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Holy Rule for Jan. 26

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Mary, mid-fifties, kidney transplant on Tuesday at a high risk of rejection, rushed back to surgery for bleeding, and for her husband
    Message 1 of 143 , Jan 25, 2013
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for Mary, mid-fifties, kidney transplant on Tuesday at a high risk of rejection, rushed back to surgery for bleeding, and for her husband and two sons and all her family.

      Prayers for Elaine that she gets a response and the forgiveness from the people she has made amends with.

      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 26, May 27, September 26
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The first degree of humility, then,
      is that a person keep the fear of God before his eyes
      and beware of ever forgetting it.
      Let him be ever mindful of all that God has commanded;
      let his thoughts constantly recur
      to the hell-fire which will burn for their sins
      those who despise God,
      and to the life everlasting which is prepared
      for those who fear Him.
      Let him keep himself at every moment from sins and vices,
      whether of the mind, the tongue, the hands, the feet,
      or the self-will,
      and check also the desires of the flesh.

      REFLECTION

      Wow! Fearing God and hell-fire! It's a safe bet that this chapter was
      not the darling of the 1970's! But, if we look at it properly,
      there's nothing to get upset about here.

      God is perfect Unity, He is totally of a whole. He is all He is at
      once and utterly. Human beings, on the other hand, have minds that
      are finite and cannot wrap their intellects around such a perfectly
      holistic God without problems. One of those problems is what seem to
      us to be contradictions in God: His total, absolute Justice and His
      unfathomable, infinite Divine Mercy. Since we have a hard time
      figuring out both at once, we have a tendency to let one cancel out
      the other. God, to many, is either ALL hell-fire and dread or ALL
      pushover and cuddly. NOT!!

      Sorry, folks, but the nature of heresy is to take a real part of the
      truth and make it ALL of the truth, the only truth. Foul up the
      delicate balance here and you are in deep trouble. Face it, God's
      perfections don't seem to trouble Him any- perfection shouldn't,
      after all- so why should they get us hung up? Deep breath, lots of
      faith and let's go on...

      God is all at once, God is perfect, God does not change. OK, fine.
      But we change, time in which we are immersed changes, has to change.
      It is the nature of things. Hence, our convergences with God occur at
      different times, points and conditions. The whole equation changes,
      not because God changes, but because we do and must. Stop and think,
      the encounter between God and one lost in sin is different from the
      same person encountering God after years of conversion. The encounter
      between a living soul and one after death is different, not because
      God is, but because we are.

      We see different Persons of the Trinity predominant in different ages
      of salvation history. Might we not just as safely assume that
      different attributes of God predominate at different times in His
      dealings with us? Anyone who has lived any length of time at all with
      God can tell you that aridity and tenderness, loving kindness and
      seeming absence, joy and seriosity play off each other singly or in
      groups, like light dancing through the kaleidoscopes of our soul's
      broken glass and shattered gems. The pattern is always changing. All
      the elements are always there, but they are constantly regrouping,
      forming new and dare one say hardly boring designs!

      So, always try to remember that WE are the kaleidoscopes and that the
      Light shining through them does not change, even though our scattered
      bits may reflect it differently, to ourselves and to others. Check
      out the revelations of St. Catherine of Genoa and other mystics: the
      SAME Love that delights the soul is also the fire purifies it. She
      said that paradise had no gates: any who want may enter. Ah, but by
      choice, to enter there would be hell, indeed, for some. A priest
      once wrote that if the gates of hell were open, no one would leave.
      Same God, same Love, different us! His changeless Love will be hell
      for some, bliss for others. Choose bliss!!

      The justice is always there, but so is the mercy. Jesus told St.
      Faustina that now, in this life, is the time for mercy, which will
      never, ever be denied a soul. Dump that chance in this life and
      justice will be what you deal with in the next.

      It seems simplistically harsh, but it isn't. We are swimming, all but
      drowning in a sea of infinite mercy right now. When we leave that
      sea, we will wind up on the shore of justice, unless we have
      guaranteed that mercy is already ours. By asking, just by asking and
      trusting Him!

      God is not itching to nail us, eager to condemn. But we can tie His
      hands- we are the only creatures who can do so! We can insist on
      justice by rejecting His mercy. Not a smart move... His mercy and justice are
      part of a whole, they both perfectly reflect and employ His love.
      What changes is not God, but us. What changes is our willingness to
      accept or reject His overtures at any given moment.

      So, yeah, God is watching us all the time. But also, yeah, God
      forgives us the second we turn to him and trust in His mercy. God
      knows we aren't perfect, so He isn't surprised that we fall.

      We, on the other hand, can be distressingly wrong about how perfect
      we are! Our falls shock us badly, because we have so little humility.
      Think there might be a connection there about God doing or using all
      things to further His will? Our very falls teach us humility that we
      sorely lack!

      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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