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August 31

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Frank, who died Friday, and for his family. Prayers, also, for my parents, Jerome & Louise, both deceased. Today is their wedding
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 31, 2003

      Prayers, please, for Frank, who died Friday, and for his family.
      Prayers, also, for my parents, Jerome & Louise, both deceased. Today
      is their wedding anniversary. NRN. JL

      May 1, August 31, December 31
      Chapter 73: On the Fact That the Full Observance of Justice Is Not
      Established in This Rule

      Now we have written this Rule
      in order that by its observance in monasteries
      we may show that we have attained some degree of virtue
      and the rudiments of the religious life.

      But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life
      there are the teaching of the holy Fathers,
      the observance of which leads to the height of perfection.
      For what page or what utterance
      of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
      is not a most unerring rule for human life?
      Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers
      does not loudly proclaim
      how we may come by a straight course to our Creator?
      Then the Conferences and the Institutes
      and the Lives of the Fathers,
      as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil --
      what else are they but tools of virtue
      for right-living and obedient monks?
      But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent
      they are a source of shame and confusion.

      Whoever you are, therefore,
      who are hastening to the heavenly homeland,
      fulfil with the help of Christ
      this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners;
      and then at length under God's protection
      you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue
      which we have mentioned above.


      How great must our God be! I have never known anyone who kept all of
      the Holy Rule perfectly, but I have known many that I thought were
      great saints, very observant monastics. St. Benedict is clearly
      telling us that God is even more than we may attain by observing this

      God is so vast and beyond us, we are always taking the tumbling
      first steps of toddlers towards Him, but He is always holding on and
      beaming with the pride an love of a parent guiding those steps.
      Our Holy Rule is filled with awesome things, yet it is only
      the "rudiments" of the spiritual life! Ours is the "minimum" Rule,
      the least Rule for rank beginners! Nothing but basics here... But ah,
      the loftier heights to which those basics can lead!

      "Whoever you are, therefore, who are hastening to the heavenly
      homeland..." That "whoever" is the true object of all this heartfelt
      tenderness of Saint Benedict , the one for whom he wrote! He only
      made one qualifier, that of "hastening to the heavenly homeland." It
      seems that some of our decisions about who matters and who does not
      have employed a somewhat more restrictive standard than that of our
      holy Father Benedict...

      "Whoever you are..." I don't care who you are or how much I disagree
      with you, whether I nearly hate your positions or love them blindly,
      it is you I am called to love, to honor to respect, to cherish as a
      fellow monastic traveler. You.

      "Whoever you are..." I surely don't care whether you're Catholic or
      not, in fact I am relieved and delighted that many of you on board
      are not! I surely don't care if you are not exactly the same sort of
      Catholic as I am, it doesn't matter to me. You do. You have to,
      because this is the Holy Rule I have embraced, that we all have.

      In the United States, where, through much of our history, Catholics
      and Jews shared a roughly equal amount of contempt, great camaraderie
      could flourish between the two and still quite often does. Having
      said that, it has always amused me that many Jews I know get along
      MUCH better with Catholics than they do with Jews who disagree with
      them! How like ourselves!

      When disagreement happens within our family, we hurt more, it is more
      important to us. The differing opinion of a stranger on the subway
      would hardly matter at all! Maybe the fact that we CAN get hurt and
      angry is a good sign, maybe it means we are at least beginning to
      love, but it is HOW we get hurt or angry that we have to examine
      very, very closely.

      The important thing is not opinion or observance or concepts. The
      important thing is you. Whoever you are. Every time I fail that, I
      have to get up, apologize and start over. Maybe not right from square
      one each time, but again each time. If I ever stop doing those
      things, I have stopped being a Benedictine.

      Whoever you are, but it's not just me that has to embrace that. You
      do, too. We all do. We ourselves are the only ones we can insist upon
      reforming, however, the only ones we can make change. That might be
      good to keep in mind, whoever you are.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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