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Holy Rule for Apr. 22

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the following: NS and JS, peace and special intention. Marie, broken neck, on respirator, surgery on Monday. June, heart valve
    Message 1 of 143 , Apr 21, 2013
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the following:

      NS and JS, peace and special intention.

      Marie, broken neck, on respirator, surgery on Monday.

      June, heart valve surgery on Tuesday.

      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 22, August 22, December 22
      Chapter 65: On the Prior of the Monastery

      It happens all too often that the constituting of a Prior
      gives rise to grave scandals in monasteries.
      For there are some who become inflated with the evil spirit of pride
      and consider themselves second Abbots.
      By usurping power
      they foster scandals and cause dissensions in the community.
      Especially does this happen
      in those places where the Prior is constituted
      by the same Bishop or the same Abbots
      who constitute the Abbot himself.
      What an absurd procedure this is
      can easily be seen;
      for it gives the Prior an occasion for becoming proud
      from the very time of his constitution,
      by putting the thought into his mind
      that he is freed from the authority of his Abbot:
      "For," he will say to himself, "you were constituted
      by the same persons who constitute the Abbot."
      From this source are stirred up envy, quarrels, detraction,
      rivalry, dissensions and disorders.
      For while the Abbot and the Prior are at variance,
      their souls cannot but be endangered by this dissension;
      and those who are under them,
      currying favor with one side or the other,
      go to ruin.
      The guilt for this dangerous state of affairs
      rests on the heads of those
      whose action brought about such disorder.

      REFLECTION

      When I read the line about those governed "currying favor with one
      side or the other," I thought immediately of the children of divorce.
      Children, however, are quite perceptive, and it is not just divorce,
      but any noticeable drift between parents that they will manipulate.
      That is why, in family and monastery, unity in authority is very
      important.

      St. Benedict tries to guarantee this by letting the Abbot choose his
      own Prior, parents can do it by a struggle to overcome their own
      personal differences for the good of the children. This is not to say
      that the parents can necessarily get over their problems, but that
      they must at least try to be consistent with the children, for the
      children's sakes. As St. Benedict points out, this choosing of sides
      in child or monastic, can lead to ruin.

      Why does it lead to ruin? Because manipulation to some degree puts us
      in charge of ourselves, something no child and very, very few
      monastics are strong enough to be. As St. Bernard of Clairvaux
      said: "The one who has himself for a master has a fool for a
      disciple."

      One reason we took obedience upon ourselves was our
      knowledge of our own weakness. This knowledge can fade and dim with
      time, we can be convinced we know better. That is a risky conclusion
      to make. Our obedience is a real protection from harm.

      Benedictines not only are not in charge of themselves, but, as the
      Holy Rule defines cenobitic community life, they "desire" this lack
      of control. They "desire to live under a Rule and an Abbot."

      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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