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Holy Rule for Nov. 27

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for Albane, who just had another miscarriage. Prayers for her to be able to carry a pregnancy to term and for spiritual consolation in this time
    Message 1 of 58 , Nov 26, 2012
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      Prayers for Albane, who just had another miscarriage. Prayers for her to be able to carry a pregnancy to term and for spiritual consolation in this time of trial for both her and her husband, Thomas.

      Prayers for Shannon, for openess to God's guidance and will.

      Prayers for Tobin, a 7 year old boy who has cancer and it's spreading quickly. His family is devastated. Prayers for Tobin and his complete healing. Prayers for Tobin's family and all this is affecting.

      Prayers for C.'s husband, shadow spot on his lung, furhter x rays in six weeks to see if it is gone.

      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. BJL

      March 28, July 28, November 27
      Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

      Idleness is the enemy of the soul.
      Therefore the sisters should be occupied
      at certain times in manual labor,
      and again at fixed hours in sacred reading.
      To that end
      we think that the times for each may be prescribed as follows.

      From Easter until the Calends of October,
      when they come out from Prime in the morning
      let them labor at whatever is necessary
      until about the fourth hour,
      and from the fourth hour until about the sixth
      let them apply themselves to reading.
      After the sixth hour,
      having left the table,
      let them rest on their beds in perfect silence;
      or if anyone may perhaps want to read,
      let her read to herself
      in such a way as not to disturb anyone else.
      Let None be said rather early,
      at the middle of the eighth hour,
      and let them again do what work has to be done until Vespers.

      And if the circumstances of the place or their poverty
      should require that they themselves
      do the work of gathering the harvest,
      let them not be discontented;
      for then are they truly monastics
      when they live by the labor of their hands,
      as did our Fathers and the Apostles.
      Let all things be done with moderation, however,
      for the sake of the faint-hearted.

      REFLECTION

      I offer this as further proof of St. Benedict's tenderness and
      gentleness: take a nap. OK, say the siesta is Italian and cultural.
      Fine, but there were plenty of cultural elements he didn't let
      through the monastery gate. It was a LOT hotter in Egypt and one
      doesn't hear the Fathers telling people to lie down and rest, much
      less saying that those who cannot sleep dare not wake those who can
      with their noisiness! This is a gentle Father we have!

      Surely moderation is one of the key elements woven throughout the
      Holy Rule, but isn't it at least worthy of note that it is stressed
      here, in the chapter on work? St. Benedict may not have had all the
      handy psycho babble terms that we use today to name things, but he
      had a piercingly clear perception of human nature.

      He knew that some people were workaholics and that their contemplative
      focus would be shattered by that. So, he counters that by saying: "Take a nap!"
      Hey, what a great reality check! Wake up, y'all, the world has an axis to spin on already
      and there is no need for you to duplicate services! St. Benedict
      certainly knows that many things are important, even essential and he
      is not at all shy about pointing them out. In the midst of all that,
      he says: "Take a nap!" If you can't nap, he doesn't even say "pray,"
      he tells the insomniac to read quietly!!

      Look, we are known for our motto of pray and work, ora et labora. One
      might well assume that if you couldn't be working, you ought to at
      least be praying. Not so. Take a nap. Balance it out. Try pulling
      your arm out of a bucket of water and see what happens. Water closes
      right in, no problem. Much depends on us, but usually much less than
      we are prone to pridefully think! Take a nap!

      Our world around us will gladly and readily tell us that we are worth
      nothing other than our productivity, our work, our profitability. St.
      Benedict wants to be sure that when we come to his monastery, we see
      those distorted values of human dignity for the falsehoods they
      really are.

      He wants us to work, yes, but to see work in the deep
      humility of truth. A consumerist society has taught us the exact
      opposite of that and we all need to patiently spend lots of time
      peeling those scales from our eyes with the help of God and St.
      Benedict.

      Take a nap!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA


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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please, for Kathleen, 92, having esophageal surgery, many problems, badly needs prayers. Prayers, please, for Adolfo and his wife, Mary Carmen.
      Message 58 of 58 , Jan 16, 2013
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        Prayers, please, for Kathleen, 92, having esophageal surgery, many problems, badly needs prayers.

        Prayers, please, for Adolfo and his wife, Mary Carmen.

        Prayers for Chris, on his 42nd birthday, 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 17, May 18, September 17
        Chapter 3: On Calling the Brethren for Counsel

        In all things, therefore, let all follow the Rule as guide,
        and let no one be so rash as to deviate from it.
        Let no one in the monastery follow his own heart's fancy;
        and let no one presume to contend with his Abbot
        in an insolent way or even outside of the monastery.
        But if anyone should presume to do so,
        let him undergo the discipline of the Rule.
        At the same time,
        the Abbot himself should do all things in the fear of God
        and in observance of the Rule,
        knowing that beyond a doubt
        he will have to render an account of all his decisions
        to God, the most just Judge.

        But if the business to be done in the interests of the monastery
        be of lesser importance,
        let him take counsel with the seniors only.
        It is written,
        "Do everything with counsel,
        and you will not repent when you have done it" (Eccles. 32:24).

        REFLECTION

        The key here is not to contend insolently; there is no proscription
        against telling the Abbot one feels something is amiss, so long as it
        is done respectfully and humbly. We are Benedictines, not fascists;
        we have a Father, not a Fuhrer.

        Human nature being what it is, people are usually more prone to cite
        the Abbot's responsibility to seek counsel than they are to cite the
        equally important proscription against contending with one's Abbot!
        There's a cure for that and many other ills buried within this
        chapter, a telling phrase whose observance promises peace. That
        little gem urges the monastics not to follow their "own heart's
        fancy."

        Follow that gem and peace abounds! For one thing, whether abbot or
        monastic, parent or child, boss or employee, the focus of the
        relationship ceases to become self. None of us are anywheres near the
        big deal we'd either like to be or think ourselves to be! Much of
        what seems earth-shattering to us is really small stuff, indeed.

        This is so important to monastic struggle because it is so intricately
        interwoven with detachment and holy indifference. We must learn how
        to hold onto our inner peace, how to safeguard it from damage at the
        hands of trivia. An abject TERRIBLE day for us, one when we are so
        hurt or angry that the world seems to have stopped, is just another average
        day for the rest of the community. Until, of course we decide we ARE
        the center of the universe and ruin it for them... Cling to that
        knowledge of trivia and less will suffer!

        At that point of recognizing trivia, truth and therefore, humility
        enter into the equation. We need very good "trivia
        detectors" and their default setting must be aimed at ourselves,
        rarely cast elsewhere except in cases of really great need. We can
        keep those detectors more than amply busy just in our own hearts
        and wills! We need to know deception, falsity, trivia, but it is
        essential to know them first in ourselves.

        If these good tools of detection are aimed only at others, the result
        will be pride and a fall, not humility and truth. Jesus said "I am
        the Truth," and to Him we must prefer nothing. Hence, our first
        desire must always be the truth and the truth is that the earth does
        not revolve around us as an axis!

        Our age, particularly, has embraced the idea of "Follow your bliss!"
        Well, maybe...sometimes.... but maybe not, too. Our "bliss" is no
        guarantee of infallibility. Years ago, and for many years of my life,
        I thought my "bliss" would be very different from where I finally wound up.

        As a handy rule of thumb, I would say that the will of God quite
        often looks nothing like bliss at first. Hence, confusing bliss with
        the divine will can be very risky. The will of God often BECOMES
        bliss when we are in the midst of following it, or in hindsight, but we
        frequently
        have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into that compliance!

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham



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