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Holy Rule for Mar. 3

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of George, and of his wife, Brenda. He died a few months after her and had Alzheimer s, so it was a happy release,
    Message 1 of 355 , Mar 2, 2012
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      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of George, and of his wife, Brenda. He died a few months after her and had Alzheimer's, so it was a happy release, and for all their family and all who mourn them.

      Prayers for Joyce, long-time Benedictine Oblate, for healing of health issues.

      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

      March 3, July 3, November 2
      Chapter 26: On Those Who Without an Order Associate with the

      If any sister presumes without an order from the Abbess to
      associate in any way with an excommunicated sister, or to speak
      with her, or to send her a message, let her incur a similar
      punishment of excommunication.


      When punishment is necessary, the community should support it, at
      least passively. This united front should be far different from the
      human tendency we often see to abandon those in trouble. Quite the
      reverse, like everything in the Holy Rule, this must be fueled by
      the concern born of love.Times of crisis like this should awaken us to the
      depth of love for all.

      Hard though it may sometimes be, we may not rejoice at the downfall
      of another. We must participate in common punishments because they
      are for the good of all, but also because they are primarily for
      the good of the offender, whom we must love. Admittedly, sometimes
      the only way one can express that concern is prayer, but we must

      Sometimes, both superiors and communities can have an inordinate
      fear of giving punishment. What if she leaves? Yeah, what if....?
      Maybe she is supposed to leave, maybe this is God's way of telling
      her something about herself that she cannot see. Some people who
      really, truly do NOT belong in monastic life cannot be convinced of

      Some people who are terrible at a given job will not wake up to
      that fact in any other way. In some cases toxic folks must be told
      gently, but explicitly, that if they insist on continuing to harm
      themselves and others, they'll have to do it without
      destroying the rest of the family any longer.

      Some find the Rule harsh in this respect, but there is a great love
      and mercy here. The Holy Rule forbids what many people in groups
      will do: passive aggression. We cannot just wordlessly force the
      person out without a clue as to why.

      Punishment must be named and specific, the offender must know and
      those around her must care. It may in fact force a monk out, but he
      will know why when he leaves. This is vastly different from the
      ordinary human means of exclusion and expulsion. It includes grace.
      It includes love. Lots of love! And its justice is always somehow
      wrapped in mercy.

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

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • 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.


        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
        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
        Petersham, MA

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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