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Holy Rule for Mar. 18

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Shirley, painful problems after cancer surgery and sonogram on Tuesday, also for Victoria, trying to pastor her Church through a
    Message 1 of 5 , Mar 18, 2004
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for Shirley, painful problems after cancer surgery
      and sonogram on Tuesday, also for Victoria, trying to pastor her
      Church through a difficult transition in leadership while recovering
      from pneumonia and an asthma bout, and for all in her Church, and for
      R., whose tumors are growing, along with heightened fatigue and
      troubled sleep. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. Thanks so
      much! JL


      March 18, July 18, November 17
      Chapter 39: On the Measure of Food

      We think it sufficient for the daily dinner,
      whether at the sixth or the ninth hour,
      that every table have two cooked dishes
      on account of individual infirmities,
      so that he who for some reason cannot eat of the one
      may make his meal of the other
      Therefore let two cooked dishes suffice for all the brethren;
      and if any fruit or fresh vegetables are available,
      let a third dish be added.


      Let a good pound weight of bread suffice for the day,
      whether there be only one meal or both dinner and supper.
      If they are to have supper,
      the cellarer shall reserve a third of that pound,
      to be given them at supper.


      But if it happens that the work was heavier,
      it shall lie within the Abbot's discretion and power,
      should it be expedient,
      to add something to the fare.
      Above all things, however,
      over-indulgence must be avoided
      and a monk must never be overtaken by indigestion;
      for there is nothing so opposed to the Christian character
      as over-indulgence
      according to Our Lord's words,
      "See to it that your hearts be not burdened
      with over-indulgence" (Luke 21:34).


      Young boys
      shall not receive the same amount of food as their elders,
      but less;
      and frugality shall be observed in all circumstances.


      Except the sick who are very weak,
      let all abstain entirely
      from eating the flesh of four-footed animals.

      REFLECTION

      The Benedictine golden mean is that of the Lord Himself: we avoid
      over-indulgence because it burdens our hearts. This is true of any
      over-indulgence: food, drink, property. Our hearts are truly burdened
      by our excess, weighed down, kept from flight. Our hearts lag and
      fall with the awful results of having ourselves in charge of them!

      For those in the developed countries, this chapter on food can be a
      very good starting point of surrender. The Western nations in general
      and the U.S. in particular are spoiled rotten with food. Obesity in
      the U.S. is nearly epidemic and even moderately overweight people
      face loads of unnecessary added health risks. Might then food not be
      one of the healthiest and most logical places for ascetic striving to
      begin?

      The questions of diet raised here were looked at in purely monastic
      terms, as self-denial and penitential living. No one knew about
      cholesterol or fiber or many of the illnesses associated today with
      eating habits. Wasn't in their vocabulary. No quadruped meat was just
      a red herring between Cistercians and Benedictines, each arguing an
      opposite point solely on grounds of monastic observance. In every
      monastic writing I have ever encountered, abstinence from meat is
      always viewed as a voluntary deprivation, a means, like fasting, to
      subdue the body and its more earthy side.

      Fast forward to 2002. Red meat tastes great. I love it. NOTHING like
      a medium rare prime rib! Sadly, that is true in more than one sense,
      especially if, like me, you eat all the fat! Today we know that the
      eating habits encouraged here are worth a lot more than simple
      asceticism, they are healthy. Given that, something a lot more
      binding than the Holy Rule bids us look more closely: the 5th
      commandment, which insists that we not kill ourselves, either, that
      we guard our health.

      Granted, the times of meals stated here do not fit very well into a
      40 hour week of work and school. Not to worry. Our call here is to
      adapt. The content of monastic meals can be a big boon to health.
      Less meat, more beans, less beef, more chicken, buy decent bread and
      eat more of it. Or make your own! (Remember that bread machine that
      hardly got used after Christmas?) These are things one can gradually
      introduce to a family, too, provided one is a good cook. An extra
      meatless day or two a week if hardly noticed if you serve really good
      fare. Try dishes from the peasant cuisines of the world that stretch
      a very little meat a very long way.

      This Benedictine-inspired diet will not only be better for you and
      your family, it will benefit the planet, too. Grain-fed beef makes a
      horrible dent in the ecology and economy of the world, to say nothing
      of throwing effort and harvests into cattle that could feed starving
      human beings. At their worst, a flock of a thousand chickens do far
      less damage than a thousand head of beef cattle.

