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Holy Rule for June 8

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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: Continued
    Message 1 of 355 , Jun 7, 2011
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      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Continued prayers, please for Michael M. as he continues to suffer great discomfort from his broken back and ribs and for Vince who has been diagnosed with a Severe Respiratory Infection. Thanks be to God that there was no bronchial or lung involvement, as there has been many times in the past.

      Urgent prayers for Diana, 63. She suffered a stroke or heart attack Tuesday morning while walking/jogging. Surgery and in very serious condition.

      Kelly, who is allowing her abusive husband back in her home...that she has made the right decision.

      Chuck and Laurie, still waiting for a listing price on the home they hope to purchase.

      For Cheryl, for trust and patience.

      Continued prayers for D, no ulcer, possibly meds can control the bleeding, prayers that the cardiac procedure in July can still be performed.

      Stuart, 5 nodules on his lung, biopsy surgery on Thursday.

      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

      February 7, June 8, October 8
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The tenth degree of humility
      is that he be not ready and quick to laugh,
      for it is written,
      "The fool lifts up his voice in laughter" (Eccles. 21:23).

      REFLECTION

      Note that the Holy Rule does NOT say not to laugh at all, but just
      not to laugh too fast! In another place, the Rule condemns "idle words"
      which can "provoke buffoonery" (read immoderate laughter!) We are
      not, however, forbidden to laugh at all. Life together will always produce
      some truly comical stuff, and well-ordered appreciation of that gift of
      humor is right in line with a good, balanced Benedictine life.

      WHAT do we laugh at, and how? Do we find humor at others' expense cruelly?
      Do we laugh in such a way as to make the person feel a fool, or in such a way
      as to make her feel part of a shared family joke and joy? Do we laugh with
      love and affection or with pompous derision? There are, make no mistake,
      lots of good and bad ways to laugh.

      Ever know someone who laughs too fast, too often, and at things that no one
      else finds funny? Sometimes we laugh along, in kindness and charity, just to
      keep such a one from feeling as out of place as they well might.
      But honestly, what we really feel is that they lack depth or maturity or both.

      Christians, all Christians, even Benedictines, are commanded to
      rejoice. There is a Christian imperative to joy, even in the midst of
      the sufferings promised us in this life. Picture joy with never one
      single moment of throw-your-head-back-in-glorious-laughter. My!
      What a prim, prudish and bloodless little party animal that would be!
      What a great, lifeless remove from the abandon of genuine joy, what a
      total lie!

      I have never known a Benedictine so bad as to never laugh at all, and
      I have known a few who seemed to be, to all appearances,
      dreadful enough. Granted, some of the holiest ones chuckled softly a
      good deal more than they roared in laughter, but ALL of them laughed!
      Even those holiest ones, who tended to occasionally just chuckle,
      smiled a LOT and warmly!

      There are, in every age, inappropriate uses of humor. Humor is often
      a nervous cover-up, an avoidance, a substitute for real
      communication. I think these examples are what the Holy Rule
      addresses. We are called to relate to people on a more honest level
      than perpetual joking about. That playfulness may be an antechamber
      to intimacy, but it is no substitute. All loving friends share jokes,
      but if jokes are ALL they share, they are, as yet, neither truly
      loving nor friends. It takes something more than that humor alone.

      It is because humor, jokes and shared laughter can be that first step
      towards intimacy that they are so very necessary for a cenobitic,
      community-loving Benedictine heart. Then, of course, there is also
      that Christian imperative to JOY!

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





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    • 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.

        REFLECTION

        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
        and
        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
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA




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