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Holy Rule for Sept. 4

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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: Norm, for a happy death
    Message 1 of 236 , Sep 3, 2012
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      +PAX

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

      Norm, for a happy death and all his family and all who will mourn him.

      Melissa, that she find work.

      Barrington House community of seniors, give them all faith and hope.

      Graeme, finishing one job and preparing to search for another.

      P. and his wife, a marital rolller coaster of difficulty, but some progress, Deo gratias.

      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

      January 4, May 5, September 4
      Prologue

      Having our loins girded, therefore,
      with faith and the performance of good works (Eph. 6:14),
      let us walk in His paths
      by the guidance of the Gospel,
      that we may deserve to see Him
      who has called us to His kingdom (1 Thess. 2:12).

      For if we wish to dwell in the tent of that kingdom,
      we must run to it by good deeds
      or we shall never reach it.

      But let us ask the Lord, with the Prophet,
      "Lord, who shall dwell in Your tent,
      or who shall rest upon Your holy mountain" (Ps. 14:1)?

      After this question,
      let us listen to the Lord
      as He answers and shows us the way to that tent, saying,
      "The one Who walks without stain and practices justice;
      who speaks truth from his heart;
      who has not used his tongue for deceit;
      who has done no evil to his neighbor;
      who has given no place to slander against his neighbor."

      This is the one who,
      under any temptation from the malicious devil,
      has brought him to naught (Ps. 14:4)
      by casting him and his temptation from the sight of his heart;
      and who has laid hold of his thoughts
      while they were still young
      and dashed them against Christ (Ps. 136:9).

      It is they who,
      fearing the Lord (Ps. 14:4),
      do not pride themselves on their good observance;
      but,
      convinced that the good which is in them
      cannot come from themselves and must be from the Lord,
      glorify the Lord's work in them (Ps. 14:4),
      using the words of the Prophet,
      "Not to us, O Lord, not to us,
      but to Your name give the glory" (Ps. 113, 2nd part:1).
      Thus also the Apostle Paul
      attributed nothing of the success of his preaching to himself,
      but said,
      "By the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).
      And again he says,
      "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord" (2 Cor. 10:17).


      REFLECTION

      If one doesn't read this portion VERY carefully and thoughtfully,
      it is easy to see why so many Christians, even some monastics, have
      been taken in by the heresy of Pelagianism. (Even poor Evagrius
      himself was accused of "semi-Pelagianism'!) That heresy taught that
      we could actually save ourselves, it was the original "bootstrap"
      theology. It placed far too much emphasis on us and on our efforts.
      There is a very delicate tension and balance
      which must be maintained when dealing with faith and our own works.

      Important point: we can ONLY do real good because of our inclusion
      into Christ, Who is Perfect Good, at Baptism. End of story there!
      We might, without Christ do all kinds of nice stuff, and I would be
      the last to say that none is in God's good graces for just such
      nice stuff: the Spirit blows (and saves!) wherever It wills. I feel
      sure that many people who, through no fault of their own cannot or
      do not, know Christ nevertheless delight Him with their sincerity
      of doing right.

      Our growth in grace, however, is made possible only by God. No
      manner of spiritual gymnastics on our own could do that. That is
      crucial to remember, and the last portion of this reading makes is
      clearly evident. It ALL comes from God. Of ourselves, we are less
      than nothing.

      Having said that, and here comes the delicate balance, we have
      chosen, each in our own conditions, to follow a monastic path of spirituality.
      Monasticism quite surely DOES involve a lot of works, of practices. That's the way it
      is designed.

      What we must school ourselves to always be aware of is that these
      works and practices, of themselves, are nada, zilch, nothing at all. It is
      the God for Whom we undertake the road and the love with which we
      travel that transforms all this "nada" into (you should pardon
      this Southwestern U.S. phrase...) the whole enchilada!!

      Yes, our works matter. Yes, the monastic who deserts them entirely
      will flounder. But no, the focus here is not our own work, our
      presumed merit. The merit, the good, and the work of grace is God
      and His work in us.

      I feel sure that most of us would affirm the statement that all
      good in us comes from God, but we must be very, very careful to
      really KNOW that, believe it utterly, with all our hearts. Lip-
      service in this area can be dangerous.

      We are, truly, even the best of us, nothing more than unprofitable
      servants who have done only what was commanded. And, let us be
      truthful, few of us- myself included first in this failure- even do
      all that was commanded. Humility chimes in again!

      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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        +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 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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