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Holy Rule for Apr. 3

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Deo Gratias! The director of Caritas Abidjan, Father Richard Kissi, has been released unharmed after being kidnapped by an armed group two days earlier.
    Message 1 of 139 , Apr 2, 2011
      +PAX

      Deo Gratias! The director of Caritas Abidjan, Father Richard Kissi, has been released unharmed after being kidnapped by an armed group two days earlier. Fr Richard Kissi was released April 1. He is doing well and has already reached the parish of Notre-Dame de Treichville where he is based.

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

      Johanna, her eye problem has become critical again. To add to the pain and uncertainty, she has been trying to qualify for a teaching certificate. She is suffering over the loss of time and tuition and the prospect of not being able to take the necessary tests.

      Shane, back in formal studies at 41 and finding it hard to return to school and focus. Prayers for his sstudies and his perseverance.

      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 3, August 3, December 3
      Chapter 52: On the Oratory of the Monastery

      Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
      and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
      When the Work of God is ended,
      let all go out in perfect silence,
      and let reverence for God be observed,
      so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
      will not be hindered by another's misconduct.
      And at other times also,
      if anyone should want to pray by herself,
      let her go in simply and pray,
      not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.
      She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore,
      shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory
      when the Work of God is ended,
      lest another be hindered, as we have said.

      REFLECTION

      Would to God that the oratories of our hearts were as easy to keep
      clean as those of our monasteries! Having been sacristan, in my
      youth, of the large and lovely Abbey Church at St. Leo, FL, I can
      assure you that Benedictines tend to be very good about this part of
      the Holy Rule. One usually gets a Church in good condition and it is
      not too hard to keep it that way. In fact, doing so was only one of
      my several charges at the time!

      Ah, but those cardiac oratories! How easily they can get cluttered
      and more or less stay that way! God alone knows how many times I have
      written books or articles, essays or posts in mid-prayer, how many
      times I have "capably and completely" reformed Order or monastery,
      Church, liturgy or world! I certainly hope He isn't counting too
      closely, and I have a fair certainty that He isn't. One of the Desert
      Fathers said that, if God counts distractions in psalmody, no one
      could be saved!

      The aim is good, beloveds, but about the time I envision my heart
      dancing in pure prayer like Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the
      moonlit park, Jerome's Jezebel of a heart petulantly clumps out in a
      sleazy mini-skirt, fishnet stockings and stiletto heels. My jaded
      streetwalker of a heart is the easy and willing prey of a wide field
      of distractions and infidelities! Jerome's Jezebel is a harlot
      floozy, indeed!

      But, m'dears, and hopefully to lesser degree than my own, ALL of our
      hearts have that Jezebel lurking within, dying to be asked to dance,
      dancing alone, if need be! No smooth sophistication of a fox trot to
      Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter for us. Nope! Many times, the
      best we can do is stumble about disorientedly to a musically barren
      gangsta rap, whose harsh dissonance and strident attacks of
      percussion all too closely mirror our chaotic world.

      Calm down! The Divine Aim of our poor hearts is their Author and
      Maker. Better than anyone and FAR better than ourselves, He knows the
      limitations of His creations! How often God must be like a tender and
      loving and delighted mother who tries with all her might to keep from
      laughing at a child's graceless attempts at being exquisite grace.

      Truly, in many a stumbling child there is GREAT poetry in motion, but
      not at all in the way that the child THINKS there is! So it is with
      God and ourselves. Relax, therefore, and rejoice! Again I say,
      rejoice! Our great and merciful God flat out delights in our efforts
      and knows from the start that we shall be far more like funny home
      videos than the best and most tasteful films ever produced. Funny how
      we often lack the humility to see that ourselves! If we seek to gain
      it, Satan, who loves to see us despondent and discouraged, will be
      trounced but good.

      It is our efforts which delight God, not our results. He knows that
      the results we seek are far beyond many of us. The more clearly we
      come to know that, the more adequate our sense of our own abject
      poverty of skills, the greater our peace shall be. And in that peace
      we shall find God, the loving parent on Whose long-suffering insteps
      we tiptoe and dance, in Whose tender arms we swoon like children
      dreaming of a grand ballroom with mirrors!

      Oh, yeah, ESPECIALLY the mirrors part!!

      Love and prayers and a fox trot or two!
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      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. 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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