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Holy Rule for Dec. 3

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for Tim, a high school teacher, for patience and the ability to see with the eyes of Christ in his vocation. Lord, help us all as You know and
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 2, 2012
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      Prayers for Tim, a high school teacher, for patience and the ability to see with the eyes of Christ in his vocation.

      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 3, August 3, December 3

      Chapter 52: On the Oratory of the Monastery

      Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer;
      and let nothing else be done there or kept there.
      When the Work of God is ended,
      let all go out in perfect silence,
      and let reverence for God be observed,
      so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
      will not be hindered by another's misconduct.
      And at other times also,
      if anyone should want to pray by herself,
      let her go in simply and pray,
      not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.
      She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore,
      shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory
      when the Work of God is ended,
      lest another be hindered, as we have said.

      REFLECTION

      "...let nothing else be done there or kept there." Don't think for a
      moment this refers to only furniture, storage or other activities. It
      refers to our hearts, too. We must be terribly careful of what we
      take into the oratory, what we carry in our hearts, because it not
      only colors our prayer, but often the prayer of those around us as
      well.

      Even half-aware people who live together for years can spot
      trouble immediately. They may not know what is wrong, but they are
      themselves disquieted by it. Often one never finds out what is
      troubling another, so one just prays for them. But the empathy, the
      sympathy that moves one to do so by observation has colored the
      oratory experience ever so slightly from one of untrammeled peace.

      Sometimes we honestly cannot help what we carry in our hearts. I know
      that all too well. There have been times when I could scarcely calm
      the cacophonic roar of anxiety and hurt. For me, as I am sure for
      some others, too, it is all but impossible to pray at such times, through
      no fault of our own. So long as we do not will such distraction, our
      prayer remains intact. Involuntary distractions are crosses to be borne with
      patience, not sins we should become despondent about. Despondency
      is a far greater enemy of the spiritual life than distracted prayer!

      Do your best to stay focused, if you cannot, offer that to God, too,
      and rejoice that you have been humbled by it. Depressives and others
      with certain mental illnesses should recall that inability to
      concentrate is often part of the disease, not our fault at all. If a cut bleeds,
      do we feel guilty? Of course not. Many of us who suffer from such things
      are already far too prone to beat ourselves up. Don't let distractions
      at prayer that you didn't want and couldn't help be a reason for that.

      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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