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Holy Rule for July 11

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Angelo de la Cruz, the Filipino hostage in Iraq and for all in harm s way there, for their safety and salvation, prayers, too, for
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 11, 2004
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for Angelo de la Cruz, the Filipino hostage in Iraq and for all in harm's way there, for their safety and salvation, prayers, too, for the health of Erlinda and for her son, Jobert, who asked. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Thanks so much. JL

      March 11, July 11, November 10
      Chapter 33: Whether Monks Ought to Have Anything of Their Own

      This vice especially
      is to be cut out of the monastery by the roots.
      Let no one presume to give or receive anything
      without the Abbot's leave,
      or to have anything as his own --
      anything whatever,
      whether book or tablets or pen or whatever it may be --
      since they are not permitted to have even their bodies or wills
      at their own disposal;
      but for all their necessities
      let them look to the Father of the monastery.
      And let it be unlawful to have anything
      which the Abbot has not given or allowed.
      Let all things be common to all,
      as it is written (Acts 4:32),
      and let no one say or assume that anything is his own.

      But if anyone is caught indulging in this most wicked vice,
      let him be admonished once and a second time.
      If he fails to amend,
      let him undergo punishment.


      REFLECTION

      Benedictine poverty is easily translatable for the lay monastic,
      married or single, into terms of simplicity and detachment, a holy
      indifference to non-essentials. As such, it offers a powerful
      opportunity for a witness against some of the real falsehoods of
      modern consumerist society. This is not (nor need it be,) a preachy
      attack on today's values, just a quiet refusal to go along with them.
      It involves personal practice and choice, not confrontation.

      Benedictine teaching on material goods is based on needs, not
      desires. We ought to have all that is necessary and if, as sometimes
      happens, that is not possible, we ought not to grumble.
      Benedictine simplicity insists that we live in the moment of now with
      gratitude.

      Does your family have all that you really need today? If so, then
      don't put your heart on hold till you can swing a below-ground
      swimming pool. That's exactly why inordinate desires can be so
      harmful: they DO put our hearts on hold, they take us out of the
      contented present and force us to live in an uncertain future
      of "when" and "if".

      That future is not real. We might never live to see it. We have no
      way of knowing whether or not we will live till lunch today. The
      present is all we have and anything that distracts our view from it
      is often a complete waste of time. Living in the now is a great
      reality check!

      I always hate discussions of simplicity that are so general that they
      leave people thinking: "Well, great, but how do I DO that?" Hence a
      few suggestions, not at all as norms, but just as ideas. With them
      comes a huge warning for Oblates who are spouses and parents. You can
      make choices like this for yourself, in some cases, even for the
      household, but you must never force such things on children or
      spouses. That can be disastrous and produces the very same loss of
      serenity that simplicity is designed to protect us from.

      Clothes. Almost everyone can make do with less, male or female.
      Before I became a monk, I generally had two pairs of slacks- one
      khaki and one navy blue. They looked preppy. They went with
      everything. Yes, after a while, people did notice I was always in one
      or the other, but so what? The shirts were different and I was clean.
      The shirts came from the Salvation Army: years of wear in good
      clothes for less than $5 a pop, less than $2 a pop if one waited till
      sale day.

      Recycle in your own home. Towels go down from the bath, to the
      kitchen, to rags. With all the rags you will soon accumulate living
      this way, you can say goodbye to paper towels, unless there is some
      reason you really need them. Cloth napkins? Wow! They even seem a bit
      upscale and you can stop buying one-use paper. Trust me, ordinarily
      washing them once a week is fine.

      This is not stinge, folks. Insofar as possible, consume stuff that is
      really good for you, avoid stuff that is wasteful or harmful. We
      become immune to the very high levels that our society actually
      encourages waste, almost demands it.

