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Holy Rule for Sept. 24

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Further prayer, please. John Allen is back in the hospital with bleeding. Scheduled for radiation beginning October 4. Prayers please for Judy, very
    Message 1 of 236 , Sep 23 12:33 PM
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      +PAX

      Further prayer, please. John Allen is back in the hospital with bleeding. Scheduled for radiation beginning October 4.

      Prayers please for Judy, very depressed, suicidal and with other problems.

      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 24, May 25, September 24
      Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence

      Let us do what the Prophet says:
      "I said, 'I will guard my ways,
      that I may not sin with my tongue.
      I have set a guard to my mouth.'
      I was mute and was humbled,
      and kept silence even from good things" (Ps. 38:2-3).
      Here the Prophet shows
      that if the spirit of silence ought to lead us at times
      to refrain even from good speech,
      so much the more ought the punishment for sin
      make us avoid evil words.


      Therefore, since the spirit of silence is so important,
      permission to speak should rarely be granted
      even to perfect disciples,
      even though it be for good, holy edifying conversation;
      for it is written,
      "In much speaking you will not escape sin" (Prov. 10:19),
      and in another place,
      "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21).


      For speaking and teaching belong to the mistress;
      the disciple's part is to be silent and to listen.
      And for that reason
      if anything has to be asked of the Superior,
      it should be asked
      with all the humility and submission inspired by reverence.


      But as for coarse jests and idle words
      or words that move to laughter,
      these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
      and for such conversation
      we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.

      REFLECTION

      Ever wonder why speech is considered so dangerous? Because it can
      build up the false self, the very false self that we are trying to
      tear down with our other hand. I have, to my shame, reveled in a
      flame war or two. I got JUST the right zinger and aimed it
      mercilessly. Once an astute reader commented that I had shot the
      olive branch of peace with a crossbow! Ouch! He was so right!

      I don't know about everyone, but I can be terribly pleased with
      myself over such things, things of which I should in fact be ashamed.
      Our arms can easily reach to the shoulders of that false self,
      patting it on the back and congratulating it for hours afterwards.
      Wrong, wrong, wrong. The false self will grow and thrive badly enough
      on its own. Why on earth would we wish to offer it any unwitting
      assistance?

      Let me speak for myself, here. Probably 90% of what comes out of my
      mouth other than prayer is unnecessary. A further per centage I am
      afraid to even stab at is downright harmful to me. I don't imagine I
      am terribly far from average in this respect.

      And talk about damage from second-hand speech. There are LOTS
      of things I wish I had never, ever heard. Wow, if only we would guard
      silence as zealously as smoke-free zones. Wouldn't that be right in line
      with fearing that which can destroy the soul more than that which kills the
      body alone? I seem to recall Someone having something to say along
      those lines.

      We aren't Trappists in the world. We cannot control our spaces as if
      they were monasteries, but we can and must control our own mouths.
      Total silence would likely be read as uncaring rudeness, but what
      about some alternative forms of silence? What if one resolved to
      speak not at all, all day, except in words of kindness, mercy or
      support, to never open one's mouth except to affirm.

      Now there's a thought. Could I have a seat in the no-griping section,
      please? Pursue that line of thinking, be creative. Fast for a week
      from contention and see what happens. Try a day of not talking at all
      about yourself. Try a whole day of asking others about themselves!
      One way or another, increase the levels of good one can do with
      speech and diminish those of harm.

      "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21)"

      Not just the tongue, folks, but the keyboard and any other writing
      instrument, too! Serenity cannot coexist with meanness of thought,
      word or deed. Doesn't happen. Serenity can be held only in a field of
      gentleness.

      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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