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Holy Rule for Jan. 15

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Brian, for whom we prayed a while back, he is now able to get around a bit on crutches, though with pain, and has a calliper and
    Message 1 of 58 , Jan 14, 2013
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      Prayers, please, for Brian, for whom we prayed a while back, he is now able to get around a bit on crutches, though with pain, and has a calliper and raised shoe on his left leg. Still not eating well, but he feels he is improving. Has a pre-assessment for heart surgery coming up.

      Prayers for Sandy, has to ask her drinking 32 year old son to leave her home. Prayers, too, for the son's conversion.

      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 15, May 16, September 15
      Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be

      Above all let her not neglect or undervalue
      the welfare of the souls committed to her,
      in a greater concern for fleeting, earthly, perishable things;
      but let her always bear in mind
      that she has undertaken the government of souls
      and that she will have to give an account of them.
      And if she be tempted to allege a lack of earthly means,
      let her remember what is written:
      "First seek the kingdom of God and His justice,
      and all these things shall be given you besides" (Ps. 33:10).
      And again:
      "Nothing is wanting to those who fear Him."
      Let her know, then,
      that she who has undertaken the government of souls
      must prepare herself to render an account of them.
      Whatever number of sisters she knows she has under her care,
      she may be sure beyond doubt that on Judgment Day
      she will have to give the Lord an account of all these souls,
      as well as of her own soul.
      Thus the constant apprehension
      about her coming examination as shepherd (Ezech. 34)
      concerning the sheep entrusted to her,
      and her anxiety over the account that must be given for others,
      make her careful of her own record.
      And while by her admonitions she is helping others to amend,
      she herself is cleansed of her faults.

      REFLECTION

      There are two beautiful lessons for us non-abbatial types in this
      chapter. The first is a partial Benedictine view of material goods
      and the second consoles us that teaching will hopefully also teach
      the teacher!

      The Benedictine view of property is neither complete nor correct
      without the principle invoked here. Yes, later on we hear that all
      the goods of the monastery must be regarded as if they were sacred
      vessels of the altar. We also hear a lot of attentive prescriptions
      about poverty and ownership. Either of these made dogma without the
      third principle will spell trouble. That third principle, enunciated
      here, is people first, things later; don't sweat the small stuff and mere
      material things are ALWAYS small stuff by comparison to souls.

      A good Benedictine will go to careful lengths to avoid breaking a
      something, but will treat it lightly if someone else does: "Oh,
      that's no big deal. I'll tend to it later." or "Dishes I can replace,
      YOU I cannot. Don`t worry about it." See what I mean? We must be
      personally very careful of things, but we must never make others feel
      small, and least of all in the name of temporal goods.

      The other gem buried here is learning from teaching. Anyone who has
      ever taught 5th grade science will tell you that it will teach you
      more than the average person at a party knows about the topic.
      (Unless the party is given at Massachusetts Institute of Technology!)
      It will remind you of a great deal of basic information that you have
      long forgotten. Teaching, ideally, keeps one up to date on a subject.
      If teaching alone doesn't do that, the questions of the students
      usually will!

      Look at that last line: if you do ANY vocation right, it will profit
      both you and those you serve. It may not always profit both in
      exactly the same ways, but there will always be supernatural benefits
      for both. If there aren't, some fine-tuning might be in order. An
      example might well be parents who raise a child to practice the faith
      when they themselves do not. Sending a kid to Church without you is
      good for neither of you. The kid loses a necessary role model and the
      parent misses out on a lot of grace.

      So, one of the ways to ensure that supernatural benefit accrues for
      all in a vocation is outlined here: put the souls first, put the
      Kingdom of God and His things first. A closely related corollary
      follows on that: people before things, always, always, people before
      things! Whatever the faults and flaws of humanity, it shares a
      dignity of blessed creation that does not extend to lesser created things
      as such. That's the basic truth which makes materialism so woefully
      false.

      Follow the priority established here and you will be well on the way
      to a holy and fruitful living out of any call. It is as easy as
      1,2,3! First, God and His kingdom, second, people, persons, the crown
      of His mercy's creations, and third things, but only insofar as they
      relate significantly to God, salvation and persons!

      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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