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Holy Rule for Jan. 25

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Continued prayers, please, for John, 24, having increased neurological symptoms. Early tests have shown that his brain is shrinking, especially over the
    Message 1 of 355 , Jan 24, 2012
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      Continued prayers, please, for John, 24, having increased neurological symptoms. Early tests have shown that his brain is shrinking, especially over the last 5 years since the last test. More test results are coming, and they hope these will indicate the cause.

      Deo gratias and continued prayers for:

      Dr. Scott Hahn, recovering at home after his surgery.

      Sr. Anne is in a LTAC unit getting rehab and doing well.

      Fr. Rice had his third stent done and is home and doing well.

      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!

      January 25, May 26, September 25
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying,
      "Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,
      and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11).
      In saying this it shows us
      that all exaltation is a kind of pride,
      against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard
      when he says,
      "Lord, my heart is not exalted,
      nor are mine eyes lifted up;
      neither have I walked in great matters,
      nor in wonders above me."
      But how has he acted?
      "Rather have I been of humble mind
      than exalting myself;
      as a weaned child on its mother's breast,
      so You solace my soul" (Ps. 130:1-2).


      Hence, brethren,
      if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility
      and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation
      to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life,
      we must
      by our ascending actions
      erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream,
      on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending.
      By that descent and ascent
      we must surely understand nothing else than this,
      that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility.
      And the ladder thus set up is our life in the would,
      which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled.
      For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder,
      and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted
      the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.

      REFLECTION

      Today we begin St. Benedict's extensive treatment of humility.
      Humility and obedience are so closely linked that it is virtually
      impossible to speak of one without adding the other. Since both are
      essential Benedictine virtues, it is easy to say that there is no
      such thing as a holy Benedictine who has not climbed or is not
      climbing this ladder. I have never known a holy monk who was not
      humble, in fact, it was usually their most outstanding trait.

      A lot of this chapter will grate on modern ears. I will be the first
      to admit that some people need assertiveness training. However, in my
      experience, most of us do not. Most of us manage to be assertive on a
      daily- even hourly- basis without much difficulty. Remember, too,
      that modern psychology is a science which, like all science, is
      limited to observable data.

      Hence, it is not surprising that the generalities of psychology deal
      with relations between people and things. The catch here is that the
      humility St. Benedict speaks of is rooted in relationship of humans
      to God, a sphere in which psychology finds itself woefully out
      of its element. It can see some things amiss, but not all. It lacks
      the supernatural basis of faith, and this impedes it in this
      area. Balance, always balance. Keep God in focus in these areas.
      The model is His greatness, not our own.

      A quickie on the Psalm quote today: "...neither have I walked in
      great matters, nor in matters above me." This was a favorite of
      Brother Patrick Creamer, my mentor. He learned to do it quite
      well and in just 46 years or so!! (He'd laugh, too!)

      I speak as one who has been all too focused at many times on the
      monastic soap opera and its hand-wringing tempests in teacups. About
      many things, even most, we must learn simply not to get upset, not to
      trouble ourselves with matters too great, even though we may have to
      call them "great" with an inner, rueful chuckle.

      That's not apathy, simply a frank admission that, in many cases, others
      have charge of areas so that the rest need NOT worry or concern themselves.
      The purpose of the division of responsibility is to give the community the
      chance to focus their energy on the one thing really needful. This is especially
      true in monasteries, but the principle has applications in the workplace, too.
      In the latter, there may be times when one is morally obliged to get involved,
      but the key word is "morally". About trivia or non-essentials in any milieu,
      shrug, say nothing and keep your sanity.

      You will never have peace until you learn to leave all that alone, to
      distrust it for the empty and tragic charade that it truly is. And you will
      never get anywhere if you don't have peace. The road to that peace is
      humility and love.

      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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