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Holy Rule for June 6

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the repose of the soul of Ronald Reagan, and for his wife, Nancy. No matter what one may have thought of either of them, their love
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 6, 2004
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the repose of the soul of Ronald Reagan, and for his wife, Nancy. No matter what one may have thought of either of them, their love for and devotion to each other was particularly touching, especially in Mrs. Reagan's case. This must be a terrible time for her. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Thanks so much. JL


      February 5, June 6, October 6
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The eighth degree of humility
      is that a monk do nothing except what is commended
      by the common Rule of the monastery
      and the example of the elders.

      REFLECTION

      Well, this one looks deceptively simple enough. Just try it! I speak
      as one who has frequently failed it and who sometimes* fails it
      still. [* I only fail it on special occasions: Sunday, Monday,
      Tuesday, Wednesday.... you get the picture.] This step of humility,
      by the way, will translate very easily into family life, the
      neighborhood, or the workplace.

      The goal here is not just external uniformity so much as internal
      detachment. We are deeply attached to the things we do. Demanding to
      do things our own way is not humble. When observers come to the
      monastery, for the monks or the nuns, I often see little quirks of
      external piety in church and think: "Well, that'll have to go..."

      One cannot profitably go through monastic formation cherishing the
      notion that one has got it right and one's elders have it wrong. You
      may even be right, or the matter may be completely neutral. (The
      term "optional" comes to mind, but that was NOT used to express
      neutrality!) That's not the issue here. Detachment and humility are.

      When we singularize ourselves without real moral imperative, the
      message given to the whole community is "I know better." That this is
      not warmly received in a junior or newcomer should come as no
      surprise. A monastic family is like any spouse: you had better not
      marry what you hope to change them into, but only what they ARE. If
      we fail this, we change "Thy will be done" into "MY will be done!"
      and we do so with sorry results.

      No spouse is perfect, neither is any family, monastery or job, but if
      you expect to change them right off the bat, you're doomed to woe. In
      monastery and marriage and workplace, the only person you can REALLY
      change is yourself and the sooner you get around to doing that, the
      better for all concerned.

      The sad thing (and I am guilty here!) is that sometimes these things
      we do on our own have nothing to do with piety at all. They are,
      pure and simple, revolt, passive aggression, small, though very
      public ways of expressing our scorn for this or that concept or
      person. Having lived in the Church of the 60's and 70's, I picked up
      the idea of refusal as a kind of non-violent demonstration.

      I also must say that, in those less-than-halcyon days, I picked it up
      from my monastic seniors, just not always the best seniors! I still
      do it at times, and I still wrestle with paring those times down day
      by day. The hardest humility and obedience are to things we truly
      think are dumb and do not matter. The difficulty alone must mean
      there is great potential for growth there.

      An interesting aside here. The dissenter often thinks she is a grand
      and eloquent witness for justice and truth. The stubborn monk thinks
      he has scored a real victory for integrity and correctness. In fact,
      those who live with them often think they're just silly fools. Of the
      two impressions, this last is closer to truth!

      It is also interesting to note (again, from sorry personal experience,)
      that the rebel often looks at other rebels (with whom he does not agree,
      so they are, of course, WRONG...) as silly fools. Wow! If one can be so right about
      those other rebels, how come the other monastics aren't right about
      oneself?? Hmmmm....

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

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jerry Lee
      +PAX Prayers, please for Helen, 46, cancer surgery this week, and for Donna in Florida, whose surgery has been postponed by a urinary tract infection. Deo
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 6, 2006
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        +PAX

        Prayers, please for Helen, 46, cancer surgery this week, and for Donna in Florida, whose surgery has been postponed by a urinary tract infection. Deo gratias: Frank, for whom we prayed, had successful bypass and valve replacement surgery. Diane and his family thanks all and ask continued prayers as he recovers. Prayers for all who spread discord and disunity in the Church, may God lead them to build rather than stagnate or destroy. 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 5, June 6, October 6
        Chapter 7: On Humility

        The eighth degree of humility
        is that a monk do nothing except what is commended
        by the common Rule of the monastery
        and the example of the elders.

        REFLECTION

        Well, this one looks deceptively simple enough. Just try it! I speak
        as one who has frequently failed it and who sometimes* fails it
        still. [* I only fail it on special occasions: Sunday, Monday,
        Tuesday, Wednesday.... you get the picture.] This step of humility,
        by the way, will translate very easily into family life, the
        neighborhood, or the workplace.

        The goal here is not just external uniformity so much as internal
        detachment. We are deeply attached to the things we do. Demanding to
        do things our own way is not humble. When observers come to the
        monastery, for the monks or the nuns, I often see little quirks of
        external piety in church and think: "Well, that'll have to go..."

        One cannot profitably go through monastic formation cherishing the
        notion that one has got it right and one's elders have it wrong. You
        may even be right, or the matter may be completely neutral. (The
        term "optional" comes to mind, but that was NOT used to express
        neutrality!) That's not the issue here. Detachment and humility are.

        When we singularize ourselves without real moral imperative, the
        message given to the whole community is "I know better." That this is
        not warmly received in a junior or newcomer should come as no
        surprise. A monastic family is like any spouse: you had better not
        marry what you hope to change them into, but only what they ARE. If
        we fail this, we change "Thy will be done" into "MY will be done!"
        and we do so with sorry results.

        No spouse is perfect, neither is any family, monastery or job, but if
        you expect to change them right off the bat, you're doomed to woe. In
        monastery and marriage and workplace, the only person you can REALLY
        change is yourself and the sooner you get around to doing that, the
        better for all concerned.

        The sad thing (and I am guilty here!) is that sometimes these things
        we do on our own have nothing to do with piety at all. They are,
        pure and simple, revolt, passive aggression, small, though very
        public ways of expressing our scorn for this or that concept or
        person. Having lived in the Church of the 60's and 70's, I picked up
        the idea of refusal as a kind of non-violent demonstration.

        I also must say that, in those less-than-halcyon days, I picked it up
        from my monastic seniors, just not always the best seniors! I still
        do it at times, and I still wrestle with paring those times down day
        by day. The hardest humility and obedience are to things we truly
        think are dumb and do not matter. The difficulty alone must mean
        there is great potential for growth there.

        An interesting aside here. The dissenter often thinks she is a grand
        and eloquent witness for justice and truth. The stubborn monk thinks
        he has scored a real victory for integrity and correctness. In fact,
        those who live with them often think they're just silly fools. Of the
        two impressions, this last is closer to truth!

        It is also interesting to note (again, from sorry personal experience,)
        that the rebel often looks at other rebels (with whom he does not agree,
        so they are, of course, WRONG...) as silly fools. Wow! If one can be so right
        about those other rebels, how come the other monastics aren't right about
        oneself?? Hmmmm....

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

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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