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Holy Rule for Feb. 8

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following and for all their families and all who mourn them: Mildred, celebrated her 105th birthday just last
    Message 1 of 143 , Feb 7, 2013
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following and for all their families and all who mourn them:

      Mildred, celebrated her 105th birthday just last week in good spirits and passed on just a few days ago. Deo gratias for a life well lived and a happy death.
      Joe, who tragically took his own life due to a family history of depression. For his eternal soul and for the entire family which is devastated by his loss.

      Prayers for the spiritual and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Martin, recovering from knee replacement, healing but still in pain and some swelling in his calf area.

      Diana, losing her fight with stage four cancer and being moved to hospice care. For her continued courage and confidence in Him as she sees her journey to the end.

      Prayers, please, for the spiritual well-being and conversion of Judi and Peter,
      both of whom abandoned the Christian faith for another. May God lead them firmly
      back.

      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

      Chapter 7: On Humility cont.
      February 8, June 9, October 9

      The eleventh degree of humility is that when a monk speaks he do so gently
      and without laughter, humbly and seriously, in few and sensible words, and
      that he be not noisy in his speech. It is written, "A wise man is known by
      the fewness of his words."

      REFLECTION

      I read this one and cringe, largely because I fail it so much. Part of my
      loudness is being 40% deaf, and while I try to control my levels of speech, I
      sometimes forget. That, however, in NO way absolves me from the wise man and
      fewness of words part, nor does it cover the sins of my tendency to make a
      big splash nearly every time I'm entering the pool. Face it, beloveds, for those
      at poolside dining on dry snacks like potato chips, those big splashes can get
      very old, very fast!

      I'm speaking of my own failure here, but I imagine some of it may apply to
      others' lives, too. So many wasted words, and at such volume! What is their
      purpose, what insecurities do they cover? How many times do I speak as if on
      stage and why? To show that I am cool or a big shot or clever or funny? All
      those things are ultimately lies and the person I may be trying most to
      convince is my pathetically false self.

      How many times do I call it teasing when another is really hurt? How many
      times do I go over the top and not even notice, because my focus is really on
      myself? Even if I am only futilely trying to overcome my own boredom by
      creating some excitement, the message reads frighteningly clear: I am more
      important, I am a big deal, I matter more than the people or silence that make
      me
      uncomfortable. None of that is true in the sense I am modeling it. None. So why
      do I bother? Why do any of us? These are tough and excellent questions!

      The twofold key is charity and balance. There have been times when I have
      seen a person- even been a person- who monopolized a recreation. There have been
      other times when I have longed for someone to do so. It requires that
      mindfulness born of love and balance to truthfully ascertain whether a situation
      would
      profit more from our silence or our speaking.

      But the key here is "profit more" and the recipients in mind must be others, not
      just ourselves. Buffoonery can certainly annoy, but silence can also sometimes
      hurt: this person doesn't care about me at all, it's like I didn't even exist.
      Somewhere
      between the extremes lies love, folks, and that is our precarious goal.

      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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