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Holy Rule for Apr. 17

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, the eternal rest of William Collett, father of our Oblate, Bill Collett, and for all his family and all who mourn him. Prayers for the
    Message 1 of 18 , Apr 16, 2011
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, the eternal rest of William Collett, father of our Oblate, Bill Collett, and for all his family and all who mourn him.

      Prayers for the happy death of Elizabeth's Father, at home awaiting God's call, and for Elizabeth and all his family, and all who will mourn him.

      Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of Dot, for whom we have prayed before. Breast cancer surgery three years ago and now a cancerous growth has been found in her remaining breast. She also has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which is very bad. Prayers, too, for her family who are willing and 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

      April 17, August 17, December 17
      Chapter 62: On the Priests of the Monastery

      If an Abbot desire
      to have a priest or a deacon ordained for his monastery,
      let him choose one
      who is worthy to exercise the priestly office.

      But let the one who is ordained
      beware of self-exaltation or pride;
      and let him not presume to do anything
      except what is commanded him by the Abbot,
      knowing that he is so much the more subject
      to the discipline of the Rule.
      Nor should he by reason of his priesthood forget
      the obedience and the discipline required by the Rule,
      but make ever more and more progress towards God.

      Let him always keep the place which he received
      on entering the monastery,
      except in his duties at the altar
      or in case the choice of the community and the will of the Abbess
      should promote him for the worthiness of his life.
      Yet he must understand
      that he is to observe the rules laid down by deans and Priors.

      Should he presume to act otherwise,
      let him be judged not as a priest but as a rebel.
      And if he does not reform after repeated admonitions,
      let even the Bishop be brought in as a witness.
      If then he still fails to amend,
      and his offenses are notorious,
      let him be put out of the monastery,
      but only if his contumacy is such
      that he refuses to submit or to obey the Rule.

      REFLECTION

      The other day I passed the assistant manager of our local supermarket
      cleaning up a bad mess on the floor with sweeping compound. I stopped
      and told him that was the best possible thing his employees could
      see. I congratulated him, saying that his employees would more likely
      do anything for him gladly. They had seen him do it first.

      This chapter applies to anyone who rises at work or at school or even
      in the home. Much is required of those to whom much is given! When a
      Benedictine gets a promotion, the basic willingness to do anything
      necessary ought to remain firmly in place!

      Authority, when it is placed over us, is to be reverenced and obeyed,
      when it is placed in our own hands, it is to serve, not to reign! All
      of us get the opportunity to live under authority or to administer
      same. Our Benedictine hearts should make it readily evident to any
      who observes us that our style in either area is decidedly different!

      There's another thing both the world and religious life could profit
      from learning. Authority in the Holy Rule is not permanent, not even
      in the case of an Abbot, whom St. Benedict says may, even ought to be
      removed in extreme cases. So often, in cloister or world, once we
      have kicked someone upstairs, we are hesitant to ever put them
      downstairs again. That shouldn't be. It gives the person and the
      community an excellent potential for learning and teaching humility.
      Whenever anyone handles authority badly, really badly, they should
      not be rewarded with continued administration. Alas, that is often
      not the case.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA


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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Estebins, complex
      Message 2 of 18 , Apr 17, 2011
        +PAX

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

        Estebins, complex and unjust immigration mess, ardent prayers for him and God's perfect justice and will, also for Cate, Elizabeth and Liz, trying to help him and for safe travels as Liz and Cate travel out of state to his court hearing as advocates.

        Marianne, age 87, who had a serious stroke yesterday and is not doing very well. Unable to swallow and has right-sided weakness. She seems worse today than yesterday, so please pray for her and for her family, especially daughter Dianne with whom she has been living, and Joyce, Marianne's sister.

        Janet who is recovering from surgery and is doing well.

        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! JL

        April 18, August 18, December 18
        Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community

        Let all keep their places in the monastery
        established by the time of their entrance,
        the merit of their lives and the decision of the Abbot.
        Yet the Abbot must not disturb the flock committed to him,
        nor by an arbitrary use of his power ordain anything unjustly;
        but let him always think
        of the account he will have to render to God
        for all his decisions and his deeds.

