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Holy Rule for Dec. 23

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Deo gratias and prayers of thanks for: Peter and Ann on their 40th wedding anniversary. Graces galore and ad multos annos! Andrea received an invitation
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 22, 2012
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      +PAX

      Deo gratias and prayers of thanks for:

      Peter and Ann on their 40th wedding anniversary. Graces galore and ad multos annos!

      Andrea received an invitation to interview for her doctoral program. Continued prayers for her through this process.

      Brittany and Orest are safe at her mom's house, prayers for their long drive back, may it be safe.

      Ben, Sarah, and Jacob arrived safely last night from Arizona. They return after New Years', prayers for the journey back.

      prayers for the spiritual, physcal and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and al who take care of them:

      Elaine and Craig, showing their house for sale and hoping to get an offer.

      Katie who has been diagnosed with very high blood pressure and is under much stress due to moving to Kentucky.
      Ralph, he has a second interview with GetWellNetwork tomorrow. He has been out of work since this summer.

      Kathy going in for second eye surgery, had first week of Thanksgiving, for speedy recovery.

      Sandra recovering from a foot injury.

      M.A., a wonderful teenager who is experiencing some emotional issues. Prayers for her and her family, that they may find the right counselor to help her through this troubling time.


      Update on the unborn twins we asked prayers for a little over two weeks ago - the babies had successful surgery, Baby B is almost as big now as Baby A, mother who has been on strict bed rest was given the OK by her doctors for 'light duty around the house. She will go back for another ultrasound right after the first of the year.


      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 23, August 23, December 23
      Chapter 65: On the Prior of the Monastery

      To us, therefore, it seems expedient
      for the preservation of peace and charity
      that the Abbot have in his hands
      the full administration of his monastery.
      And if possible let all the affairs of the monastery,
      as we have already arranged,
      be administered by deans according to the Abbot's directions.
      Thus, with the duties being shared by several,
      no one person will become proud.


      But if the circumstances of the place require it,
      or if the community asks for it with reason and with humility,
      and the Abbot judges it to be expedient,
      let the Abbot himself constitute as his Prior
      whomsoever he shall choose
      with the counsel of God-fearing brethren.


      That Prior, however, shall perform respectfully
      the duties enjoined on him by his Abbot
      and do nothing against the Abbot's will or direction;
      for the more he is raised above the rest,
      the more carefully should he observe the precepts of the Rule.


      If it should be found that the Prior has serious faults,
      or that he is deceived by his exaltation and yields to pride,
      or if he should be proved to be a despiser of the Holy Rule,
      let him be admonished verbally up to four times.
      If he fails to amend,
      let the correction of regular discipline be applied to him.
      But if even then he does not reform,
      let him be deposed from the office of Prior
      and another be appointed in his place who is worthy of it.
      And if afterwards he is not quiet and obedient in the community,
      let him even be expelled from the monastery.
      But the Abbot, for his part, should bear in mind
      that he will have to render an account to God
      for all his judgments,
      lest the flame of envy or jealousy be kindled in his soul.

      REFLECTION

      The overwhelming majority of us, myself included, are never going to
      be a Prior or Prioress. Firm grasp on the obvious there!! What,
      however, may we glean from this chapter? There are at least several
      possibilities.

      First, even if your position gives you a certain level of honor,
      never be so stupid as to believe it, to become proud, to take
      yourself far too seriously. Cling to a self-knowledge of your
      limitations, your sins and failings, especially when being praised.

      Yes, we are human, yes, it is nice to hear those things, yes,
      sometimes they are even close to the truth, but praise, rank and
      honor can be awful traps. Like crack cocaine, they can addict us the
      first time we really give in to them. Great caution is in order here.

      Second, every commitment to Christ, Baptism, Oblation or Profession,
      obliges us to a higher standard of self-control. The Holy Rule,
      because speaking of a superior official, uses the phrase "raised above the
      rest." This is given as a reason to more carefully observe the Holy Rule.

      We should read therein that ANY commitment which separates us
      and sets us further apart for the service of God means that we must
      more carefully observe the precepts of the Rule. Even though it can
      be quite annoying to hear, how often someone will say, immediately
      after a litany of transgressions the person has committed, "And she
      is an OBLATE!" (Or Franciscan Third Order, or whatever.) People
      expect more of us because of our religious inclinations and we should
      not disappoint them.

      Third, and perhaps most important of all, no one, save God alone, is
      indispensable. No one. Want to see the change that your removal from
      the scene will effect? Stick your forearm into a bucket of water, and
      then pull it out. Same thing, folks, the waters close right in and
      things go on quite nicely. The higher water level while our arm was
      there was only illusion anyway. This fact can work in happy concert
      with the above warning about taking ourselves too seriously. Usually,
      when we THINK we're hot stuff, we aren't, and even if we truly are at
      some point, it is FAR better not to know that, and a LOT easier for
      the spiritual struggle.

      Yes, we ARE important, we are infinitely important to God and, as a
      result, to each other. But what makes us so is holiness and love and
      struggling for virtue, not power. What makes us most like Him is
      humility.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB




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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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