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Holy Rule for Mar. 15

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved one and all who take care of them: Mrs. J.,
    Message 1 of 138 , Mar 14, 2011
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      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved one and all who take care of them:

      Mrs. J., pancreatic cancer

      Mrs. W., congestive heart failure

      Jesisca, court date to try and get protection from her abusive ex-boyfriend and for her job search and her 8 year old daughter.

      George, training for a new job.

      Dot, 80's, suspicious area on her mammogram, had a mastectomy 3 years ago. Also has maular degeneration and had a reaction to the last treatment.

      Genny, Michael LoPiccolo's wife of 53 years, on her 71st birthday.

      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 15, July 15, November 14
      Chapter 36: On the Sick

      Before all things and above all things, care must be taken of the
      sick, so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person;
      for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" (Matt 25:36),
      and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me"

      But let the sick on their part consider that they are being served
      for the honor of God, and let them not annoy their sisters who are
      serving them by their unnecessary demands. Yet they should be
      patiently borne with, because from such as these is gained a more
      abundant reward. Therefore the Abbess shall take the greatest care
      that they suffer no neglect.

      For these sick let there be assigned a special room and an
      attendant who is God-fearing, diligent and solicitous. Let the use
      of baths be afforded the sick as often as may be expedient; but to
      the healthy, and especially to the young, let them be granted more
      Moreover, let the use of meat be granted to the sick who are very
      weak, for the restoration of their strength; but when they are
      convalescent, let all abstain from meat as usual.

      The Abbess shall take the greatest care that the sick be not
      neglected by the cellarers or the attendants; for she also is
      responsible for what is done wrongly by her disciples.


      Visitors quite characteristically remark on the peace of
      Benedictine monasteries. They surely ought to be able to notice
      something very different from the world at large, something would
      probably be very wrong with the house if none could. On the other
      hand, no matter how politely we may respond to those who exclaim
      how peaceful things are, I'll bet that most monastic hearts- and
      maybe all- sinkingly say: "Yeah, but you don't LIVE here..."

      My dear theology professor, Dr. Jean Ronan, used to always
      say: "The mills of God grind slowly, yet exceeding fine...." She
      meant that in a karma sort of way, what goes around comes around
      sooner or later. However, today's reading and life in community
      have taught me to see an additional meaning. The mills of God truly
      DO turn very slowly. Sometimes their windmill blades are barely
      stirred by a hesitant breeze. No wonder that outsiders and first-
      time visitors cannot notice them grinding the wheat!

      Ah, denied the fall-into-the-ground-and-die brand of outright
      martyrdom, our grains of wheat must be ground into flour, a process
      of immolation no less complete, but most uncomfortably slower! (St.
      Teresa of Avila said that the martyrs "bought Heaven cheaply"
      winning with one swing of the axe what we must struggle on many
      years to acquire.)

      Don't make the mistake of looking only at the beauty of the ripe
      wheat swaying gently in the breeze and sunlight and the smoothness
      of a sack of pre-sifted flour. Between those two comes a LOT of the
      grindstone! To say nothing of the sickle at first...oh, yeah, and
      that winnowing part- I almost forgot.

      What on earth does all this have to do with care of the sick? Ah,
      you have been patient and that is commendable. Take heart, the
      point of all this is at hand.

      The borders between sickness and meanness and evil are often
      blurred to indistinguishable levels. One age posited demons for
      epilepsy, our own sees exculpating psychological illness or
      impairment behind all manner of things. We have too little
      time, in many cases, to waste a lot of time with thorny and perhaps
      impossible diagnoses. In charity, we are usually obliged to assume
      that the meanest of people are simply not well. We do, after all,
      have to think the best of people.

      That can be terribly maddening. We often want to ascribe blame when hurt
      or wronged. Every flawed human nerve in our body can begin to
      cry: "No quarter, no mercy!" Gee, in a flawed human way of
      speaking, wouldn't it be nice if we could! But we can't, we simply
      cannot. If we do, we become so unlike the mercy of Christ, the love
      of God, that our souls are in very great peril. This can sabotage
      our spiritual struggles in nothing flat.

      Hence, the care of the sick comes very much into play with the way
      we deal with those who hurt or harm us. This is a far different
      affair from being a passive doormat for the world.

      Hey, all of us are nice, good people in our own eyes much of the
      time. Our biggest gaffs are usually those to which we are all but
      completely blind. We must realize that this is not just true of
      ourselves, but of others as well. And, perhaps most difficult of
      all, we must see that sometimes WE are the ones who really need to
      be in the waiting room for treatment, so to speak... Sigh... Ain't
      life and humility grand?

      Hence, whenever a relationship or person truly does require
      remediation, we must behave as we would like to be treated in the
      same circumstance. Compassion, love and gentle kindness, not
      patronization or scorn or abrupt roughness must rule the day. Many
      of us have experienced both the kind of nurse one loved and the kind
      that one would gladly forget if one could! Which sort of treatment
      do you wish to give?

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • 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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        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.


        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
        are not seeking God, seeking to go deeper into Him. To do so would be

        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
        Petersham, MA

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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