      Remember that earlier injunction about treating the goods of the
      monastery as sacred vessels of the altar? Well, the greatest goods
      any monastery or family has are its members and the planet that
      supports them. To own that fact is the beginning of a Benedictine
      ecology. Our diets are excellent places to make choices healthy for
      us and all the planet.

      We need our hearts (figuratively and literally!) in this struggle. A
      starving heart is just as crippled as a surfeited one. We need to
      find the balance- and that is often hard. But, with God's help and
      mercy, we can do all!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@...
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA
    • Jerry Lee
      +PAX Mea culpa! We have 2 Oblates making final oblation tomorrow, and I forgot to add Elizabeth, prayers for her and a happy day for all! Prayers for John, a
      Message 2 of 5 , Mar 18, 2005
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        +PAX

        Mea culpa! We have 2 Oblates making final oblation tomorrow, and I forgot to add Elizabeth, prayers for her and a happy day for all! Prayers for John, a Canadian without US health insurance, who had to have surgery while in FL. The doctor, bless him and pray for him, did the surgery FREE, but the hospital is giving John all kinds of terrible financial demands, huge deposit, etc. He was too ill to fly back to Canada, which was actually suggested. Pray for John and his family, and a lot of prayers that some heart may enter the US healthcare system, too. Prayers for Mary J., rheumatoid arthritis, prayers for Jerry, bad cold and cough hanging on far too long. Prayers for me, too. This Holy Week promises to be a bit more challenging than the last two or three. Just pray that I do God's will. Lord, help them as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Alleluia!Thanks so much! JL

        March 18, July 18, November 17
        Chapter 39: On the Measure of Food

        We think it sufficient for the daily dinner,
        whether at the sixth or the ninth hour,
        that every table have two cooked dishes
        on account of individual infirmities,
        so that he who for some reason cannot eat of the one
        may make his meal of the other
        Therefore let two cooked dishes suffice for all the brethren;
        and if any fruit or fresh vegetables are available,
        let a third dish be added.


        Let a good pound weight of bread suffice for the day,
        whether there be only one meal or both dinner and supper.
        If they are to have supper,
        the cellarer shall reserve a third of that pound,
        to be given them at supper.


        But if it happens that the work was heavier,
        it shall lie within the Abbot's discretion and power,
        should it be expedient,
        to add something to the fare.
        Above all things, however,
        over-indulgence must be avoided
        and a monk must never be overtaken by indigestion;
        for there is nothing so opposed to the Christian character
        as over-indulgence
        according to Our Lord's words,
        "See to it that your hearts be not burdened
        with over-indulgence" (Luke 21:34).


        Young boys
        shall not receive the same amount of food as their elders,
        but less;
        and frugality shall be observed in all circumstances.


        Except the sick who are very weak,
        let all abstain entirely
        from eating the flesh of four-footed animals.

        REFLECTION

        The Benedictine golden mean is that of the Lord Himself: we avoid
        over-indulgence because it burdens our hearts. This is true of any
        over-indulgence: food, drink, property. Our hearts are truly burdened
        by our excess, weighed down, kept from flight. Our hearts lag and
        fall with the awful results of having ourselves in charge of them!

        For those in the developed countries, this chapter on food can be a
        very good starting point of surrender. The Western nations in general
        and the U.S. in particular are spoiled rotten with food. Obesity in
        the U.S. is nearly epidemic and even moderately overweight people
        face loads of unnecessary added health risks. Might then food not be
        one of the healthiest and most logical places for ascetic striving to
        begin?

        The questions of diet raised here were looked at in purely monastic
        terms, as self-denial and penitential living. No one knew about
        cholesterol or fiber or many of the illnesses associated today with
        eating habits. Wasn't in their vocabulary. No quadruped meat was just
        a red herring between Cistercians and Benedictines, each arguing an
        opposite point solely on grounds of monastic observance. In every
        monastic writing I have ever encountered, abstinence from meat is
        always viewed as a voluntary deprivation, a means, like fasting, to
        subdue the body and its more earthy side.

        Fast forward to 2002. Red meat tastes great. I love it. NOTHING like
        a medium rare prime rib! Sadly, that is true in more than one sense,
        especially if, like me, you eat all the fat! Today we know that the
        eating habits encouraged here are worth a lot more than simple
        asceticism, they are healthy. Given that, something a lot more
        binding than the Holy Rule bids us look more closely: the 5th
        commandment, which insists that we not kill ourselves, either, that
        we guard our health.

