Holy Rule for Feb. 6
Prayers for the eternal rtest of Rita, and for all her family and all who mourn her.
Prayers for Pat's husband Herb, going for a cancer check up tomorrow that the results are good. Herb has battled many battles and just got out of the hospital. Prayers for their safe travels asthere is a lot of snow and their trip is over an hour away. Prayers for Pat and her sister Cathie. Cathie was diagnosed with terminal cancer a few months ago so Pat has a lot on her plate and needs prayers also.
Prayers please for Frank with a neurological problem on the right side of his face, very painful.
Pryares for Lydia, 50's, recovering from the effects of a stroke and tumor removal.
Continued prayers for Mrs Cicone. She recently had breast surgery for a return of cancer and was recuperating at home when she fell and fractured her pelvis. Now back in ICU in much pain. Her daughter, LInda, who was just starting to think about returning home, now will have to stay for an indefinite amount of time to care for both her parents who are dealing with seroius health issues. Prayers please for all their family.
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! Thasnks so much.
February 6, June 7, October 7
Chapter 7: On Humility
The ninth degree of humility
is that a monk restrain his tongue and keep silence,
not speaking until he is questioned.
For the Scripture shows
that "in much speaking there is no escape from sin" (Prov. 10:19)
and that "the talkative man is not stable on the earth" (Ps. 139:12).
Well, you can safely bet that I fail this one right and left.
Obedience is essential to humility, but as we climb the steps, other
virtues that figure in humility are presented to us. Why is silence
important? Because when someone like me is shooting his mouth off all
the time, whether being really funny, or just thinking he is, offering the
world choice observations of his "exquisite" wisdom, what's really
going on is a desire to be at the center of things, to be star and
protagonist. Lights, camera, action! Why?
If I am bored- and I often am- I make a joke, create my own
excitement, change the human situation I have walked into to suit MY
needs. Maybe others weren't bored at all, even if they politely laugh
and seem to enjoy it. That trait doesn't say much for my depth.
I need to be entertained? Hello!?!? Can't I find enough material in
silence to keep me busy? What's really going on here? Short attention
span much? I can get so absorbed in elevating humor and speech as
positive, necessary goods that I can easily forget that both can be
tools of control, and control is not for the humble.
Naming that does not mean I do not have to work at change. I do. I
think it was Flannery O'Connor who said that accepting ourselves does
not preclude an effort to be better. Change may be so gradual that
none will ever notice, but every time I resist any useless temptation
to open my mouth, there is a small victory.
Face it, we think a lot of what we have to say is important because we
think WE are important, or funny or clever. We truly have divinely created
dignity, but that is not usually what is employed in making these decisions
Silence is not incompatible with charity or cheerfulness. Brother
David Gormican, OSB, of St. Leo, now gone to God, was a paragon of
this step (actually, of all of them!) Brother would speak first if he
needed something, but otherwise, he waited until he was spoken to or
asked something. No surprise that he usually looked very recollected:
When he was called on to speak, it was always cheerfully and
with something I can only describe as sweetness. I don't mean he was
sugary, I mean sweetness in the best possible sense. When Brother
David DID speak, one would never think that silence was unloving; all
his compassion and love just shone right through.
Brother David was truly a saint. No doubt, had he wished to run off
at the mouth as I do, he could have given you all much better and
deeper wisdom and holiness than me. But part of his holiness was
silence and his humility allowed people far less bright (like me,) to
talk all they wanted, unchallenged.
On the rare occasion when he wouldn't leave something unchallenged,
the weight of a well-chosen phrase or two of his would offset pages of prose!
Part of the reason his words bore such weight is that he was so usually
silent that people LISTENED when he spoke. Sadly, that is not true for many of
Love and prayers,
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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 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);
"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
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