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Holy Rule for Mar. 6

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Pryaers, please, for the eternal rest of the following, for all their families and all who mourn them: Richard, and esp. for his Mom, Ellen. Angela, for
    Message 1 of 145 , Mar 5, 2013

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

      Richard, and esp. for his Mom, Ellen.

      Angela, for whom we prayed, and for her husband, Ray, devavstated by his loss.

      Prayers for our dear Michael LoPiccolo, 4 hour prostate surgery on Wednesday. Michael will post tomorrow AM, before going in.

      Prayers for Martin, Deo gratias for reurning health after knee replacement, but still a ways to go, so continued prayers, please.

      Prayers for Ellen, many complex situations needing justice, mercy and forgiveness.

      Prayers for the papal conclave which will elect a new Pope.

      Prayers for Cardinal O'Brien of Scotland, resignation accepted under a cloud of scandal, and for his archdiocese and the Church to weather the storm.

      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

      March 6, July 6, November 5
      Chapter 29: Whether Brethren Who Leave the Monastery Should Be
      Received Again

      If a brother
      who through his own fault leaves the monastery
      should wish to return,
      let him first promise full reparation for his having gone away;
      and then let him be received in the lowest place,
      as a test of his humility.
      And if he should leave again,
      let him be taken back again,
      and so a third time;
      but he should understand that after this
      all way of return is denied him.


      The Gospel tells us to forgive 70 times 7 times and surely, we must.
      That, however, is a command on us individually, and a command, by the
      way, that calls for forgiveness, not foolhardiness. One needn't keep
      one's hand on the same hot stove throughout all the forgiving!
      At some point, too, probably well before the end of one's forgiveness
      rope, the offender would probably have incurred at least some loss of
      privilege. Obviously, the dog that is forgiven for killing sheep
      several times will not likely tend the flock.

      The thing to remember here is that we are not dealing
      with only two individuals, but a group. Re-entry into a monastery
      can be a very tense thing. It is certainly worth doing, but may
      not be a good thing to do limitless times. It wears out the monk and
      it wears out the community. We must always love, always forgive, but
      sometimes limits to harm have to be set for the good of all.

      St. Benedict is not mean here. There is no element of surprise to the
      offender about the three-strikes- and-you're- out program: she has
      heard it ever since novitiate. It might be construed as mean if there
      were no forewarning, but there is. Anyone coming back for the third time
      knows they are on their last leg. Foul up that time, and you're history.

      The monastery is a specialized society with a specialized goal:
      seeking union with God for all its members. Because of that
      specialized nature, the monastery does not have an infinite
      commitment to anyone, except to one who truly perseveres unto death.
      This is unlike the stronger and more necessary bonds of Church or
      a family.

      Not everyone who wants to join a monastery is truly called to be a
      monastic. Perhaps, too, one is called, but not to that particular
      monastery. People can be allowed to leave, or they can be expelled,
      or they can be told they can never come back after the third time.

      This is a different situation from forgiveness. The one denied
      further entry must, no doubt at all, be forgiven, but he must also
      know that his chances to disrupt the community have come to an end.
      Monasteries need a relative level of peace to fulfill their purpose:
      creating a place in which God may be served and the monastic life
      be fostered. The limits of three times' return have that sacred purpose
      in mind.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for Donna, on her birthday, may she draw closer and closer to Christ. Ad multos annos! Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias, D., for whom we prayed a
      Message 145 of 145 , Jan 16 2:28 PM



        Prayers for Donna, on her birthday, may she draw closer and closer to Christ. Ad multos annos!


        Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias, D., for whom we prayed a while ago, is cancer free and only needs yearly checkups. Prayers for his continued health.


        Prayers for the health of Joe, prostate cancer.


        Deo gratias and prayers of thanks, Jenn, for whom we prayed during her open heart surgery, is being discharged to her home. Prayers for her continued health.


        Prayers for L., recovering from knee surgery.


        Prayers for the eternal rest of Br. Augustine, near the anniversary of his death, 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 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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