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Holy Rule for Nov. 30

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Marion, OSB and for all who mourn him. Please pray for Ed, who is really sick with a critical infection around his
    Message 1 of 60 , Nov 29, 2012
      +PAX

      Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Marion, OSB and for all who mourn him.
      Please pray for Ed, who is really sick with a critical infection around his heart and for his family, especially the little ones who are taking it very hard.

      Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and
      grace. God is never absent. Alleluia!
      Thanks so much. JL

      March 31, July 31, November 30

      Chapter 49: On the Observance of Lent

      Although the life of a monk
      ought to have about it at all times
      the character of a Lenten observance,
      yet since few have the virtue for that,
      we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent
      the brethren keep their lives most pure
      and at the same time wash away during these holy days
      all the negligences of other times.
      And this will be worthily done
      if we restrain ourselves from all vices
      and give ourselves up to prayer with tears,
      to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.

      During these days, therefore,
      let us increase somewhat the usual burden of our service,
      as by private prayers and by abstinence in food and drink.
      Thus everyone of his own will may offer God
      "with joy of the Holy Spirit" (1 Thess. 1:6)
      something above the measure required of him.
      From his body, that is
      he may withhold some food, drink, sleep, talking and jesting;
      and with the joy of spiritual desire
      he may look forward to holy Easter.

      Let each one, however, suggest to his Abbot
      what it is that he wants to offer,
      and let it be done with his blessing and approval.
      For anything done without the permission of the spiritual father
      will be imputed to presumption and vainglory
      and will merit no reward.
      Therefore let everything be done with the Abbot's approval.

      REFLECTION

      Because we read St. Benedict's 1500 year old Holy Rule with modern
      eyes, it often seems harsh. To balance our perspective, we need to
      see the radical nature of the Rule when written. Face it, folks, this
      was most definitely a gentler Rule for European wannabes who could
      never hack it in the Egyptian desert in their wildest dreams. His
      introductory paragraph points out his plan of adaptation: "...since
      few have the virtue for that..." Our founder was most certainly writing
      for the struggling plodders of monasticism and he knew it. Keeping
      that uppermost in our minds can be informatively humbling.

      The Desert Fathers were not interested in mitigation in the
      slightest. The early message of the desert was: "Get Lent to the max
      or get lost!" They went FAR beyond Lenten and they did it all year,
      without a break. Any who couldn't reach that ideal were sent away as
      unsuited, not called. If we look carefully at this, perhaps we can
      better see that, from the outset, St. Benedict's fatherly heart was
      with the underdogs, the also rans, the strays and those that others
      could not be bothered with. He must have felt at some point that
      there HAD to be a way for the spiritually challenged to become
      monastics. A millennium and a half later, we are still benefiting
      from his attempts.

      Hence, for us Benedictines, when the Evil One tempts us with his lies
      like: "You could never do that! You could never be THAT holy!" our
      response must be "Yeah, so what? Your point is...???" We have no clue
      of how holy we can be. God alone knows that and God alone will lead
      us and show us in ways we are quite unlikely to ever understand.
      Whenever the demon of discouragement tells us we are far beneath this
      Rule for beginners, we must shrug indifferently and move on, briefly
      impressed for once with the Father of Lies' firm grasp on the obvious.

      Of *COURSE* we are beneath this Rule, beneath any of the earlier
      ones. Duh?!? We're Benedictines. Our Order was founded for people
      like us. That should never, ever be a cause to stop trying, to give
      up or quit. On the contrary, that fact should be a heartening
      confirmation that we are EXACTLY where we belong, in the best
      possible remedial education program for slow learners like us, right
      where God wants us.

      Like a mother to a crying child, devoid of hope, who moans "But I
      CAN'T, I just can't!" St. Benedict is softly saying, "Well,
      just do what you can and that will be OK." Get the picture? OK! Then
      go out, play nice and do what you can today... Don't be surprised if
      you find that God is increasing, sometimes imperceptibly, that "what
      you can" little by little to heights of great holiness, which we will
      achieve all but unawares and only with His help. Someday, we really
      SHALL "run in the way...with hearts enlarged."

