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Holy Rule for Jan. 21

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Br. Meinrad of Pluscarden and for St. Meinrad s Archabbey and Seminary and all their communities, on their patronal feast. Lord, help
    Message 1 of 144 , Jan 20, 2013

      Prayers, please, for Br. Meinrad of Pluscarden and for St. Meinrad's Archabbey
      and Seminary and all their communities, on their patronal feast.

      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 21, May 22, September 21
      Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

      To fulfil God's commandments daily in one's deeds.
      To love chastity.
      To hate no one.
      Not to be jealous, not to harbor envy.
      Not to love contention.
      To beware of haughtiness.
      And to respect the seniors.
      To love the juniors.
      To pray for one's enemies in the love of Christ.
      To make peace with one's adversary before the sun sets.
      And never to despair of God's mercy.
      These, then, are the tools of the spiritual craft.
      If we employ them unceasingly day and night,
      and return them on the Day of Judgment,
      our compensation from the Lord
      will be that wage He has promised:
      "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
      what God has prepared for those who love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9).

      Now the workshop
      in which we shall diligently execute all these tasks
      is the enclosure of the monastery
      and stability in the community.


      One very quick little thought here: even the tools we do manage to
      pull off using are not our own: we are to return them on the Day of
      Judgment!!! Hey, before we fall all over ourselves, patting our own
      backs for this or that, we are doing it all with borrowed tools!
      Humbling thought there!

      Dryer sheets may have many other handy uses (cleaning your monitor or
      TV screen is one of them,) but they will not soften clothes unless
      the clothes stay in the dryer with them and tumble about for as long
      as necessary. Of course, one can use a dryer without such softening
      sheets, but then the clothes cling statically, inappropriately and
      inordinately to things and each other, resisting being pulled apart
      for their proper uses by (forgive me,) downright shocking means. How
      like monastics without stability, community and enclosure!

      Stability is not a lot of good without community, neither is
      enclosure. The dryer sheet essential to both enclosure and stability is genuine,
      sometimes annoying, tumbling community. The heat employed, at times
      intense, is reality checks, objectivity, outside-referenced truth.
      Like any good dryer or community, there may be a separate setting for
      delicates and permanent press, but everybody gets the heat, one way
      or the other.

      If you are one of the many Benedictines living in the world, just
      substitute family or circle of friends for community and home for
      monastic enclosure. The stick-to-it-tiveness I'm afraid you'll have
      to provide yourself, but I think you get the picture. Community is
      any connected group, workplace or home. Enclosure is your home, as
      well as your heart.

      Without being obsessive, or making the people who live with you
      crazy, guard what comes into your enclosure, both heart and home.
      There is a switch on your TV. There is a less visible, but equally
      effective one on your mouth. There is a useful one on your heart and
      thoughts, too.

      Enclosure is not a prison, neither should your home
      be. The Middle Ages spoke of the "Paradisus claustralis" , the
      cloistered Paradise. Every home, for one or for several hundred, must
      strive for that paradise. It is comfort and leisure to an extent, it
      is peace and order to an extent, it is the proper arena of love and
      spiritual growth. The components will necessarily vary from case to
      case, as will their balanced levels.

      Guard the people who tumble in the dryer with you, too, especially
      the annoying ones. Without the moisture they share with you, you
      would soon wither in the heat and die, you would go well beyond
      simply drying to utter destruction. And please, the next time you
      think the dryer is hellish (and we all do sometimes,) bear in mind the
      scarring charms and delicate fragrance of damp mildew.....Yecch!

      At the center of most older monasteries was a garden, a cloister
      garth, a deliberate attempt at a paradise in the heart of things. In
      the heart of those gardens, as Sister Donald Cocoran would gladly
      tell you, was usually a fountain. (Sr. Donald is justifiably proud of
      her Camaldolese emblem, a fountain refreshing two birds.) That
      fountain, the Heart of the heart of everything, is Love and Divine Mercy.
      Go for it, folks!

      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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