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Holy Rule for Apr. 12

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the following: Jill, in critical condition and a priest has ben called. Shannon, 27, badly needing to get back to the Faith. JS.
    Message 1 of 144 , Apr 11, 2013

      Prayers, please, for the following:

      Jill, in critical condition and a priest has ben called.

      Shannon, 27, badly needing to get back to the Faith.

      JS. faces a difficult presentation. also discernment and special intention

      Jimmy, job

      B, special intention

      Bev, special intention

      Arjahn, serious health issues, including diabetes

      Dianna, undergoing tests

      Deo gratias M.E. is getting her life organized.

      Deo gratias for past prayers answered

      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 12, August 12, December 12
      Chapter 58: On the Manner of Receiving Sisters

      When she is to be received
      she promises before all in the oratory
      fidelity to monastic life
      and obedience.
      This promise she shall make before God and His Saints,
      so that if she should ever act otherwise,
      she may know that she will be condemned by Him whom she mocks.
      Of this promise of hers let her draw up a document
      in the name of the Saints whose relics are there
      and of the Abbess who is present.
      Let her write this document with her own hand;
      or if she is illiterate, let another write it at her request,
      and let the novice put her mark to it.
      Then let her place it with her own hand upon the altar;
      and when she has placed it there,
      let the novice at once intone this verse:
      "Receive me, O Lord, according to Your word, and I shall live:
      and let me not be confounded in my hope" (Ps. 118[119]:116).
      Let the whole community answer this verse three times
      and add the "Glory be to the Father."
      Then let the novice prostrate herself at each one's feet,
      that they may pray for her.
      And from that day forward
      let her be counted as one of the community.
      If she has any property,
      let her either give it beforehand to the poor
      or by solemn donation bestow it on the monastery,
      reserving nothing at all for herself,
      as indeed she knows that from that day forward
      she will no longer have power even over her own body.
      At once, therefore, in the oratory,
      let her be divested of her own clothes which she is wearing
      and dressed in the clothes of the monastery.
      But let the clothes of which she was divested
      be put aside in the wardrobe and kept there.
      Then if she should ever listen to the persuasions of the devil
      and decide to leave the monastery (which God forbid),
      she may be divested of the monastic clothes and cast out.
      Her document, however,
      which the Abbess has taken from the altar,
      shall not be returned to her, but shall be kept in the monastery.


      It is thrilling to me to know that, more than 1500 years later, we
      are still doing professions in the way St. Benedict did. A few things
      added, but the elements are there: writing and signing the document,
      placing it on the altar, the Suscipe ("Receive me, O Lord...") are all
      tremendously ancient and holy rites. What a privilege we have to
      belong to such a family.

      The Church approves religious rules. This is the basis for asserting
      that our Holy Rule is inspired by the Holy Spirit, because the Church
      gave its seal of approval. The Church, however, is indubitably older
      and often wiser than monastic life. It predates every form of optional religious
      commitment. It is the blessing of the Church which makes official
      monastic life possible for any and all of us.

      This is just a prelude to saying that the wisdom of the Church long
      ago stopped people from making solemn vows, a life-long commitment
      difficult to break, right out of novitiate. Not only does this longer
      program protect people, to a certain extent, from making a mistake,
      it also spares the monastery from having a lot of misfits with chapter
      votes running the show. There are many I have known who left in
      simple vows that I remain eternally grateful for the fact that they
      were never chapter members!

      A year may well have been enough in St. Benedict's time. People had
      vastly shorter life spans, it was a bigger chunk of their lives. They
      also had to grow up more quickly and their options were fewer by far
      than those of our own day.

      Oblates, therefore, can garner a few kernels of truth in this chapter
      about commitment, that bugbear of the post-Word War II generation and
      beyond. Modern people find it terribly hard to commit, some never
      manage it at all. As such, a bit of wisdom older than our own age may
      be very useful in our everyday lives.

      Whether it's a marriage or engagement or job or volunteer chairperson
      position, don't jump at things. Read the Rule, so to speak, three
      times at least! Look, look, look as mindfully as you can at the truth
      and reality of the situation.

      Benedictines are not people afraid of commitment, but we live in a
      world where many are. Our witness here must be care and balance. We
      must resolutely walk BETWEEN the extremes of foolhardy haste and
      crippling fear. In the world of today, that is no small witness and
      no easy task. Pull this one off, and you have a done a service to
      many, not just to yourself!

      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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