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Holy Rule for Dec. 24

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for Sarah B., very sick, and for her parents. Pryares for Pam, in her 40s and the mother in a beautiful faith-filled family with 3 children
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 23, 2012
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      +PAX

      Prayers for Sarah B., very sick, and for her parents.

      Pryares for Pam, in her 40s and the mother in a beautiful faith-filled family with 3 children (10,12, 15). She has a diagnosis of end-stage pancreatic cancer. She began chemotherapy to have time to say farewells, but is only expected to live a few months. "We aren't counting on a miracle," says her husband John, "but we will gladly accept one." Prayers for all her family, too.

      Some people want to make an offer on Elaine and Craig's home, but have to sell their condo first, prayers that all goes well and they get an offer.

      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 24, August 24, December 24
      Chapter 66: On the Porter of the Monastery

      At the gate of the monastery
      let there be placed a wise old woman,
      who knows how to receive and to give a message,
      and whose maturity will prevent her from straying about.
      This porter should have a room near the gate,
      so that those who come may always find someone at hand
      to attend to their business.
      And as soon as anyone knocks or a poor person hails her,
      let her answer "Thanks be to God" or "A blessing!"
      Then let her attend to them promptly,
      with all the meekness inspired by the fear of God
      and with the warmth of charity.

      Should the porter need help,
      let her have one of the younger sisters.

      If it can be done,
      the monastery should be so established
      that all the necessary things,
      such as water, mill, garden and various workshops,
      may be within the enclosure,
      so that there is no necessity
      for the sisters to go about outside of it,
      since that is not at all profitable for their souls.

      We desire that this Rule be read often in the community,
      so that none of the sisters may excuse herself
      on the ground of ignorance.

      REFLECTION

      When a phone or doorbell rings, whether in a great Benedictine abbey
      or an urban Benedictine apartment, we have the opportunity to
      practice the hospitable grace that the Holy Rule requires of all.
      Dorothy Day's friend and mentor, Father Hugo, used to say that we
      love God as much as the one we love the least.

      That would readily translate for me. I LOVE to see certain guests arrive,
      look forward to it as soon as I hear they are coming. Those are not the
      receptions on which I should judge my hospitality. The tough-to-love
      ones are.

      The point here is that we ARE Benedictines, whether our answering
      style of door or phone makes that evident or not. I might not like to think
      so, but the anonymity of just saying "Hello," on the phone, without my
      name or title does not entitle me to be harsh or gruff or rude. All of us are
      bound by something Benedictine within us to be kind and gracious to all
      who call or visit.

      Someone who calls a monastery for the first time can be driven
      away or attracted by the way they are dealt with on the phone.
      A vocation could driven away by a smartingly cold response. To
      risk alienating someone because of our own moods might mean that we
      cheat someone out of a spiritual respite they sorely need.

      I can't tell you how many people who just called us out of nowhere in the
      last 12 years have become real members of our family, greatly
      beneficial to themselves and to us. Anyone of those first experiences
      could have been irreparably soured by a cranky phone manner. Look at
      what all of us would have lost had that happened.

      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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