        Therefore in that order which he has established
        or which they already had,
        let the brethren approach to receive the kiss of peace and Communion,
        intone the Psalms and stand in choir.
        And in no place whatever should age decide the order
        or be prejudicial to it;
        for Samuel and Daniel as mere boys judged priests.

        Except for those already mentioned, therefore,
        whom the Abbot has promoted by a special decision
        or demoted for definite reasons,
        all the rest shall take their order
        according to the time of their entrance.
        Thus, for example,
        he who came to the monastery at the second hour of the day,
        whatever be his age or his dignity,
        must know that he is junior
        to one who came at the first hour of the day.
        Boys, however, are to be kept under discipline
        in all matters and by everyone.

        REFLECTION

        I have known one monk of St. Leo who perhaps may have been delighted
        to be the most senior monk by age and entrance, but he is long gone
        now. The others I have known, who either held the first place or
        hovered near it, could not have cared less, might even chuckle about
        it if reminded. I like their way better.

        Rank is a handy way to organize people in line, but after that, its
        usefulness quickly diminishes. Rank that one desires or seeks can be
        downright pernicious and fatal to a monastic life. If you look at
        this chapter closely, it is not hard to see that St. Benedict wanted
        his monastics to pretty much take their place and forget about it-
        going any higher or lower had nothing to do with their own decision
        anyhow and they should be at peace.

        There's the rub: to be at peace! We need peace, we need inner
        serenity. It is no accident that it became our motto, PAX. That peace
        of soul is a fertile earth in which God tills His bountiful fields of
        graces. It is the foundation we need to build houses firm.

        Ever notice the readily apparent peace in a famous politician who has
        decided not to run anymore? Whether you like the man or not, a great
        freedom and relief is soon noticeable. It was so in Jimmy Carter,
        who, when free to be just Jimmy Carter, went on to do wonderful
        things. This renunciation is different, far different from quitting.
        Mere quitting shows up in a very bad light. What I think we are
        seeing is the light of a heart that has learned what NOT to
        desire, even if only partially.

        By the way, there's no need for any of us reading this to think we
        need to dream up a standard of WHAT we desire and perhaps should not.
        The Holy Rule has already done that for us, 1,500 years ago: "Let them
        prefer nothing whatever to the love of Christ."

        Love and prayers,

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






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      • Br. Jerome Leo
        +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Joe and Lori.
        Message 3 of 18 , Apr 18, 2011
          +PAX

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

          Joe and Lori. Joe's father died last week and now Lori had heart by-pass surgery today, and prayers for their nephew Jordan who lives with them.


          Betsy and Alexis, sisters. Betsy is in her late teens, lost her job in January and has had no luck getting new employment. Meanwhile, today while learning to drive with Betsy, Alexis hit a parked car.


          Sidney, who gave the Lord ownership of his life a few years ago and by His strength has been drug and alcohol free ever since. Deo Gratias!


          Gary and Mitchell, brothers. Gary has had a very rough time with substance abuse, but has given his life over to God and is now fully employed and is very thankful for his blessings, while Mitchell recovers from mental illness.

          Robert, hospitalized with cancer and not doing well.

          for the intentions of Peg M. and Christine S.

          Seminarian David, who has to travel home and for his brother, critically ill and perhaps near death and for all their family. For his brother's happy death, should God call him home.

          Bill W., on the anniverary of his Oblation.

          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 19, August 19, December 19
          Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community
          The juniors, therefore, should honor their seniors,
          and the seniors love their juniors.

          In the very manner of address,
          let no one call another by the mere name;
          but let the seniors call their juniors Brothers,
          and the juniors call their seniors Fathers,
          by which is conveyed the reverence due to a father.
          But the Abbot,
          since he is believed to represent Christ,
          shall be called Lord and Abbot,
          not for any pretensions of his own
          but out of honor and love for Christ.
          Let the Abbot himself reflect on this,
          and show himself worthy of such an honor.

