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Holy Rule for Jan. 7

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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 for all who take care of them: Tammy, very
    Message 1 of 355 , Jan 6, 2012
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      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and for all who take care of them:

      Tammy, very important court case.

      Bp. Gabino Zavala, who resigned after revealing he has fathered two children, and for all his flock and for the children and their mother.

      Mary Carmen, badly needing to be healed spiritually and restored in Christ, and for her husband.

      Rose, middle aged, brain tumor, for healing and also for her to come into a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

      Julian, 2, was born with multiple birth defects and cannot walk or talk. His mother signed a Do Not Resuscitate order last night as his condition has declined..he has seizures and medication not controlling it. Prayers for his parents and all the family, too.

      Norman, admitted for pneumonia and has suffered a stroke. Prognosis, not good.

      Fr. Donald, admitted to the hospital this afternoon for tests.

      Deo gratias, Sr. Anne continues to do well in rehab.

      Prayers for Dot, for her acceptance of the death of her son, and for his eternal
      rest and all who mourn 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

      January 7, May 8, September 7
      Prologue (concluded)

      And so we are going to establish
      a school for the service of the Lord.
      In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
      But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
      for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
      do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
      whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
      For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
      our hearts expand
      and we run the way of God's commandments
      with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
      Thus, never departing from His school,
      but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
      until death,
      we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
      and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.

      REFLECTION

      Sadly, a certain cynicism has been woven into my life like a
      repeating plaid. Happily, it has not grown worse with age, but has
      been moderated (how Benedictine!) into a faintly acceptable level of
      occasional curmudgeonhood. If my cynicism is now a rather muted
      tartan background, it was not always so. I can clearly recall reading
      the line about expanding hearts and running with unspeakable
      sweetness of love twenty some years ago and thinking: "Yeah, right!
      Real likely..."

      Now that passage is my all-time favorite in the Holy Rule. I thought
      twice before saying that, because there are so many things in the
      Rule that I deeply love, but yeah, this one is the best loved for me.
      Why? Because it is linked to love and, secondarily, because it alerts
      us to the necessary hope that the monastic struggle DOES get easier
      in time, in certain ways, even though it is never over until death.

      "Our hearts expand..." they truly do. Mine has already been
      wonderfully stretched and pulled and enlarged beyond my wildest
      dreams, often with me kicking and screaming every inch of the way. I
      have no doubt that it will grow bigger still, capable of holding
      more, but I know I could not stand that now, it would be too much.
      God works slowly, according to our individual needs. Better than
      anyone, He knows that doing it all at once would reduce us to
      shivering panic.

      The biggest factor that I can see in God's work of heart renovation
      for me has been intercessory prayer. When you renovate a building,
      you have to tear down some walls, a dusty, ugly, painful mess. Ah,
      but the light and air and space that one finds in those new areas
      where walls had stood! In praying for God's people, I learned to love
      them, more prayer equaled more love and so it spiraled upward and
      spirals on!

      The rain for my roots was that work in progress, the expansion of my
      heart. It's not the same as other loves I have known and in no way as
      graphic or immediate or intimate, but oh, it is deep. I am sure it is
      not incompatible with married love, but God seemed to want it so for
      me. True to form, I argued with Him for years about that.

      Christ is the One I encounter in praying for His members, for
      His Mystical Body. It is, after all, a very powerful reminder that Christ IS
      His members, that we are all cells in His awesome Body.

      When a novice in my twenties, I used to look at two real saints of
      St. Leo Abbey, Brothers David Gormican and Raphael Daly, both now
      gone to God. I am not even sure I thought it had become easier for
      them at the end of their lives, I thought, with the mindlessness so
      easy for me then, that they were just so old they didn't care
      anymore. Wrong!

      My dear friend Ann Chatlos was a FABULOUS cook and she had been at it
      for years. One day I went to see her and we sat talking in her
      kitchen, she was fiddling around, nothing special. Frankly, I didn't
      even notice any activity that would have produced a meal. She finally
      turned around and said to me: "Stay for dinner." I asked when it
      would be ready and she said, "Now." I was floored. While we spoke, a
      pie, chicken and roast potatoes and something else I forget had been
      going on. A full meal with nothing out of cans and a homemade
      dessert, yet it appeared that she had just been chatting.

      That's the nonchalance of Brother David and Brother Raphael. It
      wasn't that they didn't care, it was that things of sanctity had
      become so much second nature to them that many of those around them
      never noticed that dinner was ready. May that nonchalance of sanctity
      come to us all. Say a prayer for Brothers David and Raphael and especially for
      Ann, now also gone to God.

      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 6:26 AM
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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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