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Holy Rule for Dec. 15

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers, please for Aimee, critically injured in a car accident in Washington, DC, many miles from her home in Massachusetts. Her elderly parents, Sam and
    Message 1 of 7 , Dec 15, 2004
      +PAX

      Prayers, please for Aimee, critically injured in a car accident in Washington, DC, many miles from her home in Massachusetts. Her elderly parents, Sam and Pat, have gone down to be with her in the hospital, but she is seriously injured and they are all so far from home. Ardent prayers for them all and for Sarah, critically ill with inflammation of her heart lining, antibiotics have failed and surgery required this week. Prayers, too, for Marje, serious liver damage from prescription meds and soon tests for other problems, and for Bill, her husband, who is over 90 and caring for her. Prayers for our Brother Vincent as he turns ****41**** today!God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Alleluia! Thanks so much. JL

      April 15, August 15, December 15
      Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received

      If a pilgrim monastic coming from a distant region
      wants to live as a guest of the monastery,
      let her be received for as long a time as she desires,
      provided she is content
      with the customs of the place as she finds them
      and does not disturb the monastery by superfluous demands,
      but is simply content with what she finds.
      If, however, she censures or points out anything reasonably
      and with the humility of charity,
      let the Abbess consider prudently
      whether perhaps it was for that very purpose
      that the Lord sent her.

      If afterwards she should want to bind herself to stability,
      her wish should not be denied her,
      especially since there has been opportunity
      during her stay as a guest
      to discover her character.

      REFLECTION

      One of the Desert Fathers (forgive me for not recalling which one,)
      said that there is nothing so careful as a monk not living in his
      native land. That's very true for most of us, though part two of this
      chapter makes it clear that it's not true for everyone. When we
      visit, we want people to think the best of the home, the family, the
      land from which we came. It is this nobility of striving, this
      mindful courtesy that the Desert Father wished to praise. In fact, if
      I read it correctly, the implication was that it might even be better
      to be a monastic AWAY from one's native land for just those reasons.

      There is something striking here. Remember how badly the gyrovagues
      and Sarabaites were painted in the types of monks? Well, these were
      the wandering ones, and St. Benedict knew very well that a pilgrim
      monk at the door could be one of these sorts. He doesn't even mention
      it.

      He wants them to have a chance to do better, to be healed by
      community. If they blow it, fine, he's not going to lose a lot of
      sleep over it, but he does insist they be given a chance to improve.
      Given what the monastic world thought of gyrovagues and the like,
      that says a LOT for St. Benedict's tolerance and clemency.

      Not all of us are in cloisters, but all of us have doors. The people
      who come to those doors may be gyrovagues and Sarabaites, but they
      may not, too. We have to give them a chance to prove or reveal
      themselves. This is true of anyone we encounter. Snap judgments are
      not wise, they cheat us out of many gifts. Being too much or too
      little on the side of caution are both traps. Tread the middle way,
      always the middle way.

      This doesn't mean we have to dupe ourselves into perpetual
      vulnerability, but it does mean we have to be open, mindful and
      listening, really listening to all comers. Listen first, sift later.
      Do both, always both.

      We can get so used to our lives that we are blind to areas that could
      be improved. We can get so used to doing things one way that anything
      better is beyond us. Our routines which become sacrosanct are often
      not at all that holy!

      An outsider's objective view can let us see a good deal about
      ourselves. Some things we may want to change, some we may realize are
      fine as they are. Either way, the visitor can be a reality check of
      great worth.


      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 for our Brother Vincent, as he turns ****42**** today, codgering into his 43rd year! Ad multos annos and many graces and blessings. Prayers,
      Message 2 of 7 , Dec 15, 2005
        +PAX

        Prayers for our Brother Vincent, as he turns ****42**** today, codgering into his 43rd year! Ad multos annos and many graces and blessings.

        Prayers, please, for Ali, her husband, her brother and her Dad, all facing the stressful anniversary of her Mum's death on the 19th, a tough time at Christmas season for them. Also for two anonymous women, one facing terrible stress at work and another with a hysterectomy scheduled and now breast pain she fears is cancerous. Prayers for Bob, undergoing back surgery today in Orlando. Prayers for Jimmy and Alicia on their birthdays. Prayers for the vocational search of Cyril, Andy and Chris.

