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Holy Rule for Sept. 8

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers, please, for my monastery, St. Mary s, as we celebrate our patronal feast, especially for vocations! Prayers, too, for 2 of our Oblates, Marje and
    Message 1 of 270 , Sep 8, 2004
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for my monastery, St. Mary's, as we celebrate our patronal feast, especially for vocations!

      Prayers, too, for 2 of our Oblates, Marje and Bill. They have been unable to reach Bill's sister, Mary, and her husband Larry, since Frances hit Ft. Pierce, where they live. For their safety and for all those worried who cannot reach loved ones because phones or power are out. Prayers for Dave, healing from hip surgery, and for Tom, his loving caregiver, also for Clare and her family, she has early-detected breast cancer, for a priest who understood yesterday's laments on celibacy and loneliness all too well, that God fill all the gaps in his heart, in all our celibate hearts! Prayers, too, for Anita. Sept. 11th was a particularly dark day for her, personally as well as nationally, and this year she will start theological studies on the anniversary. God's will is best. God is never absent. All is mercy and grace. Thanks so much! JL

      January 8, May 9, September 8
      Chapter 1: On the Kinds of Monks

      It is well known that there are four kinds of monks.
      The first kind are the Cenobites:
      those who live in monasteries
      and serve under a rule and an Abbot.

      The second kind are the Anchorites or Hermits:
      those who,
      no longer in the first fervor of their reformation,
      but after long probation in a monastery,
      having learned by the help of many brethren
      how to fight against the devil,
      go out well armed from the ranks of the community
      to the solitary combat of the desert.
      They are able now,
      with no help save from God,
      to fight single-handed against the vices of the flesh
      and their own evil thoughts.

      The third kind of monks, a detestable kind, are the Sarabaites.
      These, not having been tested,
      as gold in the furnace (Wis. 3:6),
      by any rule or by the lessons of experience,
      are as soft as lead.
      In their works they still keep faith with the world,
      so that their tonsure marks them as liars before God.
      They live in twos or threes, or even singly,
      without a shepherd,
      in their own sheepfolds and not in the Lord's.
      Their law is the desire for self-gratification:
      whatever enters their mind or appeals to them,
      that they call holy;
      what they dislike, they regard as unlawful.

      The fourth kind of monks are those called Gyrovagues.
      These spend their whole lives tramping from province to province,
      staying as guests in different monasteries
      for three or four days at a time.
      Always on the move, with no stability,
      they indulge their own wills
      and succumb to the allurements of gluttony,
      and are in every way worse than the Sarabaites.
      Of the miserable conduct of all such
      it is better to be silent than to speak.

      Passing these over, therefore,
      let us proceed, with God's help,
      to lay down a rule for the strongest kind of monks,the Cenobites.

      REFLECTION: For once, a BRAND new one!!!

      First off, and briefly, there can be flaws in ANY kind of monastic, even the cenobites and anchorites of whom St. Benedict writes so fondly. The anchorite can sometimes be tempted to use solitude as an excuse for not doing good things when solitude has little or nothing to do with the real, selfish reason. The cenobite can shift focus to the community, or to its works ("We've got a school [or retreat center, or hospital, or whatever...] to run here!") in such a way that the primary search for God gets lost, along with the necessary examination and self-reformation. The family Oblate can go overboard on demanding too much solitude and the truly solitary single Oblate can neglect family for the wrong reasons. There is always balance needed, always. It will be our lifelong struggle.

      I have said before that all four kinds of monastic can quite unfortunately (and stubbornly!) exist in all our hearts and usually do so!
      That is very true, but today I would like to focus on the latter two unlovelies: the Sarabaites and the Gyrovagues. Telling phrases in the description of both point very clearly to all of us living in the developed Western world, whether in cloister or not, and particularly to those of us in the U.S., alas. I apologize to any of our international members for whom these problems are either non-existent or minimal, but I think there is something important to look at here.

      OK, beloveds, take off those terribly clouded lenses of consumerism and put on a brand new prescription of reality glasses and read carefully again. Check out some of the phrases in question and ask your heart deeply and honestly how your Benedictine commitment comes into play in these areas. We are used to reading about these undesirable monks as the others, let us bravely look at the ways they are ourselves.

      Those nasty Sarabaite parts of our hearts and wills "are as soft as lead" and "still keep faith with the world" in their works. This tragically marks those parts of us as "liars before God." But thankfully, God is ALWAYS merciful and we can always keep trying, in fact we must keep trying: conversion of manners here! How often do we surrender and bend to human respect or status? How often is our religion one thing, and the rest of modern life conveniently under another umbrella, as if more than one Gospel existed? Do we sell out to trends or popular opinions too easily? Do we let our counter-witness to the bad sense of the world be obliterated by embarrassed silence?

