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Holy Rule for May 3

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Kyle, for whom we prayed, has died, prayers for his eternal rest and for all his family and all who mourn him. Prayers for the eternal rest of Bishop
    Message 1 of 143 , May 2 5:14 PM
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      +PAX

      Kyle, for whom we prayed, has died, prayers for his eternal rest and for all his family and all who mourn him.

      Prayers for the eternal rest of Bishop Joseph MacFadden and for all his family and all who mourn him.

      Prayers for Mary Ellen, the team, and attendees for guidance and protection at this weekend's retreat - Rachel's Vineyard, providing for the peace and inner healing of those who have experienced the tragedy of abortion.

      Prayers for Mary Eleanor, for careful discernment abnout a big move for her.

      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 2, May 3, September 2
      Prologue (continued)

      Let us arise, then, at last,
      for the Scripture stirs us up, saying,
      "Now is the hour for us to rise from sleep" (Rom. 18:11).
      Let us open our eyes to the deifying light,
      let us hear with attentive ears
      the warning which the divine voice cries daily to us,
      "Today if you hear His voice,
      harden not your hearts" (Ps. 94:8).
      And again,
      "Whoever has ears to hear,
      hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Matt. 11-15; Apoc. 2:7).
      And what does He say?
      "Come, My children, listen to Me;
      I will teach you the fear of the Lord" (Ps. 33:12).
      "Run while you have the light of life,
      lest the darkness of death overtake you" (John 12:35).

      REFLECTION

      Check out the similarities of this section, at the beginning of the
      Holy Rule, and the readings of early Lent, which stress that "now is
      the acceptable time." It brings to mind St. Benedict's later chapter
      which says that the monastic life ought always to have some semblance
      of Lent.

      That perpetual Lent chapter is the source of a lot of grumbling about
      austerity from one camp and cheering about it from another. Both may
      have missed a salient point. Perhaps the greatest element of
      perpetual Lent has less to do with austerity- even the monastic fast
      did not last all year. What are perpetually in style are repentance,
      wakefulness
      and self-examination.

      Monastic life withers in either smugness or a rut. What St. Benedict
      wants us to do is always to try and stay at that serious moment of
      taking inventory that many of us feel at Lent's beginning. We need to
      always be checking what needs to be cleaned up and we need to be
      prepared, even a bit eager, to start working on it. This is why a
      daily examination of conscience is so necessary. Compline, the
      traditional liturgical place for such examens, is a very apt place
      for same. As we prepare for sleep, which prefigures death, we prepare
      also for death, by examining our faults and asking forgiveness.

      The Holy Rule, like Lent, is by no means the gateway to an easier
      life, but to a holier one. As we actually grow in holiness much of it
      will become easier, more natural to us. But until that time, it is a
      struggle and, in unconquered areas, it remains something of a
      struggle for all of our lives. What's hard about that struggle isn't
      fasting or penance, but changing ourselves. Austere practices are
      just a means to that end, not ends in themselves.

      The whole idea of Lent and the Holy Rule is lasting change for the
      better. Lent is a seasonal construct to get us to begin anew, the
      Holy Rule says that beginning anew must be a daily thing. Lent is an
      attempt to get us to do for forty days what we ought to have been
      doing all year. The Holy Rule is a way to do what we ought to do all
      year, every day.

      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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