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Holy Rule for Mar. 17

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX A blessed feast of St. Patrick to all, special prayers for our troubled Church in Ireland and prayers that the truly religious aspects of today are
    Message 1 of 143 , Mar 16, 2013
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      A blessed feast of St. Patrick to all, special prayers for our troubled Church
      in Ireland and prayers that the truly religious aspects of today are restored.

      Please say a prayer for the eternal rest of my dear mentor, Bro. Patrick
      Creamer, OSB. He taught me so much of what I pass on and he always LOVED his

      Pryaers for the eternal rest of Jean, 55, a pastoral associate who died of cancer, and for all her family and all who mourn her, esp. Emilia.

      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 17, July 17, November 16
      Chapter 38: On the Weekly Reader

      The meals of the sisters should not be without reading.
      Nor should the reader be
      anyone who happens to take up the book;
      but there should be a reader for the whole week,
      entering that office on Sunday.
      Let this incoming reader,
      after Mass and Communion,
      ask all to pray for her
      that God may keep her from the spirit of pride
      And let her intone the following verse,
      which shall be said three times by all in the oratory:
      "O Lord, open my lips,
      and my mouth shall declare Your praise."
      Then, having received a blessing,
      let her enter on the reading.

      And let absolute silence be kept at table,
      so that no whispering may be heard
      nor any voice except the reader's.
      As to the things they need while they eat and drink,
      let the sisters pass them to one another
      so that no one need ask for anything.
      If anything is needed, however,
      let it be asked for by means of some audible sign
      rather than by speech.
      Nor shall anyone at table presume to ask questions
      about the reading or anything else,
      lest that give occasion for talking;
      except that the Superior may perhaps wish
      to say something briefly for the purpose of edification.

      The sister who is reader for the week
      shall take a little ablution before she begins to read,
      on account of the Holy Communion
      and lest perhaps the fast be hard for her to bear.
      She shall take her meal afterwards
      with the kitchen and table servers of the week.

      The sisters are not to read or chant in order,
      but only those who edify their hearers.


      It is a safe bet that Oblates who don't live alone rarely eat in silence, so
      it would be easy to ask what on earth this chapter has for them, for all of us,
      in fact. Easy! Another reminder to bless every action and service, no matter how
      small is here. So is the kindhearted father Benedict: let the reader have a
      little something before reading, so the hunger doesn't overwhelm. (It is
      funny how quickly we become accustomed to eating at EXACTLY this or that time...
      Twenty minutes later can start some stomach rumblings!) A third and perhaps
      less obvious point is that, when it comes to the spiritual life and its
      nourishment, St. Benedict does not like to waste time. He makes judicious use of
      the time we feed our bodies to feed our hearts, minds and souls!

      Let's start with that wasted time idea.. Look at some of the other areas we
      waste time actively, or passively, because we have no choice. Grocery store
      lines come to mind, so do waiting for elevators or trains or buses, to say
      nothing of
      riding on same. An excellent opportunity for silent prayer! One could also
      carry a small book all the time, popping it out when the occasions arise. I used
      to study college texts in line at the store. I was working full-time and I
      needed every minute. But we all need every minute to grow spiritually, because
      we don't know how many of those minutes we have!

      Driving, if one has a tape or cd deck in the car, can be a time to "make up"
      for some of that lectio divina we never seem to have enough hours in a day to
      finish. I speak as one formerly hopelessly addicted to rock 'n roll oldies- I
      was a radio DJ, after all- there are a lot of tapes I could have played that
      would have done far more for me than the Beach Boys or the Dave Clark 5!
      (Though I will always hold both dear!) No radio or
      tape in your car? Make sure you have a Rosary.. There's plenty of time for one
      and you will find that traffic jams, while still aggravating, can be less so
      when something worthwhile to do is close at hand.

      Oblates who live alone surely can play a tape of reading while they eat, but
      I strongly feel that even families, if the children are old enough to
      understand, can glean something here. What about a brief, very brief reading at
      the beginning of each meal, right after grace? Could be most anything, but the
      Saint of the Day, a free e list, has perfect length Saint bios with a quote and
      short point or two to ponder. (Subscribe at: _http://www.americancatholic.org_
      (http://www.americancatholic.org/) ) You and your family will learn about the
      Saints, about the faith. This can be done in less than 3 minutes or so, then
      (hopefully!) discussion and questions follow.

      You might, also, try a different kind of "silence" at meals. What about a
      "fast" from all talk that doesn't praise or compliment, an occasional meal when
      you agree to do nothing but tell each other the good things you appreciate about
      each member? Not shabby! Or maybe a meal when we never mention ourselves,
      only others at table? There are all kinds of tricks to turn conversation into
      something saving rather than harming, and total silence is only one approach!

      And don't forget that little gem about blessing every action. If grace before
      meals (maybe even after, too!) is not already a custom, make it so. This is
      not turning your family into monastics, it is a basic Christian practice that we
      should never have lost.

      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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