      Remember that Scripture speaks of the world in two ways. One sense is the good world, created by God as good and for the good of all, the creation we are bound to love and cherish because God did so first. The other is the false world, the one I am writing about here, the one which lies to us and leads us astray, the secular values that have idols and the self as their gods. Not for nothing did Jesus call Satan the Father of Lies and the prince of this world.

      Ah, and those slimy Gyrovague parts of us, which our holy Father Benedict terms "in every way worse than the Sarabaites." Now here is a ripe field to harvest some info about our levels of consumerism! "They indulge their own wills and succumb to the allurements of gluttony." Whoops! I've done them both a time or two, even in the last 24 hours. How about you? Over consumption of food or material goods, one or both can easily attack us all and usually can be relied upon to do just that!!

      Out-of-control consumerism is a lie, a false view of reality. Jesus, Who is our goal, is the Truth, the complete opposite of every falsehood. Ridiculous levels of consumption and self-gratification are wrong, not only because they hurt us, but because they hurt others, too. They destroy the balance of common good for which God created the world to serve all people. In the US (and many other Western nations,) the "bargains" which tickle our fancy have surely, without a doubt, come at high cost to some one else, often in the Third World, often the weakest and poorest. They also contribute to the unjust shifting of wealth to the top few, since even bargains are sold with profit in mind, lots of it, and not for those who work hardest.

      Look, we need a certain amount of goods. Even St. Thomas Aquinas said a certain amount of goods were necessary to work out our salvation. (Severe lacks would mean we would, perforce, have to focus on simple survival, to work so hard to stay alive that the spirit would be decidedly underfed.) But, as Christians and as Benedictines, we need goods in moderation, in just and accurate levels which truly accord to our state in life. This is by no means an argument against ALL possessions, especially not for Oblates in the world. It is an attempt to see through the clearer lens of truth, of Jesus, of simplicity.

      How many times do we hear simplicity described as "elegant." It often is. Real elegance, however, has an intrinsic relation to Beauty and Beauty to Truth, and the ultimate standard of Beauty and Truth is Christ. The idea behind a simpler lifestyle is NOT penance, but a closer approximation of yet another piece of the wondrous Divine Puzzle which is our God. Every single time we
      mirror truth, we mirror Christ. it is really that simple!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • russophile2002
      +PAX Prayers for St. Mary’s Monastery, on this feast of the Birth of Mary, our patronal solemnity. May God fill us with blessings and send us many good
      Message 270 of 270 , Sep 7

        +PAX

        Prayers for St. Mary’s Monastery, on this feast of the Birth of Mary, our patronal solemnity. May God fill us with blessings and send us many good vocations and the means to support them. A blessed Birthday of Mary to all!

         

        Prayers for Matt, taking his nursing assistant exam.

         

        Deo gratias and prayers of thanks, Daniel is recovering well from his knee replacement. Continued prayers for complete recovery.

         

        Continued prayers for all in the path of Hurricane Irma, especially for Sr. Maria Isabel’s father and family members in Santo Domingo. Prayers, too, for Sr. Maria Isabel and all her family here who are worried and praying.

         

        Prayers for the eternal rest of Sr. Christine’s father, whose anniversary of death was yesterday, and for Sr. Christine and all his family.

         

        Prayers for Anna, 50, mother of two handicapped boys, she has a very aggressive ovarian cancer and is seriously ill. Healing prayers for her and prayers for her boys, her elderly parents and her siblings stepping in to help. May God console and strengthen them all.

         

        Prayers for Louis, having kidney stones removed.

         

        Prayers for Helen, 70’s, in a serious auto accident and many fractures.

         

        Prayers for M., that she makes contact with her friends who are concerned about her.

         

        Prayers for Tony, experiencing a severe drain of trained managers from his stores.  He is no longer young and the strain is rapidly affecting his health.

         

        Prayers for Vince and his family as their dear dog, Gars, has been diagnosed with stage 5 canine lymphoma. He will be sorely missed.

         

        Continued prayers for Marion N., still suffering after effects from her procedure.

         

        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

         

        January 8, May 9, September 8
        Chapter 1: On the Kinds of Monks

         

        It is well known that there are four kinds of monks.
        The first kind are the Cenobites:
        those who live in monasteries
        and serve under a rule and an Abbot.

         

        The second kind are the Anchorites or Hermits:
        those who,
        no longer in the first fervor of their reformation,
        but after long probation in a monastery,
        having learned by the help of many brethren
        how to fight against the devil,
        go out well armed from the ranks of the community
        to the solitary combat of the desert.
        They are able now,
        with no help save from God,
        to fight single-handed against the vices of the flesh
        and their own evil thoughts.