      Love and prayers,

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



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • russophile2002
      +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Emilia’s Mom, who died peacefully, and prayers for Emilia and all her family and all who mourn her Mom. Prayers for the
      Message 60 of 60 , Nov 23

        +PAX

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Emilia’s Mom, who died peacefully, and prayers for Emilia and all her family and all who mourn her Mom.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Timothy, OSB, of New Subiaco Abbey, Arkansas, and for his family, Community and all who mourn him.

         

        Deo gratias and prayers of thanks, Charlie’s bladder cancer surgery went well and the lab work came back clear, cancer-free. Prayers for his continued recovery and health.

         

        Prayers for the health of Brs. Bruno, Anselm and Ephrem, of New Subiaco Abbey, all three have had a variety of hospitalizations and problems.

         

        Prayers for Doug and Catherine, who have lost some family members in the past year, may their loved ones rest in peace and may those surviving be consoled.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Greg, and for all his family and all who mourn him

         

        Prayers for B., for her return to the Faith.

         

        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 25, July 25, November 24
        Chapter 45: On Those Who Make Mistakes in the Oratory

        When anyone has made a mistake
        while reciting a Psalm, a responsory,
        an antiphon or a lesson,
        if he does not humble himself there before all
        by making a satisfaction,
        let him undergo a greater punishment
        because he would not correct by humility
        what he did wrong through carelessness.

        But boys for such faults shall be whipped.

        REFLECTION

        Calm down, we don't whip anybody anymore. It has too often been my
        experience that such lines push all the buttons of some readers these
        days and blind them to the rest of the good stuff there. We don't
        whip now, they did 1,500 years ago, everyone else did, too. Let's not
        get so mired in the sensitivities of our own time that we forget how
        terribly recent some of them are.

        As I have mentioned before, in our house we do kneel in the center
        when late for choir, then bow to the superior and go to our
        place. We also kneel when we make audible mistakes in Church. And
        yes, those things, as I pointed out, can be very useful.

        But most Oblates do not have a choir to kneel in, so
        what's here for the majority of us? There is the grace of humility,
        without which communal life on any level, in monastery, workplace, market or
        home would be unlivable.


        Every single human community or whatever sort is going to have its
        share of kinks, strays and crosses. Every one without fail
        will mirror in some sense the fallen brokenness of humanity. The
        gamut of human flaws exists in microcosm, in at least some mitigated form,
        in every human group.

        Even more annoyingly, most, if not all, pieces of our OWN broken
        humanity will be modeled, much to our distaste, by others around us. It is,
        alas, our own sins and faults in others that tend to annoy us most. Never
        forget to check for that. He or she may REALLY tick you off because
        of the great similarities between you!

        Our job is to see to it that we are part of the solution, not part
        of the problem. When, through whatever means, we become part of the problem,
        we must own up to it at once and smooth it over as best and as
        quickly as we can.

        If you can't say "I'm sorry," for heaven's sake- quite literally- start
        practicing alone in front of a mirror until the words can somehow
        tumble out in public. Until they can, try some useful (though not
        perfect,) substitutes, like "Excuse me," or "It was my fault." Work
        on words of forgiveness, too, like: "It doesn't matter," or "Oh,
        that's OK,".

        Strive to make light of things. There will never be any
        shortage whatever of people who will explode and magnify things out
        of all rational proportion, so don't duplicate services! Join the
        minority and try to prevent hurricanes in teacups, rather than
        produce them.

        Most outrage, most lack of apology, most tempests in teacups stem
        from a distorted an unhealthy view of the self. Humility corrects
        that imbalance. While you're in front of the mirror practicing
        apology, why not try a bit of self-interview?

        WHY do these things or persons upset you so? What do you have in
        common with those who annoy you most? Most important, just who the
        heck ARE you that your perceived slights are such a big deal? Try
        reminding yourself that He is God and you are not. Honest reflection on these
        points may be a big and promising start.

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

         


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