        Special prayers for Matt and his children and family as a very important court date for custody happens today. May ALL do God's will there in a very messy situation. 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

        April 15, August 15, December 15
        Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received

        If a pilgrim monastic coming from a distant region
        wants to live as a guest of the monastery,
        let her be received for as long a time as she desires,
        provided she is content
        with the customs of the place as she finds them
        and does not disturb the monastery by superfluous demands,
        but is simply content with what she finds.
        If, however, she censures or points out anything reasonably
        and with the humility of charity,
        let the Abbess consider prudently
        whether perhaps it was for that very purpose
        that the Lord sent her.

        If afterwards she should want to bind herself to stability,
        her wish should not be denied her,
        especially since there has been opportunity
        during her stay as a guest
        to discover her character.

        REFLECTION

        One of the Desert Fathers (forgive me for not recalling which one,)
        said that there is nothing so careful as a monk not living in his
        native land. That's very true for most of us, though part two of this
        chapter makes it clear that it's not true for everyone. When we
        visit, we want people to think the best of the home, the family, the
        land from which we came. It is this nobility of striving, this
        mindful courtesy that the Desert Father wished to praise. In fact, if
        I read it correctly, the implication was that it might even be better
        to be a monastic AWAY from one's native land for just those reasons.

        There is something striking here. Remember how badly the gyrovagues
        and Sarabaites were painted in the types of monks? Well, these were
        the wandering ones, and St. Benedict knew very well that a pilgrim
        monk at the door could be one of these sorts. He doesn't even mention it.

        He wants them to have a chance to do better, to be healed by
        community. If they louse it up, fine, he's not going to lose a lot of
        sleep over it, but he does insist they be given a chance to improve.
        Given what the monastic world thought of gyrovagues and the like,
        that says a LOT for St. Benedict's tolerance and clemency.

        Not all of us are in cloisters, but all of us have doors. The people
        who come to those doors may be gyrovagues and Sarabaites, but they
        may not, too. We have to give them a chance to prove or reveal
        themselves. This is true of anyone we encounter. Snap judgments are
        not wise, they cheat us out of many gifts. Being too much or too
        little on the side of caution are both traps. Tread the middle way,
        always the middle way.

        This doesn't mean we have to dupe ourselves into perpetual
        vulnerability, but it does mean we have to be open, mindful and
        listening, really listening to all comers. Listen first, sift later.
        Do both, always both.

        We can get so used to our lives that we are blind to areas that could
        be improved. We can get so used to doing things one way that anything
        better is beyond us. Our routines which become sacrosanct are often
        not at all that holy!

        An outsider's objective view can let us see a good deal about
        ourselves. Some things we may want to change, some we may realize are
        fine as they are. Either way, the visitor can be a reality check of
        great worth.


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

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
        +PAX Prayers for our Brother Vincent on his birthday, many of you are enjoying his efforts in our newsletter. He worked very hard on that. Graces and blessings
        Message 3 of 7 , Dec 14, 2006
          +PAX

          Prayers for our Brother Vincent on his birthday, many of you are enjoying
          his efforts in our newsletter. He worked very hard on that. Graces and blessings
          galore for him, please! Prayers for C., thinking about entering the Roman
          Catholic Church.

          Prayers of Deo gratias for Shirley, a work situation resolved wonderfully.
          Prayers for Jim, unchecked alcoholism, and for all who suffer from addictions.
          Prayers for Dottie, who has melanoma, it is recurring and now in her lungs,
          muscles in her back, lymph nodes, colon and perhaps her stomach is involved
          also. Prayers, too. for her sister and all her family. Prayers for all those
          who treat our prayer folks. God reward them. 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

          April 15, August 15, December 15
          Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received

          If a pilgrim monastic coming from a distant region
          wants to live as a guest of the monastery,
          let her be received for as long a time as she desires,
          provided she is content
          with the customs of the place as she finds them
          and does not disturb the monastery by superfluous demands,
          but is simply content with what she finds.
          If, however, she censures or points out anything reasonably
          and with the humility of charity,
          let the Abbess consider prudently
          whether perhaps it was for that very purpose
          that the Lord sent her.

          If afterwards she should want to bind herself to stability,
          her wish should not be denied her,
          especially since there has been opportunity
          during her stay as a guest
          to discover her character.

