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Holy Rule for Jan. 14

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Deo gratias, Doug is home and glad to be, continued prayers for his recovery from his toe removal surfery, as he is confined to a wheelchair till March.
    Message 1 of 58 , Jan 13, 2013
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      +PAX

      Deo gratias, Doug is home and glad to be, continued prayers for his recovery from his toe removal surfery, as he is confined to a wheelchair till March.

      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 14, May 15, September 14
      Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be

      The Abbess should always remember what she is
      and what she is called,
      and should know that to whom more is committed,
      from her more is required (Luke 12:48).
      Let her understand also
      what a difficult and arduous task she has undertaken:
      ruling souls and adapting herself to a variety of characters.
      One she must coax, another scold, another persuade,
      according to each one's character and understanding.
      Thus she must adjust and adapt herself to all
      in such a way that she may not only suffer no loss
      in the flock committed to her care,
      but may even rejoice in the increase of a good flock.

      REFLECTION

      When we read these portions of the Holy Rule which deal with the
      Abbot or other officials a very handy suggestion is in order. Read
      them to see what the Abbess DOES comply with, not what you feel she
      misses, because no one I have ever known in the abbacy is perfect
      enough to fulfill them all at all times.

      Read them with one eye on who the Abbot or boss or parent really is
      as a frail human being, what sort of person he is, and the other eye
      focused on what is demanded of him by the Holy Rule. Chapters such as
      this one will give you a really valuable insight into what those
      officials are wrestling with, a glimpse of how tough it can be to
      tread the very fine line.

      Parents, fear not! I'll bet most people couldn't read
      this chapter's portions without cringing a little, maybe even a lot. If your
      eyes are even half open, you will see the areas of failure every time
      you read them. (If, by some odd oversight, you have missed one or
      two, your children are quite likely to point them out to you the next
      time they get mad!!)

      Use those areas as goals to work on, but don't
      beat yourself up on them too badly. Not only does no one ever get
      there all at once, but, frankly, I think hardly anyone ever gets there
      all the way period. It is death and purgation which finally perfect us.
      Meanwhile, we struggle and plod.

      Finally, since the majority of us will never be Abbots, read these
      portions of the Rule to see how you measure up. How many of these
      qualities do you have? When one of the things demanded of the Abbess
      is exercised in your regard, how gracefully, even gratefully, do you
      receive it? Authority is a two-way street. Any kid who thinks it ALL
      devolves on parents hasn't read the Commandments past number three.
      There are responsibilities both parties must uphold.

      Change "Abbess" to "Christian" and read again. Then add "Benedictine"
      to "Christian" and re-check that part about "to whom more is
      committed."

      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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