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Holy Rule for Dec. 20

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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 takke care of them: Ben, Sarah, &
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 19, 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 takke care of them:

      Ben, Sarah, & Jacob traveling across country from Arizona for Christmas. Safe travel as they are driving.

      little Myla, in ICU again with serious heart problems, and for her parents,

      Simon, who is critically Ill in hospital with pneumonia and broken ribs and leg and is being fed by tubes after a very serious car accident and another friend who broke his arm & is feeling guilty after the accident.

      Mrs. Service, 50, possibly dying of cancer, and for her seminarian son who has been called to fly home to be with her. Two other seminarians have lost theiir mothers this month and another seminarian's father had a serious heart attack. Prayers for them all.

      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, BJL

      April 20, August 20, December 20
      Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess

      In the constituting of an Abbess
      let this plan always be followed,
      that the office be conferred on the one who is chosen
      either by the whole community unanimously in the fear of God
      or else by a part of the community, however small,
      if its counsel is more wholesome.

      Merit of life and wisdom of doctrine
      should determine the choice of the one to be constituted,
      even if she be the last of the order of the community.

      But if (which God forbid)
      the whole community should agree to choose a person
      who will acquiesce in their vices,
      and if those vices somehow become known to the Bishop
      to whose diocese the place belongs,
      or to the Abbots, Abbesses or the faithful of the vicinity,
      let them prevent the success of this conspiracy of the wicked,
      and set a worthy steward over the house of God.
      They may be sure
      that they will receive a good reward for this action
      if they do it with a pure intention and out of zeal for God;
      as, on the contrary, they will sin if they fail to do it.


      Monasteries can forget sometimes that they are not their own, one of
      the unavoidable risks of Benedictine autonomy. While it was usual, in
      St. Benedict's day, for monasteries to be under their local bishop
      (and still is usual in the East today,) St. Benedict says something
      even more telling. The local laity should intervene if the monastery
      conspires to elect a loser! Now THAT is going a long way!

      Monasteries become dear to those around them, and a sense of
      ownership for their local monastery arises in many hearts. St.
      Benedict actually endorses that. The monk is not his own, but neither
      is the whole community. We belong to the Church, we belong to our own
      locale, we belong to the people in a very special way. It entitles
      them to warn us that we may have gone amiss and it obliges us to
      always recall that our monasteries have ripple effects!

      Many of us in the workplace or school, some of us even in marriage,
      are forced to deal with people who were NOT chosen for their "merit
      of life and wisdom of doctrine." That can be very tough, but grace
      and the Holy Rule are there to strengthen us.

      The single most important thing the one governed can do to thwart bad
      government is NOT to mirror the behavior which is at fault. Two
      wrongs can never make a right. All too often, for whatever reason,
      people push our buttons and get exactly the sick response from us
      that they sickly need. Try not to let that happen. Put a control on
      your buttons. Never stoop to the level that annoys you, and believe
      me, that stooping is easy to do.

      Hard and perennial truth, but many of the things which annoy us most
      in others are our own sins, in one form or another.We might reflect those
      faults in different areas, in different ways, but this can only help
      us in denial. Look, look very carefully at the person who makes you
      the most angry. Most of us will not have to look honestly for very
      long to see why we are affected strongly.

      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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