         

        The third kind of monks, a detestable kind, are the Sarabaites.
        These, not having been tested,
        as gold in the furnace (Wis. 3:6),
        by any rule or by the lessons of experience,
        are as soft as lead.
        In their works they still keep faith with the world,
        so that their tonsure marks them as liars before God.
        They live in twos or threes, or even singly,
        without a shepherd,
        in their own sheepfolds and not in the Lord's.
        Their law is the desire for self-gratification:
        whatever enters their mind or appeals to them,
        that they call holy;
        what they dislike, they regard as unlawful.

         

        The fourth kind of monks are those called Gyrovagues.
        These spend their whole lives tramping from province to province,
        staying as guests in different monasteries
        for three or four days at a time.
        Always on the move, with no stability,
        they indulge their own wills
        and succumb to the allurements of gluttony,
        and are in every way worse than the Sarabaites.
        Of the miserable conduct of all such
        it is better to be silent than to speak.

         

        Passing these over, therefore,
        let us proceed, with God's help,
        to lay down a rule for the strongest kind of monks, the Cenobites.

         

        REFLECTION:

         

        I have said before that all four kinds of monastic can quite
        unfortunately (and stubbornly!) exist in all our hearts and usually
        do so! That is very true, but today I would like to focus on the
        latter two unlovelies: the Sarabaites and the Gyrovagues. Telling
        phrases in the description of both point very clearly to all of us living in the
        developed Western world, whether in cloister or not, and particularly to those of us in the U.S., alas. I apologize to any of our international members for
        whom these problems are either non-existent or minimal, but I think
        there is something important to look at here. We are used to reading about these undesirable monks as the others, let us bravely look at the ways
        they are ourselves.

         

        Those nasty Sarabaite parts of our hearts and wills "are as soft as
        lead" and "still keep faith with the world" in their works. This
        tragically marks those parts of us as "liars before God." But
        thankfully, God is ALWAYS merciful and we can always keep trying,
        in fact we must keep trying: conversion of manners here! How often
        do we surrender and bend to human respect or status? How often is
        our religion one thing, and the rest of modern life "conveniently" another?

        Do we sell out to trends or popular opinions too easily? Do we let our

        counter witness to the bad sense of the world be obliterated by embarrassed

        silence?

         

        Remember that Scripture speaks of the world in two ways. One sense
        is the good world, created by God as good and for the good of all, the creation
        we are bound to love and cherish because God did so first. The
        other is the false world, the one I am writing about here, the one
        which lies to us and leads us astray, the secular values that have
        idols and the self as their gods. Not for nothing did Jesus call
        Satan the father of lies and the prince of this world.

         

        Ah, and those slimy Gyrovague parts of us, which our holy Father
        Benedict terms "in every way worse than the Sarabaites." Now here
        is a ripe field to harvest some info about our levels of
        consumerism! "They indulge their own wills and succumb to the
        allurements of gluttony." Whoops! I've done them both a time or
        two. How about you? Over consumption of food or material goods, one
        or both can easily attack us all and usually can be relied upon to
        do just that!!

         

        Out-of-control consumerism is a lie, a false view of reality.
        Jesus, Who is our goal, is the Truth, the complete opposite of
        every falsehood. Ridiculous levels of consumption and self-
        gratification are wrong, not only because they hurt us, but because
        they hurt others, too. They destroy the balance of common good for
        which God created the world to serve all people.

         

        In the US (and many other Western nations,) the "bargains" which
        tickle our fancy have often, without a doubt, come at high cost to
        someone else, often in the Third World, often the weakest and
        poorest. They also contribute to the unjust shifting of wealth to
        the top few, since even bargains are sold with profit in mind, lots
        of it, and not for those who work hardest.

         

        Look, we need a certain amount of goods. Even St. Thomas Aquinas
        said a certain amount of goods were necessary to us. (Severe
        lacks would mean we would, perforce, have to focus on simple
        survival, to work so hard to stay alive that the spirit would be
        decidedly underfed.) But, as Christians and as Benedictines, we
        need goods in moderation, in just and accurate levels which truly
        accord to our state in life. This is by no means an argument
        against ALL possessions, especially not for Oblates in the world.
        It is an attempt to see through the clearer lens of truth, of Jesus,
        of simplicity.

         

        How many times do we hear simplicity described as "elegant." It
        often is. Real elegance, however, has an intrinsic relation to
        Beauty and Beauty to Truth, and the ultimate standard of Beauty and
        Truth is Christ. Behind a simpler lifestyle is a closer approximation of yet another piece of the wondrous Divine Puzzle which is our God. Every single time we mirror truth, we mirror Christ. it is really that simple!

         

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

         

         

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