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Holy Rule for May 27

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Bernard, OSB Cam., of Big Sur, and for his community, family and all who mourn him. Prayers for Clinton and
    Message 1 of 355 , May 26, 2011
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      Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Bernard, OSB Cam., of Big Sur, and for his community, family and all who mourn him.

      Prayers for Clinton and Antoinette, husband and wife in their 80"s hospitalized in the same hospital, for ankle surgery(Antoinette) and her husband with abdominal surgery

      Prayers for Mary Eleanor, double pneumonia and settling into a new home.

      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

      January 26, May 27, September 26
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The first degree of humility, then,
      is that a person keep the fear of God before his eyes
      and beware of ever forgetting it.
      Let him be ever mindful of all that God has commanded;
      let his thoughts constantly recur
      to the hell-fire which will burn for their sins
      those who despise God,
      and to the life everlasting which is prepared
      for those who fear Him.
      Let him keep himself at every moment from sins and vices,
      whether of the mind, the tongue, the hands, the feet,
      or the self-will,
      and check also the desires of the flesh.


      Not just the ascent to humility, but every aspect of the spiritual
      journey may be improved by meditating on the ends to which our
      actions will lead us. How many times does a parent tell a child who
      is discouraged and about to quit that the child must think of the
      reward (bike, whatever,) at the end of the efforts. "How nice it will
      be to have that!" Precisely! It is not just children whose flagging
      spirits can be bolstered by recalling the achievement to come!

      A great deal of the monastic struggle is just plain distastefully
      hard and unpleasant.. Fail to lighten the load a bit by recalling the
      joys to come and you heighten the chances of failure. Heaven is real
      or our lives mean nothing at all. Trust it's reality, think about
      that reality, remind yourself of the wonders at hand.

      I write the following as one who has come as close as
      possible to believing that absolutely everyone is in heaven as the
      limits of Roman Catholic orthodoxy allow. We must believe hell
      exists. It is real, it may be empty and we must (out of charity,)
      hope to find it so, but hey, we COULD be wrong. Wouldn't be very
      nice, but it is just slightly possible that the spheres and wheels of
      eternal reward do not spin on the axis of our opinion! Nothing says
      things have to be the way we personally think they will be. Nor do
      the many visions of hell seen by saints seem to bear out this hope.
      They saw people there, alas.

      Hell is as real as heaven. Choices as real as those which lead to
      heaven can lead to hell. No one can WIN their own salvation, that has
      been done once for all by Christ, but anyone at all can LOSE their
      salvation. Choose something really dumb which would lead to hell and
      it is not a wise practice to assume one will have leisure to repent.
      Maybe. Maybe not. A well-timed 18-wheeler truck may just have your
      name on its front fender before lunch today. We never know.

      [But even in the event of that 18-wheeler, we never know what happens between
      God and the soul in the last moments, when we can no longer perceive any
      activity or change. Pray and fondly hope that all may be saved in the
      mystery of that hidden time!]

      I'll bet all of us have done things we would NOT want to do within
      seconds of death and facing God. That's what these meditations on
      hell and heaven are about. They point out forcefully to us that we
      ought not to do things that would put us in that sort of bind.

      It's not at all about figuring out whether or not hell exists, it does.
      The issue is not who is or isn't frying therein, we have no way of
      knowing. All those ideas are railroad sidings which lead to nowhere.
      Don't park your train in a dead end. It's a waste of precious time.

      Think on heaven and think on hell. If either one (and it's usually
      hell,) makes you crazy, balance your thinking. One of the surest
      signs of the devil's hands in the mud of our thoughts is loss of
      serenity. Truly divine things, even when unspeakably hard, do not
      produce the same haunting, panicky feeling that Satan can bring out
      of even the tiniest things. Another key is discouragement. If your
      obsessed focus is discouraging, that's bad news.

      It is, however, crucially important to think on our ends. Don't freak out
      on the road to heaven, because Jesus said: "I am the Way." As such,
      all the road to heaven is heaven (as St. Catherine of Siena said,)
      even when it seems otherwise, because Jesus IS that Way. On the
      other hand, rightly and wisely freak out like crazy on any path of action that
      leads away from heaven, away from Christ. That is a scary road, indeed!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      St. Mary's Monastery
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX A blessed Easter to all! Christ is risen, truly He is risen!! Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temproal welfare of the following, for all their
      Message 355 of 355 , Apr 7, 2012
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        A blessed Easter to all! Christ is risen, truly He is risen!!

        Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temproal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

        Luke, house sale - his house has been on the market for over a year and he really needs to sell it and downsize after the end of a long-term relationship.

        Deo Gratias, V. has been offered and very limited place next year on the post-graduate course of his dreams...now he needs the money to pay for it.

        Funding for D. to further his studies, or inspiration for something even better.

        Continued prayers for baby Grace and her family. She is stable but still on oxygen in the house 24/7, and is waiting to see a specialist.

        Jual, young mother of three battling breast cancer. Nodules found in her lung. Having surgery Sunday.

        Prayers for safe journey, and back, for an extended family going on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land for almost 2 weeks, and prayers for a wonderful time.

        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 8, August 8, December 8
        Chapter 55: On the Clothes and Shoes of the Brethren

        For bedding let this suffice:
        a mattress, a blanket, a coverlet and a pillow.

        The beds, moreover, are to be examined frequently by the Abbot,
        to see if any private property be found in them.
        If anyone should be found to have something
        that he did not receive from the Abbot,
        let him undergo the most severe discipline.

        And in order that this vice of private ownership
        may be cut out by the roots,
        the Abbot should provide all the necessary articles:
        cowl, tunic, stockings, shoes, belt,
        knife, stylus, needle, handkerchief, writing tablets;
        that all pretext of need may be taken away.
        Yet the Abbot should always keep in mind
        the sentence from the Acts of the Apostles
        that "distribution was made to each according as anyone had need"
        (Acts 4:35).
        In this manner, therefore,
        let the Abbot consider weaknesses of the needy
        and not the ill-will of the envious.
        But in all his decisions
        let him think about the retribution of God.


        There is a tendency, both within the cloister and without, to hunt
        for dramatic ascetic practices, while ignoring the truly more
        difficult matters that lack the fanfare. Lights! Camera! Action! We
        must always be wary of the Nora Desmonds of our hearts, who are
        always willing to say, a la Sunset Boulevard: "I'm ready for my close-
        up now, Mr. DeMille." How we do love to star, even at self-
        abnegation... Sigh...

        Well, there's two bad pieces of new for Ms. Desmond et al. First the
        penances we choose are usually not the most effective ones. The
        best ones are imposed by God or our situation of daily duty and they
        become tremendous means of grace when we patiently embrace them.
        Second, the ones we do choose can be terrible risks for pride, which
        undoes our efforts so insidiously.

        What on earth does this have to do with the current chapter? Easy-
        and very, very hard, too! The great ascesis here is to aim at
        limiting ourselves to "all the necessary articles." There is a
        challenge here for everyone from Abbot Primate to newest Oblate
        novice. It is a challenge we shall likely never meet fully in life,
        so it is something we can always be profitably picking at!

        Do you know anyone at all, in any vocation, who has absolutely
        nothing beyond what they need? I have known a few; alas I cannot
        say it of myself. I think this is an area where we can all look at a challenging
        grace-filled ascetic struggle that is placed on us by the Holy Rule.

        Down-sizing actually feels great, once one gets over the consumerist
        terror of doing so! One will quickly find that, in this area, less
        really *IS* more, (unlike poetry and art, architecture and liturgy,
        alas...! Minimalism there gets old fast...) We become freer when we
        let go of things which hold us more than we realize.

        We can get buried in things we are saving to complete unfinalized
        plans that will never come to fruition, and while we save them, we
        are disheartened by our own failure to use them. Jettison, m'dears,
        jettison. As the one Desert Father used to say to the brethren,"Flee,
        brothers, flee!" so do I say: "Jettison!"

        This has the further charm of fitting well into a depressive's sofa
        paralysis, too. Recall how I told you about that resolution to make
        three things, no matter how tiny, better each day? Works here, too!
        And you will often find to your delight that the trip to dumpster or thrift
        shop donation includes 7, 8, or more things!

        Keep chipping away and the mountain of our false hearts' desires,
        beloveds. And one day may all those chips be ground to sand and may
        we stand together on level, smooth quartz
        sand, confronted by nothing but the dazzling ocean of God's
        unfathomable mercy and love!

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA

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