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Holy Rule for Dec. 21

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, physical and temporal welfare of the following, fopr all their loved ones and all who take care iof them: Susan, 51,
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 20, 2012
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      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, physical and temporal welfare of the following, fopr all their loved ones and all who take care iof them:

      Susan, 51, for the gift of Faith and the right clergy to nurture it.

      Brittany and Orest, they had an accident when a deer ran into their car and the car is not driveable. Deo gratias and prayers of thanks that they were not hurt. They are a long way from home and from their destination, with many logisitics to be worked out to get everyone safely home. Prayers that all works out for them, they are in a real bind.

      Sarah, going to job interview in hopes of landing a position much more satisfying and less stressful - a place where her wonderful God-given talents may shine.

      JS, difficult exams ahead and a number of tough career related decisions.Hope he is open to the Holy Spirit.

      special intention for Beverly,

      improved health for Carrie,

      special intention for Ben,


      Deo gratias for past prayers answered

      ardent prayers for Sister E who is under going severe pain and other trials.

      Monica, extensive smalll intestine surgery and in ICU.

      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 21, August 21, December 21
      Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess

      Once she has been constituted,
      let the Abbess always bear in mind
      what a burden she has undertaken
      and to whom she will have to give an account of her stewardship,
      and let her know that her duty is rather to profit her sisters
      than to preside over them.
      She must therefore be learned in the divine law,
      that she may have a treasure of knowledge
      from which to bring forth new things and old.
      She must be chaste, sober and merciful.
      Let her exalt mercy above judgment,
      that she herself may obtain mercy.
      She should hate vices;
      she should love the sisterhood.


      In administering correction
      she should act prudently and not go to excess,
      lest in seeking too eagerly to scrape off the rust
      she break the vessel.
      Let her keep her own frailty ever before her eyes
      and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken.
      By this we do not mean that she should allow vices to grow;
      on the contrary, as we have already said,
      she should eradicate them prudently and with charity,
      in the way which may seem best in each case.
      Let her study rather to be loved than to be feared.


      Let her not be excitable and worried,
      nor exacting and headstrong,
      nor jealous and over-suspicious;
      for then she is never at rest.


      In her commands let her be prudent and considerate;
      and whether the work which she enjoins
      concerns God or the world,
      let her be discreet and moderate,
      bearing in mind the discretion of holy Jacob, who said,
      "If I cause my flocks to be overdriven,
      they will all die in one day."
      Taking this, then, and other examples of discretion,
      the mother of virtues,
      let her so temper all things
      that the strong may have something to strive after,
      and the weak may not fall back in dismay.


      And especially let her keep this Rule in all its details,
      so that after a good ministry
      she may hear from the Lord what the good servant heard
      who gave the fellow-servants wheat in due season:
      "Indeed, I tell you, he will set that one over all his goods" (Matt.
      24:27).

      REFLECTION

      Anyone reading this would perhaps quite rightly think: "Wow!
      That's a tall order to fill!" They would, of course, be right.

      Now for the clincher: this is not just a model for Abbots, but for
      all of us with any authority, in fact, for all of us period. This is
      the way Benedictines should treat others, seniors, juniors, all
      people. This Christ-like attitude ought to pervade every parent,
      teacher, boss, nurse and grocery clerk, all of us. For every one of
      us the model here is exquisite. Read it over and over and etch it
      into your very heart. This is St. Benedict at his best!

      Pay particular attention to the deceptively short paragraph about
      not being "excitable and worried," along with its other cautions. Its
      warning that such things mean we shall never be at rest is a very
      important one. Without such, rest, without a certain level of serenity
      and peace, the spiritual journey is very, very tough going, indeed.
      We badly need that restful serenity to focus on Christ and the tasks
      of our souls at hand.

      "Now THAT," he said in an unusually short reflection, "is a REALLY
      tall order!" Sure is! You can only do it with grace, with prayer and
      God's all-merciful help.

      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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