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Holy Rule for Jan. 18

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for Sacred Heart Parish Confirmation class, on retreat this weekend, may alll the graces they need flow freely. Update on Elaine:(Not the Elaine
    Message 1 of 144 , Jan 17, 2013

      Prayers for Sacred Heart Parish Confirmation class, on retreat this weekend, may alll the graces they need flow freely.

      Update on Elaine:(Not the Elaine we have been praying for about BC move,) She had very extensive surgery for cancer on Dec. 12, and has been recovering much faster than they had expected, since she has other serious health problems. She wishes to thank all for their prayers, which she feels helped tremendously.

      Prayers for Dot, in her 80's, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and slowing down.

      Elaine we have been praying about loves BC so far, having a good visit. Prayers for her and Craig and whatever God wills.

      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 18, May 19, September 18
      Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

      In the first place, to love the Lord God with the whole heart, the
      whole soul, the whole strength.
      Then, one's neighbor as oneself.
      Then not to murder.
      Not to commit adultery.
      Not to steal.
      Not to covet.
      Not to bear false witness.
      To honor all (1 Peter 2:17).
      And not to do to another what one would not have done to oneself.
      To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
      To chastise the body.
      Not to become attached to pleasures.
      To love fasting.
      To relieve the poor.
      To clothe the naked.
      To visit the sick.
      To bury the dead.
      To help in trouble.
      To console the sorrowing.
      To become a stranger to the world's ways.
      To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.


      St. Benedict follows Christ's teaching of the two greatest
      commandments, putting them first in his list. He had, however, also
      lived in community, so look what he puts at #3: not to murder!
      In the PBS drama The Best of Friends, Dame Laurentia Maclachlan, OSB,
      Abbess of Stanbrook and friend of George Bernard Shaw, said that the
      miracle was not that so many nuns could live together, but that they'd
      never had a murder.

      In a very real sense, living the first two instruments would render
      the rest of the Holy Rule more or less superfluous commentary. If we
      lived them, no doubt God would reveal the rest to us in time. Ah, but
      there's the rub: in time...

      We can easily forget that the Holy Rule is a time and labor-saving
      device. It was not written for arbitrary control, it was written to
      save us the lengthy process of learning all its wisdom unaided. The Rule not
      only saves us a lot of time and trial and error, it also frees us to
      do good long before our own stumbling efforts could ever have
      produced as much fruit.

      A final note about preferring "nothing to the love of Christ." This
      line is so popular and frequently duplicated that we can become blind
      to it, shrugging and saying: "Oh, yeah...favorite Benedictine
      phrase..." Stop today and look at it, REALLY look at it. People often
      glance and look away because they fail to prefer nothing, but hey,
      that's the human condition! You, me and most of us strugglers are in
      the same boat, so relax and look at what it means carefully.

      If we truly preferred nothing to the love of Christ, we would be
      sinless saints. We would need no other rule! Small wonder that most
      of us read and look away in embarrassment. But ALL of us, every one,
      can chisel at that mountain day by day, resolutely. A day in which
      the seemingly tiniest and most token of obstacles to the love of
      Christ is conquered and removed is a day of great rejoicing in

      As Blessed Teresa of Calcutta observed, "We can do no great things,
      only small things with great love." We HAVE to start small, because,
      for most of us, if it weren't for small, we'd never start at all! Ah,
      but those tiniest things done with love delight the heart of the
      Divine Merciful Christ as none could ever imagine! Go for it!!!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for the at least 37 killed and 15 injured in a plane crash in Kyrgyzstan. For the eternal rest of the dead, the recovery of the wounded and for
      Message 144 of 144 , Jan 16



        Prayers for the at least 37 killed and 15 injured in a plane crash in Kyrgyzstan. For the eternal rest of the dead, the recovery of the wounded and for the families of all. Prayers, too, for those who lost homes or property, half of the village was destroyed by the crash.


        The Salesians invite all to join them in praying a novena to Mary Immaculate, Help of Christians, for the release of kidnapped Fr. Tom in Yemen. The novena is from January 15-23.


        Prayers for the eternal rest of JP. For whom we prayed, and for all his family, especially his son, and all who mourn him.


        Prayers for John, facing two hours of dental implant surgery on Tuesday, may all go well and may he recover quickly.


        Prayers for Donna, on her birthday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!


        Prayers for the eternal rest of Br. Augustine, 58, of the Maronite monks in Petersham, Holy Trinity Monastery, and for his Community, family and all who mourn him.


        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 is anywhere 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
        Petersham, MA




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