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Holy Rule for Apr. 10

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for K., discerning and needing guidance. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God s will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent,
    Message 1 of 143 , Apr 9, 2013
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      +PAX

      Prayers for K., discerning and needing guidance.

      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 10, August 10, December 10

      Chapter 57: On the Artisans of the Monastery

      If there are artisans in the monastery,
      let them practice their crafts with all humility,
      provided the Abbot has given permission.
      But if any one of them becomes conceited
      over his skill in his craft,
      because he seems to be conferring a benefit on the monastery,
      let him be taken from his craft
      and no longer exercise it unless,
      after he has humbled himself,
      the Abbot again gives him permission.

      If any of the work of the craftsmen is to be sold,
      those responsible for the sale
      must not dare to practice any fraud.
      Let them always remember Ananias and Saphira,
      who incurred bodily death (Acts 5:1-11),
      lest they and all who perpetrate fraud
      in monastery affairs
      suffer spiritual death.
      And in the prices let not the sin of avarice creep in,
      but let the goods always be sold a little cheaper
      than they can be sold by people in the world,
      "that in all things God may be glorified" (1 Peter 4:11).

      REFLECTION

      One of my favorite quotes from G. K. Chesterton is: "The artistic
      temperament is a disease which afflicts amateurs." Amen!!!

      The true artist is marked by humility, not because of low self-
      esteem, but because of a healthy dose of reality, a firm conviction
      that one's gift has been given by God and given with an eye to the
      service of all. Christian art, in any form, has no meaning at all
      outside of the glory of God and the betterment of the community.

      For an artisan to become proud about this would be as ludicrous as for a
      priest to be proud of his ability to consecrate, or a lay person proud
      of their ability to baptize. Sorry, folks! Doesn't come from us.
      Comes from God and we have to always remember our own littleness in
      receiving such wonders.

      A wrong attitude towards one's gift can quickly turn what God
      intended to be a boon to the Christian community into a very large
      and unmanageable human cross. Unfortunately, this sort of cross is
      not rare. Prima donnas of either gender are all too numerous!

      Art matters in communities, it must be treasured and held dear, because
      it is a gift from a loving God. But art must always and
      everywhere matter less than the people performing or enjoying it. The
      brothers and sisters come first, and they do so from a theological imperative
      of charity, much, much more intense than any human reason concept of art
      or canon of aesthetics. Dump on your brother or sister in the name of art and
      the result for the one dumping is pathetic, indeed.

      Furthermore, in one sense, the artist must matter least of all, must disappear
      behind the gift, must not insist on being thrust into a foreground spotlight.
      When a person does liturgy correctly, they vanish behind
      the veil of vesture and rubric. They become icon bearers and what is seen is no
      longer Pat or Jason, but acolyte and priest. It ought to be so with
      artists, but it ought to be so with any gift or skill God has
      graciously given us. "He must increase, I must decrease..."

      As soon as we forget that, our gift becomes a weight dragging us
      downwards to potentially ultimate loss, rather than helping us to
      ascend the heights. Good superiors can see this and stop it, but not all
      superiors have that knack! Let us pray that our gifts will always be focused
      by the wise and loving hand of some realist, to whom God has given
      the gift of loving truthfulness!

      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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