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Holy Rule for Apr. 1

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Betty, and for her daughter, Jacque and her husband Tom and all her family and all who mourn her. Prayers for the
    Message 1 of 355 , Mar 31, 2012
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      +PAX

      Prayers for the eternal rest of Betty, and for her daughter, Jacque and her husband Tom and all her family and all who mourn her.

      Prayers for the spiritual and temporal health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Mrs. Riali, cancer.

      Raymond, recovering from cancer surgery.

      Randie, cancerous nodule on her lung.

      Deo gratias for:
      Carol, cancer is shrinking, she came back from the brink of death, continued prayers.

      Nick, doing well after heart operation and cancer, continued prayers.

      For a couple having serious marriage problems.

      Parents needing assistance from God to do the right thing.

      Special intention for Annual Retreat.

      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 1, August 1, December 1
      Chapter 50: On Sisters Who are Working
      Far From the Oratory or Are on a Journey


      Those sisters who are working at a great distance
      and cannot get to the oratory at the proper time --
      the Abbess judging that such is the case --
      shall perform the Work of God
      in the place where they are working,
      bending their knees in reverence before God.

      Likewise those who have been sent on a journey
      shall not let the appointed Hours pass by,
      but shall say the Office by themselves as well as they can
      and not neglect to render the task of their service.

      REFLECTION

      Here's a chapter that speaks loud and clear to Oblates in the world.
      We must carry our monastery and, to a certain
      extent, even its choir, in our hearts. It is a fact that we are away
      from the monastery most of the time. We may wish it were otherwise,
      God, for His own reasons, may not.

      Hence, we need to study with special attention the means to carry not
      just the monastery and choir, but the entire Holy Rule and all of our
      Order in our hearts. There must our cloisters be built. The reins of
      obedience for us come not from walls and stones, not from the
      constant presence of a community to help us, but from our free will
      and loving gift, from the mindful vigilance of our hearts. This
      cloister of the heart, if nurtured, can become in truth a "paradisus
      claustralis", a cloistered paradise! But it does take time!

      A perennial concern of Oblates is how to say the Office in the world,
      or how much of it to say. Actually, that concern is SO perennial that
      one can easily get bogged down in it, spinning one's wheels! Satan
      doesn't care whether you get caught by temptations to murder or by
      other temptations, so long as you get caught!

      The answer here is loud and clear, both terribly simple and (like the
      perfection of so many simple things,) not a little daunting: "as well
      as they can." Now look at this precept, really look at it. That means
      that you will never be able to solemnly intone the Hours in many, if
      not most of the places you live and work. Which also means that God,
      of all the most merciful and loving, clearly understands the limits
      of your life.

      I hesitate to mention depression too often, but because it is my
      personal experience and I know that it has tremendous connections to
      the spiritual life for good or ill, I'll risk it! Ever hear about one
      of the symptoms of depression being trouble concentrating? Let me
      tell you, beloveds, when I can deny any other sign, I can never deny
      that one.

      Twenty minutes of memorized prayers and Psalms takes an
      hour or more. And certainly NOT because one is swept up into the
      seventh heaven! Quite the reverse! One's mind jumps everywhere, like
      an agile monkey on speed leaping from tree to tree in the canopy of
      an endlessly confusing jungle. The words are just repeated, with so
      little attention, feeling or meaning. And even that is a crushing
      effort at times. Sigh...

      If you are at all like me, you will feel badly about that: "Oh, no!
      I've been distracted at prayer again..." Don't make it any worse than
      it already is: God fully knows WHY we are distracted, why we are
      limited by anything within or without. So long as you didn't deliberately
      intend and set out to pray mindlessly, don't worry. (And no one, I hope, does
      that!) God may actually permit those distractions to humble us. Just calm
      down and do the best you can.

      I have long since resigned myself to ruefully chuckling that
      often I am no better at all than a mindless, mechanical prayer wheel,
      like those spun in Tibet. I hope God accepts all our prayer wheel
      days and I really think He does! So long as we are not deliberately
      slovenly or careless about prayer, it delights God, and, as one of
      the Fathers observed, even distracted prayer makes the devil mad!

      A quick suggestion as a way to bring monastery and choir into our
      busy day. This is one of my favorites, one of two prayers proper to
      the morning hour of Prime. It is easily memorized and therefore VERY
      portable! It can sneak into the tiniest of places in a busy day and
      carry the heart right to God and its cloister of peace and truth.
      Enjoy!!

      " O Lord God, King of heaven and earth, be pleased this day to direct
      and sanctify, to rule and govern our hearts and bodies, our thoughts,
      words and deeds according to Your law and in obedience to Your
      commandments. Now and forever may we attain salvation and freedom by
      Your help, O Savior of the world, Who lives and reigns forever and
      ever. Amen"

      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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        +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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