      How many people over fifty recall their first reactions to disposable
      lighters, ballpoint pens and razors when they first came out? It was
      like: "Huh??? You throw them away???" When was the last time you
      bought a refill for a ballpoint pen? Now one hardly sees any pens BUT
      disposable ones. Big, big money and profits were made by the
      companies teaching us to throw away and waste the WHOLE item, not
      just the used part. We got used to that, sadly.

      I went back to non-disposable razors some time ago, but they cost a
      good deal more than the throw away kind, which have filled who knows
      how many garage dumps in 30 years. Somebody gave me a Zippo lighter
      for Christmas two years ago. It is a bit of a hassle to keep it in
      flints and fluid, but it means that I have spared the planet from at
      least a little plastic.

      By the way, you don't do this because it will end over-consumption.
      It won't. The world has not moved to Schick razors and Zippos, nor
      are they likely to do so any time soon. What it does, and this is
      important, is limit your complicity in the nonsense. That, so long as
      one does not become self-righteous, can be an immensely freeing thing.

      Always remember the Zen principle: the only thing that is lacking is
      the sense that nothing is lacking. Modern consumerism thrives on and
      insists that we ALWAYS feel something is lacking. Not so, we can be
      free of that. Why be lied to any more?

      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 all the great Benedictine family today, past, present and future, on the Solemnity of St. Benedict. May we all grow in grace and love
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 11, 2005
        +PAX

        Prayers, please, for all the great Benedictine family today, past, present and future, on the Solemnity of St. Benedict. May we all grow in grace and love above all else to do God's will, may we all prefer nothing to Christ!

        O God, Who deigned to fill Your most blessed confessor Benedict with the spirit of all righteousness, grant unto us, Your servants who celebrate his solemnity, that filled with his spirit we may faithfully accomplish by Your assistance that which we have promised. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

        Prayers, please, for Ann, cancerous spot on her lung, and for Rosalie, complications after heart surgery. Prayers for Matthew, 3, irreparable damage to the optic nerve of one eye, surgery to investigate the condition of his other eye and his prognosis. Prayers for vocations to our Order, and to all Orders, that the witness of religious life may flourish in years to come. Lord, help them 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 11, July 11, November 10
        Chapter 33: Whether Monks Ought to Have Anything of Their Own

        This vice especially
        is to be cut out of the monastery by the roots.
        Let no one presume to give or receive anything
        without the Abbot's leave,
        or to have anything as his own --
        anything whatever,
        whether book or tablets or pen or whatever it may be --
        since they are not permitted to have even their bodies or wills
        at their own disposal;
        but for all their necessities
        let them look to the Father of the monastery.
        And let it be unlawful to have anything
        which the Abbot has not given or allowed.
        Let all things be common to all,
        as it is written (Acts 4:32),
        and let no one say or assume that anything is his own.

        But if anyone is caught indulging in this most wicked vice,
        let him be admonished once and a second time.
        If he fails to amend,
        let him undergo punishment.


        REFLECTION

        Benedictine poverty is easily translatable for the lay monastic,
        married or single, into terms of simplicity and detachment, a holy
        indifference to non-essentials. As such, it offers a powerful
        opportunity for a witness against some of the real falsehoods of
        modern consumerist society. This is not (nor need it be,) a preachy
        attack on today's values, just a quiet refusal to go along with them.
        It involves personal practice and choice, not confrontation.

        Benedictine teaching on material goods is based on needs, not
        desires. We ought to have all that is necessary and if, as sometimes
        happens, that is not possible, we ought not to grumble.
        Benedictine simplicity insists that we live in the moment of now with
        gratitude.

        Does your family have all that you really need today? If so, then
        don't put your heart on hold till you can swing a below-ground
        swimming pool. That's exactly why inordinate desires can be so
        harmful: they DO put our hearts on hold, they take us out of the
        contented present and force us to live in an uncertain future
        of "when" and "if".

        That future is not real, except for our futures after death. We
        might never live to see the earthly future, even the next moment.
        We have no way of knowing whether or not we will live till lunch today.

