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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 144 , Jan 25, 2013
      +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


      [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

        +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 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).

        REFLECTION

        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
        fancy."

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

         

         

         

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