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Holy Rule for Mar. 25

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX A blessed Solemnity of the Annunciation to all, let us all pray for each other! Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the
    Message 1 of 138 , Mar 24, 2011
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      +PAX

      A blessed Solemnity of the Annunciation to all, let us all pray for each other!

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

      Beth, detached retina needs surgery ASAP, a host of medical problems, orthopedic, spinal and dental, but no insurance and financially straightened, she is also recovering from an unwanted divorce this year, a LOT on her plate.

      Tim, as he tries for a position in wind power, and that he be able to meet his basic financial needs.

      Michael, on his birthday, graces and blessings galore and many more.

      Pat, still on chemo for a while.

      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 25, July 25, November 24
      Chapter 45: On Those Who Make Mistakes in the Oratory

      When anyone has made a mistake
      while reciting a Psalm, a responsory,
      an antiphon or a lesson,
      if he does not humble himself there before all
      by making a satisfaction,
      let him undergo a greater punishment
      because he would not correct by humility
      what he did wrong through carelessness.

      But boys for such faults shall be whipped.

      REFLECTION

      Calm down, we don't whip anybody anymore. It has too often been my
      experience that such lines push all the buttons of some readers these
      days and blind them to the rest of the good stuff there. We don't
      whip now, they did 1,500 years ago, everyone else did, too. Let's not get so
      mired in the sensitivities of our own time that we forget how terribly recent
      some of them are. (Just try to breathe normally... paramedics will be here
      any minute now. Maybe we can get that dosage adjusted and you won't
      have these terrible fugues anymore, hmmm? LOL!)

      As I mentioned before, in our house we do kneel in the center when
      late for choir, then bow to the superior and go to our place. We also bow
      to the superior when late to table. We kneel when we make audible
      mistakes in Church. And yes, those things can be very useful.

      But most Oblates do not have a refectory or choir to kneel in, so
      what's here for the majority of us? The grace of humility, without
      which communal life on any level, in monastery, workplace, market or
      home would be unlivable. Check out some of the lyrics of Shaker
      hymns, other than the famous "'Tis a Gift to Be Simple." They feature
      LOADS of messages about getting along with others. One speaks of
      not being stubborn like the oak, but of being like the willow who can bend!

      Every single human community or whatever sort is going to have its
      share of strays, fumblers and crosses. Every one without fail
      will mirror in some sense the fallen brokenness of humanity. Our job
      is to see to it that we are part of the solution, not part of the
      problem. When, through whatever means, we become part of the problem,
      we must own up to it at once and smooth it over as best and as
      quickly as we can.

      If you can't say "I'm sorry.", start
      practicing alone in front of a mirror until the words can somehow
      tumble out in public. Until they can, try some useful (though not
      perfect,) substitutes, like "Forgive me," or "It was my fault." Work
      on words of forgiveness, too, like: "It doesn't matter," or "Oh,
      that's OK,".

      Strive to make light of things. There will never be any
      shortage whatever of people who will explode and magnify things out
      of all rational proportion, so don't duplicate services! Join the
      minority and try to prevent hurricanes in teacups, rather than
      produce them.

      Most outrage, most lack of apology, most tempests in teacups stem
      from a distorted an unhealthy view of the self. Humility corrects
      that imbalance. While you're in front of the mirror practicing
      apology, why not try a bit of self-interview?

      Why do these things or persons upset you so? What do you have in
      common with those who annoy you most? Most important, just who are
      you that your perceived slights are such a big deal? Try reminding
      yourself that He is God and you are not. Honest reflection on these points
      may be a big and promising start.

      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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