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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 143 , Feb 3, 2013
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      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, 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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        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.
        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).


        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

        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
        Petersham, MA

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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