at peace.

      Above all, let not the evil of murmuring appear
      for any reason whatsoever
      in the least word or sign.
      If anyone is caught at it,
      let her be placed under very severe discipline.


      I came here in June of 1996 as a professed diocesan hermit who
      was an Oblate. From the beginning, I lived in the guesthouse,
      because caring for the guesthouse was the mutual arrangement under
      which I moved here from Boston. From day one that meant all kinds of
      exceptions with permission for me. My life in a Boston rectory had
      been very different from my brothers' lives here. My superior told me
      to pretty much bring the life I had with me and make adjustments as
      necessary after I arrived.

      Well, it's astounding at how few adjustments got made... at least by
      me. It was my brothers who accepted the exceptions. The grace and
      charity with which they did so was- and continues to be- an
      outstanding example of how this chapter can be lived. Not only did
      they not murmur (I quite expected that they might,) they simply loved
      me, took me for the stray and loser and roaring exception that I am
      without further ado. It humbled me then and it humbles me still. I
      stand in awe of my brothers, every single one of whom is younger (in
      age, not profession,) than me. They are vastly better monks. I
      probably couldn't live their life exactly for more than 20 minutes or
      so. That does not matter to them. I do. Wow!

      That can really make one deeply grateful and yes, my infirmities do
      humble me and no, I don't feel important because of the kindness they
      show me. I feel only gratuitous love, richly undeserved. That, my
      friends is what we get from God, and that is what all our communities
      should be giving to the weak ones in our midst. In home, work, school
      or cloister we should all be giving the strugglers what I have
      received here.

      Our Congregation requires a legal contract between Community and
      Oblate for claustral oblation. Hence, when I transferred everything
      here and dropped the diocesan connection, the Chapter formally
      approved my embarrassing life of exceptions. I used to think that the
      exceptions were all that could be seen, but I know that's not true.

      My brothers see Jerome, that's all. Nothing more, nothing less. By
      their loving deeds they freely accord me a fullness and equality of
      membership that I would never dream of demanding, and they do so
      repeatedly. It is they who remind me that I belong here, not the
      other way around! They never remind me in a patronizing way, either.
      It's more like: "DUH?! You're one of us, you know!" And I am, I
      really am, but only by God's grace and that of my brothers, nothing
      at all of me.

      How I wish all of you could get to know my Community. If you saw them
      in action (and me in INaction!) it would preach a far more eloquent
      sermon on this chapter than anything I could ever write. By the way,
      I surely am accepted by my sisters here, too, but I chose to write
      today of the closer ties I have with my own community of brothers.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [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. Prayers for the
      Message 140 of 140 , Nov 29, 2017



        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. Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Andrew, OSB, on his feastday.

         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 Jamie D., that she will pass all the exams in relation to her application to UK.

        Prayers for the happy death of Susan H.,  she has cancer, an inoperable tumor and is too weak for treatment.  She may not make it until Christmas, but is in denial.  She is not in a good relationship with God or her family.  Prayers of healing and peace, please! Divine Mercy Chaplets, especially, for a happy death.


        Prayers for the eternal rest of James C., a young man who died after years in a coma after a motorcycle accident, and for all his family and all who mourn him, especially his uncle, Fr. Paul.


        Prayers for the health of Patti F., diagnosed with myelofibrosis which is a very rare bone marrow illness related to leukemia.  She asks for prayers (not for a cure - there isn't one in her case,) but for energy and stamina to do the things this year she and her husband, Ernie,  have already planned.  Prayers for her happy death when God chooses to call her. Prayers for Ernie and all who will mourn her.


        Prayers for Brittany. She found a painful lump in her right breast. It might be a blocked milk duct, as she is breastfeeding and that is quite common.


        Prayers for Martin, rushed to the hospital with severe abdominal pain. A CAT scan revealed a large mass near the pancreas.

        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. 


        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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