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Holy Rule for Aug 31

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers, please, for my long deceased parents, Jerome and Louise Hughes, on their wedding anniversary. Prayers of thanks and continued prayers for AJ, for
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2004
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for my long deceased parents, Jerome and Louise Hughes, on their wedding anniversary. Prayers of thanks and continued prayers for AJ, for whom we prayed yesterday and for his family. Intervention was done, but complicated, and there is a lot of prayer still needed for his rehab. There was more than one drug involved, alas. But DEO GRATIAS for the help and grace already received! Prayers for Dorothy, who has had her second foot amputation. There were numerous surgeries in the loss of her first leg and foot, due to circulatory disease, and this second loss has hit her hard. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Thanks so much. JL

      May 1, August 31, December 31
      Chapter 73: On the Fact That the Full Observance of Justice Is Not
      Established in This Rule

      Now we have written this Rule
      in order that by its observance in monasteries
      we may show that we have attained some degree of virtue
      and the rudiments of the religious life.

      But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life
      there are the teaching of the holy Fathers,
      the observance of which leads to the height of perfection.
      For what page or what utterance
      of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
      is not a most unerring rule for human life?
      Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers
      does not loudly proclaim
      how we may come by a straight course to our Creator?
      Then the Conferences and the Institutes
      and the Lives of the Fathers,
      as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil --
      what else are they but tools of virtue
      for right-living and obedient monks?
      But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent
      they are a source of shame and confusion.

      Whoever you are, therefore,
      who are hastening to the heavenly homeland,
      fulfill with the help of Christ
      this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners;
      and then at length under God's protection
      you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue
      which we have mentioned above.

      REFLECTION

      I used to love to teach 8th graders. At the top of a kindergarten
      through 8th grade school, they thought they had REALLY arrived, they
      were very pleased with themselves! My 8th graders knew that I loved
      them, so I could afford to tease them a bit. I used to narrow my eyes
      into a fake menacing gaze and say: "Ah, now you're the top, but next
      year? Next year you will be FRESHMEN! The lowest of the low! Just
      wait till high school." And they would laugh, secure in the fact that
      I MUST be joking....

      Well, folks, the beauty of this last chapter is that is tells us we
      are ALL eighth graders, if even that. We'd do well to take St.
      Benedict seriously on this one, but I'll bet he smiled with the same
      affection I used to show to my kids. Three times a year we read the
      Holy Rule entirely and three times a year he lovingly shakes us awake
      to the reality that we will for most of our lives, always be freshmen next year!

      That's the Benedictine surprise that's wrapped in conversion of
      manners: we never "arrive", we're not so hot as we thought ourselves
      to be, we are just barely ready for the next step.
      This is VERY different from the self-loathing we spoke about
      yesterday with the bitter zeal. This is the true self-knowledge, the
      smiling, even shrugging acceptance of the fact that we are just on
      the way, nothing special there!

      How great must our God be! I have never known anyone who kept all of
      the Holy Rule perfectly, but I have known many that I thought were
      great saints, very observant monastics. St. Benedict is clearly
      telling us that God is even more than we may attain by observing this
      Rule. God is so vast and beyond us, we are always taking the tumbling
      first steps of toddlers towards Him, but He is always holding on and
      beaming with the pride an love of a parent guiding those steps. Our
      Holy Rule is filled with awesome things, yet it is only
      the "rudiments" of the spiritual life!

      Eighth graders, eighth graders all, but ah, what a high school awaits!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      jeromeleo@...
      St. Mary's Monastery
      Petersham, MA

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