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Holy Rule for Feb. 4

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual and physical welfare of the follwoing, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Fr. Frank Philips,
    Message 1 of 144 , Feb 3, 2013

      Prayers, please, for the spiritual and physical welfare of the follwoing, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Fr. Frank Philips, founder of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, in the hospital and serious problems after knee surgery.

      John, dengue fever.

      Marian, for whom we prayed, turns out to have had a stroke. Prognosis is good for recovery, but she has a ways to go, continued prayers, please.

      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 4, June 5, October 5
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The seventh degree of humility
      is that he consider himself lower and of less account
      than anyone else,
      and this not only in verbal protestation
      but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
      humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
      "But I am a worm and no man,
      the scorn of men and the outcast of the people" (Ps. 21:7).
      "After being exalted, I have been humbled
      and covered with confusion" (Ps. 87:16).
      And again,
      "It is good for me that You have humbled me,
      that I may learn Your commandments" (Ps. 118:71).


      No one need worry whether or not the blue jay population of our
      forest will make it through the winter! The blue jays bully and terrorize
      all the other birds- including members of their own species lower in
      the pecking order. And it is LITERALLY a pecking order! While they
      are pretty birds, once in action their belligerent personalities will dispel
      many a
      romantic notion!

      Contrast the cardinals and chickadees, both far lovelier to look at,
      and both well aware that they need to stay out of the jays' way! One
      imagines that the cardinals, strikingly red, might be as numerous as
      their blue cousins if they were anywhere near as combative. Below
      even these in the hierarchy are the slate juncos. None too eye-
      catching, a rather sooty gray, and spending almost all of their time
      gleaning on the ground, not at the feeder. It is a niche they seem
      not to mind at all, in fact, it is a survival technique. Their attraction is
      not in plumage, but in the humility of their dispositions.

      Of course, I watch all this from the dining room window and am amused.
      These scrappy jays are fighting over a front yard that they don't
      own. They are battling for food that is always there and will be
      there in plenty. And hey, they are BIRDS, right? What's all this
      business about who's-better-than-who? It's like watching a lot of
      Lilliputians in hand-to-hand, mortal combat. It's so silly that it is
      laughable. This is my front yard, guys, not yours!

      Whoops! Just fell into the same stupid snare as the birds....
      The yard is God's. All things are God's; birds, you, me, the whole

      The Israeli astronaut, Ila Ramon, who died on the space shuttle Columbia,
      said something beautiful about the view from space. He saw that from
      there, the earth was just one beautiful blue ball, no boundaries, no borders,
      all one. Surely that is a glimpse of how God sees it.

      Therein lies the secret of humility: to see things as God sees them,
      because that is how things truly are! That means seeing things like
      neither the scrappy blue jay, nor the monk inside who just as foolishly
      thinks something is his to control, that he has a privilege others do not,
      that his hegemony must be protected at any cost!

      Of course, it is all too easy to see things in an nation state way,
      especially these days. One nation hates another or hates their
      agenda. Ah, but that is how it has worked out! How it started was perhaps
      one incident, lost in the mists of time, forgotten except for
      the rivalry it engendered, which took on a life of its own. Perhaps
      the progenitors of two warring nations of today met once at the same
      oasis with their flocks. Maybe one decided it was hers, maybe both
      did. At any rate, the fallout was terrible for centuries.

      Each of us faces a desert oasis with others. How little we reflect
      that our actions there could change history. We will never know until
      heaven how our choices to assert or defer literally change the
      history of the cosmos, however slightly. All things start out small,
      but then they grow! Which outcome do you wish to nourish with your

      Believe me, what we do with our hearts truly does affect the whole universe.

      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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