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Holy Rule for Nov. 5

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of my Dad, Jerome, who would have been 100 today. He died when he was only 47. Please continue to remember in your prayers
    Message 1 of 236 , Nov 4, 2012
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      Prayers for the eternal rest of my Dad, Jerome, who would have been 100 today. He died when he was only 47.

      Please continue to remember in your prayers all those without heat, water, food, gas, or shelter in those States still not receiving help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

      Please pray for Rose who has liver disease caused by Hep C. She was supposed to start treatment for it this week, but the doctor discovered an infection in the knee she had replaced 18 months ago, so that has to be cleared up before treatment can begin. Rose is upset and depressed by all of this, so needs prayers for healing of her mind, heart and soul as well as her body.

      Deo Gratias. Trey received some good news yesterday about the ramp that will be needed for Trey. Trey will be coming home Thursday. The people from the Spinal Cord Commission are going to donate the materials AND build it!

      Prayers for John, colonoscopy this Monday and Anne, major surgery next week to close her mucous fistula and wound.

      Stephen, who faithfully asks prayers here for many others, now needs them himself: he is in the hospital with cardiac arrhythmia and tachycardia, stress induced.

      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 6, July 6, November 5
      Chapter 29: Whether Brethren Who Leave the Monastery Should Be
      Received Again

      If a brother who through his own fault leaves the monastery should
      wish to return, let him first promise full reparation for his
      having gone away; and then let him be received in the lowest place,
      as a test of his humility. And if he should leave again, let him be
      taken back again, and so a third time; but he should understand
      that after this all way of return is denied him.


      REFLECTION

      There are variant readings of the first line of this chapter among
      manuscripts. Some authorities accept the additional phrase "or is
      expelled", though the RB1980 translation does not. As with so many
      things this ancient, it is hard to tell who is right (and
      sometimes, if that matters!) I checked in the library downstairs,
      but I can't find our autographed first edition of the Holy Rule
      anywhere... LOL!

      However, let's err on the side of mercy if we are to err at all.
      Since most modern translations omit the phrase, let's take a look
      at the other possibility: what if it really was what St. Benedict
      had in mind?

      If so, it reveals a mercy and love and tenderness beyond anything
      we have ever seen in the Holy Rule. If, even after all the hassle
      that can occur before one actually gets thrown out one could STILL
      be forgiven, and up to three times, that is very great mercy
      to say the least. Still, it is a very consistent reading with the
      penal code that precedes it. If the only reason for Benedictine
      punishment is reform and conversion, then even the ultimate
      punishment of expulsion might have a hook of possible conversion
      to it.

      From this perspective, let us look at ourselves for a moment. How
      do we "punish" people or banish them from our lives and hearts? I
      use quotes around "punish" to stress the lunacy that very often
      such "punishments" harm no one but ourselves. We decide, once and
      for all that this or that person has had it. End of story. Well, if
      one reads the Holy Rule carefully, there MAY be an "end of story"
      point for Benedictines, but it does not come as often or as early
      or as readily as some of us might think and we must be saddened if
      it does come!

      Face it, a lot of us think of punishment is about us, not the
      offender. It is OUR "justice" that gets fed, that makes demands,
      that says we are done with the problem person. Whoa! If God's ideas
      are anything like that (and we daily ask Him to use our standards of
      mercy in the Our Father,) we are in deep, deep trouble. Our
      punishments must have an eye to reform, not revenge, to conversion,
      not conclusion. Permanent rifts, as even the Rule allows, may
      sometimes occur, but our attitude then should be sadness, not joy.
      And always, always and everywhere, we must pray for such people. Never give
      up on prayer for them.

      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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