          And wherever the brethren meet one another
          the junior shall ask the senior for his blessing.
          When a senior passes by,
          a junior shall rise and give him a place to sit,
          nor shall the junior presume to sit with him
          unless his senior bid him,
          that it may be as was written,
          "In honor anticipating one another."

          Boys, both small and adolescent,
          shall keep strictly to their rank in oratory and at table.
          But outside of that, wherever they may be,
          let them be under supervision and discipline,
          until they come to the age of discretion.

          REFLECTION

          Abbot Fidelis, my late novicemaster, used to always say that
          Benedictines were "gentlemen monks." At that time, the phrase annoyed
          me a good bit, though I never said so. It seemed to have a ring of
          faint middle-class respectability about it, not a little bourgeois,
          as if we were monks who were "the right sort of people."

          It would still annoy me today if, one meant by that phrase nothing
          more than all those rather hollow social niceties. Not that there's
          anything wrong as such with social niceties, just that I have grown
          up in a country where courtesy, "civil" religion and the like often had
          precious little to do with faith itself. Such things, though
          indubitably polite, sometimes seemed to me to be the basically
          disconnected veneer of an often mediocre faith. They can be the
          exercise of a genuine charity and animated faith, but sometimes
          they are not.

          Living among monastics will teach one (hopefully!) by osmosis that
          many of the common courtesies which have become decidedly UNcommon in
          the world are the order of the day here. We get so immersed in that
          that often it is hard to even think of what they are, we just do
          them. The best example I can come up with right now is that there is
          FAR more restraint here against interrupting another's conversation
          here than in the world at large. We do it sometimes, I do it too
          much, but basically we do NOT "butt in."

          There are many other little things, rising when a superior enters,
          not sitting until the superior does in chapter, etc. These in
          themselves may seem empty at first, but when linked to the charity of
          Christ and His Divine Mercy, they become very real gestures of love.
          The fact that we don't think of them much after a while in no way
          diminishes the Treasure that motivates them, Christ Himself.

          So, yes, my dear Abbot Fidelis, we ARE gentlemen monks (and gentle
          monastics period!) No, we are not like some terribly well-off and
          properly stuffy social elite. But we ARE gentle and we are so because of
          Him Whom we seek and have come to love more and more as we better
          see His ineffable mercy.

          Love and prayers,

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






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        • Br. Jerome Leo
          +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Mrs. Wynn, mother of our Sister Mary Frances, who died this morning, and for Sr. Mary Frances, her sister, Mary, and all
          Message 4 of 18 , Apr 19, 2011
            +PAX

            Prayers for the eternal rest of Mrs. Wynn, mother of our Sister Mary Frances, who died this morning, and for Sr. Mary Frances, her sister, Mary, and all their family and all who mourn Mrs. Wynn.

            Prayers for the eternal rest of Donald, and for all his family and all who mourn him.

            Prayers please for a happy death for Mary, 83, who had a stroke early this week and is still unconscious and not expected to recover. Prayers too for her family and friends at this time.

            Prayers for Shirley and her family, she has metastatic throat cancer.

            Prayers for a baby having all day brain surgery, his heart has been weakened by his condition, prayers, too, for his family and all who take care of him.

            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 20, August 20, December 20
            Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess

            In the constituting of an Abbess
            let this plan always be followed,
            that the office be conferred on the one who is chosen
            either by the whole community unanimously in the fear of God
            or else by a part of the community, however small,
            if its counsel is more wholesome.

            Merit of life and wisdom of doctrine
            should determine the choice of the one to be constituted,
            even if she be the last of the order of the community.

            But if (which God forbid)
            the whole community should agree to choose a person
            who will acquiesce in their vices,
            and if those vices somehow become known to the Bishop
            to whose diocese the place belongs,
            or to the Abbots, Abbesses or the faithful of the vicinity,
            let them prevent the success of this conspiracy of the wicked,
            and set a worthy steward over the house of God.
            They may be sure
            that they will receive a good reward for this action
            if they do it with a pure intention and out of zeal for God;
            as, on the contrary, they will sin if they fail to do it.