        The present is all we have and anything that distracts our view from it
        is often a complete waste of time. Living in the now is a great
        reality check! It is also the place of contemplative reality: the holiness
        of now, of the present instant, standing before God in love, awe and thanks.

        I always hate discussions of simplicity that are so general that they
        leave people thinking: "Well, great, but how do I DO that?" Hence a
        few suggestions, not at all as norms, but just as ideas. With them
        comes a huge warning for Oblates who are spouses and parents. You can
        make choices like this for yourself, in some cases, even for the
        household, but you must never force such things on children or
        spouses. That can be disastrous and produces the very same loss of
        serenity that simplicity is designed to protect us from.

        Clothes. Almost everyone can make do with less, male or female.
        Before I became a monk, I generally had two pairs of slacks- one
        khaki and one navy blue. They looked preppy. They went with
        everything. Yes, after a while, people did notice I was always in one
        or the other, but so what? The shirts were different and I was clean.
        The shirts came from the Salvation Army: years of wear in good
        clothes for less than $5 a pop, less than $2 a pop if one waited till
        sale day.

        Recycle in your own home. Towels go down from the bath, to the
        kitchen, to rags. With all the rags you will soon accumulate living
        this way, you can say goodbye to paper towels, unless there is some
        reason you really need them. Cloth napkins? Wow! They even seem a bit
        upscale and you can stop buying one-use paper. Trust me, ordinarily
        washing them once a week is fine.

        This is not stinge, folks. Insofar as possible, consume stuff that is
        really good for you, avoid stuff that is wasteful or harmful. We
        become immune to the very high levels that our society actually
        encourages waste, almost demands it.

        How many people over fifty recall their first reactions to disposable
        lighters, ballpoint pens and razors when they first came out? It was
        like: "Huh??? You throw them away???" When was the last time you
        bought a refill for a ballpoint pen? Now one hardly sees any pens BUT
        disposable ones. Big, big money and profits were made by the
        companies teaching us to throw away and waste the WHOLE item, not
        just the used part. We got used to that, sadly.

        I went back to non-disposable razors some time ago, but they cost a
        good deal more than the throw away kind, which have filled who knows
        how many garage dumps in 30 years. Somebody gave me a Zippo lighter
        for Christmas two years ago. It is a bit of a hassle to keep it in
        flints and fluid, but it means that I have spared the planet from at
        least a little plastic.

        By the way, you don't do this because it will end over-consumption.
        It won't. The world has not moved to Schick razors and Zippos, nor
        are they likely to do so any time soon. What it does, and this is
        important, is limit your complicity in the nonsense. That, so long as
        one does not become self-righteous, can be an immensely freeing thing.

        Always remember the Zen principle: the only thing that is lacking is
        the sense that nothing is lacking. Modern consumerism thrives on and
        insists that we ALWAYS feel something is lacking. Not so, we can be
        free of that. Why be lied to any more?

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

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Br. Jerome Leo
        +PAX A most blessed Solemnity of St. Benedict to all! May all of us and all his sons and daughters be filled with ever greater graces to walk in the path of
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 10, 2007
          +PAX

          A most blessed Solemnity of St. Benedict to all! May all of us and all his sons and daughters be filled with ever greater graces to walk in the path of his Holy Rule and the Gospel. May we all be privileged by God to give to others from what we have received ourselves. Special prayers for all those really named Benedict today, too, whether in Baptism or Oblation!

          Deo gratias and prayers of thanksgiving for:

          Brother John Mary, making his final vows and two other young men, one professing first vows and the other entering novitiate, all at Mary, Mother of the Church Abbey, Richmond, VA. This is a community which had a long wait for vocations to come, may they all persevere, if God wills!

          Baby Lily, whom we have been praying for. She has now started dialysis 3 times a week, is taking solid food and gaining weight. Continued prayers for her and her grateful family, please.

          Prayers, please for the happy death and eternal rest of Roy, and for all who mourn him.

