Holy Rule for Mar. 12
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Prayers for the eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones and all who mourn them:
Marlene, for whom we prayed, died peacefully, prayers too for all those grieving her.
2 adults and 5 children lost in a fire in Kentucky.
Special intentions for: Beverly, Catherine D. Kari M. Linda F. Trey H. Linda A. Mary G. Jacque M. Tommy A. & Linda A. Mary G. Donna Jacque M. Jean Tim Mary Jo Steven S. Alex E. Margie F. Ayn, Eli and Hannah, Ann L. Ginger and Shannon
Prayers for Andrea, recurrent breast cancer, and Dave, her husband.
Prayers for Mike, lung cnacer, having radiation and chemo, and all his family.
Prayers for Terry. discernment as to whether or not to perform a very difficult task facing him. if he chooses to,,may he have the energy, focus stamina and clarity to carry it out successfuly as it is going to be a very tough job.
Jo continued prayers -- tough job situation.
Deo gratias for past prayers answered
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 12, July 12, November 11
Chapter 34: Whether All Should Receive in Equal Measure What Is
Let us follow the Scripture,
"Distribution was made to each
according as anyone had need" (Acts 4:35).
By this we do not mean that there should be respecting of persons
(which God forbid),
but consideration for infirmities.
She who needs less should thank God and not be discontented;
but she who needs more
should be humbled by the thought of her infirmity
rather than feeling important
on account of the kindness shown her.
Thus all the members will be at peace.
Above all, let not the evil of murmuring appear
for any reason whatsoever
in the least word or sign.
If anyone is caught at it,
let her be placed under very severe discipline.
I came here in June of 1996 as a professed diocesan hermit who
was an Oblate. From the beginning, I lived in the guesthouse,
because caring for the guesthouse was the mutual arrangement under
which I moved here from Boston. From day one that meant all kinds of
exceptions with permission for me. My life in a Boston rectory had
been very different from my brothers' lives here. My superior told me
to pretty much bring the life I had with me and make adjustments as
necessary after I arrived.
Well, it's astounding at how few adjustments got made... at least by
me. It was my brothers who accepted the exceptions. The grace and
charity with which they did so was- and continues to be- an
outstanding example of how this chapter can be lived. Not only did
they not murmur (I quite expected that they might,) they simply loved
me, took me for the roaring exception that I am
without further ado. It humbled me then and it humbles me still. I
stand in awe of my brothers, every single one of whom is younger (in
age, not profession,) than me. They are vastly better monks. I
probably couldn't live their life exactly for more than 20 minutes or
so. That does not matter to them. I do. Wow!
That can really make one deeply grateful and yes, my infirmities do
humble me and no, I don't feel important because of the kindness they
show me. I feel only gratuitous love, richly undeserved. That, my
friends is what we get from God, and that is what all our communities
should be giving to the weak ones in our midst. In home, work, school
or cloister we should all be giving the strugglers what I have
Our Congregation requires a legal contract between Community and
Oblate for claustral oblation. Hence, when I transferred everything
here and dropped the diocesan connection, the Chapter formally
approved my embarrassing life of exceptions. I used to think that the
exceptions were all that could be seen, but I know that's not true.
My brothers see Jerome, that's all. Nothing more, nothing less. By
their loving deeds they freely accord me a fullness and equality of
membership that I would never dream of demanding, and they do so
repeatedly. It is they who remind me that I belong here, not the
other way around! They never remind me in a patronizing way, either.
It's more like: "DUH?! You're one of us, you know!" And I am, I
really am, but only by God's grace and that of my brothers, nothing
at all of me.
How I wish all of you could get to know my Community. If you saw them
in action (and me in INaction!) it would preach a far more eloquent
sermon on this chapter than anything I could ever write. By the way,
I surely am accepted by my sisters here, too, but I chose to write
today of the closer ties I have with my own community of brothers.
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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