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Dec 31

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  • russophile2002 <jeromeleo@earthlink.net>
    PAX Prayers, please, for Brother Bernard, also for Peter and his siblings, fallen away from the faith, for Johanna, severe depression, and from Christopher,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2002
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      Prayers, please, for Brother Bernard, also for Peter and his
      siblings, fallen away from the faith, for Johanna, severe depression,
      and from Christopher, 23, and his Mom, Suzanne. He is having some
      real life-focus struggles right now.
      Thanks so much!

      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.


      One of the reasons, surely not the only one, that Jesus told us not
      to judge is that, by our very nature, we are usually in the MIDDLE of
      things, and the middle is not a place from which one can make an
      adequate assessment. The middle can be scary, but the beginning and
      the end have more to say about what was REALLY going on. In God's
      heart and mercy and mind, ALL things are seen together. We can in no
      way have a scope that wide.

      In the frightening middles of life, we dare only say: "Jesus, I trust
      in You!" with all our hearts. Like any opera, it ain't over until the
      fat lady sings, and for most of us, most of the time, the fat lady
      AIN'T singing! Hang in there! God *IS* in charge! Don't let the
      middles rob us of our inner peace. Trust , real, firm trust in God's
      Mercy is the ONLY way to prevent that.

      What all this is leading to is this: don't judge the Holy Rule by any
      middle chapter you read at random. Some of them, especially the ones
      dealing with punishments, can sound terribly mean and severe taken
      out of context. It is here in the epilogue that the Prologue is so
      resolutely repeated by a loving, gentle father, a lover of Christ, a
      man who well knows how to lead others to joy and abundant life. This
      is the true holy Father Benedict. May he and Christ lead us all alike
      unto everlasting life!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB

      jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA
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