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Holy Rule for Mar. 21

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX A blessed feast of the Passing of St. Benedict to all! Prayers for all Benedictines and Oblates, please. Deo gratias, Michael L:oPiccolo has his catheter
    Message 1 of 143 , Mar 20, 2013
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      +PAX

      A blessed feast of the Passing of St. Benedict to all! Prayers for all
      Benedictines and Oblates, please.

      Deo gratias, Michael L:oPiccolo has his catheter removed. So far so good, prayers that all gets back to normal for him.

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following:

      Christy's son, who tiok his own life, and for Christy and all his family and all who mourn him.

      Mary's husband and all his family and all who mourn him, esp. Mary.

      Prayers for the following:

      Kathy, her home burned to the ground and she lost everything, including her beloved dogs. She had no fire insurance.

      Doris, 85, having heart valve surgery tomorrow.

      Stephen, struggling with alcoholism and staying on the right path.

      Brie, corneal irritation and scrapes on her inner eyelid.

      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 21, July 21, November 20
      Chapter 42: That No One Speak After Compline

      Monastics ought to be zealous for silence at all times,
      but especially during the hours of the night.
      For every season, therefore,
      whether there be fasting or two meals,
      let the program be as follows:


      If it be a season when there are two meals,
      then as soon as they have risen from supper
      they shall all sit together,
      and one of them shall read the Conferences
      or the Lives of the Fathers
      or something else that may edify the hearers;
      not the Heptateuch or the Books of Kings, however,
      because it will not be expedient for weak minds
      to hear those parts of Scripture at that hour;
      but they shall be read at other times.


      If it be a day of fast,
      then having allowed a short interval after Vespers
      they shall proceed at once to the reading of the Conferences,
      as prescribed above;
      four or five pages being read, or as much as time permits,
      so that during the delay provided by this reading
      all may come together,
      including those who may have been occupied
      in some work assigned them.


      When all, therefore, are gathered together,
      let them say Compline;
      and when they come out from Compline,
      no one shall be allowed to say anything from that time on.
      And if anyone should be found evading this rule of silence,
      let her undergo severe punishment.
      An exception shall be made
      if the need of speaking to guests should arise
      or if the Abbess should give someone an order.
      But even this should be done with the utmost gravity
      and the most becoming restraint.


      REFLECTION

      I certainly can sing and have sung the praises of the Grand Silence. It
      is lovely and warm and wonderful and familiar and comforting. All of
      that! But I also know that for many Oblates to read those words will
      only underscore painfully the fact that many can NOT have such a
      silence to restore them. So, what about them? What does this chapter
      have for those whose lives and vocations make Grand Silence an
      impossible dream?

      Well, first, and most briefly, we all have to seek out and cherish
      the moments of silence and solitude that may find us from time to
      time. Our society teaches us to be surrounded by noise. There may be
      times we are all but unaware of that we can diminish that noise, or
      when its removal may surprise us. Learn to make the most of such
      times! Try as best you can to increase them, so long as you are not
      stepping on the toes of others, like your family!

      But, perhaps even more importantly, those who are denied this silence need to be
      keenly aware that the sacrifice of a thing often gives greater spiritual growth
      than its possession would. That is,
      admittedly, terribly cold comfort, but it is so very true. The
      longing heart, the broken heart, the unfulfilled heart, these are all
      very ripe fields for the love and mercy of God. Not that such mercy
      and love will necessarily be felt! Often, quite the reverse!


      God loves the broken heart with the most tender of compassions: its breached
      walls make His entry easier.
      That is why trust and faith are so important at times of deprivation
      or feelings of desolation or aridity.. It is through trust that we reap the
      benefits, through
      knowing, even though it may not make us feel any better, that Christ
      is mercy, is not mean, is not absent and is NEVER uncaring. Never.
      As St. John Chrysostom said: "God is never the enemy of His creatures."

      Jesus told St. Faustina that He was even more close to her in times
      of desolation, when she could not feel Him, than He was in the
      closest of ecstasies. He also told her, when she was in the dull ache
      of suffering days that seemed endless, that in heaven she would long
      for such days. Why? Because then she would know their worth!

      Trust me, beloveds, I know how this can sound. There have been (and
      still are!) times in my life when hearing words like those I write
      this morning could only trigger aversion in me. But they are true.
      Maddening, I know, but true......!


      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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