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Holy Rule for Apr. 8

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, that Elaine gets the job God wants for her. Prayers please for safe full term pregnancies and births for Monique and Michela. They are
    Message 1 of 143 , Apr 7, 2013
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, that Elaine gets the job God wants for her.

      Prayers please for safe full term pregnancies and births for Monique and Michela. They are due four days apart.

      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 8, August 8, December 8
      Chapter 55: On the Clothes and Shoes of the Brethren


      For bedding let this suffice:
      a mattress, a blanket, a coverlet and a pillow.

      The beds, moreover, are to be examined frequently by the Abbot,
      to see if any private property be found in them.
      If anyone should be found to have something
      that he did not receive from the Abbot,
      let him undergo the most severe discipline.

      And in order that this vice of private ownership
      may be cut out by the roots,
      the Abbot should provide all the necessary articles:
      cowl, tunic, stockings, shoes, belt,
      knife, stylus, needle, handkerchief, writing tablets;
      that all pretext of need may be taken away.
      Yet the Abbot should always keep in mind
      the sentence from the Acts of the Apostles
      that "distribution was made to each according as anyone had need"
      (Acts 4:35).
      In this manner, therefore,
      let the Abbot consider weaknesses of the needy
      and not the ill-will of the envious.
      But in all his decisions
      let him think about the retribution of God.

      REFLECTION

      There is a tendency, both within the cloister and without, to hunt
      for dramatic ascetic practices, while ignoring the truly more
      difficult matters that lack the fanfare. Lights! Camera! Action! We
      must always be wary of the Nora Desmonds of our hearts, who are
      always willing to say, a la Sunset Boulevard: "I'm ready for my close-
      up now, Mr. DeMille." How we do love to star, even at self-
      abnegation... Sigh...

      Well, there's two bad pieces of new for Ms. Desmond et al. First the
      penances we choose are usually not the most effective ones. The
      best ones are imposed by God or our situation of daily duty and they
      become tremendous means of grace when we patiently embrace them.
      Second, the ones we do choose can be terrible risks for pride, which
      undoes our efforts so insidiously.

      What on earth does this have to do with the current chapter? Easy-
      and very, very hard, too! The great ascesis here is to aim at
      limiting ourselves to "all the necessary articles." There is a
      challenge here for everyone from Abbot Primate to newest Oblate
      novice. It is a challenge we shall likely never meet fully in life,
      so it is something we can always be profitably picking at!

      Do you know anyone at all, in any vocation, who has absolutely
      nothing beyond what they need? I have known a few; alas I cannot
      say it of myself. I think this is an area where we can all look at a challenging
      and
      grace-filled ascetic struggle that is placed on us by the Holy Rule.

      Down-sizing actually feels great, once one gets over the consumerist
      terror of doing so! One will quickly find that, in this area, less
      really *IS* more, (unlike poetry and art, architecture and liturgy,
      alas...! Minimalism there gets old fast...) We become freer when we
      let go of things which hold us more than we realize.

      We can get buried in things we are saving to complete unfinalized
      plans that will never come to fruition, and while we save them, we
      are disheartened by our own failure to use them. Jettison, m'dears,
      jettison. As the one Desert Father used to say to the brethren,"Flee,
      brothers, flee!" so do I say: "Jettison!"

      This has the further charm of fitting well into a depressive's sofa
      paralysis, too. Recall how I told you about that resolution to make
      three things, no matter how tiny, better each day? Works here, too!
      And you will often find to your delight that the trip to dumpster or thrift
      shop donation includes 7, 8, or more things!

      Keep chipping away and the mountain of our false hearts' desires,
      beloveds. And one day may all those chips be ground to sand and may
      we stand together on level, smooth quartz
      sand, confronted by nothing but the dazzling ocean of God's
      unfathomable mercy and love!

      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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