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Holy Rule for Jan. 17

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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 1 of 59 , Jan 16, 2013

      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]
    • 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



        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.


        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
        Petersham, MA




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