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Holy Rule for Dec. 1

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, today, for all afflicted with HIV and AIDS, it s World AIDS Day. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God s will is best. All is mercy and
    Message 1 of 58 , Nov 30, 2012
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      +PAX

      Prayers, today, for all afflicted with HIV and AIDS, it's World AIDS Day.

      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

      April 1, August 1, December 1

      Chapter 50: On Sisters Who are Working Far From the Oratory or Are on
      a Journey

      Those sisters who are working at a great distance
      and cannot get to the oratory at the proper time --
      the Abbess judging that such is the case --
      shall perform the Work of God
      in the place where they are working,
      bending their knees in reverence before God.

      Likewise those who have been sent on a journey
      shall not let the appointed Hours pass by,
      but shall say the Office by themselves as well as they can
      and not neglect to render the task of their service.

      REFLECTION

      Look, if you think your marriage vows take a powder while you're
      traveling on business, chances are a lot of people pity your spouse.
      There are jobs that we do not carry with us. We are not surgeons,
      welders or toll booth ticket-takers at home- at least hopefully! But
      marriage is not a job, it's a vocation and so is monastic life.
      Vocations stay with one everywhere, at all times and places. One is
      ALWAYS a spouse, always a parent, always a monastic.

      Hey, it is World AIDS Day, and there are a lot of similarities
      between monasticism done right and HIV. I should know- I've been HIV+
      for 23 years and a monk for 20. For rather crass starters,
      both get in your blood and if they do, there is no cure! Done right,
      both are always with you. Since my diagnosis, even in my dreams,
      I am always HIV+, never once have I dreamed of my current self
      otherwise. I wish I could say exactly the same of monasticism, but
      even there, my dreams that are not flashbacks are most usually about
      Jerome, not my secular name, Phil!

      Writ large across my heart are the letters "HIV" and I am still
      working on making "OSB" stand out in equally high relief there! At
      some point, if we are lucky, we realize that our vocation really is
      who we've become.

      We live in a secular society that urges us to follow our dreams.
      Well, m'dears, I have swooned at the poetry in that one for more
      decades than I care to admit, but it ain't always true. Why on earth
      should we ascribe an infallibility to our own dreams that we are
      unwilling under any but the most exceptionally extreme circumstances
      to apply to anyone else? Whoops! There's a real passing chance our
      dreams may be wrong, may have to be given up. I am living proof to
      myself that fighting that surrender is terribly hard and just as
      useless. Yes, choice often enters into whom we become, but not
      always, and sometimes the things that become us are the ones we quite
      pointedly have NOT chosen.

      Many of us do not choose what life hands us. Some do not choose to be
      parents, some choose one spouse only to find that person changes
      horrifically later on and nobody in their right mind chooses to
      become HIV+. Many, many things are in some ways forced upon us, but
      those things can become fully graced things of wonder, if only we let
      God work. If only we would trust Him... His Divine Mercy will triumph
      over all, but we must trust Him. He knows, after all, what He is doing!
      We often can only see His work in hindsight, looking back.

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome Leo, 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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