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Jan. 1

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX A blessed Solemnity of the Mother of God to all who are celebrating that, as well as Circumcision of Our Lord and St. Basil the Great to those celebrating
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2004
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      +PAX

      A blessed Solemnity of the Mother of God to all who are celebrating
      that, as well as Circumcision of Our Lord and St. Basil the Great to
      those celebrating them. And to ALL Happy and blessed New Year!
      JL

      January 1, May 2, September 1

      Prologue

      L I S T E N carefully, my child,
      to your master's precepts,
      and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20).
      Receive willingly and carry out effectively
      your loving father's advice,
      that by the labor of obedience
      you may return to Him
      from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

      To you, therefore, my words are now addressed,
      whoever you may be,
      who are renouncing your own will
      to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King,
      and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

      And first of all,
      whatever good work you begin to do,
      beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it,
      that He who has now deigned to count us among His children
      may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds.
      For we must always so serve Him
      with the good things He has given us,
      that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children,
      nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions,
      deliver us to everlasting punishment
      as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory.

      REFLECTION

      The Prologue is the most tender and loving of beginnings. Always,
      always always keep this loving Father that writes here in mind as you
      read the rest of the Holy Rule. This and the epilogue are the key to
      it all, and the key to the saintly personality of our holy Father
      Benedict.

      The Holy Rule can seem so lofty that it sometimes turns people away.
      They think: "This is for those really holy people, not for me. I'll
      bet it's easy for saints like them, but I couldn't even dream of
      trying." Wrong on both counts and St. Benedict makes that clear. We
      return "by the labor of obedience" and if we are not one of those who
      has "to do battle" against our own will, he makes it abundantly
      certain that he is not talking to us.

      If, in fact, there is anyone for whom the Rule is a cinch, and I
      doubt that very much, then it was not written for them. It was
      written for us who struggle, for us for whom it is NOT easy, to help
      us in a battle that sometimes wears us out.

      St. Benedict also makes his point that our distance from God is due
      to our "sloth of disobedience." Yet he doesn't tell the slothful to
      quit because they are worthless, he tells them they are the very ones
      for whom he is writing this Rule! This is the Rule for the fallen and
      beginners, this is an entry level position which can advance to great
      sanctity, but it *IS* an entry level position!

      This is the door and gate for all. This is most decidedly NOT a Rule
      just for monks and nuns in monasteries. Were that so, no provision
      for Oblates would ever have been made. No, this is a Rule for all who
      wish to try to become better and because they have made that
      intention, God "has deigned to count us among His children." There is
      no more us-and-them here. Just by beginning, we become part of the
      whole.

      How many of us who were not in the advanced reading group as children
      secretly got the suspicion that the whole class was really for the
      wonder kids, not for us, that we were somehow extraneous and just
      tagging along to whatever was REALLY going on? Well, the Holy Rule is
      quite direct about stating that this time, it is not about wonder
      kids: the center of its focus is the rest of us! Now there's a
      refreshingly upside down and all too rare world view!

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