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Holy Rule for Sept. 28

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for someone 74 with serious pulmonary problems, hoping for a miracle. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God s will is best. All is
    Message 1 of 236 , Sep 27, 2012
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      Prayers, please, for someone 74 with serious pulmonary problems, hoping for a miracle.

      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 28, May 29, September 28
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      As for self-will,
      we are forbidden to do our own will
      by the Scripture, which says to us,
      "Turn away from your own will" (Eccles. 18:30),
      and likewise by the prayer in which we ask God
      that His will be done in us.
      And rightly are we taught not to do our own will
      when we take heed to the warning of Scripture:
      "There are ways which seem right,
      but the ends of them plunge into the depths of hell" (Prov. 16:25);
      and also when we tremble at what is said of the careless:
      "They are corrupt and have become abominable in their will."

      And as for the desires of the flesh,
      let us believe with the Prophet that God is ever present to us,
      when he says to the Lord,
      "Every desire of mine is before You" (Ps. 37:10).

      REFLECTION

      Revolutions usually have several things in common: they respond to a
      need, they go too far in some areas, not far enough in others and
      they tend to brand those not agreeing with them as criminal or
      psychotic. Look at Soviet Russia for most of the 20th century and you
      will see all of these. Look further back at the French Revolution and
      you will find that 1917 in Petrograd offered nothing new, perhaps new
      names for certain aspects, but nothing else.

      The last decades of the 20th century saw a tremendous psychological
      revolution in the West. Its effect were perhaps greatest in some
      religious circles, where those once wary of psychology now embraced
      it more or less wholesale. Pieces of our psycho-spiritual world view
      definitely needed change and correction. Unfortunately, however, like
      the Bolsheviks and French before them, some ardent revolutionaries
      shot the Imperial family and guillotined a lot of otherwise very fine
      people. Their zeal went a bit too far and they were often followed
      unquestioningly.

      In those years, a close and scathing look was taken at religious
      obedience and the personal will. It certainly was necessary. The
      nature of modern, well-educated religious differed considerably
      from the conditions of many religious in centuries past.

      Sadly, but predictably, the pendulum swung in a very un-Benedictine
      fashion to the opposite extreme: question everything and accept
      nothing. Personal will, formerly maligned as a foolish, worthless and
      even dangerous entity was now elevated to lofty, noble heights that
      it frankly did not always deserve. Not astoundingly, both extremes missed
      the middle road of truth.

      Human will is at once potentially noble, yet dreadfully flawed.
      Without God and grace assisting, the prognosis is not good. For
      Christians, however, God's grace and aid ARE available, but they come
      at the price of cooperation and cooperation demands a certain
      sacrifice of our own wills.

      It is perhaps harder for us to see that necessity of abandoning our
      wills than it has been for many before us. We are traipsing through
      the spiritual road with all kinds of extraneous baggage about
      autonomy and maturity and self-actualization carried to false
      extremes. Balance, always balance, always moderation in the
      Benedictine way!

      Our wills can be good and wonderful. It is, after all, with our wills
      that we answer God's call. But part of His call is to forget the self
      and forget its willful tantrums. Our wills are the natural habitat
      and environment of the false self- it thrives there!

      It is fatal to spiritual growth and to community to infer too great a
      maturity or too little. Monastics are not children, but most adults
      have not totally arrived, either! It is foolish to trust those under
      our care with nothing, but equally so to empower them to virtually
      anything. That's just not how monastic life works. St. Benedict
      bluntly says that his followers DESIRE to live under an abbot. If any
      have seriously changed their minds about this, maybe it's time to go.

      A good superior will keep one from being too easy on oneself, but
      will also protect one from being too hard on oneself. I cannot tell
      you the number of times submitting a matter to my superior has
      resulted in something FAR less gruesome than what I had obsessively
      planned for myself!

      Some of the wonderful things said about personal will are true, to a
      point, but the revolution failed to emphasize the fact that our wills
      do NOT come with gyroscopes. As such, their trustworthiness as
      compasses is far from absolute.

      The superior, the Rule, the Gospel, these are the gyroscopes that
      enable us to will true North! Without these helps, our journey could
      very easily make the maiden voyage of the Titanic look like a Sunday
      afternoon swan boat ride in Boston's Public Gardens.


      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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