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Holy Rule for Nov. 29

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Fr. Leonard Leslie Alvey, 79, and for all his family and all who mourn him. Prayers for Charley F., prostate
    Message 1 of 58 , Nov 28, 2012
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Fr. Leonard Leslie Alvey, 79, and for all his family and all who mourn him.

      Prayers for Charley F., prostate cancer, and for his family..

      Prayers for Cathie, just found out she has cancer and given 15-18 months to live, and for her family, devastated by the news.

      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 30, July 30, November 29

      Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

      On Sundays, let all occupy themselves in reading,
      except those who have been appointed to various duties.
      But if anyone should be so negligent and shiftless
      that she will not or cannot study or read,
      let her be given some work to do
      so that she will not be idle.

      Weak or sickly sisters should be assigned a task or craft
      of such a nature as to keep them from idleness
      and at the same time not to overburden them or drive them away
      with excessive toil.
      Their weakness must be taken into consideration by the Abbess.

      REFLECTION

      The greatest mentor in my monastic life was Brother Patrick Creamer,
      OSB, of St. Leo Abbey in Florida, who died in September, 2004,
      nearly 90. I learned more from Patrick than I have from any other monk. He had
      more influence on my life than any man other than my father. Say a prayer
      for him. My debt to him is great and much of what I pass on to you I received
      from Patrick first. I have long hoped that even in the slightest and most
      occasional of ways, I could be a Patrick now and then to someone else.

      Years ago, Brother Patrick told me: "Never judge yourself by others-
      there will always be people who will do more than you and people who
      do less." There's a very obvious corollary to that maxim: never judge
      others by yourself, either! I have struggled for years to learn both.
      I still have not succeeded, but I keep trying. Every time I remember
      those words I am shamed at how many more times I forget them. I hope
      and pray all of you are much better students of life than I am!

      The Abbot is not the only one who has to see, really see weakness and
      allow for it. All of us do. That's what it means to bear one
      another's burdens as well as we can. If and when so-and-so finally
      gets their act together, it is highly unlikely that they will be an
      exact clone of someone so utterly perfect as ourselves! We can be so
      self-centered that we unwittingly actually expect that to happen. If
      we stop to look at how ludicrous such a thing is, we'll have to
      laugh, because if we didn't, we'd cry.

      God made individuals, tons of them. Their optimal state is going to
      be just as individual, just as different , one from another. Hey,
      that's the beauty of the mosaic, which would, after all, have all the
      charm of a tiled floor if all the pieces were the same color and
      boring shape...

      It is not just the weakness of others we have to see. We have to see
      our own, as well. How many people there are who may be
      thinking: "When Jerome gets his ducks in a row, he'll be just like me."
      Sorry, y'all. Ain't gonna happen, no more than you all are going to wind up (God
      forbid!) looking frighteningly like me. Strengths and weakness are
      the only tools we have to work with. If we don't even see them, they
      won't be much good.

      I confess that I do not know 10% of what my computer can do. I'll
      probably never know most of its ability. That's often the case with
      computers, but how tragic it is if we allow that to happen with
      ourselves. That's why the monastic struggle points us to even deeper
      self-examination, self-knowledge and humility.

      Hey, a hard drive is neither here nor there in many senses, but a
      human soul needs a LOT of disk scanning and defragmentation. There'd
      better be a good anti-virus program, too, as well as lots of extra
      memory! Fortunately, these things cost nowhere near what software
      does. They were all bought for us at a tremendous price. Just ask the
      One Who did that and He'll give you all the free downloads you could
      ever need!

      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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        +PAX

        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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