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Holy Rule for Jan. 1

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX A Happy and Holy New Year to all, may 2013 be filled with graces and blessings! Prayers for Kaitlyn, 16, a very confused girl who ran away from home
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 31, 2012
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      A Happy and Holy New Year to all, may 2013 be filled with graces and blessings!

      Prayers for Kaitlyn, 16, a very confused girl who ran away from home before Christmas, for her safety and safe return.

      Prayers for Sadie, 7, just had a heart transplant, for her recovery, her family and for the eternal rest of her donor and all the donor's family and those who mourn him or her.

      Prayers for Father Travis' Mom. She got dizzy, fell and broke her leg. She is in the hospital and they are running tests.

      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 1, May 2, September 1

      Prologue

      L I S T E N carefully, my child,
      to your master's precepts,
      and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20).
      Receive willingly and carry out effectively
      your loving father's advice,
      that by the labor of obedience
      you may return to Him
      from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

      To you, therefore, my words are now addressed,
      whoever you may be,
      who are renouncing your own will
      to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King,
      and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

      And first of all,
      whatever good work you begin to do,
      beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it,
      that He who has now deigned to count us among His children
      may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds.
      For we must always so serve Him
      with the good things He has given us,
      that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children,
      nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions,
      deliver us to everlasting punishment
      as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory.

      REFLECTION

      The Prologue is the most tender and loving of beginnings. Always,
      always, always keep this loving Father that writes here in mind as you
      read the rest of the Holy Rule. This and the epilogue are the key to
      it all, and the key to the saintly personality of our holy Father
      Benedict.

      The Holy Rule can seem so lofty that it sometimes turns people away.
      They think: "This is for those really holy people, not for me. I'll
      bet it's easy for saints like them, but I couldn't even dream of
      trying." Wrong on both counts and St. Benedict makes that clear. We
      return "by the labor of obedience" and if we are not one of those who
      has "to do battle" against our own will, he makes it abundantly
      certain that he is not talking to us.

      If, in fact, there is anyone for whom the Rule is a cinch, and I
      doubt that very much, then it was not written for them. It was
      written for us who struggle, for us for whom it is NOT easy, to help
      us in a battle that sometimes wears us out.

      St. Benedict also makes his point that our distance from God is due
      to our "sloth of disobedience." Yet he doesn't tell the slothful to
      quit because they are worthless, he tells them they are the very ones
      for whom he is writing this Rule! This is the Rule for the fallen and
      beginners, this is an entry level position which can advance to great
      sanctity, but it *IS* an entry level position!

      This is the door and gate for all. This is most decidedly NOT a Rule
      just for monks and nuns in monasteries. Were that so, no provision
      for Oblates would ever have been made. No, this is a Rule for all who
      wish to try to become better and because they have made that
      intention, God "has deigned to count us among His children." There is
      no more us-and-them here. Just by beginning, we become part of the
      whole.

      The Holy Rule is quite direct about stating that this time, it is not about
      the perfect ones: the center of its focus is the rest of us! Now there's a
      refreshingly upside down and all too rare world view!

      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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        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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