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Holy Rule for Aug. 5

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for Frank and Jessica, united in holy matrimony on Aug. 4th, for a long and fruitful and holy life together. Prayers for Ray, mental illness.
    Message 1 of 236 , Aug 4, 2012
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      Prayers for Frank and Jessica, united in holy matrimony on Aug. 4th, for a long and fruitful and holy life together.

      Prayers for Ray, mental illness.

      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 5, August 5, December 5
      Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests

      Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
      that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
      who are never lacking in a monastery,
      arrive at irregular hours.
      Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
      be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
      Let them be given such help as they need,
      that they may serve without murmuring.
      And on the other hand,
      when they have less to occupy them,
      let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.

      And not only in their case
      but in all the offices of the monastery
      let this arrangement be observed,
      that when help is needed it be supplied,
      and again when the workers are unoccupied
      they do whatever they are bidden.

      The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
      whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
      Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
      and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
      and in a prudent manner.

      On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
      associate or converse with guests.
      But if he should meet them or see them,
      let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
      ask their blessing and pass on,
      saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.

      REFLECTION

      Asking that the house of God be prudently governed by the prudent
      surely applies to more than the guest house. That principle goes for the
      whole monastery, as well as for the families and homes of those
      monastics in the world outside the cloister. This is not just another call to
      frugality or economy or order for their own sakes.

      The whole idea of balance and peace and moderation and serenity is
      nothing more or less than a singular setting for a pearl of very
      great price. We need those things for our monastic struggle to be
      most effective. Sometimes a surgeon might have to operate on a bloody
      battlefield, but don't be surprised if infection follows.

      It's the same with us and dysfunctional, imprudent messes. We CAN
      operate there if we have to, but infections are likely to follow. We
      need a certain amount of reduction of inconsequential hassles to focus on the
      one thing necessary. St. Benedict strives to provide us with that.

      No, the monastery is not a sterile surgical suite (and I always worry
      when one looks that way!) but neither is it an ill-housed flock of free range
      chickens. Show me a monastery or home that has become a zoo and I can
      guarantee you there will be a LOT of spiritual ramifications, as well.

      We are not necessarily Thomists (though at Monte Cassino
      our Order conducted some of St. Thomas Aquinas' early schooling,) but we can
      surely affirm that "peace is the tranquility of order." St.Thomas' view of the
      virtues is important to us, too, imbued with the principles of
      Aristotle: "Virtus in media stat." Virtue stands in the middle way. What could
      be more Benedictinely moderate and balanced?

      It must be clearly remembered that when we speak of "prudence", we
      speak of a virtue, a thing of holiness and a golden mean.
      All manner of foolish timidity,
      cowardice, stinge and hearts-by-Frigidaire prudishness have been
      falsely named prudence.

      Prudence is not and never can be a wicked thing. Prudence, real
      wisdom, is a thing always to be desired. False prudence, on the other
      hand, of which there is sadly no shortage, is a thing always and everywhere to
      be rejected.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery
      Petersham, MA



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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for al their loved ones and all who take care of them: Pat, terminal brain
      Message 236 of 236 , Nov 21, 2012
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        Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for al their loved ones and all who take care of them:

        Pat, terminal brain cancer, for her happy death.

        Deo gratias, David got his contract, prayers for him in his new job.

        Debbie , a mother of two young children, just diagnosed with lymphoma leukemia;
        Shannon, that she know God's great love for her and be open to his guidance and will;

        for financial stability for two persons who are in debt

        Andrew, brain cancer, on his 31st birthday.

        Lorene, experiencing pains and illness symptoms and worried about results of what this could be. Please pray that she is fine and no disease/illness. Very frightened.

        for those still suffering from Hurricane Sandy. May they come out of this tragedy with optimism and find love, peace, health and happiness again.

        Paul C. and his family, for God's will to be done.

        Prayers for the eternal rest of John F. Kennedy, on the anniversary of his
        assassination.

        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 23, July 23, November 22
        Chapter 43: On Those Who Come Late to the Work of God or to Table

        Anyone who does not come to table before the verse,
        so that all together may say the verse and the oration
        and all sit down to table at the same time --
        anyone who
        through his own carelessness or bad habit
        does not come on time
        shall be corrected for this up to the second time.
        If then he does not amend,
        he shall not be allowed to share in the common table,
        but shall be separated from the company of all
        and made to eat alone,
        and his portion of wine shall be taken away from him,
        until he has made satisfaction and has amended.
        And let him suffer a like penalty who is not present
        at the verse said after the meal.

        REFLECTION

        OK, before we all get hopelessly mired in the belief that St.
        Benedict is REALLY mired in punctuality issues, let's try a parable
        reality check. What if every bus (or train or plane or subway,)
        waited for the latecomer to arrive? For starters, the schedule of
        everyone sitting helpless on that mode of transportation would be
        disrupted. Everyone would be late, every single one. Some would miss
        work, others a wedding, others still a connection with friends to
        leave on vacation. If all public transport followed such a program,
        our whole world would be a chaotic mess of very unhappy campers in
        nothing flat.

        Benedictine communities do things together. Usually, that means that
        a late arrival at a meal keeps everyone sitting there when already
        finished, waiting for the tardy one to eat. (Occasionally a superior
        will intervene and end the meal more or less on time, but often that
        is not the case. Everybody waits.) This lengthening of the meal then
        throws the whole schedule off. The Office cannot suffer, it's times
        are inexorable, so what usually gets clipped is free time, recreation
        or work. Rob people of these on a regular basis and they can get very
        annoyed!

        Lateness which is unavoidable is just that, unavoidable. That's a
        time when the meal ought to be prolonged, when the others ought to
        witness that we "bear one another's burdens" and so fulfill the law
        of Christ. Brother X is my brother. I am responsible for a large chunk
        of his communal life. If I say that doesn't matter and stroll into
        dinner whenever I feel like it, something is terribly wrong with me.
        I need to have my skewed vision and values corrected. That's what
        this is all about: loving one another rightly.

        Much of the Holy Rule which deals with communal life (and is VERY
        easy to apply to family life or workplace,) has to do with what should
        really be common courtesy and decency. Granted, sometimes those values get
        wrapped in ancient language and gesture, making it less easy to see
        how simple and modern they are, but those exhortations to polite,
        considerate, gentle living are things anyone can follow in any milieu, to great
        benefit! Many of those courtesies are threatened or altogether lacking today.
        Helping keep them alive may start a conversion in another we will never know
        until heaven.

        Love and prayers,

        Jerome, OSB
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA




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