          REFLECTION

          One of the Desert Fathers (forgive me for not recalling which one,)
          said that there is nothing so careful as a monk not living in his
          native land. That's very true for most of us, though part two of this
          chapter makes it clear that it's not true for everyone. When we
          visit, we want people to think the best of the home, the family, the
          land from which we came. It is this nobility of striving, this
          mindful courtesy that the Desert Father wished to praise. In fact, if
          I read it correctly, the implication was that it might even be better
          to be a monastic AWAY from one's native land for just those reasons.

          There is something striking here. Remember how badly the gyrovagues
          and Sarabaites were painted in the types of monks? Well, these were
          the wandering ones, and St. Benedict knew very well that a pilgrim
          monk at the door could be one of these sorts. He doesn't even mention it.

          He wants them to have a chance to do better, to be healed by
          community. If they louse it up, fine, he's not going to lose a lot of
          sleep over it, but he does insist they be given a chance to improve.
          Given what the monastic world thought of gyrovagues and the like,
          that says a LOT for St. Benedict's tolerance and clemency.

          Not all of us are in cloisters, but all of us have doors. The people
          who come to those doors may be gyrovagues and Sarabaites, but they
          may not, too. We have to give them a chance to prove or reveal
          themselves. This is true of anyone we encounter. Snap judgments are
          not wise, they cheat us out of many gifts. Being too much or too
          little on the side of caution are both traps. Tread the middle way,
          always the middle way.

          This doesn't mean we have to dupe ourselves into perpetual
          vulnerability, but it does mean we have to be open, mindful and
          listening, really listening to all comers. Listen first, sift later.
          Do both, always both.

          We can get so used to our lives that we are blind to areas that could
          be improved. We can get so used to doing things one way that anything
          better is beyond us. Our routines which become sacrosanct are often
          not at all that holy!

          An outsider's objective view can let us see a good deal about
          ourselves. Some things we may want to change, some we may realize are
          fine as they are. Either way, the visitor can be a reality check of
          great worth.


          Love and prayers,
          Jerome, OSB
          _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
          _brjeromeleo@..._ (mailto:brjeromeleo@...)
          Petersham, MA



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Br. Jerome Leo
          +PAX Prayers for our Br. Vincent, on his birthday! Ad multos annos! Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all
          Message 4 of 7 , Dec 14, 2007
            +PAX

            Prayers for our Br. Vincent, on his birthday! Ad multos annos!

            Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their families and all who take care of them, also for the happy death of those listed below who have died:

            Please pray for a happy death and eternal rest for Rita's eldest child, Tim, who has lost the battle with spinal cancer. Rita is a single mom (deserted by her husband) with two remaining children both of whom have serious life threatening illnesses. Please pray for all the family.

            Guy, in hospital with pulmonary edema.

            Brie, painful ankle sprain.

            2 year old Destiny who died this week, and for her doctors who can't identify what caused her death and most of all her 24 year old parents who lost their only child during this Advent-Christmas season - in this time of waiting for the Christ Child, they have lost their child.

            Ivory, 7, severe neck thrroat and spinal injuries in a go cart accident, spinal cord definitely severed lower down, possibly in her neck, too.

            Kathleen and her cousins,one cousin is just 35, married with three young children. He was taken to the hospital yesterday with numbness in his left arm and chest pains. He is possibly having an angioplasty today.

            Then his younger sister was having vision problems and is having a MRI today with a possible brain tumor. She just had her first baby two months ago.

            Carole's family. Her sister Nancy died this week of cancer, leaving behind Nancy's daughter Jonny, who is disabled and had lived with her in an assisted living center. Nancy is Carole's only sibling, so she's feeling particularly lonely at this loss.

            Paula, severe depression.

            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

            April 15, August 15, December 15
            Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received

            If a pilgrim monastic coming from a distant region
            wants to live as a guest of the monastery,
            let her be received for as long a time as she desires,
            provided she is content
            with the customs of the place as she finds them
            and does not disturb the monastery by superfluous demands,
            but is simply content with what she finds.
            If, however, she censures or points out anything reasonably
            and with the humility of charity,
            let the Abbess consider prudently
            whether perhaps it was for that very purpose
            that the Lord sent her.

            If afterwards she should want to bind herself to stability,
            her wish should not be denied her,
            especially since there has been opportunity
            during her stay as a guest
            to discover her character.

