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Holy Rule for Dec. 25

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX A Blessed Christmas to all! Christ is born! Glorify Him! Continued prayers for Mrs. Service and her son and family, she has been improving. Prayers for
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 24, 2012
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      +PAX

      A Blessed Christmas to all! Christ is born! Glorify Him!

      Continued prayers for Mrs. Service and her son and family, she has been improving.

      Prayers for Martin, that a serious problem with chronic vandalism to his car be resolved. Neighbors are suspects, but nothing can be proven so far. Prayers for their conversion, too.

      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 25, August 25, December 25
      Chapter 67: On Brethren Who Are Sent on a Journey

      Let the brethren who are sent on a journey
      commend themselves
      to the prayers of all the brethren and of the Abbot;
      and always at the last prayer of the Work of God
      let a commemoration be made of all absent brethren.

      When brethren return from a journey,
      at the end of each canonical Hour of the Work of God
      on the day they return,
      let them lie prostrate on the floor of the oratory
      and beg the prayers of all
      on account of any faults
      that may have surprised them on the road,
      through the seeing or hearing of something evil,
      or through idle talk.
      And let no one presume to tell another
      whatever he may have seen or heard outside of the monastery,
      because this causes very great harm.
      But if anyone presumes to do so,
      let him undergo the punishment of the Rule.
      And let him be punished likewise who would presume
      to leave the enclosure of the monastery
      and go anywhere or do anything, however small,
      without an order from the Abbot.

      REFLECTION

      Rare is the person who can manage to stay employed without at least a
      slightly different persona at work. We are one thing there, because
      we have to be, but when we clock out, much, if not all of the work
      persona is shed. In fact, we usually have a whole repertoire of
      different selves, being one thing with our grandmother and quite
      another with a childhood friend we have known all our lives, one
      thing with the promising new date and quite another with the spouse
      of many years!

      Secular society has enlarged upon this tendency to its own ends.
      Because the tendency is so deeply rooted in us, we may fail to see
      its dangers when carried to extremes. Thanks to a society often
      glaringly unassisted by revelation, we have the unhappy concept of
      different umbrellas, different sets of ethics to cover different
      areas of life. "Hey, religion is fine if you want it, but this is
      BUSINESS!" or "I may be a Christian, but this is public service. I
      was elected by a constituency that expected me to leave some of that
      Gospel stuff at the door." Well, folks, such notions do not
      wash well. In fact, they really don't wash at all.

      The message of the Holy Rule and of the Gospel is that there is one
      umbrella, period. There is one persona, period. Granted, in the
      latter, shades and gradations may last throughout most of our
      struggling lives, but the goal is clear. All monastic, all Christian,
      all the time. One heart, one umbrella, one Lord, one faith, one
      baptism.

      That work persona that we drop when we clock out, the totally free
      and other person we are on days off or on trips away can be an OK
      notion in relation to work. Wouldn't we find someone who was a
      salesperson or teacher or secretary or manager ALL the time to be a
      dreadful drip? The concept fails, however, when it is applied to
      vocations, to any vocation at all. One does not take a vacation from
      being married or a parent or ordained or a monastic.

      Do I hear loud screams in cyber-space as I mention BALANCE again?
      Sorry, but it is true. There is a balanced way to be under one
      umbrella all the time that we must strive to achieve. Yes, I am
      different with different friends, we all are, we have to be, charity
      demands that. But there is a commonality between all the threads of
      our behavior. We are monastics. We are freer within defined limits.
      It is to the balance of those defined limits that this chapter refers.

      At Petersham, we still follow this custom of prayer for one who will
      be away overnight. The prayers are said in the refectory, after
      grace. One is blessed leaving and returning, while kneeling in the
      center of the ref. It's just a way of saying, as a community, that we
      all know that maintaining that one umbrella can be tough, especially
      when one is away alone. We want to support each other with our
      prayers, we want our brother to know that our hearts are with him all
      the way.

      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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