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Holy Rule for Apr. 1

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Pryaers for the following: Margaret, for whom we prayed, is not doing well. Prayers for her and all the staff caring for her, and esp. for her son,
    Message 1 of 143 , Mar 31, 2013
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      Pryaers for the following:

      Margaret, for whom we prayed, is not doing well. Prayers for her and all the staff caring for her, and esp. for her son, Ordice, heart and other health issues, and all her family.

      Cathy, cancer is vigourously back, mastectomy next week, fluid on her lungs and facing more cheno.

      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

      April 1, August 1, December 1
      Chapter 50: On Sisters Who are Working
      Far From the Oratory or Are on a Journey

      Those sisters who are working at a great distance
      and cannot get to the oratory at the proper time --
      the Abbess judging that such is the case --
      shall perform the Work of God
      in the place where they are working,
      bending their knees in reverence before God.

      Likewise those who have been sent on a journey
      shall not let the appointed Hours pass by,
      but shall say the Office by themselves as well as they can
      and not neglect to render the task of their service.


      Here's a chapter that speaks loud and clear to Oblates in the world.
      We must carry our monastery and, to a certain
      extent, even its choir, in our hearts. It is a fact that we are away
      from the monastery most of the time. We may wish it were otherwise,
      God, for His own reasons, may not.

      Hence, we need to study with special attention the means to carry not
      just the monastery and choir, but the entire Holy Rule and all of our
      Order in our hearts. There must our cloisters be built. The reins of
      obedience for us come not from walls and stones, not from the
      constant presence of a community to help us, but from our free will
      and loving gift, from the mindful vigilance of our hearts. This
      cloister of the heart, if nurtured, can become in truth a "paradisus
      claustralis", a cloistered paradise! But it does take time!

      A perennial concern of Oblates is how to say the Office in the world,
      or how much of it to say. Actually, that concern is SO perennial that
      one can easily get bogged down in it, spinning one's wheels! Satan
      doesn't care whether you get caught by temptations to murder or by
      other temptations, so long as you get caught!

      The answer here is loud and clear, both terribly simple and (like the
      perfection of so many simple things,) not a little daunting: "as well
      as they can." Now look at this precept, really look at it. That means
      that you will never be able to solemnly intone the Hours in many, if
      not most of the places you live and work. Which also means that God,
      of all the most merciful and loving, clearly understands the limits
      of your life.

      I hesitate to mention depression too often, but because it is my
      personal experience and I know that it has tremendous connections to
      the spiritual life for good or ill, I'll risk it! Ever hear about one
      of the symptoms of depression being trouble concentrating? Let me
      tell you, beloveds, when I can deny any other sign, I can never deny
      that one.

      Twenty minutes of memorized prayers and Psalms takes an
      hour or more. And certainly NOT because one is swept up into the
      seventh heaven! Quite the reverse! One's mind jumps everywhere, like
      an agile monkey on speed leaping from tree to tree in the canopy of
      an endlessly confusing jungle. The words are just repeated, with so
      little attention, feeling or meaning. And even that is a crushing
      effort at times. Sigh...

      If you are at all like me, you will feel badly about that: "Oh, no!
      I've been distracted at prayer again..." Don't make it any worse than
      it already is: God fully knows WHY we are distracted, why we are
      limited by anything within or without. So long as you didn't deliberately
      intend and set out to pray mindlessly, don't worry. (And no one, I hope, does
      that!) God may actually permit those distractions to humble us. Just calm
      down and do the best you can.

      I have long since resigned myself to ruefully chuckling that
      often I am no better at all than a mindless, mechanical prayer wheel,
      like those spun in Tibet. I hope God accepts all our prayer wheel
      days and I really think He does! So long as we are not deliberately
      slovenly or careless about prayer, it delights God, and, as one of
      the Fathers observed, even distracted prayer makes the devil mad!

      A quick suggestion as a way to bring monastery and choir into our
      busy day. This is one of my favorites, one of two prayers proper to
      the morning hour of Prime. It is easily memorized and therefore VERY
      portable! It can sneak into the tiniest of places in a busy day and
      carry the heart right to God and its cloister of peace and truth.

      " O Lord God, King of heaven and earth, be pleased this day to direct
      and sanctify, to rule and govern our hearts and bodies, our thoughts,
      words and deeds according to Your law and in obedience to Your
      commandments. Now and forever may we attain salvation and freedom by
      Your help, O Savior of the world, Who lives and reigns forever and
      ever. Amen"

      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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