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Holy Rule for Jan. 7

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please for the spiritual and physical heralth of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Michael and Genny
    Message 1 of 58 , Jan 6, 2013
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      Prayers, please for the spiritual and physical heralth of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Michael and Genny LoPiccolo, she is having severe panic attacks and these are not at all good for her heart issues.

      Continued prayers for Alicia and Brad and their newborn twins, Ayla and Bryn. The girls have a lot of health issues that need prayer.

      Owen, 9, suspected appendicitis. He may need to have it removed tomorrow. Please pray for his overwhelmed family. Sadie, the 7-year-old who is recovering from the heart transplant, is Owen's 1st cousin. She is recovering well, thanks be to God, but her health is still a worry for them.

      Doug has been scheduled for surgery at 7:30 am on Monday to remove his little toe and the associated metatarsal due to his diabetic ulcer.

      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 7, May 8, September 7
      Prologue (concluded)

      And so we are going to establish
      a school for the service of the Lord.
      In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
      But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
      for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
      do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
      whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
      For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
      our hearts expand
      and we run the way of God's commandments
      with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
      Thus, never departing from His school,
      but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
      until death,
      we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
      and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.


      Sadly, a certain cynicism has been woven into my life like a
      repeating plaid. Happily, it has not grown worse with age, but has
      been moderated (how Benedictine!) into a faintly acceptable level of
      occasional curmudgeonhood. If my cynicism is now a rather muted
      tartan background, it was not always so. I can clearly recall reading
      the line about expanding hearts and running with unspeakable
      sweetness of love twenty some years ago and thinking: "Yeah, right!
      Real likely..."

      Now that passage is my all-time favorite in the Holy Rule. I thought
      twice before saying that, because there are so many things in the
      Rule that I deeply love, but yeah, this one is the best loved for me.
      Why? Because it is linked to love and, secondarily, because it alerts
      us to the necessary hope that the monastic struggle DOES get easier
      in time, in certain ways, even though it is never over until death.

      "Our hearts expand..." they truly do. Mine has already been
      wonderfully stretched and pulled and enlarged beyond my wildest
      dreams, often with me kicking and screaming every inch of the way. I
      have no doubt that it will grow bigger still, capable of holding
      more, but I know I could not stand that now, it would be too much.
      God works slowly, according to our individual needs. Better than
      anyone, He knows that doing it all at once would reduce us to
      shivering panic.

      The biggest factor that I can see in God's work of heart renovation
      for me has been intercessory prayer. When you renovate a building,
      you have to tear down some walls, a dusty, ugly, painful mess. Ah,
      but the light and air and space that one finds in those new areas
      where walls had stood! In praying for God's people, I learned to love
      them, more prayer equaled more love and so it spiraled upward and
      spirals on!

      Christ is the One I encounter in praying for His members, for
      His Mystical Body. It is, after all, a very powerful reminder that Christ IS
      His members, that we are all cells in His awesome Body.

      When a novice in my twenties, I used to look at two real saints of
      St. Leo Abbey, Brothers David Gormican and Raphael Daly, both now
      gone to God. I am not even sure I thought it had become easier for
      them at the end of their lives, I thought, with the mindlessness so
      easy for me then, that they were just so old they didn't care
      anymore. Wrong!

      My dear friend Ann Chatlos was a FABULOUS cook and she had been at it
      for years. One day I went to see her and we sat talking in her
      kitchen, she was fiddling around, nothing special. Frankly, I didn't
      even notice any activity that would have produced a meal. She finally
      turned around and said to me: "Stay for dinner." I asked when it
      would be ready and she said, "Now." I was floored. While we spoke, a
      pie, chicken and roast potatoes and something else I forget had been
      going on. A full meal with nothing out of cans and a homemade
      dessert, yet it appeared that she had just been chatting.

      That's the nonchalance of Brother David and Brother Raphael. It
      wasn't that they didn't care, it was that things of sanctity had
      become so much second nature to them that many of those around them
      never noticed that dinner was ready. May that nonchalance of sanctity
      come to us all. Say a prayer for Brothers David and Raphael and especially for
      Ann, now also gone to God.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      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).


        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

        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
        have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into that compliance!

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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