            REFLECTION

            There is an old monastic saying that holds that "The community gets
            the Abbot it deserves and the vocations it deserves." Like most
            generalizations, this one has kernels of both falsity and truth.
            Heresy is obviously taking a small truth and making it the only truth
            and this is no different. It is rash (even if sometimes seemingly
            handy!) to try to fit the inscrutable workings of the Holy Spirit, of
            our all-merciful God and His love into such a small compartment of
            phrase! There is infinitely more to God's loving plan than that.

            God has a plan from all eternity which none may ultimately thwart. Even
            those who seek to impede that plan serve only to further its cause, whether
            they want to or not, whether they know it or not. God can use anything.

            And *A* plan is exactly the right phrase: God has ONLY one plan, with
            only one goal: the salvation of all. God lacks a plan B because none is
            necessary. God uses ALL human agency, of any kind, to further the
            perfect good of His plan. God can turn absolutely every human
            event, good or evil, to useful means to further that perfect plan of love,
            mercy, salvation and good- yes, even joy!- for all.

            However, there IS that kernel of truth! I have certainly lived
            through times myself and seen them elsewhere which gave
            frightening credence to one or both halves of the axiom! There is a
            human side to these things, God DOES use human means to accomplish
            His perfect Will and we, let us face it, are far from perfect
            ourselves!

            On that human side of things, like does tend to attract like. A house
            where holiness is at least frequent, if not common, is likely to
            elect an Abbot good and holy enough to nurture that. Unfortunately,
            houses often elect one Abbot to counterbalance the effects, (not
            always delightful,) of his predecessor, so a lot of things come into
            play here. A house where holiness abounds is likely to attract holy
            vocations.

            The grim truth that the saying does NOT address is that even good and
            holy houses are thirsting badly for vocations these days. Something
            else, something other, something strange has been added to imbalance
            the equation and no one can be sure just what. Pray, pray with all
            your hearts for vocations, good and holy vocations to the monastic
            life on every level, as monks, as nuns, as Oblates. With our dimmed
            vision looking through glasses darkly, we can neither see nor know
            perfectly what wonders of His Will God is working now, much less why!
            Just pray for His Will for all of us!

            Love and prayers,

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






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          • Br. Jerome Leo
            +PAX Prayers, please, for our superior, Father Anselm, on his patronal feastday, Ad multos annos!! Lord, help us all as You know and will. God s will is best.
            Message 5 of 18 , Apr 20, 2011
              +PAX

              Prayers, please, for our superior, Father Anselm, on his patronal feastday, Ad multos annos!!

              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 21, August 21, December 21
              Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess

              Once she has been constituted,
              let the Abbess always bear in mind
              what a burden she has undertaken
              and to whom she will have to give an account of her stewardship,
              and let her know that her duty is rather to profit her sisters
              than to preside over them.
              She must therefore be learned in the divine law,
              that she may have a treasure of knowledge
              from which to bring forth new things and old.
              She must be chaste, sober and merciful.
              Let her exalt mercy above judgment,
              that she herself may obtain mercy.
              She should hate vices;
              she should love the sisterhood.


              In administering correction
              she should act prudently and not go to excess,
              lest in seeking too eagerly to scrape off the rust
              she break the vessel.
              Let her keep her own frailty ever before her eyes
              and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken.
              By this we do not mean that she should allow vices to grow;
              on the contrary, as we have already said,
              she should eradicate them prudently and with charity,
              in the way which may seem best in each case.
              Let her study rather to be loved than to be feared.


              Let her not be excitable and worried,
              nor exacting and headstrong,
              nor jealous and over-suspicious;
              for then she is never at rest.