          Prayers for the spiritual, physical and mental health of the following, for their families and all who treat or care for them:

          Horrell, stroke in his late fifties, now 65, has been in a nursing home 8 years with left side paralysis. He has no family, and few friends have remained faithful to him all this time.

          Carl, Meniere's (sp.?) syndrome, an inner ear malady affecting him so badly he is unable to work.

          Malinda, severe alcoholism and backed out of going to detox, those concerned for her do not know where she went, but it wasn't to treatment.

          Aaron, for whom we prayed yesterday, and his fiancée, Aliki. His test for aggressive leukemia came back positive. They are due to be married August 25.
          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 11, July 11, November 10
          Chapter 33: Whether Monks Ought to Have Anything of Their Own

          This vice especially is to be cut out of the monastery by the roots. Let
          no one presume to give or receive anything
          without the Abbot's leave, or to have anything as his own -- anything
          whatever, whether book or tablets or pen or whatever it may be -- since
          they are not permitted to have even their bodies or wills at their own
          disposal;
          but for all their necessities let them look to the Father of the
          monastery. And let it be unlawful to have anything
          which the Abbot has not given or allowed. Let all things be common to
          all, as it is written (Acts 4:32), and let no one say or assume that
          anything is his own.

          But if anyone is caught indulging in this most wicked vice,
          let him be admonished once and a second time. If he fails to amend, let
          him undergo punishment.


          REFLECTION

          Benedictine poverty is easily translatable for the lay monastic, married
          or single, into terms of simplicity and detachment, a holy indifference
          to non-essentials. As such, it offers a powerful opportunity for a
          witness against some of the real falsehoods of modern consumerist
          society. This is not (nor need it be,) a preachy attack on today's
          values, just a quiet refusal to go along with them.
          It involves personal practice and choice, not confrontation.

          Benedictine teaching on material goods is based on needs, not desires.
          We ought to have all that is necessary and if, as sometimes happens,
          that is not possible, we ought not to grumble. Benedictine simplicity
          insists that we live in the moment of now with gratitude.

          Does your family have all that you really need today? If so, then don't
          put your heart on hold till you can swing a below-ground swimming pool.
          That's exactly why inordinate desires can be so harmful: they DO put our
          hearts on hold, they take us out of the contented present and force us
          to live in an uncertain future of "when" and "if".

          That future is not real, except for our futures after death. We might
          never live to see the earthly future, even the next moment. We have no
          way of knowing whether or not we will live till lunch today.

          The present is all we have and anything that distracts our view from it
          is often a complete waste of time. Living in the now is a great reality
          check! It is also the place of contemplative reality: the holiness of
          now, of the present instant, standing before God in love, awe and
          thanks.

          I always hate discussions of simplicity that are so general that they
          leave people thinking: "Well, great, but how do I DO that?" Hence a few
          suggestions, not at all as norms, but just as ideas. With them comes a
          huge warning for Oblates who are spouses and parents. You can
          make choices like this for yourself, in some cases, even for the
          household, but you must never force such things on children or spouses.
          That can be disastrous and produces the very same loss of serenity that
          simplicity is designed to protect us from.

          Clothes. Almost everyone can make do with less, male or female. Before I
          became a monk, I generally had two pairs of slacks- one khaki and one
          navy blue. They looked preppy. They went with everything. Yes, after a
          while, people did notice I was always in one or the other, but so what?
          The shirts were different and I was clean.
          The shirts came from the Salvation Army: years of wear in good clothes
          for less than $5 a pop, less than $2 a pop if one waited till sale day.

          Recycle in your own home. Towels go down from the bath, to the kitchen,
          to rags. With all the rags you will soon accumulate living this way, you
          can say goodbye to paper towels, unless there is some reason you really
          need them. Cloth napkins? Wow! They even seem a bit upscale and you can
          stop buying one-use paper. Trust me, ordinarily
          washing them once a week is fine.