        Granted, the times of meals stated here do not fit very well into a
        40 hour week of work and school. Not to worry. Our call here is to
        adapt. The content of monastic meals can be a big boon to health.
        Less meat, more beans, less beef, more chicken, buy decent bread and
        eat more of it. Or make your own! (Remember that bread machine that
        hardly got used after Christmas?) These are things one can gradually
        introduce to a family, too, provided one is a good cook. An extra
        meatless day or two a week if hardly noticed if you serve really good
        fare. Try dishes from the peasant cuisines of the world that stretch
        a very little meat a very long way.

        This Benedictine-inspired diet will not only be better for you and
        your family, it will benefit the planet, too. Grain-fed beef makes a
        horrible dent in the ecology and economy of the world, to say nothing
        of throwing effort and harvests into cattle that could feed starving
        human beings. At their worst, a flock of a thousand chickens do far
        less damage than a thousand head of beef cattle.

        Remember that earlier injunction about treating the goods of the
        monastery as sacred vessels of the altar? Well, the greatest goods
        any monastery or family has are its members and the planet that
        supports them. To own that fact is the beginning of a Benedictine
        ecology. Our diets are excellent places to make choices healthy for
        us and all the planet.

        We need our hearts (figuratively and literally!) in this struggle. A
        starving heart is just as crippled as a surfeited one. We need to
        find the balance- and that is often hard. But, with God's help and
        mercy, we can do all!

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

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jerry Lee
        +PAX Prayers, please, for Miguel, seeking discernment and God s will as to whether or not he should marry. Prayers for Fr. Brendan, fibromyalgia flare up, and
        Message 3 of 5 , Mar 18, 2006
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          +PAX

          Prayers, please, for Miguel, seeking discernment and God's will as to whether or not he should marry. Prayers for Fr. Brendan, fibromyalgia flare up, and for Tracy, 32, Crohn's disease, and very troubled by many complications, and for Frances, her Mom, and all their family. Prayers for the doctors and health care workers who treat her and all of our prayer intention folks. Prayers for a woman stressed out trying to arrange some badly needed home improvement for her son. Prayers for a meth addict Mom, and her long-suffering little girl. Parents divorced and the little girl has to rely on her very unpredictable mother. So far nothing has seemed to affect the mother's addiction. Prayers for a caring teacher who asked prayers for them. Lord, help us 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 18, July 18, November 17
          Chapter 39: On the Measure of Food

          We think it sufficient for the daily dinner,
          whether at the sixth or the ninth hour,
          that every table have two cooked dishes
          on account of individual infirmities,
          so that he who for some reason cannot eat of the one
          may make his meal of the other
          Therefore let two cooked dishes suffice for all the brethren;
          and if any fruit or fresh vegetables are available,
          let a third dish be added.


          Let a good pound weight of bread suffice for the day,
          whether there be only one meal or both dinner and supper.
          If they are to have supper,
          the cellarer shall reserve a third of that pound,
          to be given them at supper.


          But if it happens that the work was heavier,
          it shall lie within the Abbot's discretion and power,
          should it be expedient,
          to add something to the fare.
          Above all things, however,
          over-indulgence must be avoided
          and a monk must never be overtaken by indigestion;
          for there is nothing so opposed to the Christian character
          as over-indulgence
          according to Our Lord's words,
          "See to it that your hearts be not burdened
          with over-indulgence" (Luke 21:34).


          Young boys
          shall not receive the same amount of food as their elders,
          but less;
          and frugality shall be observed in all circumstances.


          Except the sick who are very weak,
          let all abstain entirely
          from eating the flesh of four-footed animals.

          REFLECTION

          The Benedictine golden mean is that of the Lord Himself: we avoid
          over-indulgence because it burdens our hearts. This is true of any
          over-indulgence: food, drink, property. Our hearts are truly burdened
          by our excess, weighed down, kept from flight. Our hearts lag and
          fall with the awful results of having ourselves in charge of them!

          For those in the developed countries, this chapter on food can be a
          very good starting point of surrender. The Western nations in general
          and the U.S. in particular are spoiled rotten with food. Obesity in
          the U.S. is nearly epidemic and even moderately overweight people
          face loads of unnecessary added health risks. Might not food be
          one of the healthiest and most logical places for ascetic striving to
          begin?

