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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 143 , Jan 20, 2013
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      +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 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.

      REFLECTION

      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
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA





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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please, for the following, and for all their families and all who take care of them: Barbara, dementia worsening, major meltdown on Friday, and
      Message 143 of 143 , Jun 1, 2013
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        +PAX
        Prayers, please, for the following, and for all their families and all who take care of them:

        Barbara, dementia worsening, major meltdown on Friday, and for her husband, Jim.

        a member of Jane's family newly diagnosed with cancer.

        Al. His vision is critical to his work. He had cataract surgery and now the lens that was implanted will have to be removed Monday and replaced with a new one. Doc says there is a high risk of a detached retina. Please pray that God will guide the surgeon's hands and for complete healing.

        Denise, that she get her marriage blessed and return to the Sacraments.

        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

        February 1, June 2, October 2
        Chapter 7: On Humility

        The fourth degree of humility
        is that he hold fast to patience with a silent mind
        when in this obedience he meets with difficulties
        and contradictions
        and even any kind of injustice,
        enduring all without growing weary or running away.
        For the Scripture says,
        "The one who perseveres to the end,
        is the one who shall be saved" (Matt. 10:22);
        and again
        "Let your heart take courage, and wait for the Lord" (Ps. 26:14)!


        And to show how those who are faithful
        ought to endure all things, however contrary, for the Lord,
        the Scripture says in the person of the suffering,
        "For Your sake we are put to death all the day long;
        we are considered as sheep marked for slaughter" (Ps. 43:22; Rom.
        8:36).
        Then, secure in their hope of a divine recompense,
        they go on with joy to declare,
        "But in all these trials we conquer,
        through Him who has granted us His love" (Rom. 8:37).
        Again, in another place the Scripture says,
        "You have tested us, O God;
        You have tried us a silver is tried, by fire;
        You have brought us into a snare;
        You have laid afflictions on our back" (Matt. 5:39-41).
        And to show that we ought to be under a Superior,
        it goes on to say,
        "You have set men over our heads" (Ps. 65:12).


        Moreover, by their patience
        those faithful ones fulfill the Lord's command
        in adversities and injuries:
        when struck on one cheek, they offer the other;
        when deprived of their tunic, they surrender also their cloak;
        when forced to go a mile, they go two;
        with the Apostle Paul they bear with false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26)
        and bless those who curse them (1 Cor. 4:12).

        REFLECTION

        Be careful how you read this fourth step of patience. It is an ideal,
        presented in its most flawless form. It is not an unreachable goal, but neither
        should we expect significant progress before noon today. It is our call and
        our vocation, but it is a lifelong task.

        The danger for schleps like me is that this step can give one an image
        of a perfect, 1950's TV sitcom Mom: shirt dress, high heels and pearls as
        everyday wear, cookies and milk always forthcoming in a kitchen as clean
        as a surgical suite and never a hair out of place. Full make-up on rising
        and wears hat and matching gloves to shop. PUHLEEEZE! Give me a break.
        Real patience in action is not at all like that.

        Patience in action is a fierce struggle. Never think that it's easy for
        others and therefore something is wrong with you: it isn't easy
        for anyone. One of the biggest flaws of the "I'm OK and you are
        not..." school of ministry is that it makes people think exactly
        this. "It's easy for her and there's something terribly wrong with
        me." Neither is true.

        The Rule and Scriptures were meant for strugglers. They were written
        for real, average people, halt and lame, battle-scarred veterans like
        you and me, for people who have weathered life, but barely. Hey,
        there may be cookies and milk, but you'll probably have to get the
        plate yourself and brush aside a LOT of blood, sweat and tears to
        find one. Oh, and please drink the milk fast and take as much as you
        can... the fridge broke today.

        Patience is surely one of the most important fuels that perseverance
        runs on, but don't be surprised if it often is not very high octane!
        Neither should it surprise you if your engine is not a slant V-8, but
        rather a very cheap lawnmower that has trouble starting. Patience
        is ENDURANCE, not ease. It may, after years of struggle, confer a
        great peace and serenity, but it rarely, if ever, feels like that in
        the middle of things.

        Brother Patrick Creamer, OSB, of Saint Leo Abbey in Florida, taught
        me patience and perseverance. He was able to do so because he was so
        transparent about his own struggles. Many others tried to tell me how
        hard it was, but their lack of candor made me dismiss their warnings
        as tokenism. It certainly didn't seem to be hard for them. I couldn't
        believe them. Patrick, my late and beloved mentor, was so very different.

        Patrick entered the monastery in 1954, when he was 40, after a long
        career at sea. He missed being at sea so much (and for so long!) that
        it magnified many of the every day crosses of monastic life. Abbot
        Marion, who loved brothers and had a very tender spot for them, used
        to send Patrick to the beach for a weekend occasionally, in years
        when that sort of thing didn't often happen. Abbot Marion was wise enough
        to know he'd lose Patrick if he didn't get a salt air fix now and then.

        Even the beach trips were not enough alone. Patrick told me he was
        tempted to leave every single day for ten years. Patrick, when I
        lived with him, literally stayed packed with a hidden suitcase for
        years and boasted of his ability to be gone in an hour. As a novice,
        my heart used to be selfishly in my throat. I wanted him to go, if
        that was what he was supposed to do, but I really didn't want to lose
        him.

        I can also tell you that, during the worst
        of those years, Patrick helped scores of folks who came to him, because a
        transparently wounded person usually can. I can also tell you that
        Brother Patrick finally decided to stay: when he was 83 or so!! What a
        witness of hope that was to me, to others struggling like me.

        Please, let us all be given patience. But when we get it, however
        little at a time, let NONE of us be "perfect" TV Moms. Let us all be Patricks,
        let us show others how terribly hard, yet doable it can be.

        Patrick held forth from his infirmary room until his death
        at two weeks short of 90. A steady stream of visitors never waned.
        On the head of his bed and on the shaving mirror over his sink were
        two small notes, written in his own inimitable hand: "Lord, let me
        come to You." They broke my heart the first time I saw them. I still
        didn't want to lose him. But I know how right he was and how richly he
        deserves that loving embrace for which he so patiently waited.

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome LEO, OSB (again and again you'll see why I took the second
        name!)
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA



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