            REFLECTION

            One of the Desert Fathers (forgive me for not recalling which one,)
            said that there is nothing so careful as a monk not living in his
            native land. That's very true for most of us, though part two of this
            chapter makes it clear that it's not true for everyone. When we
            visit, we want people to think the best of the home, the family, the
            land from which we came. It is this nobility of striving, this
            mindful courtesy that the Desert Father wished to praise. In fact, if
            I read it correctly, the implication was that it might even be better
            to be a monastic AWAY from one's native land for just those reasons.

            There is something striking here. Remember how badly the gyrovagues
            and Sarabaites were painted in the types of monks? Well, these were
            the wandering ones, and St. Benedict knew very well that a pilgrim
            monk at the door could be one of these sorts. He doesn't even mention it.

            He wants them to have a chance to do better, to be healed by
            community. If they louse it up, fine, he's not going to lose a lot of
            sleep over it, but he does insist they be given a chance to improve.
            Given what the monastic world thought of gyrovagues and the like,
            that says a LOT for St. Benedict's tolerance and clemency.

            Not all of us are in cloisters, but all of us have doors. The people
            who come to those doors may be gyrovagues and Sarabaites, but they
            may not, too. We have to give them a chance to prove or reveal
            themselves. This is true of anyone we encounter. Snap judgments are
            not wise, they cheat us out of many gifts. Being too much or too
            little on the side of caution are both traps. Tread the middle way,
            always the middle way.

            This doesn't mean we have to dupe ourselves into perpetual
            vulnerability, but it does mean we have to be open, mindful and
            listening, really listening to all comers. Listen first, sift later.
            Do both, always both.

            We can get so used to our lives that we are blind to areas that could
            be improved. We can get so used to doing things one way that anything
            better is beyond us. Our routines which become sacrosanct are often
            not at all that holy!

            An outsider's objective view can let us see a good deal about
            ourselves. Some things we may want to change, some we may realize are
            fine as they are. Either way, the visitor can be a reality check of
            great worth.


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







            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Br. Jerome Leo
            +PAX Prayers for Bill, on his birthday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos! Deo gratias and prayers of thanks, Richard T. s surgery went well.
            Message 5 of 7 , Dec 14, 2016

              +PAX

               

              Prayers for Bill, on his birthday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos!

               

              Deo gratias and prayers of thanks, Richard T.’s surgery went well. Continued prayers for his recovery.

               

              Prayers for S., hurting from a relationship that ended.

               

              Prayers for two couples living together chastely, according to Church teaching, for many years. May God sustain and strengthen them.

               

              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

              April 15, August 15, December 15
              Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received

              If a pilgrim monastic coming from a distant region
              wants to live as a guest of the monastery,
              let her be received for as long a time as she desires,
              provided she is content
              with the customs of the place as she finds them
              and does not disturb the monastery by superfluous demands,
              but is simply content with what she finds.
              If, however, she censures or points out anything reasonably
              and with the humility of charity,
              let the Abbess consider prudently
              whether perhaps it was for that very purpose
              that the Lord sent her.

              If afterwards she should want to bind herself to stability,
              her wish should not be denied her,
              especially since there has been opportunity
              during her stay as a guest
              to discover her character.

              REFLECTION

              One of the Desert Fathers (forgive me for not recalling which one,)
              said that there is nothing so careful as a monk not living in his
              native land. That's very true for most of us, though part two of this
              chapter makes it clear that it's not true for everyone. When we
              visit, we want people to think the best of the home, the family, the
              land from which we came. It is this nobility of striving, this
              mindful courtesy that the Desert Father wished to praise. In fact, if
              I read it correctly, the implication was that it might even be better
              to be a monastic AWAY from one's native land for just those reasons.

              There is something striking here. Remember how badly the gyrovagues
              and Sarabaites were painted in the types of monks? Well, these were
              the wandering ones, and St. Benedict knew very well that a pilgrim
              monk at the door could be one of these sorts. He doesn't even mention
              it.

              He wants them to have a chance to do better, to be healed by
              community. If they louse it up, fine, he's not going to lose a lot of
              sleep over it, but he does insist they be given a chance to improve.
              Given what the monastic world thought of gyrovagues and the like,
              that says a LOT for St. Benedict's tolerance and clemency.