          The questions of diet raised here were looked at in purely monastic
          terms, as self-denial and penitential living. No one knew about
          cholesterol or fiber or many of the illnesses associated today with
          eating habits. Wasn't in their vocabulary. No quadruped meat was just
          a red herring between Cistercians and Benedictines, each arguing an
          opposite point solely on grounds of monastic observance. In every
          monastic writing I have ever encountered, abstinence from meat is
          always viewed as a voluntary deprivation, a means, like fasting, to
          subdue the body and its more earthy side.

          Fast forward to 2002. Red meat tastes great. I love it. NOTHING like
          a medium rare prime rib! Sadly, that is true in more than one sense,
          especially if, like me, you eat all the fat! Today we know that the
          eating habits encouraged here are worth a lot more than simple
          asceticism, they are healthy. Given that, something a lot more
          binding than the Holy Rule bids us look more closely: the 5th
          commandment, which insists that we not kill ourselves, either, that
          we guard our health.

          Granted, the times of meals stated here do not fit very well into a
          40 hour week of work and school. Not to worry. Our call here is to
          adapt. The content of monastic meals can be a big boon to health.
          Less meat, more beans, less beef, more chicken, buy decent bread and
          eat more of it. Or make your own! (Remember that bread machine that
          hardly got used after Christmas?) These are things one can gradually
          introduce to a family, too, provided one is a good cook. An extra
          meatless day or two a week is hardly noticed if you serve really good
          fare. Try dishes from the peasant cuisines of the world that stretch
          a very little meat a very long way.

          This Benedictine-inspired diet will not only be better for you and
          your family, it will benefit the planet, too. Grain-fed beef makes a
          horrible dent in the ecology and economy of the world, to say nothing
          of throwing effort and harvests into cattle that could feed starving
          human beings.

          Remember that earlier injunction about treating the goods of the
          monastery as sacred vessels of the altar? Well, the greatest goods
          any monastery or family has are its members and the planet that
          supports them. To own that fact is the beginning of a Benedictine
          ecology. Our diets are excellent places to make choices healthy for
          us and all the planet.

          We need our hearts (figuratively and literally!) in this struggle. A
          starving heart is just as crippled as a surfeited one. We need to
          find the balance- and that is often hard. But, with God's help and
          mercy, we can do all!

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

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
          +PAX Prayers for the success of a benefit road race today, a fundraiser for Sr. Lany Jo s youth ministries, and for Sister Lany Jo, the kids in her ministry
          Message 4 of 5 , Mar 17, 2007
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            +PAX

            Prayers for the success of a benefit road race today, a fundraiser for Sr.
            Lany Jo's youth ministries, and for Sister Lany Jo, the kids in her ministry
            program and all who are helping her make this event possible. Prayers, too, for
            her kids' upcoming live dramatizations of the Stations of the Cross on Palm
            Sunday, may many hearts be touched and filled by God's grace!

            Prayers for Debbie, 17, who died of an accidental drug overdose, for her
            happy death and eternal rest and for all who mourn her, also for someone who
            very well may have driven her to the end she met. Prayers for the happy death
            and eternal rest of Arline, on her anniversary of death, and for her daughter,
            Carol and all who mourn her.

            Prayers for Diane, end stage renal disease, on daily dialysis, for her happy
            death and eternal rest and for all who will mourn her passing. Prayers for a
            special intention for a family in great need. Prayers for Odessa, a special
            intention. 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 18, July 18, November 17
            Chapter 39: On the Measure of Food

            We think it sufficient for the daily dinner,
            whether at the sixth or the ninth hour,
            that every table have two cooked dishes
            on account of individual infirmities,
            so that he who for some reason cannot eat of the one
            may make his meal of the other
            Therefore let two cooked dishes suffice for all the brethren;
            and if any fruit or fresh vegetables are available,
            let a third dish be added.


            Let a good pound weight of bread suffice for the day,
            whether there be only one meal or both dinner and supper.
            If they are to have supper,
            the cellarer shall reserve a third of that pound,
            to be given them at supper.


            But if it happens that the work was heavier,
            it shall lie within the Abbot's discretion and power,
            should it be expedient,
            to add something to the fare.
            Above all things, however,
            over-indulgence must be avoided
            and a monk must never be overtaken by indigestion;
            for there is nothing so opposed to the Christian character
            as over-indulgence
            according to Our Lord's words,
            "See to it that your hearts be not burdened
            with over-indulgence" (Luke 21:34).


