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Holy Rule for Dec. 30

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for Sr. Lany Jo, ASCJ, recovering from knee and torn cartilage surgery. Prayers for the happy death of Mrs. Service, she has cancer in her lungs
    Message 1 of 59 , Dec 29, 2012
      +PAX

      Prayers for Sr. Lany Jo, ASCJ, recovering from knee and torn cartilage surgery.

      Prayers for the happy death of Mrs. Service, she has cancer in her lungs and breasts and has been sent home to die. Prayers for all her family, 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 30, August 30, December 30
      Chapter 72: On the Good Zeal Which They Ought to Have

      Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness
      which separates from God and leads to hell,
      so there is a good zeal
      which separates from vices and leads to God
      and to life everlasting.
      This zeal, therefore, the sisters should practice
      with the most fervent love.
      Thus they should anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10);
      most patiently endure one another's infirmities,
      whether of body or of character;
      vie in paying obedience one to another --
      no one following what she considers useful for herself,
      but rather what benefits another;
      tender the charity of sisterhood chastely;
      fear God in love;
      love their Abbess with a sincere and humble charity;
      prefer nothing whatever to Christ.
      And may He bring us all together to life everlasting!

      REFLECTION

      This chapter, full of self-evident and beautiful prose should serve
      as a short rule of life, a summary of all that has gone before it.
      Live this one, and you're all right: the details from the other
      chapters will take care of themselves. Little wonder then that its
      principal points are love, obedience and humility, practiced in the
      chastity of wholeness. (Chastity, it must be recalled, is proper to
      every state in life. It is the well-ordered, balanced and wholesome
      use of sexuality.) Even less wonder that, to call Scripture in to witness
      here, "the greatest of these is love." Merton's one-line Holy Rule
      summary also applies: "Love is the Rule."

      The beauty here is so great that we often do not spend enough time
      looking at its opposite: "the evil zeal of bitterness." What a great
      turn of phrase! Like many of us, St. Benedict seems to have known
      some whose bitterness turned into an energetic zeal, a way of life, a
      broken power line in a windy world that could strike others or
      themselves without warning.

      And "zeal" is precisely the word! People can put such frighteningly
      zealous levels of effort into self-loathing bitterness. It becomes a
      full-time job, one which requires so much energy that it's a marvel
      that they continue.

      Bitter anger, self-hatred, ill-will towards many,
      these are viciously involuted cycles, cancers of the soul. They turn
      on the self, malignantly. They injure and alienate others to make
      one's twisted world view remain correct. They never rest, the fist
      is always clenched, the hand never open.

      I have known two monks with this dreadful problem, both now long
      dead. Thank heavens, they both persevered to the end and one hopes
      that was enough, because, frankly, little else could be said for
      them. They both guaranteed that their own lives were hell and pretty
      much ensured smaller doses of hell for the rest of us living with
      them.

      When I was much younger and living with those embittered monks, it
      was hard to look at them with much pity or calm. It isn't now, thank
      God, and I have spent considerable time praying for both of them, as
      well as for a few of their "runners-up"! While all things are
      possible with God, the terrible thing is that this self-hatred never
      gets fixed in some people. It can be a life sentence. Then, prayer is
      the only answer.

      In any situation, but perhaps worse when the sufferer is one's spouse
      or parent or child, this bitterness is a terrible cross, for both the
      sufferer and those around her. It might seem cold comfort to say that
      it can make us all saints, but it truly is not cold comfort at
      all. Being saints is the only thing, ultimately, that matters. I hope
      by now some of my crosses of the past are praying for me, protecting
      me, by their prayers, from what once ailed them and forgiving me for
      the times I provoked them!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day to all in the US who are celebrating today. God be thanked for His many blessings to us all. Prayers for all and
      Message 59 of 59 , Nov 23, 2016

        +PAX

         

        Happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day to all in the US who are celebrating today. God be thanked for His many blessings to us all. Prayers for all and especially for the safety of those travelling.

