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Holy Rule for Apr. 23

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Pat Ciavarella, a faithful friend and reader of these posts, and for all her family and all who mourn her.
    Message 1 of 143 , Apr 22, 2013
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      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Pat Ciavarella, a faithful friend and reader of these posts, and for all her family and all who mourn her.

      Prayers for Brian, Liz and all his family. He needs a long overdue heart valve surgery, but leg infections have delayed it. He had leg surgery on Thursday. Many prayers, he is not doing well.

      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 23, August 23, December 23
      Chapter 65: On the Prior of the Monastery

      To us, therefore, it seems expedient
      for the preservation of peace and charity
      that the Abbot have in his hands
      the full administration of his monastery.
      And if possible let all the affairs of the monastery,
      as we have already arranged,
      be administered by deans according to the Abbot's directions.
      Thus, with the duties being shared by several,
      no one person will become proud.

      But if the circumstances of the place require it,
      or if the community asks for it with reason and with humility,
      and the Abbot judges it to be expedient,
      let the Abbot himself constitute as his Prior
      whomsoever he shall choose
      with the counsel of God-fearing brethren.

      That Prior, however, shall perform respectfully
      the duties enjoined on him by his Abbot
      and do nothing against the Abbot's will or direction;
      for the more he is raised above the rest,
      the more carefully should he observe the precepts of the Rule.

      If it should be found that the Prior has serious faults,
      or that he is deceived by his exaltation and yields to pride,
      or if he should be proved to be a despiser of the Holy Rule,
      let him be admonished verbally up to four times.
      If he fails to amend,
      let the correction of regular discipline be applied to him.
      But if even then he does not reform,
      let him be deposed from the office of Prior
      and another be appointed in his place who is worthy of it.
      And if afterwards he is not quiet and obedient in the community,
      let him even be expelled from the monastery.
      But the Abbot, for his part, should bear in mind
      that he will have to render an account to God
      for all his judgments,
      lest the flame of envy or jealousy be kindled in his soul.


      The overwhelming majority of us, myself included, are never going to
      be a Prior or Prioress. Firm grasp on the obvious there!! What,
      however, may we glean from this chapter? There are at least several

      First, even if your position gives you a certain level of honor,
      never be so stupid as to believe it, to become proud, to take
      yourself far too seriously. Cling to a self-knowledge of your
      limitations, your sins and failings, especially when being praised.

      Yes, we are human, yes, it is nice to hear those things, yes,
      sometimes they even seem close to the truth, but praise, rank and
      honor can be awful traps. Like crack cocaine, they can addict us the
      first time we really give in to them. Great caution is in order here.

      Second, every commitment to Christ, Baptism, Oblation or Profession,
      obliges us to a higher standard of self-control. The Holy Rule,
      because speaking of a superior, uses the phrase "raised above the
      rest." We should read therein that ANY commitment which separates us
      and sets us further apart for the service of God means that we must
      more carefully observe the precepts of the Rule.

      Even though it can be quite annoying to hear, how often someone will say,
      immediately after a litany of transgressions the person has committed, "And
      she is an OBLATE!" (Or Franciscan Third Order, or whatever.) People rightly
      expect more of us because of our religious inclinations and we should
      not disappoint them.

      Third, and perhaps most important of all, no one, save God alone, is
      indispensable. No one. Want to see the change that your removal from
      the scene will effect? Stick your forearm into a bucket of water, and
      then pull it out. Same thing, folks, the waters close right in and
      things go on quite nicely. The higher water level while our arm was
      there was only illusion anyway. This one can work in happy concert
      with the above warning about taking ourselves too seriously. Usually,
      when we THINK we're hot stuff, we aren't, and even if we truly are at
      some point, it is FAR better not to know that, and a LOT easier for
      the spiritual struggle.

      Yes, we ARE important, we are infinitely important to God and, as a
      result, to each other. But what makes us so is holiness and love and
      struggling for virtue, not rank.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • 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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        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.
        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).


        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

        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
        Petersham, MA

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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