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Holy Rule for Feb. 2

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones and all who mourn them: Fathers Gennaro and David, murdered in Mexico and
    Message 1 of 355 , Feb 1, 2012
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones and all who mourn them:

      Fathers Gennaro and David, murdered in Mexico and Guatemala, one by criminal gang, the other in a road rage incident, and for the murderers and their conversion.

      Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, 89, retired Archbishop of Philadelphia.

      Jim, 68, on his birthday, he died without the Sacraments.

      Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the follwoing, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Thomas, scheduled to have surgery to remove an infected bone and tissue from his left foot on Friday, requesting prayers for a good result and speedy recovery.

      Tony, seeing his cardiologist and deciding on any necessary treatment for his enlarged heart.

      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 2, June 3, October 3
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The fifth degree of humility
      is that he hide from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts
      that enter his heart
      or the sins committed in secret,
      but that he humbly confess them.
      The Scripture urges us to this when it says,
      "Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in Him" (Ps. 36:5)
      and again,
      "Confess to the Lord, for He is good,
      for His mercy endures forever" (Ps. 105:1).
      And the Prophet likewise says,
      "My offense I have made known to You,
      and my iniquities I have not covered up.
      I said: 'I will declare against myself my iniquities to the Lord;'
      and 'You forgave the wickedness of my heart'" (Ps. 31:5).

      REFLECTION

      To hide one's symptoms from one's physician is to court misdiagnosis.
      If you lie to your therapist, why bother with analysis? Both these
      tactics obscure illness rather than produce health. The "health" they
      seek is nothing more than a falsehood, an illusion based on an
      incomplete view.

      It is natural for us to wish to wish that parents and abbots think
      the best of us. It is supernatural to want them to know the truth
      when they need to know it to help us. That "natural" tendency in us,
      however, is founded on a very unlovely kink: the desire to ALWAYS
      look good, ALWAYS seem in control, even when we are floundering in
      deep trouble. If parents or bosses or abbots think very highly of us,
      this temptation is even stronger; we'd rather not burst their bubble,
      we think it is to our advantage not to do so.

      The monastery is a school of the Lord's service, but it is a hospital
      of sorts, too. When we place ourselves under the care of the Holy
      Rule and an abbot, we have admitted our need for care, for treatment,
      for progress. Why deny ourselves any of those things now? I'm not
      sure, but I'll bet there are tons of easy ways to fake one's way out
      of chemical dependency treatment. Why bother? Unlike many in
      substance abuse treatment, we came to Benedictinism of our own accord.

      In Eastern monasticism, the tradition is for the disciple to confess
      thoughts to the elder every day. This is considered a crucially
      important part of monastic formation. It humbles the disciple and it
      leaves the elder in a much better position to train and advise.
      Granted, with many monastics in and out of house, most abbots would
      be unable to do this daily, but every monastic needs a confessor or
      spiritual director or spiritual co-struggler who can really know
      what's going on in their souls.

      Parents know how it feels when a child has need of them and never
      lets them know. It is an awful feeling and often the child's reasons
      (like fear or deceit,) for keeping them in the dark hurt even more.
      No parent, no boss and no abbot is perfect. They are all human and
      flawed, just like us. However, when we avoid trusting them with some
      of our dark side, we cheat ourselves of a chance to see their
      greatness called forth in compassion, mercy and wisdom.

      Balance, common sense and moderation obtain here, too. It is one
      thing not to tell one's abbot or boss something because one wishes to
      be thought well of, quite another to realize that some things, when
      there truly is no need to tell them, are best left unsaid. As Father
      Damian of St. Leo is fond of saying: "The truth is not always
      nourishing." However, SOMEONE needs to know: a spiritual director
      or confessor. We are too weak to trod the path alone and far too
      prideful. Let's not miss the chance of humbling ourselves.

      Family life, in either monastery or home church, must be founded on
      truth and reality to be healthy. All of us have seen flaming examples
      of dysfunction when it is not. Even though sometimes a mother will
      say: "For heaven's sake, don't tell your father!" there has to be
      SOME connection with reality. Not only is humility the reality of
      truth, but Jesus, too is the Truth. Why on earth bother seeking Him
      if we don't want Truth? Let this truth, however, always be told in
      gentleness and charity. There is a difference between the virtue of
      honesty and the vice of brutal frankness, as my confessor, Fr. Roger,
      used to say.

      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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        +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 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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