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Holy Rule for Dec. 9

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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: Update on
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 8, 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:

      Update on Katie, Lane and their unborn twins: everything went well from a surgical standpoint, no bad scenarios, a huge answer to prayer. Long-term results are pending, so continued prayers for them.

      Baby Tristan, in pedi ICU for croup, and for his parents, Kari and Daniel and grandparents, Linda and Richard.

      Andrea, her application for her doctoral program is under review this week.

      S., a mother who doesn't want her 7 year old son, N., to have radiation therapy after brain tumor surgery, worried about its side effects. The matter is in Court; prayers for God's will to be done.

      Deo gratias, Tim had great serenity in a very traumatic meeting, and thanks all for their prayers.

      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 9, August 9, December 9
      Chapter 56: On the Abbess's Table

      Let the Abbess's table always be with the guests
      and the pilgrims. But when there are no guests,
      let it be in her power to invite whom she will of the sisters.
      Yet one or two seniors must always be left with the others
      for the sake of discipline.

      REFLECTION

      Let me give you a bit of pragmatic application here. I don't know if
      this is true everywhere, but in both houses I have actually lived in,
      the monks tended to eat rather fast. Secularly speaking, I have a
      reputation for being a fast eater when dining alone, even though I have
      sometimes wondered about how good that is for digestion! Here,
      however, with no conversation to slow me down at all, the monks eat
      like the wind and I am always the last one, even when gulping down as
      fast as I can.

      Anyway, the upshot here is that guests OFTEN dine more slowly than
      the monastics and we all get up together for grace. If the guests are
      where the Abbot can see them, it is easier to check on who's done and
      who isn't. We wait for them to finish. (At least 99% of the time. I
      have known especially slow guests to win at this face-off once or
      twice! We just said grace and left them to finish...)

      Monastics (like children or spouses!) can be dreadful creatures of
      habit, you should pardon the pun... I can tell you that sometimes
      that waiting seems interminable. I can also tell you that it is good
      for us, for all of us, and this applies equally to families. We
      ALLOW, even enable and encourage the guest to inconvenience us to a
      certain extent. That's part of our hospitality, part of receiving
      Christ, sometimes in an annoying disguise.

      Oblates in families or the world, trust me on this one, I know
      company can sometimes be a pain. I had company most of the time
      for most of twelve years. While I relished the occasional day
      when the house was empty, they were fewer and farther between each
      year. The message here is not only for guests in our homes, but for
      others in general, at work, when shopping or (horrors!) driving. LET
      others put you out a bit. Adopt a courtesy that is greater than the
      world's. Many works of genuine mercy can be done in such situations.

      A courteous, hospitable, Christian attitude of charity can stand out, really
      touch
      people. You don't have to be obnoxiously preachy, in fact, that has
      the opposite effect! The subtle grace and love of courtesy will lead
      a lot of people to wonder about you and what motivates you. Some of
      the braver ones will one day even ask. And there is your chance! Go
      slowly and gently, but tell them why.

      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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