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Holy Rule for May 14

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual and bodily health of the following, for all theri loved ones and all who take care of them: John s grandmother, 86,
    Message 1 of 143 , May 13 4:59 PM
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the spiritual and bodily health of the following, for all theri loved ones and all who take care of them:

      John's grandmother, 86, inflammation and swelling in the breast area.

      Cindy, 56, diagnosed with cancer and very afraid. Awaiting MRI appointment and to begin chemo and radiation

      Why not turn it into a month of prayer for all our Mothers, Grandmothers and
      Aunts? Between now and Father's Day, next month, offer some special prayers
      every day for all of them, living and dead. The do the same for a month after
      Father's Day. We owe them all so much.

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Edith Alice, and for all her family and
      all who mourn her.

      Prayers for Joy and her family.

      Prayers for Adolfo and Carmen, spiritual regeneration.

      Prayers for vocations to St. Mary's Monastery and to all our monasteries.

      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 13, May 14, September 13
      Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be

      In her teaching
      the Abbess should always follow the Apostle's formula:
      "Reprove, entreat, rebuke" (2 Tim. 4:2);
      threatening at one time and coaxing at another
      as the occasion may require,
      showing now the stern countenance of a mistress,
      now the loving affection of a mother.
      That is to say,
      it is the undisciplined and restless
      whom she must reprove rather sharply;
      it is the obedient, meek and patient
      whom she must entreat to advance in virtue;
      while as for the negligent and disdainful,
      these we charge her to rebuke and correct.

      And let her not shut her eyes to the faults of offenders;
      but, since she has the authority,
      let her cut out those faults by the roots
      as soon as they begin to appear,
      remembering the fate of Heli, the priest of Silo (1 Kings 2-4).
      The well-disposed and those of good understanding
      let her correct with verbal admonition the first and second time.
      But bold, hard, proud and disobedient characters
      she should curb at the very beginning of their ill-doing
      by stripes and other bodily punishments,
      knowing that it is written,
      "the fool is not corrected with words" (Prov. 18:2; 29:19),
      and again,
      "Beat your son with the rod,
      and you will deliver his soul from death"(Prov. 23:13-14).

      REFLECTION

      As our world grows more populated and less personalist, "One size
      fits all" becomes a favorite chant of marketing. We all know that's
      usually not true, and it is surely not true of parenting or
      governing, as St. Benedict points out. This chapter firmly
      contradicts the lie of such marketing. We are all individuals, all
      treasures with different needs. Generic brand parenting will not do.

      I was a miserable failure at discipline when teaching high school
      sophomore English. I am sure it is an experience neither they nor I
      would like to repeat. I tried to treat them like college students or
      adults, a point they had not reached. In my naiveté, I expected them
      to respond in kind. When they didn't, matters escalated between us, but not
      into anything that did much good.

      I was terribly at fault: I didn't see who they were, I gave them what *I*
      would have liked to have had, but I was already in my mid-thirties with
      a lot of life experience. I wasn't serving their needs, because I didn't
      know who they were, nor, in that first year, did I even know how to find
      out! So, like many before me, I substituted what I would want or need and
      proclaimed that one size would fit all. Wrong! NOT!

      Any abbess or parent who wants to try my way, not St. Benedict's,
      will quickly find that it is as hard on them as it is on their charges.
      My year of high school teaching was horrible and I hated it. My
      students hated it, too. It was terrible for both of us at many, many
      points. The light that entered in from time to time, the genuine
      enjoyment of each other was only a flash that appeared rarely, faded
      soon. I pray for those kids (and for those who taught me!) every day
      of my life.

      St. Benedict is not only moderate and balanced, he sees the person
      clearly. He is a personalist of the first rank. Practice his
      principles of government without the checks and balances of this
      portion and you will be very displeased with the results. It
      sometimes takes St. Benedict a while to make his point. Cut him short
      before he has, and you will often wind up very sorry. Always let him
      finish: the whole is a thing of beauty, but the parts may fall far
      short of that.

      Mercifully, God alone can bring good out of anything, so He can even
      use our wrong-headedness to bring others to Him.
      To a certain point, some people thrive on a lot of leeway, others do
      not. Some people need rigid order, others will wither under that. A
      superior who is into super control will soon be left with none but
      those who need that and a few conflicted types who can at least
      endure it.

      A superior who is too easy-going can also do harm. Sad is the
      community where the only thing that will ever get all the horses back into
      the barn is death, and a few of such exist.

      This is not so different from the message throughout the Holy Rule:
      concern for the other, not the self, eyes on God for the good of all! And, as
      the old-timers would say: "Keep your eyes on your own choir stall." Trust me,
      you will ALWAYS find plenty to keep you busy there if you are honest
      with yourself!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      jeromeleo@...
      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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