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Holy Rule for May 4

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the spiritual and bodily well-being of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Michael and Genny LoPiccolo, he
    Message 1 of 143 , May 3, 2013
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      Prayers for the spiritual and bodily well-being of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

      Michael and Genny LoPiccolo, he needs a further two hours of prostate surgery and she needs a pacemaker with third wire and defibrillator.

      11 year old Natalie - She has suffered with epilepsy all her life, Recently she has gotten very ill, her body hurting and swollen to the point that she is so weak and can hardly walk. She just spent 6 days at Children's Hospital but they are not able to find the source of her illness.

      Bernadette, as she struggles with memory loss, illness and a widow's loneliness.

      Herb and Cathie, both are fighting cancer. Cathie has been given a short time to live and Herb is not doing well either. Herb is on palliative care and in a lot of pain so they did radiation today to shrink one of the tumours that they think is causing him all the pain. Prayers for Pat also. Pat is Herb's wife and Cathie's sister.

      Brian, pursuing consecration as a diocesan hermit.

      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 3, May 4, September 3
      Prologue (continued)

      And the Lord, seeking his laborer
      in the multitude to whom He thus cries out,
      says again,
      "Who is the one who will have life,
      and desires to see good days" (Ps. 33:13)?
      And if, hearing Him, you answer,
      "I am the one,"
      God says to you,
      "If you will have true and everlasting life,
      keep your tongue from evil
      and your lips that they speak no guile.
      Turn away from evil and do good;
      seek after peace and pursue it" (Ps. 33:14-15).
      And when you have done these things,
      My eyes shall be upon you
      and My ears open to your prayers;
      and before you call upon Me,
      I will say to you,
      'Behold, here I am'" (Ps. 33:16; Is. 65:24; 58:9).

      What can be sweeter to us, dear ones,
      than this voice of the Lord inviting us?
      Behold, in His loving kindness
      the Lord shows us the way of life.


      The tenderness of St. Benedict, as well as his tender image of God,
      is evident all through this portion, harking back to his fatherly
      affection at the beginning of the Prologue. The intensity, the
      sweetness of the last lines today is so great that it borders on too
      much. This must be St. Benedict at his all but gushingly most
      sincere, and that is a good time to listen with extra care to him,
      since he doesn't just gush on every other page!

      In the midst of all this sweetness, look at the question he puts in
      the Lord's mouth: "Who is the one who will have life and desires to
      see good days?" Granted, it is a quote from the Psalms, but St.
      Benedict could have used something else, or written his own, or
      employed a rhetorical question. He didn't, though, he used this one
      and that is most fortunate.

      He does not have God in the teeming marketplace hollering out: "Who
      wants to be a monk? Who wants to be a nun? Who wants to be an
      Oblate?" (Chuckle: if God DID call out "Who wants to be an Oblate?",
      how many people you know would yell back: "What's an Oblate??") No
      doubt, for some on the monastic way, those may have been the first
      questions. For many others, it was not nearly that direct.

      This question allows us to ponder (if God and you will pardon the
      phrase,) the Divine sneakiness. How many of the stories we hear of
      how people came to the monastic way and were drawn to the Benedictine
      life give witness to God's loving "sneakiness." God cannot lie and
      His query here is not a lie, but He can certainly CHOOSE the truth He
      uses to draw us. Like any parent of a stubborn child, He knows that
      some approaches work better than others.

      There is a lot more than sneakiness in this question, however. How
      many times, when speaking of monastic life, or married life, or any
      vocation, do we stress its harsher aspects? To some extent, monastic
      life and married life get the brunt of this: "Oh, it isn't easy,
      blah, blah, blah...It's no cinch, there's a lot of hardship." OK,
      there is, no problem there, but there is also a lot of sweetness if
      any vocation is done right.

      How many people would have gotten married if the proposal included a
      litany of night-feedings and diaper pails, much less if the proposal
      could have announced the birth of a severely handicapped child or the
      paralysis of the spouse or the tragedy of an auto accident far in the
      future? We do both marriage and monastic life a great harm when we
      emphasize only the difficult things.

      There IS joy in marriage, great joy, and there is in the monastic
      way, too. Just like any good proposal, God asks us to respond to the
      good things He is offering and they are not slight!

      By the way, a traditional joke used when a monastic is writing his or her
      profession chart is to tell the person to leave a lot of space between the
      lines: so God can add things later!! He has a way of doing that, with or
      without the spaces between the lines!!

      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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