          This is not stinge, folks. Insofar as possible, consume stuff that is
          really good for you, avoid stuff that is wasteful or harmful. We become
          immune to the very high levels that our society actually encourages
          waste, almost demands it.

          How many people over fifty recall their first reactions to disposable
          lighters, ballpoint pens and razors when they first came out? It was
          like: "Huh??? You throw them away???" When was the last time you bought
          a refill for a ballpoint pen? Now one hardly sees any pens BUT
          disposable ones. Big, big money and profits were made by the companies
          teaching us to throw away and waste the WHOLE item, not just the used
          part. We got used to that, sadly.

          I went back to non-disposable razors some time ago, but they cost a good
          deal more than the throw away kind, which have filled who knows how many
          garbage dumps in 30 years. Somebody gave me a Zippo lighter for Christmas
          two years ago. It is a bit of a hassle to keep it in flints and fluid,
          but it means that I have spared the planet from at least a little
          plastic.

          By the way, you don't do this because it will end over-consumption. It
          won't. The world has not moved to Schick razors and Zippos, nor are they
          likely to do so any time soon. What it does, and this is important, is
          limit your complicity in the nonsense. That, so long as one does not
          become self-righteous, can be an immensely freeing thing.

          Always remember the Zen principle: the only thing that is lacking is the
          sense that nothing is lacking. Modern consumerism thrives on and insists
          that we ALWAYS feel something is lacking. Not so, we can be free of
          that. Why be lied to any more?

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



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Br. Jerome Leo
          +PAX A blessed Solemnity of St. Benedict to all, prayers for all Benedictines! Special prayers for Fr. Benedict of Pluscarden on his feast day, and for all
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 10, 2016
            +PAX



            A blessed Solemnity of St. Benedict to all, prayers for all Benedictines!
            Special prayers for Fr. Benedict of Pluscarden on his feast day, and for all
            our Benedicts. Graces galore and many more.



            Prayers for the eternal rest of seminarian Brian Bergkamp, 24, missing after
            saving a woman from drowning in the Arkansas River. Prayers for his family,
            too, and all who mourn him, prayers that they recover his body, for closure
            for his family.



            Prayers for Kaylee, 21, she has just been diagnosed with lung cancer that
            has evolved out of a very rare form of skin cancer. Doctors have advised her
            that chemotherapy will only give her two months of additional life. She has
            22 tumors in her lungs. Prayers for a miracle of healing, should God will
            that, or for her happy death, should He will to take her. Prayers for her
            family, too.



            Prayers for the eternal rest of Rose, her 41st death anniversary is later
            this month, and for her son, Daniel and all her family and all who mourn
            her.



            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 11, July 11, November 10
            Chapter 33: Whether Monks Ought to Have Anything of Their Own

            This vice especially is to be cut out of the monastery by the roots. Let
            no one presume to give or receive anything
            without the Abbot's leave, or to have anything as his own -- anything
            whatever, whether book or tablets or pen or whatever it may be -- since
            they are not permitted to have even their bodies or wills at their own
            disposal;
            but for all their necessities let them look to the Father of the
            monastery. And let it be unlawful to have anything
            which the Abbot has not given or allowed. Let all things be common to
            all, as it is written (Acts 4:32), and let no one say or assume that
            anything is his own.

            But if anyone is caught indulging in this most wicked vice,
            let him be admonished once and a second time. If he fails to amend, let
            him undergo punishment.


            REFLECTION

            Benedictine poverty is easily translatable for the lay monastic, married
            or single, into terms of simplicity and detachment, a holy indifference
            to non-essentials. As such, it offers a powerful opportunity for a
            witness against some of the real falsehoods of modern consumerist
            society.


            Benedictine teaching on material goods is based on needs, not desires.
            We ought to have all that is necessary and if, as sometimes happens,
            that is not possible, we ought not to grumble. Benedictine simplicity
            insists that we live in the moment of now with gratitude.