              In her commands let her be prudent and considerate;
              and whether the work which she enjoins
              concerns God or the world,
              let her be discreet and moderate,
              bearing in mind the discretion of holy Jacob, who said,
              "If I cause my flocks to be overdriven,
              they will all die in one day."
              Taking this, then, and other examples of discretion,
              the mother of virtues,
              let her so temper all things
              that the strong may have something to strive after,
              and the weak may not fall back in dismay.


              And especially let her keep this Rule in all its details,
              so that after a good ministry
              she may hear from the Lord what the good servant heard
              who gave the fellow-servants wheat in due season:
              "Indeed, I tell you, he will set that one over all his goods" (Matt.
              24:27).

              REFLECTION

              The priest who taught me moral theology was a brilliantly educated,
              theologically progressive man. As such, it was rather alarming to
              hear him say: "To fail the law in one respect is to fail it in all."
              Those are harsh and terrifying terms, but if one examines the Letter
              of St. James, from which the principle comes, he was very right. The
              Holy Spirit has left no doubt about this one...

              One cannot keep all the law faithfully while grievously sinning
              against one portion of it. The law, any law is a whole. It does not
              admit of fragmentation. Granted, the people following any law are
              flawed subjectively and then a whole set of other considerations must
              come into play. But the law is a whole.

              View even just this chapter through that lens of wholeness, let alone
              the entire Holy Rule, and you will quickly come to the conclusion
              that its fulfillment is beyond human capability. And you will be
              quite right. It is. You cannot do this stuff without grace. Lots of
              it. Impossible otherwise.

              Hence, ardent prayers for all in authority of any kind, religious or secular,
              ought to be a lifelong, daily habit. Their task is not easy. They need our
              prayers very much, and it is the least service of thanks we can render them
              for their ministry to us, a ministry St. Paul tells us was given them by God.

              Check out the Abbess. No human person can administer that kind of
              authority without a great deal of prayer and a great deal of help
              from God. No one at all can be this wise or balanced or loving or
              moderate on their own lights. That's far too high an order for
              natural virtue alone. A lot of that prayer must come from others, too,
              so always, always pray for your Abbot, for all abbots, for all in authority.

              Hence, it should come as no great shock that people in authority fail
              this standard right and left, all the time. I know in murmuring
              circles it is always treated as if it were news that an Abbot could
              be that limited, but it really isn't at all. To even half-way clever
              students, this should be a real no-brainer. It is the usual human
              condition of people in power to be imperfect: bosses, abbots,
              parents, spouses, the whole lot. In fact, that is the usual condition
              of all humanity and especially the murmurers!

              Was the person in charge mean to many for the sake of one? There
              might be a reckoning for that. One can also cause the flock to be
              overdriven simply by doing nothing in a given instance, or not doing
              enough. There might be a reckoning for that, in fact, St. Benedict
              promises us there will be and not a light one, either.

              Dare we HOPE that such retribution will be forthcoming, that exacting
              justice will be done, to Abbots, to anyone in authority, to anyone who
              ticks us off? No way, not unless we want it for ourselves, too! Jesus
              gave us that standard in the Our Father: we ask God to use our own
              standards of forgiveness for others in forgiving us. Mercy, folks, always
              mercy and to all!

              We must deal with God's mercy in this life or we shall deal with His justice in
              the next.
              May God spare us ALL from exact justice. Not a single one of us could stand
              it. None of us could endure getting what we truly deserve. That is why mercy
              is God's greatest attribute and why it is paramount. I know with all my heart
              the Christ's Divine Mercy is my only hope- and it is a very sure hope!! His
              loving kindness to us all is absolutely reliable in the infinite extreme.

              The awful thing about authority is that sometimes, even when one gets
              it right, one can get clobbered. There are also people who have left
              because the Abbot was right. Try to remember that. If you're in
              authority, be prepared to weather that, if you're not, try to help
              those who must endure it for good reasons which they cannot reveal.