              Not all of us are in cloisters, but all of us have doors to our lives. Those
              who come into our lives may be gyrovagues and Sarabaites, but they
              may not, too. We have to give them a chance to prove or reveal
              themselves. This is true of anyone we encounter. Snap judgments are
              not wise, they cheat us out of many gifts. Being too much or too
              little on the side of caution are both traps. Tread the middle way,
              always the middle way.

              This doesn't mean we have to dupe ourselves into perpetual
              vulnerability, but it does mean we have to be open, mindful and
              listening, really listening. Listen first, sift later. Do both, always both.

              We can get so used to our lives that we are blind to areas that could
              be improved. We can get so used to doing things one way that anything
              better is beyond us. Our routines which become sacrosanct are often
              not at all that holy!

              An outsider's objective view can let us see a good deal about
              ourselves. Some things we may want to change, some we may realize are
              fine as they are. Either way, the visitor can be a reality check of
              great worth.


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

               

               

               

            • Br. Jerome Leo
              +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, and for his family, his Community, and all who mourn him. Prayers for Celine, suffering from
              Message 6 of 7 , Dec 13, 2017

                +PAX

                 

                Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR, and for his family, his Community, and all who mourn him.

                 

                Prayers for Celine, suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a lupus-like autoimmune disease that has cost her many problems. She has been often in poor health for years, many healing prayers, please.

                 

                Prayers for Roy, entering an alcohol detox program, and for his son in California, who I suffering from substance abuse and is living on the streets. Prayers that both overcome their addiction and surrender to God fully.

                 

                Prayers for Kenna, just starting college and suffering so badly from endometriosis that she has decided to treat it with chemo. Many prayers for her spiritual and physical health.

                 

                Prayers for the eternal rest of Brian M., and for his family and all who mourn him.

                 

                Prayers for the eternal rest of Bill and Betty, and for their grown children, their family, and for all who mourn them.

                 

                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

                April 14, August 14, December 14
                Chapter 60: On Priests Who May Wish to Live in the Monastery

                If any ordained priest should ask to be received into the monastery,
                permission shall not be granted too readily. But if he is quite
                persistent in his request, let him know that he will have to observe
                the whole discipline of the Rule and that nothing will be relaxed in
                his favor,
                that it may be as it is written: "Friend, for what have you come
                (Matt. 26:50)?"

                It shall be granted him, however, to stand next after the Abbot and
                to give blessings and to celebrate Mass, but only by order of the
                Abbot.
                Without such order let him not make any exceptions for himself,
                knowing that he is subject to the discipline of the Rule; but rather
                let him give an example of humility to all.

                If there happens to be question of an appointment or of some business
                in the monastery, let him expect the rank due him according to the
                date of his entrance into the monastery, and not the place granted him
                out of reverence for the priesthood.

                If any clerics, moved by the same desire, should wish to join the
                monastery, let them be placed in a middle rank. But they too are to
                be admitted only if they promise observance of the Rule and stability.

                REFLECTION

                The quintessential question of the Holy Rule is that of
                Jesus: "Friend, for what have you come?" The only acceptable answer
                to the question is: "To seek God." That might be rephrased in any of
                a number of ways, but that's the main event, the only game in town,
                the end all be all of Benedictine monastic life.

                It is very necessary, in stating that we seek God, to admit that we
                haven't altogether found Him yet, nor will we ever do so before
                death. Even in the beatific vision of heaven itself, we creatures
                will never, ever get to the root of our Creator, to the "ground zero"
                of God. We will travel ever deeper into Him for eternity.

                Another way of saying this is that we need to come to the Holy Rule
                and to the Gospel and to Christ admitting how frighteningly little we
                DO know, how very much we need to learn.

                For heaven's sake, after spending so many years of my life trying to
                become clever, what a tremendous relief it is to be admittedly dumb.

                In one sense, I heartily recommend it. It is the position from
                which one may learn. Get too smart (or think you
                have!) and you won't listen, thereby failing another Benedictine
                hallmark. You won't learn because all your energy will go into
                composing your rejoinder or response. Such people do not learn. They
                merely joust. Life is more than that, much more. Tons more.

                Love and prayers,
                Jerome, OSB

                www.stmarysmonastery.org

                Petersham, MA

                 

                 

                 

              • Br. Jerome Leo
                +PAX Please pray for the happy death and eternal repose of Angie s dad whose body has died. He passed away suddenly. He was 87. Prayers for Angie and all their
                Message 7 of 7 , Dec 14, 2017

                  +PAX

                  Please pray for the happy death and eternal repose of Angie's dad whose body has died. He passed away suddenly. He was 87. Prayers for Angie and all their family and for all who mourn him.