            Does your family have all that you really need today? If so, then don't
            put your heart on hold till you can swing a below-ground swimming pool.
            That's exactly why inordinate desires can be so harmful: they DO put our
            hearts on hold, they take us out of the contented present and force us
            to live in an uncertain future of "when" and "if".

            I always hate discussions of simplicity that are so general that they
            leave people thinking: "Well, great, but how do I DO that?" Hence a few
            suggestions, not at all as norms, but just as ideas. With them comes a
            huge warning for Oblates who are spouses and parents. You can
            make choices like this for yourself, in some cases, even for the
            household, but you must never force such things on children or spouses.
            That can be disastrous and produces the very same loss of serenity that
            simplicity is designed to protect us from.

            Clothes. Almost everyone can make do with less, male or female. Before I
            became a monk, I generally had two pairs of slacks- one khaki and one
            navy blue. They looked preppy. They went with everything. Yes, after a
            while, people did notice I was always in one or the other, but so what?
            The shirts were different and I was clean.
            The shirts came from thrift shops: years of wear in good clothes
            for less than $5 a pop, less than $2 a pop if one waited till sale day.

            Recycle in your own home. Towels go down from the bath, to the kitchen,
            to rags. With all the rags you will soon accumulate living this way, you
            can say goodbye to paper towels, unless there is some reason you really
            need them. Cloth napkins? Wow! They even seem a bit upscale and you can
            stop buying one-use paper. Trust me, ordinarily
            washing them once a week is fine.

            This is not stinge, folks. Insofar as possible, consume stuff that is
            really good for you, avoid stuff that is wasteful or harmful. We become
            immune to the very high levels that our society actually encourages
            waste, almost demands it.

            How many people over fifty recall their first reactions to disposable
            lighters, ballpoint pens and razors when they first came out? It was
            like: "Huh??? You throw them away???" When was the last time you bought
            a refill for a ballpoint pen? Now one hardly sees any pens BUT
            disposable ones. Big, big money and profits were made by the companies
            teaching us to throw away and waste the WHOLE item, not just the used
            part. We got used to that, sadly.

            I went back to non-disposable razors some time ago, but they cost
            more than the throw away kind, which have filled who knows how many
            garbage dumps in 30 or 40 years. When I smoked, I had a Zippo lighter.

            It was a bit of a hassle to keep it in flints and fluid, but it meant that I


            spared the planet from at least a little plastic.

            By the way, you don't do this because it will end over-consumption. It
            won't. The world has not moved to Schick razors and Zippos, nor are they
            likely to do so any time soon. What it does, and this is important, is
            limit your complicity in the nonsense. That, so long as one does not
            become self-righteous, can be an immensely freeing thing.

            Always remember the Zen principle: the only thing that is lacking is the
            sense that nothing is lacking. Modern consumerism thrives on and insists
            that we ALWAYS feel something is lacking. Not so, we can be free of
            that. Why be lied to any more?

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













            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • russophile2002
            +PAX A blessed Solemnity of St. Benedict to all! Prayers for Fr. Benedict of Pluscarden on his feastday, and for all our Benedicts celebrating theirs today.
            Message 5 of 5 , Jul 10

              +PAX

              A blessed Solemnity of St. Benedict to all! Prayers for Fr. Benedict of Pluscarden on his feastday, and for all our Benedicts celebrating theirs today. Prayers for our entire Benedictine Family!

               

              Prayers for the eternal rest of Paulino P., and for his wife, family, and all who mourn him.

               

              Prayers for Adan and Suzanna on the coming birth of their first child. Prayers that all will go well and the child will be brought up in the faith.

