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Holy Rule for Dec. 10

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Deo gratias, Kathy, whose chest pains we prayed for, has only got acute bronchitis, her heart tests are all OK. Lord, help us all as You know and will.
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 9, 2012
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      +PAX

      Deo gratias, Kathy, whose chest pains we prayed for, has only got acute bronchitis, her heart tests are all OK.

      Lord, help us all as You know and
      will. Help us to believe You take care of us. God's will is best. All is mercy
      and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL


      April 10, August 10, December 10

      Chapter 57: On the Artisans of the Monastery

      If there are artisans in the monastery,
      let them practice their crafts with all humility,
      provided the Abbot has given permission.
      But if any one of them becomes conceited
      over his skill in his craft,
      because he seems to be conferring a benefit on the monastery,
      let him be taken from his craft
      and no longer exercise it unless,
      after he has humbled himself,
      the Abbot again gives him permission.

      If any of the work of the craftsmen is to be sold,
      those responsible for the sale
      must not dare to practice any fraud.
      Let them always remember Ananias and Saphira,
      who incurred bodily death (Acts 5:1-11),
      lest they and all who perpetrate fraud
      in monastery affairs
      suffer spiritual death.
      And in the prices let not the sin of avarice creep in,
      but let the goods always be sold a little cheaper
      than they can be sold by people in the world,
      "that in all things God may be glorified" (1 Peter 4:11).

      REFLECTION

      My all-time favorite quote from G. K. Chesterton is: "The artistic
      temperament is a disease which afflicts amateurs." Amen!!! Ideally,
      Christian life done right would eliminate the phenomenon of prima
      donnas of either gender! Monastic life should, too.

      The true artist is marked by humility, not because of low self-
      esteem, but because of a healthy dose of reality, a firm conviction
      that one's gift has been given by God and given with an eye to the
      service of all. Christian art, in any form, has no meaning at all
      outside of the glory of God and the betterment of the community.

      For an artisan to become proud about this would be as ludicrous as
      for a priest to be proud of his ability to consecrate, or a lay person
      proud of their ability to baptize. Sorry, folks! Doesn't come from us.
      Comes from God and we have to always remember our own littleness in
      receiving such wonders.

      A wrong attitude towards one's gift can quickly turn what God
      intended to be a boon to the Christian community into a very large
      and unmanageable human cross. Art
      in communities must be treasured and held dear, because
      it is a gift from a loving God. It is God and His gift that must be
      sacrosanct, not some temperamental artist who is just passing that
      gift on to others.

      The point here is that art must always and everywhere matter less
      than the people performing or enjoying it. The brothers and sisters
      come first, and they do so from a theological imperative of charity,
      much, much more intense than any concept of human reason alone or
      canon of aesthetics. In a very real sense, the artist must matter
      least of all, must disappear behind the gift, not insist on being
      thrust into a foreground.

      When a person does liturgy correctly, they vanish behind the veil of
      vesture and rubric. They become icon bearers and what is seen is no
      longer Staci or Jason, but acolyte and priest. It ought to be so with
      artists, but it ought to be so with any gift or skill God has
      graciously given us. We truly are NOT the source of the profound
      gifts we receive and share. God is. God alone is.

      "He must increase, I must decrease..." As soon as we forget that, our
      gift becomes a weight dragging us downwards, rather than helping
      us to ascend the heights. Good superiors can see this and stop it, but
      not all superiors can see it! Let us pray that our gifts will always be focused
      by the wise and loving hand of some realist, to whom God has given the gift of
      loving truthfulness!

      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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