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Holy Rule for Sept. 21

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Dan S., who took his own life, and for all his family and all who mourn him. Prayers for the spiritual and temporal;
    Message 1 of 236 , Sep 20, 2012
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      Prayers for the eternal rest of Dan S., who took his own life, and for all his family and all who mourn him.

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

      Brian, due to be operated on again by both an orthopaedic and a plastic surgeon. Things are obviously not going very well and the outcome does not seem likely to be encouraging

      Susan, having stomach surgery.

      Gary, major heart surgery.

      Jen, partial mastectomy for a rare form of breast cancer.

      Milton, 92, for his happy death and for his wife, Robyn, and all who will mourn him.

      Br. and Fr. Matthew and all our Matthews, on their feastday. Graces galore and many more!

      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 21, May 22, September 21
      Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

      To fulfill God's commandments daily in one's deeds.
      To love chastity.
      To hate no one.
      Not to be jealous, not to harbor envy.
      Not to love contention.
      To beware of haughtiness.
      And to respect the seniors.
      To love the juniors.
      To pray for one's enemies in the love of Christ.
      To make peace with one's adversary before the sun sets.
      And never to despair of God's mercy.
      These, then, are the tools of the spiritual craft.
      If we employ them unceasingly day and night,
      and return them on the Day of Judgment,
      our compensation from the Lord
      will be that wage He has promised:
      "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
      what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9).

      Now the workshop
      in which we shall diligently execute all these tasks
      is the enclosure of the monastery
      and stability in the community.

      REFLECTION

      Employ them ALL? "Unceasingly, day and night,"??? In the stability of
      community?? Give me a break! You have GOT to be kidding. There are
      lots of these I couldn't pull off if I spent a year working on each
      one alone- and I do NOT have 72 years left. This is beyond me.

      You bet it is, folks! It's beyond all of us, but He isn't kidding,
      and neither is St. Benedict. Both know something that our egocentric
      eyes can miss- it ain't about us or our strength, it is ALL about our
      weakness and the complete triumph of grace. The effective use of
      these tools loaned us by God is grace and gift. Any successes
      besides that are nothing but clever gymnastics.

      The ability to become holy comes from God, from grace. No one at all
      can do it without that. We must cooperate with His grace and mercy
      and gifts. We dare not say we are unable to be holy. Holiness is not
      linked to our ability, but to our receptivity to God's grace and His
      mercy and will. He makes up for what is lacking in us, for lacks that
      we could never supply. That's the wonder of all this!

      Now, as for stability, check out the way stones are polished, in a
      tumbler. In go all these rather nondescript, encrusted rocks that
      only a trained eye could see had something precious about them.
      Add a bit of water, a good amount of sand or other annoying grit
      and tumble away (and away, and away....) until they come out shiny
      gems, with all their rough edges and the hardened muck and mire
      of ages gone. Such a simple thing it seems, almost automatic!

      Well, maybe, maybe not... Ask one of those rocks! Even while it and
      its chums are being polished into jewel-like luster, they and all that
      grit are continually scraping and jostling each other. And let's not
      even mention all that water that facilitates things! How very like
      Benedictine stability in community and the enclosure of the monastery!

      Stability is not a lot of good without community, neither is
      enclosure. The gritty water essential to both enclosure and stability is
      genuine,
      sometimes annoying, tumbling community. The spinning employed, at times
      intense, is reality checks, objectivity, outside-referenced truth.
      Like any rock tumbler or community, everybody gets to be polished,
      one way or the other.

      If you are one of the many Benedictines living in the world, just
      substitute family or circle of friends or workplace or school for community.
      Now substitute your home and heart for monastic enclosure. I think you
      get the picture. Community is any connected group, workplace or home.
      Enclosure is your home, as well as your heart.

      Without being obsessive, or making the people who live with you
      crazy, guard what comes into your enclosure, both heart and home.
      There is a switch on your TV. There is a less visible, but equally
      effective one on your mouth. There is a useful one on your heart and
      thoughts, too.

      Enclosure is not a prison, neither should your home be. The Middle
      Ages spoke of the "Paradisus claustralis" , the cloistered Paradise.
      Every home, for one or for several hundred, must strive for that
      paradise. It is comfort and leisure to an extent, it is peace and
      order to an extent, it is the proper arena of love and spiritual
      growth. The components will necessarily vary from case to case, as
      will their balanced levels, but we need them all.

      Guard the people who tumble about getting polished with you, too,
      especially the annoying ones. Tough, maddening saying, but they are
      are the ones doing you the most good! Without the abrasions they share
      with you, the process would take much longer!

      When I was a kid, I had a small collection of just such polished stones.
      My favorite was from the American Southwest and was called Apache
      Tears. A clear stone, smoky bronze-like brown, I found it very attractive.
      Now, however, after reflecting on the tumbler it went through and after
      having lived in community quite a few years myself, I am no longer sure
      that it got the "tears" part of its nomenclature just because of its
      clarity!!


      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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