            Young boys
            shall not receive the same amount of food as their elders,
            but less;
            and frugality shall be observed in all circumstances.


            Except the sick who are very weak,
            let all abstain entirely
            from eating the flesh of four-footed animals.

            REFLECTION

            The Benedictine golden mean is that of the Lord Himself: we avoid
            over-indulgence because it burdens our hearts. This is true of any
            over-indulgence: food, drink, property. Our hearts are truly burdened
            by our excess, weighed down, kept from flight. Our hearts lag and
            fall with the awful results of having ourselves in charge of them!

            For those in the developed countries, this chapter on food can be a
            very good starting point of surrender. The Western nations in general
            and the U.S. in particular are spoiled rotten with food. Our notoriously poor
            diet choices are to blame for many health risks and I confess that I am
            just as guilty as anyone, even if I am trying to do a little better. Might
            not
            food be one of the healthiest and most logical places for ascetic striving to
            begin?

            The questions of diet raised here were looked at in purely monastic
            terms, as self-denial and penitential living. No one knew about
            cholesterol or fiber or many of the illnesses associated today with
            eating habits. Wasn't in their vocabulary. No quadruped meat was just
            a red herring between Cistercians and Benedictines, each arguing an
            opposite point solely on grounds of monastic observance. In every
            monastic writing I have ever encountered, abstinence from meat is
            always viewed as a voluntary deprivation, a means, like fasting, to
            subdue the body and its more earthy side.

            Fast forward to 2007. Red meat tastes great. I love it. NOTHING like
            a medium rare prime rib! Sadly, that is true in more than one sense,
            especially if, like me, you eat all the fat! Today we know that the
            eating habits encouraged here are worth a lot more than simple
            asceticism, they are healthy. Given that, something a lot more
            binding than the Holy Rule bids us look more closely: the 5th
            commandment, which insists that we not kill ourselves, either, that
            we guard our health.

            Granted, the times of meals stated here do not fit very well into a
            40 hour week of work and school. Not to worry. Our call here is to
            adapt. The content of monastic meals can be a big boon to health.
            Less meat, more beans, less beef, more chicken, buy decent bread and
            eat more of it. Or make your own! (Remember that bread machine that
            hardly got used after Christmas?) These are things one can gradually
            introduce to a family, too, provided one is a good cook. An extra
            meatless day or two a week is hardly noticed if you serve really good
            fare. Try dishes from the peasant cuisines of the world that stretch
            a very little meat a very long way.

            This Benedictine-inspired diet will not only be better for you and
            your family, it will benefit the planet, too. Grain-fed beef makes a
            horrible dent in the ecology and economy of the world, to say nothing
            of throwing effort and harvests into cattle that could feed starving
            human beings.

            Remember that earlier injunction about treating the goods of the
            monastery as sacred vessels of the altar? Well, the greatest goods
            any monastery or family has are its members and the planet that
            supports them. To own that fact is the beginning of a Benedictine
            ecology. Our diets are excellent places to make choices healthy for
            us and all the planet.

            We need our hearts (figuratively and literally!) in this struggle. A
            starving heart is just as crippled as a surfeited one. We need to
            find the balance- and that is often hard. But, with God's help and
            mercy, we can do all!

            Love and prayers,
            Jerome, OSB
            _jeromeleo@..._
            (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/holyrule/post?postID=j99ye2SKIYLOjdAHLT1JmKLjLZV5N_886NIgYRP8jr9b8O7ne3-dvqGOyVs4FPFs6gUxMv-vg3lk4l
            X9B06B)
            _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
            Petersham, MA







            ************************************** AOL now offers free email to everyone.
            Find out more about what's free from AOL at http://www.aol.com.


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Br. Jerome Leo
            +PAX Prayers, please, for Eva, in hospice and sinking fast, and for her son, Dave, and all their family. Prayers, too, for Jerry and his daughters, Danielle
            Message 5 of 5 , Mar 17, 2008
            • 0 Attachment
              +PAX

              Prayers, please, for Eva, in hospice and sinking fast, and for her son, Dave, and all their family.

              Prayers, too, for Jerry and his daughters, Danielle and Dana, and their
              spiritual needs.

