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Holy Rule for Sep. 3

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX ***Important note: Yahoo sometimes hiccups. I send the Holy Rule in the early morning and it is sometimes delayed by Yahoo until late at night. That is
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2004
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      ***Important note: Yahoo sometimes hiccups. I send the Holy Rule in the early morning and it is sometimes delayed by Yahoo until late at night. That is not your computer, or mine, so please don't worry. There's nothing that can be done about it and the service of Yahoo is, after all, free, so the price is right...

      Prayers, please, for Ben, his surgery was moved to this morning at 9:45 EDT. Prayers for all in the path of Hurricane Frances that are being evacuated, that includes the Regional Seminary of St. Vincent de Paul, where one of our readers, Br. Dennis, studies. Prayers for a whole department of workers who have suffered flu-like symptoms since moving into a new building: Shirley, Chris, Kelly, Joanna, Kimm, Mary Jo and Sandra. Prayers for Jamie, 39, drug problems, he is the single father of a 14 yr. old son, so prayers for him, too. Also for Patrick, 19, growing brain tumor. Treatment will take his eyesight away, but he has great faith. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Thanks so much! JL

      January 3, May 4, September 3

      And the Lord, seeking his laborer
      in the multitude to whom He thus cries out,
      says again,
      "Who is the one who will have life,
      and desires to see good days" (Ps. 33:13)?
      And if, hearing Him, you answer,
      "I am the one,"
      God says to you,
      "If you will have true and everlasting life,
      keep your tongue from evil
      and your lips that they speak no guile.
      Turn away from evil and do good;
      seek after peace and pursue it" (Ps. 33:14-15).
      And when you have done these things,
      My eyes shall be upon you
      and My ears open to your prayers;
      and before you call upon Me,
      I will say to you,
      'Behold, here I am'" (Ps. 33:16; Is. 65:24; 58:9).

      What can be sweeter to us, dear ones,
      than this voice of the Lord inviting us?
      Behold, in His loving kindness
      the Lord shows us the way of life.


      This is perhaps my all-time favorite reading from the Holy Rule. The
      gentle, loving tenderness of both the Divine Merciful Christ and our
      holy Father Benedict are here in abundance. One is tempted to merely
      bask in the warmth, rather than write, but I will try to write!

      Lest any of us (which, as the Holy Rule would say, God forbid,) tend
      to pride at undertaking the monastic way, this one deflates that
      balloon in a hurry. Christ seeks US. What mercy! Our very being is
      nothing but an act of His love and mercy, all that we have is His
      love and His mercy, yet, on top of all that, He seeks US! We're
      talking God here, not some other created being. We're talking the
      Alpha and Omega, end all and be all, the First Cause, you name it.
      The very force of life and light and truth and love and mercy in the
      cosmos, before all time, names us, knows us and calls us.

      I can get carried away writing about the Prologue, so indulge me here
      as I do so. Beloveds, for so you are to me, our fractured hearts and
      sin-veiled eyes just cannot see the way, nor can we name the hurts or
      their cures well. God and God alone can pierce that darkness and He
      offers to do so before we even ask. This is awesome grace, this is
      enough for a lifetime's meditation on humility. Hard things to come
      in the struggle are real, but their harshness is in some way
      illusory: "Behold, in His loving-kindness, the Lord shows us the way
      of life."

      In the midst of all this sweetness, look at the question he puts in
      the Lord's mouth: "Who is the one who will have life and desires to
      see good days?" Granted, it is a quote from the Psalms, but St.
      Benedict could have used something else, or written his own, or
      employed a rhetorical question. He didn't, though, he used this one
      and that is most fortunate.

      St. Benedict does not have God in the teeming marketplace hollering
      out: "Who wants to be a monk? Who wants to be a nun? Who wants to be
      an Oblate?" (Chuckle: if God DID call out "Who wants to be an
      Oblate?", how many people you know would say: "What's an Oblate??")
      No doubt, for some on the monastic way, those may have been the first
      questions. For many others, it was not nearly that direct.

      This question allows us to ponder (if God and you will pardon the
      phrase,) the Divine sneakiness. How many of the stories we hear of
      how people came to the monastic way and were drawn to the Benedictine
      life give witness to God's loving "sneakiness." God cannot lie and
      His query here is not a lie, but He can certainly CHOOSE the truth He
      uses to draw us. Like any parent of a stubborn child, He knows that
      some approaches work better than others.

      I know Brother Bernard Aurentz, now dead, joined St. Leo because he
      liked Florida and thought the monastery was on the Gulf of Mexico!
      The picture of a palm tree by water in a vocation ad sure sold him!
      He just didn't realize they were on a large lake, 40 miles inland!
      God didn't deceive him, He just didn't make the geography evident
      until the guy arrived and stayed for the rest of his life. God
      doesn't trick us in a wrong way, but He often allows us to do the
      right thing for the wrong reason! No doubt He knows that's the only
      way He could have gotten us in the door!

      There is a lot more than sneakiness in this question, however. How
      many times, when speaking of monastic life, or married life, or any
      vocation, do we stress its harsher aspects? To some extent, monastic
      life and married life get the brunt of this: "Oh, it isn't easy,
      blah, blah, blah...It's no cinch, there's a lot of hardship." OK,
      there is, no problem there, but there is also a lot of sweetness if
      any vocation is done right.

      How many people would have gotten married if the proposal included a
      litany of night-feedings and diaper pails, much less if the proposal
      could have announced the birth of a severely handicapped child or the
      paralysis of the spouse or the tragedy of an auto accident far in the
      future. We do both marriage and monastic life a great harm when we
      emphasize only the difficult things. There IS joy in marriage, great
      joy, and there is in the monastic way, too. Just like any good
      proposal, God asks us to respond to the good things He is offering
      and they are not slight!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

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