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Holy Rule for Dec. 28

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Craig and Elaine got an offer on their home, but many things have to be worked oiut and fall in place before the move can be made, so prayers all goes
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 27, 2012
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      +PAX

      Craig and Elaine got an offer on their home, but many things have to be worked oiut and fall in place before the move can be made, so prayers all goes smoothly.

      Prayers for Rev. George McLellan, for his eternal rest and all who mourn him.

      Prayers for Maddie, auditioning for a very good Charter School in music.

      Prayers, please, for all we exchanged Chrtistmas gifts or cards or greetings
      with this year.

      Prayers, too, for N. and N., special intentions

      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 28, August 28, December 28
      Chapter 70: That No One Venture to Punish at Random

      Every occasion of presumption
      shall be avoided in the monastery,
      and we decree that no one be allowed
      to excommunicate or to strike any of her sisters
      unless the Abbess has given her the authority.
      Those who offend in this matter
      shall be rebuked in the presence of all,
      that the rest may have fear.

      But children up to 15 years of age
      shall be carefully controlled and watched by all,
      yet this too with all moderation and discretion.
      All, therefore, who presume
      without the Abbess' instructions
      to punish those above that age
      or who lose their temper with them,
      shall undergo the discipline of the Rule;
      for it is written,
      "Do not to another what you would not want done to yourself" (Tobias
      4:16).

      REFLECTION

      "Every occasion of presumption should be avoided in the monastery."
      This is about a lot more than saying who can punish whom. This is
      pointing out that, whenever there are more than one to be considered,
      absolute freedom cannot exist. This is about central authority, yes,
      but it is also about the total way one conducts oneself in a home or
      group that others share.

      Ever think about your first home away from your parents house? It was
      probably different in a lot of ways, especially if you lived there
      alone. Heady freedom that! I recall my own first place very well and
      fondly. However, I can assure you, I could not have lived as I did
      there had I been in a family, with younger siblings at home. (OK, it
      was 1969, so go figure...)

      Even alone, however, I was not free to play my stereo at undue
      volumes at 3 AM. We live on a common planet, at some point ALL of our
      lives touch others. When they do, control of some sort is necessary
      if people are to live in peace.

      There is a great and treacherous myth of individualism among
      Americans and, to a lesser extent, I think, among all Western
      European cultures. Non-western cultures often have a much more highly
      developed sense of sharing and commonality. The American nonsense
      of "God-bless-the-child-that's-got-his-own" does justice to neither
      God nor the child!

      Schweitzer pointed out that Europeans found the Africans lazy,
      because they would not work to a point of exhaustion without need.
      They worked all right, but when the work was done, they quit. They
      had a casual and natural attitude to work, proper to their own
      economic system, that drove the Europeans nuts, because the latter
      had more of a 40-hours-a-week-and-then-you-rest notion. Both
      Schweitzer and I tend to side with the natives on this one!

      That myth of total freedom, of self-sufficiency being able to buy one
      the right to any activity is totally wrong. Even at 20, in my richly
      bohemian digs that I called "Shackri-la", I was not totally free. I
      didn't know it well enough back then, but I wasn't. I had no right to waste
      water or leave lights on all night or drive drunk. My fantasy might have
      been chronologically appropriate as Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco,
      but hey, even there, even then, people were not totally free. None of us are.

      Every presumed domain of our control exists on a planet shared by
      billions. No one of us is an island. Our complete interdependence is
      not only objective fact, it is our only hope. You might never have
      read this chapter as an ad for ecological consciousness, but look at
      the first line again. We are ALWAYS in this with others and that
      always means responsibilities to "...not do to another what one would
      not have done to oneself."

      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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