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Holy Rule for July 23

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX 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 March 23, July 23,
    Message 1 of 102 , Jul 22, 2013
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      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

      March 23, July 23, November 22
      Chapter 43: On Those Who Come Late to the Work of God or to Table

      Anyone who does not come to table before the verse,
      so that all together may say the verse and the oration
      and all sit down to table at the same time --
      anyone who
      through his own carelessness or bad habit
      does not come on time
      shall be corrected for this up to the second time.
      If then he does not amend,
      he shall not be allowed to share in the common table,
      but shall be separated from the company of all
      and made to eat alone,
      and his portion of wine shall be taken away from him,
      until he has made satisfaction and has amended.
      And let him suffer a like penalty who is not present
      at the verse said after the meal.

      And let no one presume
      to take any food or drink
      before or after the appointed time.
      But if anyone is offered something by the superior
      and refuses to take it,
      then when the time comes
      that he desires what he formerly refused
      or something else,
      let him receive nothing whatever
      until he has made proper satisfaction.


      Communal monasticism, even long before St. Benedict, established a
      close similarity between Church and refectory. One fed the soul, one
      fed the body, and, with reading, the soul and mind as well! Not
      surprisingly, a ritual grew up around the communal meal with its
      longer, formal, chanted grace, the silence and reading, that would
      make one think very much of Church, indeed!

      Oblates have to be very careful that they do not "impose" their
      monasticism on their families. On the other hand, all things being
      equal, it is certainly within reason to expect our families to be at
      least theistic, even Christian, if in fact they are! (If we do not
      have the blessing of a family or spouse of similar or identical faith,
      then scrupulous respect for that difference must obtain.) Having said
      that, a formal grace, no matter how short, is hardly a Draconian
      imposition on a family of believers, no matter how nominal that
      belief may be.

      Silence, of course, is hardly a family option, but peace surely is!
      Cease-fire, folks! Truce! Once grace is said, every effort to avoid
      dissension and fighting should be made! They really aren't very good
      for digestion, let alone spiritual growth. Think how many times one
      hears someone say: "Oh, yeah, we HAD to say grace as kids, but then
      all-out war broke loose." Don't let them happen. It inoculates most of
      the grace that prayer could bring. No prayer is a magic wand that
      forgives whatever follows!

      I have lived alone as an Oblate in the world. I know at least some of
      the loneliness and longing that goes with that. I urge single Oblates
      (and confess that I was not always clever in this respect myself!) to
      surround their dining in the evening with some kind of formality.
      Single people often fail to take very good care of themselves. Make
      your evening meal a time when you do that.

      Say or chant a careful grace. Light a candle, perhaps. Play a tape
      of something nourishing to the soul, whether words or music. It doesn't
      matter if you're eating tuna out of a can or a frozen dinner. Enhance that time
      with things good for you and good for your monastic struggle. For all the
      disadvantages of single life in the world, there are also some
      advantages! Make sure you gift yourself with the graces your
      situation does offer. Turn off the news and the phone ringer. Take
      the little bit of heaven that is there for you!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for Dot, 86, COPD, on her birthday. Continued prayers for Beckham, surgery to remove bladder blockage was successful, kidney damage remains to be
      Message 102 of 102 , Sep 6, 2013
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        Prayers for Dot, 86, COPD, on her birthday.
        Continued prayers for Beckham, surgery to remove bladder blockage was successful, kidney damage remains to be determined.
        Deo gratias, Bone scan for DJ shows cancer is contained in the prostate and he will have surgery Sept 30. Of your kindness please continue to pray that surgery will eradicate all the cancer.
        God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Thanks so much! JL

        January 7, May 8, September 7
        Prologue (concluded)

        And so we are going to establish
        a school for the service of the Lord.
        In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
        But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
        for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
        do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
        whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
        For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
        our hearts expand
        and we run the way of God's commandments
        with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
        Thus, never departing from His school,
        but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
        until death,
        we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
        and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.


        "Our hearts expand..." they truly do. Mine has already been
        wonderfully stretched and pulled and enlarged beyond my wildest
        dreams, often with me kicking and screaming every inch of the way. I
        have no doubt that it will grow bigger still, capable of holding
        more, but I know I could not stand that now, it would be too much.
        God works slowly, according to our individual needs. Better than
        anyone, He knows that doing it all at once would reduce us to
        shivering panic.

        The biggest factor that I can see in God's work of heart renovation
        for me has been intercessory prayer. When you renovate a building,
        you have to tear down some walls, a dusty, ugly, painful mess. Ah,
        but the light and air and space that one finds in those new areas
        where walls had stood! In praying for God's people, I learned to love
        them, more prayer equaled more love and so it spiraled upward and
        spirals on!

        The rain for my roots was that work in progress, the expansion of my
        heart. It's not the same as other loves I have known and in no way as
        graphic or immediate or intimate, but oh, it is deep. I am sure it is
        not incompatible with married love, but God seemed to want it so for
        me. True to form, I argued with Him for years about that and still do
        at times.

        When a novice in my twenties, I used to look at two real saints of
        St. Leo Abbey, Brothers David Gormican and Raphael Daly, both now
        gone to God. I am not even sure I thought it had become easier for
        them at the end of their lives, I thought, with the mindlessness so
        easy for me then, that they were just so old they didn't care
        anymore. Wrong!

        My dear friend Ann Chatlos was a FABULOUS cook and she had been at it
        for years. One day I went to see her and we sat talking in her
        kitchen, she was fiddling around, nothing special. Frankly, I didn't
        even notice any activity that would have produced a meal. She finally
        turned around and said to me: "Stay for dinner." I asked when it
        would be ready and she said, "Now." I was floored. While we spoke, a
        pie, chicken and roast potatoes and something else I forget had been
        going on. A full meal with nothing out of cans and a homemade
        dessert, yet it appeared that she had just been chatting.

        That's the nonchalance of Brother David and Brother Raphael. It
        wasn't that they didn't care, it was that things of sanctity had
        become so much second nature to them that many of those around them
        never noticed that dinner was ready. May that nonchalance of sanctity
        come to us all, and may Brothers David and Raphael and Ann, now also
        with God, pray us there.

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA
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