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Holy Rule for Aug. 11

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Terence, a grad student in Cairo from another country, he is in ICU with extreme hypertension which has caused blindness, hopefully
    Message 1 of 236 , Aug 10, 2012
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      Prayers, please, for Terence, a grad student in Cairo from another country, he is in ICU with extreme hypertension which has caused blindness, hopefully not permanent, his financial situation is very bad, too.

      Prayers for Sister Mary Clare, and all our Clares, on their feastday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos!

      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 11, August 11, December 11
      Chapter 58: On the Manner of Receiving Sisters

      When anyone is newly come for the reformation of her life,
      let her not be granted an easy entrance;
      but, as the Apostle says,
      "Test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
      If the newcomer, therefore, perseveres in her knocking,
      and if it is seen after four or five days
      that she bears patiently the harsh treatment offered her
      and the difficulty of admission,
      and that she persists in her petition,
      then let entrance be granted her,
      and let her stay in the guest house for a few days.

      After that let her live in the novitiate,
      where the novices study, eat and sleep.
      A senior shall be assigned to them who is skilled in winning souls,
      to watch over them with the utmost care.
      Let her examine whether the novice is truly seeking God,
      and whether she is zealous
      for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials.
      Let the novice be told all the hard and rugged ways
      by which the journey to God is made.

      If she promises stability and perseverance,
      then at the end of two months
      let this rule be read through to her,
      and let her be addressed thus:
      "Here is the law under which you wish to fight.
      If you can observe it, enter;
      if you cannot, you are free to depart."
      If she still stands firm,
      let her be taken to the above-mentioned novitiate
      and again tested in all patience.
      And after the lapse of six months let the Rule be read to her,
      that she may know on what she is entering.
      And if she still remains firm,
      after four months let the same Rule be read to her again.

      Then, having deliberated with herself,
      if she promises to keep it in its entirety
      and to observe everything that is commanded,
      let her be received into the community.
      But let her understand that,
      according to the law of the Rule,
      from that day forward she may not leave the monastery
      nor withdraw her neck from under the yoke of the Rule
      which she was free to refuse or to accept
      during that prolonged deliberation.

      REFLECTION

      The most important thing that St. Benedict asks of all of us on
      entrance into the monastic way is whether we truly seek God. Whether
      Abbot Primate or newest Oblate novice, that is what we are asked by
      the Holy Rule. It is a question we shall be asked for the rest of our
      lives, and one to which we must strive (and often struggle!) to say yes,
      again and again, day after day.

      "Quaeremus inventum," said St. Augustine: "Let us seek Him Whom we
      have found." In truth a certain "finding" of God is necessary to whet
      our appetite, to lead us to seek Him more deeply. Once that happens,
      however, we can go on seeking God for the rest of time and eternity
      and never get to the end of His infinite love and mercy. Even in
      heaven the journey will go on, with us always being creature and Him
      always loving Creator. We will never end our quest, but we will love
      it, we will never reach the essence of God, but that will never
      frustrate us in heaven. It's an adventure we shall love.

      If we do not seek God, there is no point whatever in becoming a monastic.
      St. Bernard once said something to the effect that, if one is going to go to
      hell, one should choose the broad way of the world, where at least there
      is comfort of a sort on the way, not the narrow way of the monastery, where
      one would go from hard life to hell. I haven't paraphrased him too well, but
      I hope it is clear enough. No one should waste time with monastic life if
      they
      are not seeking God, seeking to go deeper into Him. To do so would be
      folly.

      After novitiate, our commitment to conversion of manners obliges us to
      ever seek, to ever try to improve, to never give up the quest
      entirely. A Benedictine who has stopped trying to be better and
      stopped seeking God is in deep, maybe even fatal trouble. We always
      seek and strive. It is the very stuff of our lives as monastics.

      This chapter, by the way, led to the traditional division we now have
      of the Holy Rule into dates that will result in it all being read
      three times a year. The novices had to hear it three times anyway and
      elsewhere St. Benedict had asked that all in community hear
      it "frequently." Hence, this system was devised to cover both fronts!

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