               

              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 11, July 11, November 10
              Chapter 33: Whether Monks Ought to Have Anything of Their Own

              This vice especially is to be cut out of the monastery by the roots. Let
              no one presume to give or receive anything
              without the Abbot's leave, or to have anything as his own -- anything
              whatever, whether book or tablets or pen or whatever it may be -- since
              they are not permitted to have even their bodies or wills at their own
              disposal;
              but for all their necessities let them look to the Father of the
              monastery. And let it be unlawful to have anything
              which the Abbot has not given or allowed. Let all things be common to
              all, as it is written (Acts 4:32), and let no one say or assume that
              anything is his own.

              But if anyone is caught indulging in this most wicked vice,
              let him be admonished once and a second time. If he fails to amend, let
              him undergo punishment.


              REFLECTION

              Benedictine poverty is easily translatable for the lay monastic, married
              or single, into terms of simplicity and detachment, a holy indifference
              to non-essentials. As such, it offers a powerful opportunity for a
              witness against some of the real falsehoods of modern consumerist
              society.

              Benedictine teaching on material goods is based on needs, not desires.
              We ought to have all that is necessary and if, as sometimes happens,
              that is not possible, we ought not to grumble. Benedictine simplicity
              insists that we live in the moment of now with gratitude.

              Does your family have all that you really need today? If so, then don't
              put your heart on hold till you can swing a below-ground swimming pool.
              That's exactly why inordinate desires can be so harmful: they DO put our
              hearts on hold, they take us out of the contented present and force us
              to live in an uncertain future of "when" and "if".

              I always hate discussions of simplicity that are so general that they
              leave people thinking: "Well, great, but how do I DO that?" Hence a few
              suggestions, not at all as norms, but just as ideas. With them comes a
              huge warning for Oblates who are spouses and parents. You can
              make choices like this for yourself, in some cases, even for the
              household, but you must never force such things on children or spouses.
              That can be disastrous and produces the very same loss of serenity that
              simplicity is designed to protect us from.

              Clothes. Almost everyone can make do with less, male or female. Before I
              became a monk, I generally had two pairs of slacks- one khaki and one
              navy blue. They looked preppy. They went with everything. Yes, after a
              while, people did notice I was always in one or the other, but so what?
              The shirts were different and I was clean.
              The shirts came from thrift shops: years of wear in good clothes
              for less than $5 a pop, less than $2 a pop if one waited till sale day.

              Recycle in your own home. Towels go down from the bath, to the kitchen,
              to rags. With all the rags you will soon accumulate living this way, you
              can say goodbye to paper towels, unless there is some reason you really
              need them. Cloth napkins? Wow! They even seem a bit upscale and you can
              stop buying one-use paper. Trust me, ordinarily
              washing them once a week is fine.

              This is not stinge, folks. Insofar as possible, consume stuff that is
              really good for you, avoid stuff that is wasteful or harmful. We become
              immune to the very high levels that our society actually encourages
              waste, almost demands it.

              How many people over fifty recall their first reactions to disposable
              lighters, ballpoint pens and razors when they first came out? It was
              like: "Huh??? You throw them away???" When was the last time you bought
              a refill for a ballpoint pen? Now one hardly sees any pens BUT
              disposable ones. Big, big money and profits were made by the companies
              teaching us to throw away and waste the WHOLE item, not just the used
              part. We got used to that, sadly.

              I went back to non-disposable razors some time ago, but they cost
              more than the throw away kind, which have filled who knows how many
              garbage dumps in 30 or 40 years. When I smoked, I had a Zippo lighter.
              It was a bit of a hassle to keep it in flints and fluid, but it meant that I
              spared the planet from at least a little plastic.

              By the way, you don't do this because it will end over-consumption. It
              won't. The world has not moved to Schick razors and Zippos, nor are they
              likely to do so any time soon. What it does, and this is important, is
              limit your complicity in the nonsense. That, so long as one does not
              become self-righteous, can be an immensely freeing thing.

              Always remember the Zen principle: the only thing that is lacking is the
              sense that nothing is lacking. Modern consumerism thrives on and insists
              that we ALWAYS feel something is lacking. Not so, we can be free of
              that. Why be lied to anymore?

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

               


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