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Holy Rule for Aug. 28

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Seamus, in a new high
    Message 1 of 236 , Aug 27, 2012
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      Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Seamus, in a new high school, his fourth in four years.

      Ashley, 27, in hospital with a severe kidney infection complicating her Lupus.

      Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mery and
      grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

      April 28, August 28, December 28
      Chapter 70: That No One Venture to Punish at Random

      Every occasion of presumption shall be avoided in the monastery,
      and we decree that no one be allowed to excommunicate or to strike
      any of her sisters unless the Abbess has given her the authority.
      Those who offend in this matter shall be rebuked in the presence of
      all, that the rest may have fear.

      But children up to 15 years of age shall be carefully controlled
      and watched by all, yet this too with all moderation and
      discretion. All, therefore, who presume without the Abbess'
      instructions to punish those above that age or who lose their
      temper with them, shall undergo the discipline of the Rule; for it
      is written, "Do not to another what you would not want done to
      yourself" (Tobias 4:16).


      "Every occasion of presumption shall be avoided in the monastery."
      This is about a lot more than saying who can punish whom. This is
      pointing out that, whenever there are more than one to be
      considered, absolute freedom cannot exist. This is about central
      authority, yes,
      but it is also about the total way one conducts oneself in a home
      or workplace or planet that others share.

      Ever think about your first home away from your parents house? It
      was probably different in a lot of ways, especially if you lived
      there alone. Heady freedom that! I recall my own first place very
      well and fondly. However, I can assure you, I could not have lived
      as I did there had I been in a family, with younger siblings at
      home. (OK, it was 1969, so go figure...) Even alone, however, I was
      not free to play my stereo at undue volumes at 3 AM. We live on a
      common planet, at some point ALL of our lives touch others. When
      they do, control
      of some sort is necessary if people are to live in peace.

      There is a great and treacherous myth of individualism among
      Americans and, to a lesser extent, I think, among all Western
      European cultures. Consumerism and secularism at levels which are
      dangerously opposed to religion promote this fallacy at every turn.
      The lie is told that one can be happy, even happiest, without
      Christ, without religion. Even Christians subconsciously buy into
      more of this nonsense than they often realize. This baggage sneaks
      up on us in very subtle ways. We must be equally mindful and
      to perceive it!

      Non-western cultures often have a much more highly developed sense
      of sharing and commonality. The stresses of profit and production
      are incongruous to many a more pristine culture. The self is less
      exalted than the common good and the common good
      seems to be more readily available to all. Face it, when the Amazon
      hunters come home, the elderly eat as well as anyone else.

      Schweitzer pointed out that Europeans found the Africans lazy,
      because they would not work to a point of exhaustion without need.
      They worked all right, but when the work was done, they quit. They
      had a casual and natural attitude to work, proper to their own
      economic system, that drove the Europeans nuts, because the latter
      had more of a 40-hours-a-week-and-then-you-rest notion. Both
      Schweitzer and I tend to side with the natives on this one!

      That myth of total freedom, of self-sufficiency being able to buy
      one the right to any activity is totally wrong. Even at 20, in my
      richly bohemian digs that I called "Shackri-la", I was not totally
      free. I didn't know it back then, but I wasn't. I had no right to
      waste water or leave lights on all night or drive drunk. My fantasy
      might have been chronologically appropriate as Haight-Ashbury in
      San Francisco, but hey, even there, even then, people were not free
      in any absolute sense. None of us are.

      Every presumed domain of our control which exists on a planet
      shared by billions is just that: presumption, of which "every
      occasion shall be avoided." No one is an island. Our complete
      interdependence is not only objective fact, it is our only hope.

      You might never have read this chapter as an ad for ecological
      consciousness, but look at the first line again. We are ALWAYS in
      this with others and that always means responsibilities to "...not
      do to another what one would not have done to oneself."

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • 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 9:19 AM
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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

        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.


        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

        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
        Petersham, MA

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