         

        Prayers for Cas, who has gastrointestinal cancer. Prayers, too, for Bev, his wife, and Gabrielle, their daughter. Bev is a classmate of mine from Tampa Catholic High.

         

        Prayers for Fr. Benedict Nivakoff, OSB, newly appointed Prior of the Benedictine community at Norcia, Italy, and continued prayers for them as they recover from the catastrophic damage the earthquake did to their monastery and basilica.

         

        Prayers for Christopher, 13, in hospice care at home with brain cancer and thought to be very close to death. Prayers for his family, too, and for all who will mourn him.

         

        Prayers for Daniel, had an injection for knee pain, knee reduced to bone on bone and will eventually need a replacement.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Greg, and for all his family and all who mourn him.


        Prayers for the eternal rest of Stella, 92, a Benedictine Oblate, and prayers for her family and all who mourn her.

         

        Prayers for B., for her return to the Faith.

         

        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

        March 25, July 25, November 24
        Chapter 45: On Those Who Make Mistakes in the Oratory

        When anyone has made a mistake
        while reciting a Psalm, a responsory,
        an antiphon or a lesson,
        if he does not humble himself there before all
        by making a satisfaction,
        let him undergo a greater punishment
        because he would not correct by humility
        what he did wrong through carelessness.

        But boys for such faults shall be whipped.

        REFLECTION

        Calm down, we don't whip anybody anymore. It has too often been my
        experience that such lines push all the buttons of some readers these
        days and blind them to the rest of the good stuff there. We don't
        whip now, they did 1,500 years ago, everyone else did, too. Let's not
        get so mired in the sensitivities of our own time that we forget how
        terribly recent some of them are.

        As I have mentioned before, in our house we do kneel in the center
        when late for choir, then bow to the superior and go to our
        place. We also kneel when we make audible mistakes in Church. And
        yes, those things, as I pointed out, can be very useful.

        But most Oblates do not have a choir to kneel in, so
        what's here for the majority of us? There is the grace of humility,
        without which communal life on any level, in monastery, workplace, market or
        home would be unlivable.


        Every single human community or whatever sort is going to have its
        share of kinks, strays and crosses. Every one without fail
        will mirror in some sense the fallen brokenness of humanity. The
        gamut of human flaws exists in microcosm, in at least some mitigated form,
        in every human group.

        Even more annoyingly, most, if not all, pieces of our OWN broken
        humanity will be modeled, much to our distaste, by others around us. It is,
        alas, our own sins and faults in others that tend to annoy us most. Never
        forget to check for that. He or she may REALLY tick you off because
        of the great similarities between you!

        Our job is to see to it that we are part of the solution, not part
        of the problem. When, through whatever means, we become part of the problem,
        we must own up to it at once and smooth it over as best and as
        quickly as we can.

        If you can't say "I'm sorry," for heaven's sake- quite literally- start
        practicing alone in front of a mirror until the words can somehow
        tumble out in public. Until they can, try some useful (though not
        perfect,) substitutes, like "Excuse me," or "It was my fault." Work
        on words of forgiveness, too, like: "It doesn't matter," or "Oh,
        that's OK,".

        Strive to make light of things. There will never be any
        shortage whatever of people who will explode and magnify things out
        of all rational proportion, so don't duplicate services! Join the
        minority and try to prevent hurricanes in teacups, rather than
        produce them.

        Most outrage, most lack of apology, most tempests in teacups stem
        from a distorted an unhealthy view of the self. Humility corrects
        that imbalance. While you're in front of the mirror practicing
        apology, why not try a bit of self-interview?

        WHY do these things or persons upset you so? What do you have in
        common with those who annoy you most? Most important, just who the
        heck ARE you that your perceived slights are such a big deal? Try
        reminding yourself that He is God and you are not. Honest reflection on these
        points may be a big and promising start.

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA

         

         

         

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