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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 144 , Apr 7, 2013

      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.


      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
      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
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for the at least 37 killed and 15 injured in a plane crash in Kyrgyzstan. For the eternal rest of the dead, the recovery of the wounded and for
      Message 144 of 144 , Jan 16



        Prayers for the at least 37 killed and 15 injured in a plane crash in Kyrgyzstan. For the eternal rest of the dead, the recovery of the wounded and for the families of all. Prayers, too, for those who lost homes or property, half of the village was destroyed by the crash.


        The Salesians invite all to join them in praying a novena to Mary Immaculate, Help of Christians, for the release of kidnapped Fr. Tom in Yemen. The novena is from January 15-23.


        Prayers for the eternal rest of JP. For whom we prayed, and for all his family, especially his son, and all who mourn him.


        Prayers for John, facing two hours of dental implant surgery on Tuesday, may all go well and may he recover quickly.


        Prayers for Donna, on her birthday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!


        Prayers for the eternal rest of Br. Augustine, 58, of the Maronite monks in Petersham, Holy Trinity Monastery, and for his Community, family and all who mourn him.


        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.

        January 17, May 18, September 17
        Chapter 3: On Calling the Brethren for Counsel

        In all things, therefore, let all follow the Rule as guide,
        and let no one be so rash as to deviate from it.
        Let no one in the monastery follow his own heart's fancy;
        and let no one presume to contend with his Abbot
        in an insolent way or even outside of the monastery.
        But if anyone should presume to do so,
        let him undergo the discipline of the Rule.
        At the same time,
        the Abbot himself should do all things in the fear of God
        and in observance of the Rule,
        knowing that beyond a doubt
        he will have to render an account of all his decisions
        to God, the most just Judge.

        But if the business to be done in the interests of the monastery
        be of lesser importance,
        let him take counsel with the seniors only.
        It is written,
        "Do everything with counsel,
        and you will not repent when you have done it" (Eccles. 32:24).


        The key here is not to contend insolently; there is no proscription
        against telling the Abbot one feels something is amiss, so long as it
        is done respectfully and humbly. We are Benedictines, not fascists;
        we have a Father, not a Fuhrer.

        Human nature being what it is, people are usually more prone to cite
        the Abbot's responsibility to seek counsel than they are to cite the
        equally important proscription against contending with one's Abbot!
        There's a cure for that and many other ills buried within this
        chapter, a telling phrase whose observance promises peace. That
        little gem urges the monastics not to follow their "own heart's

        Follow that gem and peace abounds! For one thing, whether abbot or
        monastic, parent or child, boss or employee, the focus of the
        relationship ceases to become self. None of us is anywhere near the
        big deal we'd either like to be or think ourselves to be! Much of
        what seems earth-shattering to us is really small stuff, indeed.

        This is so important to monastic struggle because it is so intricately
        interwoven with detachment and holy indifference. We must learn how
        to hold onto our inner peace, how to safeguard it from damage at the
        hands of trivia. An abject TERRIBLE day for us, one when we are so
        hurt or angry that the world seems to have stopped, is just another average
        day for the rest of the community. Until, of course we decide we ARE
        the center of the universe and ruin it for them... Cling to that
        knowledge of trivia and less will suffer!

        At that point of recognizing trivia, truth and therefore, humility
        enter into the equation. We need very good "trivia
        detectors" and their default setting must be aimed at ourselves,
        rarely cast elsewhere except in cases of really great need. We can
        keep those detectors more than amply busy just in our own hearts
        and wills! We need to know deception, falsity, trivia, but it is
        essential to know them first in ourselves.

        If these good tools of detection are aimed only at others, the result
        will be pride and a fall, not humility and truth. Jesus said "I am
        the Truth," and to Him we must prefer nothing. Hence, our first
        desire must always be the truth and the truth is that the earth does
        not revolve around us as an axis!

        Our age, particularly, has embraced the idea of "Follow your bliss!"
        Well, maybe...sometimes.... but maybe not, too. Our "bliss" is no
        guarantee of infallibility. Years ago, and for many years of my life,
        I thought my "bliss" would be very different from where I finally wound up.

        As a handy rule of thumb, I would say that the will of God quite
        often looks nothing like bliss at first. Hence, confusing bliss with
        the divine will can be very risky. The will of God often BECOMES
        bliss when we are in the midst of following it, or in hindsight, but we
        frequently have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into that compliance!

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA




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