              Philip had a serious stroke and needs prayers . Lib and Dot, both elderly are under the weather right now with colds (that can be serious with both of them so please pray for them as well). 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 18, July 18, November 17
              Chapter 39: On the Measure of Food

              We think it sufficient for the daily dinner,
              whether at the sixth or the ninth hour,
              that every table have two cooked dishes
              on account of individual infirmities,
              so that he who for some reason cannot eat of the one
              may make his meal of the other
              Therefore let two cooked dishes suffice for all the brethren;
              and if any fruit or fresh vegetables are available,
              let a third dish be added.


              Let a good pound weight of bread suffice for the day,
              whether there be only one meal or both dinner and supper.
              If they are to have supper,
              the cellarer shall reserve a third of that pound,
              to be given them at supper.


              But if it happens that the work was heavier,
              it shall lie within the Abbot's discretion and power,
              should it be expedient,
              to add something to the fare.
              Above all things, however,
              over-indulgence must be avoided
              and a monk must never be overtaken by indigestion;
              for there is nothing so opposed to the Christian character
              as over-indulgence
              according to Our Lord's words,
              "See to it that your hearts be not burdened
              with over-indulgence" (Luke 21:34).


              Young boys
              shall not receive the same amount of food as their elders,
              but less;
              and frugality shall be observed in all circumstances.


              Except the sick who are very weak,
              let all abstain entirely
              from eating the flesh of four-footed animals.

              REFLECTION

              The Benedictine golden mean is that of the Lord Himself: we avoid
              over-indulgence because it burdens our hearts. This is true of any
              over-indulgence: food, drink, property. Our hearts are truly burdened
              by our excess, weighed down, kept from flight. Our hearts lag and
              fall with the awful results of having ourselves in charge of them!

              For those in the developed countries, this chapter on food can be a
              very good starting point of surrender. The Western nations in general
              and the U.S. in particular are spoiled rotten with food. Our notoriously poor
              diet choices are to blame for many health risks and I confess that I am
              just as guilty as anyone, even if I am trying to do a little better. Might
              not food be one of the healthiest and most logical places for ascetic striving to
              begin?

              The questions of diet raised here were looked at in purely monastic
              terms, as self-denial and penitential living. No one knew about
              cholesterol or fiber or many of the illnesses associated today with
              eating habits. Wasn't in their vocabulary. No quadruped meat was just
              a red herring between Cistercians and Benedictines, each arguing an
              opposite point solely on grounds of monastic observance. In every
              monastic writing I have ever encountered, abstinence from meat is
              always viewed as a voluntary deprivation, a means, like fasting, to
              subdue the body and its more earthy side.

              Fast forward to 2008. Red meat tastes great. I love it. NOTHING like
              a medium rare prime rib! Sadly, that is true in more than one sense,
              especially if, like me, you eat all the fat! Today we know that the
              eating habits encouraged here are worth a lot more than simple
              asceticism, they are healthy. Given that, something a lot more
              binding than the Holy Rule bids us look more closely: the 5th
              commandment, which insists that we not kill ourselves, either, that
              we guard our health.

              Granted, the times of meals stated here do not fit very well into a
              40 hour week of work and school. Not to worry. Our call here is to
              adapt. The content of monastic meals can be a big boon to health.
              Less meat, more beans, less beef, more chicken, buy decent bread and
              eat more of it. Or make your own! (Remember that bread machine that
              hardly got used after Christmas?) These are things one can gradually
              introduce to a family, too, provided one is a good cook. An extra
              meatless day or two a week is hardly noticed if you serve really good
              fare. Try dishes from the peasant cuisines of the world that stretch
              a very little meat a very long way.

              This Benedictine-inspired diet will not only be better for you and
              your family, it will benefit the planet, too. Grain-fed beef makes a
              horrible dent in the ecology and economy of the world, to say nothing
              of throwing effort and harvests into cattle that could feed starving
              human beings.

              Remember that earlier injunction about treating the goods of the
              monastery as sacred vessels of the altar? Well, the greatest goods
              any monastery or family has are its members and the planet that
              supports them. To own that fact is the beginning of a Benedictine
              ecology. Our diets are excellent places to make choices healthy for
              us and all the planet.

              We need our hearts (figuratively and literally!) in this struggle. A
              starving heart is just as crippled as a surfeited one. We need to
              find the balance- and that is often hard. But, with God's help and
              mercy, we can do all!

              Love and prayers,
              Jerome, OSB

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