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Holy Rule for Sept. 5

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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: Sarah, a young funeral
    Message 1 of 236 , Sep 4, 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:

      Sarah, a young funeral director, looking for direction in her career. She loves the work and is good at what she does, but seeks a better work environment. Please pray also for spiritual growth for Sarah and her family.

      J., who has had a nervous breakdown and is in residential care. Please, Lord, that he is now able to resolve his issues and come out of this with the strength to carry on with the rest of his life.

      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 5, May 6, September 5
      Prologue (continued)

      Hence the Lord says in the Gospel, "Whoever listens to these words
      of Mine and acts upon them, I will liken to a wise person who built
      a house on rock. The floods came,
      the winds blew and beat against that house, and it did not fall,
      because it had been founded on rock" (Matt. 7:24-25).

      Having given us these assurances, the Lord is waiting every day for
      us to respond by our deeds to His holy admonitions. And the days of
      this life are lengthened and a respite granted us for this very
      reason, that we may amend our evil ways. As the Apostle says,
      "Do you not know that God's patience is inviting you to repent"
      (Rom. 2:4)? For the merciful Lord tells us, "I desire not the death
      of the sinner, but that the sinner should be converted and live"
      (Ezech. 33:11).


      People like me are very prone to regard repentance- the sense in
      which it is used here meaning real turnaround and conversion- with
      the same eagerness that we ordinarily reserve for cleaning the
      refrigerator: "I'll get around to that..." Truth is, I rarely do
      get around to the fridge.

      What happens instead is that one of our wonderful Oblates, Richard
      of Chicopee (who gets this daily reflection,) comes for a weekend
      and cleans the icebox. Hallelujah! Saint Richard!! Thank you,
      Richard! Richard cleans like a dream and the world looks a lot
      better whenever he's been here!

      If you are not like me, and your icebox has ALWAYS been clean, is
      buffed up every week to shining glory and you carry a damp
      washcloth every time you open the fridge just in case, then fine,
      this portion perhaps was not written for you. However, it should be
      noted that even immaculate icebox types may have to check behind
      the icebox or take a
      look at the oven.... I mean, if you want to be REALLY perfect, you
      could move the fridge and wax the floor underneath- with paste wax
      and a buffer, of course!

      Get my point? This is surely written for most of us. Most of us
      have some sort of a grungy corner that we'll "get to tomorrow," if
      ever. St. Benedict is reminding us again that "Now is the
      acceptable time..." St. Isaac of Syria said: "This life has been
      given to you for repentance, do not waste it in vain pursuits."

      Sadly, people like me hear in St. Isaac's words: "This life has
      been given to you for icebox cleaning..." Yeah, right! Oh boy, what
      a gift! Just can't wait to get up for that each morning!" And we
      shrug and walk away. Why? Because the typically monastic idea of
      repentance is very different from that of our modern Christianity.

      We tend to look at repentance as necessary in proportion to guilt.
      The early monastics saw it as necessary, period; for everyone. We
      would almost chuckle at the idea of a virgin martyr of twelve in
      the Roman world repenting. "Of what?" we'd incredulously ask. The
      early monastic would see no problem there at all. Repentance, from
      a monastic and Benedictine view, is needful to for all because all
      are fallen, all are incapable of living the Christian life without
      God and grace, all, left to their own whims, would fall short of the
      monastic struggle.

      The repentance we speak of here is similar to that of baptism, but
      not identical. Certainly one can be saved without entering the
      monastic way (or cleaning refrigerators, for that matter!) What St.
      Benedict is speaking of here is the special road of the monastic

      Plenty of saints, in fact most saints, were neither monks nor
      Benedictines. Big news there! What St. Benedict is saying is "OK,
      this is our approach. There are, of course, others, but if you want
      to use ours, this is what you have to do." "Repent!" St. John the
      Baptist cried again and again in the desert, and somewhere along
      the way of that preaching, Jesus, the Lamb of God, stepped into the
      Jordan. Folks, if HE can answer the call to repent, anyone can! He
      had no need at all!

      What our repentance affirms is that we cannot be monastics with no
      trouble: our natures make that impossible. On our monastic way to
      God, many, many human things stand in our hearts and in our way.
      That's what we repent and shall always have to repent. Whenever our
      focus, our purity of heart is fragmented in any way, that's what we
      have to repent.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      St. Mary's Monastery

      [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, 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

        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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