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Holy Rule for Dec. 8

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, physical and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Earl, in a new
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 7, 2012
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      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, physical and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Earl, in a new job, thanksgiving for past prayers answered, continued prayers for a matter not yet resolved.

      Robin, breast cancer.

      Kathy, taken to hospital with chest pains, no insurance, which adfds to her stress.

      Amanda's Dad, possible pneumonia and strep throat, uncontrolled diabetes. The antiobiotics are not working and his white blood cell count is up.

      Fr. Ambrose, belated prayers for his feast day yesterday.

      Prayers, please, for the United States, on this Solemnity of the Immaculate
      Conception, our patroness and for all under her patronage. We could sure use the
      prayers! May we do God's will
      and reflect His Kingdom.

      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 8, August 8, December 8
      Chapter 55: On the Clothes and Shoes of the Brethren

      For bedding let this suffice:
      a mattress, a blanket, a coverlet and a pillow.

      The beds, moreover, are to be examined frequently by the Abbot,
      to see if any private property be found in them.
      If anyone should be found to have something
      that he did not receive from the Abbot,
      let him undergo the most severe discipline.

      And in order that this vice of private ownership
      may be cut out by the roots,
      the Abbot should provide all the necessary articles:
      cowl, tunic, stockings, shoes, belt,
      knife, stylus, needle, handkerchief, writing tablets;
      that all pretext of need may be taken away.
      Yet the Abbot should always keep in mind
      the sentence from the Acts of the Apostles
      that "distribution was made to each according as anyone had need"
      (Acts 4:35).
      In this manner, therefore,
      let the Abbot consider weaknesses of the needy
      and not the ill-will of the envious.
      But in all his decisions
      let him think about the retribution of God.


      This chapter may appear to have little to say to Oblates until one
      gives a more evangelical twist to it: "where your treasure is, there
      your heart shall be also." People in the world require some goods
      and income to support their vocations. But treasure must be guided
      by moderation in all things.

      Oblates in the world have to have some source of income, whatever
      that may be, but they can readily and profitably examine where their
      treasure lies. They can also make sure that those who depend on them
      have all they truly need, yet keep them from getting spoiled or
      carried away with consumerist fluff. Especially at this holiday
      season, when the television is filled with a horrendous glut of
      materialist orgy, our Benedictine hearts should say: "Enough really
      IS enough!"

      But do we say that, or are we to some degree sucked into the lunacy
      of a secular winter fest? (One can no longer even say "pagan" of the
      secular winter fest. At least the pagans, whatever their lacks may
      be, believe in SOMETHING and worship. That can no longer be said of
      much of the world's hoopla at this time of year.)

      As Christians and as Benedictines, we have an awesome
      responsibility to be witnesses against that secular falsehood,
      against the extremes of consumerism which rob so many of life and
      maim our planet which we must share with all. Not only is the planet
      harmed, but goods are distributed with such glaring inequity and even
      the hapless consumers are often left with debts (and credit rates!)
      that enslave them years into the future. All in the name of what?
      Surely not the kind of "honor" Jesus would have sought for His birth
      and Incarnation.

      Benedictine attitudes toward poverty are not deprivation, but they
      are not excess, either. Always, always moderation. For us, virtue
      truly does stand in the middle way!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • 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).


        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

        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
        have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into that compliance!

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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