              The key to this perplexing puzzle is the radically flawed human
              weakness of both those in authority and those under it. We all
              stumble together, half-blind, halt and lame, in an largely unlighted
              tunnel to God. God alone at the end of that tunnel is the Light.
              Prayer and grace offer us flashes on the way and we need them badly,
              but any level of honest surprise at the limitations of such humanity
              is really not the mark of a terribly observant mind.

              Now for the clincher: this is not just a model for Abbots, but for
              all of us with any authority, in fact, for all of us period. This is
              the way Benedictines should treat others, seniors, juniors, all
              people. This Christ-like attitude ought to pervade every parent,
              teacher, boss, nurse and grocery clerk, all of us.

              Now THAT, is a REALLY tall order! Sure is! You can only do it
              with grace, with prayer and God's all-merciful help.

              Love and prayers,

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


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Br. Jerome Leo
              +PAX Prayers for our Sr. Gemma, on her feastday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos! Continued healing prayers for Ginger, who needed twenty stitches
              Message 6 of 18 , Apr 10, 2016

                +PAX

                Prayers for our Sr. Gemma, on her feastday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos!

                Continued healing prayers for Ginger, who needed twenty stitches after her fall. Please keep her in prayer while she heals.

                Prayers for Sr. Mary Joseph, special intention.

                Prayers for Julia F., facing a long recovery after a serious, life-threatening surgery, prayers for her healing and for all her family.

                Deo gratias and prayers of thanksgiving, baby Mollie is doing fine after her skull surgery, wearing her helmet and even liking it. Continued prayers for her and her family as she heals.

                Prayers for Kimberley, who is in the hospital for treatment and has to be there for several months.  Prayers that God heals her.

                Prayers for Lida, who is travelling to Toronto today until the end of the month that God blesses her with a safe and relaxing trip.  

                Prayers for Claude, in his 50's and had a heart attack.  He is in a medically induced coma.  Prayer that God heals him to full recovery and for all of his family who are devastated.  Prayers that God resolves all of the issues that are causing the stress that could have contributed to the heart attack.

                Prayers for Elaine, that she has the favor of her bosses and coworkers and they acknowledge she is doing a great job and want to offer her a full-time regular position with them.  Prayers that she get full-time regular employment where God wants her to work.

                Prayers for Fr. Nadeem, on the 5th anniversary of his Ordination, for many graces and many, many years in the Lord's service.

                 

                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!

                 

                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.

                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 covers both fronts!

                Love and prayers,
                Jerome, OSB
                http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                Petersham, MA

                 

                 

              • russophile2002
                +PAX Prayers for Sr. Gemma, on her feastday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos! Prayers for the eternal rest of all those killed in the terror
                Message 7 of 18 , Apr 10

                  +PAX

                  Prayers for Sr. Gemma, on her feastday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!

                   

                  Prayers for the eternal rest of all those killed in the terror attacks in Cairo, Alexandria and Stockholm, prayers for the recovery of all those injured and for the families of all. Prayers for the repentance and conversion of those responsible for the attacks.

                   

                  Prayers for Joshua, who suffered burns to his right hand and arm. He is hoping he will not have to have surgery.

                  Prayers for Fr. Nadeem, on the 6th anniversary of his Ordination, for many graces and many, many years in the Lord's service.

                  Prayers for eight prisoners scheduled to be executed over ten days beginning Apr. 17, in Arkansas. Prayers they may be spared, or that they may embrace God and His Divine Mercy at their deaths with contrite hearts. Prayers, too, for all their victims and the families of all.

                  Prayers for Billy and Pastor Charles and those they serve.

                  Prayers for the eternal rest of HJ, and for all his family and all who mourn him.

                  Prayers for Chris, discerning his vocation on retreat with the Carthusians in Vermont, for the will of God for him.

                  Prayers for Joann on her birthday, graces galore and many more. Ad multos annos!

                   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!

                   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 our Creator. We will travel ever more deeply into God, and we will love
                  it. It's an adventure we shall love forever.

                  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 covers both fronts!

                  Love and prayers,
                  Jerome, OSB
                  http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                  Petersham, MA


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