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Holy Rule for June 14

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for Carlson. He has a type of Leukemia, and will be undergoing chemo-therapy this Wednesday and Thursday. Prayers that the treatment is
    Message 1 of 355 , Jun 13, 2011
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      Prayers for Carlson. He has a type of Leukemia, and will be undergoing chemo-therapy this Wednesday and Thursday. Prayers that the treatment is successful.

      Ardent prayers for Mr. K and his family. He is having a very risky and life-threatening cardiac surgery today.

      Prayers for Michael LoPiccolo and his wife, Gen, on thier 53rd wedding
      anniversary. Michael does a lot for us and his many other lists and contacts, so
      ardent prayers for them both. Ad multos annos, many more happy, holy years!

      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 13, June 14, October 14
      Chapter 11: How the Night Office Is to Be Said on Sundays

      On Sunday
      the hour of rising for the Night Office should be earlier.
      In that Office let the measure already prescribed be kept,
      namely the singing of six Psalms and a verse.
      Then let all be seated on the benches in their proper order
      while the lessons and their responsories are read from the book,
      as we said above.
      These shall be four in number,
      with the chanter saying the "Glory be to the Father"
      in the fourth responsory only,
      and all rising reverently as soon as he begins it.


      After these lessons
      let six more Psalms with antiphons follow in order, as before,
      and a verse;
      and then let four more lessons be read with their responsories
      in the same way as the former.


      After these let there be three canticles
      from the book of the Prophets,
      as the Abbot shall appoint,
      and let these canticles be chanted with "Alleluia."
      Then when the verse has been said
      and the Abbot has given the blessing,
      let four more lessons be read,
      from the New Testament,
      in the manner prescribed above.


      After the fourth responsory
      let the Abbot begin the hymn "We praise You, O God."
      When this is finished
      the Abbot shall read the lesson from the book of the Gospels,
      while all stand in reverence and awe.
      At the end let all answer "Amen,"
      and let the Abbot proceed at once
      to the hymn "To You be praise."
      After the blessing has been given,
      let them begin the Morning Office.


      This order for the Night Office on Sunday
      shall be observed the year around,
      both summer and winter;
      unless it should happen (which God forbid)
      that the brethren be late in rising,
      in which case the lessons or the responsories
      will have to be shortened somewhat.
      Let every precaution be taken, however,
      against such an occurrence;
      but if it does happen,
      then the one through whose neglect it has come about
      should make due satisfaction to God in the oratory.

      REFLECTION

      The idea of Vigils has very ancient Christian roots: watching all
      night in prayer, particularly before Sunday, in anticipation of the
      Second Coming (that they be found waiting, with lamps trimmed,) and
      from the tradition that Jesus rose from the dead at dawn. The
      connections of light/darkness and Son/sun are rich. Anyone who has
      ever done an all-night Vigil can tell you it is a memorable
      experience. They are frequently done, even in our own day, on Mount
      Athos, lasting literally all night and including the chanting of the
      ENTIRE Psalter.

      With all this, it's no surprise that St. Benedict adds some extra
      high church length to Vigils of Sunday. He still, however, makes a
      lot of allowances for the monastics, even those who (God forbid!)
      oversleep!! His Vigils are long, but they are quite pointedly NOT all
      night! Doing an all night vigil for Sunday and every big feast would
      do in a community of farmers in short order.

      Many people who cut their teeth on pre-1964 Merton works, like "The
      Silent Life" or "The Waters of Siloe", might think that the
      Benedictines were a rather mitigated lot and the Cistercians were the
      only ones who REALLY got the Holy Rule right. Well, yes and no... We
      ARE a mitigated lot, we started out that way and have continued on
      that middle road. St. Benedict designed his Rule as an adaptation and
      yes, mitigation, of Egyptian monastic life, suitable for European
      types. And no, the Cistercians are not at all necessarily the ones
      who "got it right," as their own adaptations after 1964 clearly
      indicate.

      Our long history is one of decline and repeated reform. The reforms,
      understandably enough have always been aimed at sweeping away
      mitigations and laxity. Predictably, they have often swept away a
      good deal of moderation in the bargain, as well! Also, predictably,
      the reforms themselves decay and have to be reformed: why do you
      think there are Common Observance Cistercians and Trappists- two
      separate Orders?

      Merton, like any of us, changed and grew. In his later years,
      questions of observance and mitigation were at least less prominent
      and sometimes totally absent. Right now it is probable that BOTH
      Benedictines and Cistercians are living in their most relaxed and
      mitigated conditions ever. That's not all bad. History might tell us
      some of it will need tinkering, tightening up, but God will send the
      men and women to do that in His time.

      Rather than adopt an attitude of ALL-NIGHT, ALL the time,
      get-every-boot-camp-in-toughest--shape and so forth, why not bask a
      bit in the fact that we were born mitigated monastics and are meant to be so?
      Nothing wrong with that, so long as we don't carry it too far. In the 19th
      century, Russian Orthodox Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov said that the monks
      of the latter days would NOT be doing many of the great works of old, but
      that the peculiar conditions of the world in which they had to live would
      balance things out. The modern and post-modern monastic faces many new obstacles
      of which the Fathers and Mothers of old could have at best only dimly imagined.

      When I first read Merton, he had some growing ahead of him and I was
      14...didn't make for a very complete grasp on my part! Now, instead
      of scorning relaxed observance in horror, I welcome it. Both Merton
      and I learned something on different schedules: God gives certain
      monasteries their particular observances because they are the only
      place in the world some people could ever become monks. And this is
      as true of relaxed observance as it is of strict!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      St. Mary's Monastery
      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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