                   

                  Deo Gratias! Baby Madeleine’s hips are almost perfect. She will be progressively weaned from her brace, then gets to be brace free. She has a follow up in April to make sure. Praise God!  Continued prayers.

                   

                  Prayers for peace in Bill M.’s family of origin, especially at this holiday time. Some tensions have been exacerbated.

                   

                  Prayers for John’s wife, 8 weeks pregnant with their 4th child and at risk for miscarriage. Prayers for a safe pregnancy and delivery and for a healthy baby.

                   

                  Prayers for the Good Counsel Network and others in the UK conducting prayer vigils at abortion clinics, may they be able to continue.

                   

                  Prayers for the conversion and repentance of John, sentenced to life for murder, and for the eternal rest of his victim and for all her family and all who mourn her.

                   

                  Prayers for the families, friends and dorm friends of the ten young college girls who perished in the Providence College, Rhode Island dormitory fire on Dec. 14, 1977.  May they find peace in the hope of eternal life. Also, for the repose of the souls of the girls who perished.

                   

                  Prayers for those who foster and adopt God's creatures and give them loving and nurturing homes.  Especially for Anne Marie, who does this on a regular basis and just lost a fourteen year old dog whom she cherished.

                   

                  Prayers for the 20 children and 8 adults who were slain in the Sandy Hook tragedy five years ago this week.  May God grant them eternal rest and give their loving families and friends peace and tranquility of soul. Prayers, too, for the shooter, that he may have repented in his last moments. He took his own life.

                   

                  Prayers for a special intention.

                   

                  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

                  April 15, August 15, December 15
                  Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received

                  If a pilgrim monastic coming from a distant region
                  wants to live as a guest of the monastery,
                  let her be received for as long a time as she desires,
                  provided she is content
                  with the customs of the place as she finds them
                  and does not disturb the monastery by superfluous demands,
                  but is simply content with what she finds.
                  If, however, she censures or points out anything reasonably
                  and with the humility of charity,
                  let the Abbess consider prudently
                  whether perhaps it was for that very purpose
                  that the Lord sent her.

                  If afterwards she should want to bind herself to stability,
                  her wish should not be denied her,
                  especially since there has been opportunity
                  during her stay as a guest
                  to discover her character.

                  REFLECTION

                  One of the Desert Fathers (forgive me for not recalling which one,)
                  said that there is nothing so careful as a monk not living in his
                  native land. That's very true for most of us, though part two of this
                  chapter makes it clear that it's not true for everyone. When we
                  visit, we want people to think the best of the home, the family, the
                  land from which we came. It is this nobility of striving, this
                  mindful courtesy that the Desert Father wished to praise. In fact, if
                  I read it correctly, the implication was that it might even be better
                  to be a monastic AWAY from one's native land for just those reasons.

                  There is something striking here. Remember how badly the gyrovagues
                  and Sarabaites were painted in the types of monks? Well, these were
                  the wandering ones, and St. Benedict knew very well that a pilgrim
                  monk at the door could be one of these sorts. He doesn't even mention
                  it.

                  He wants them to have a chance to do better, to be healed by
                  community. If they louse it up, fine, he's not going to lose a lot of
                  sleep over it, but he does insist they be given a chance to improve.
                  Given what the monastic world thought of gyrovagues and the like,
                  that says a LOT for St. Benedict's tolerance and clemency.

                  Not all of us are in cloisters, but all of us have doors to our lives. Those
                  who come into our lives may be gyrovagues and Sarabaites, but they
                  may not, too. We have to give them a chance to prove or reveal
                  themselves. This is true of anyone we encounter. Snap judgments are
                  not wise, they cheat us out of many gifts. Being too much or too
                  little on the side of caution are both traps. Tread the middle way,
                  always the middle way.

                  This doesn't mean we have to dupe ourselves into perpetual
                  vulnerability, but it does mean we have to be open, mindful and
                  listening, really listening. Listen first, sift later. Do both, always both.

                  We can get so used to our lives that we are blind to areas that could
                  be improved. We can get so used to doing things one way that anything
                  better is beyond us. Our routines which become sacrosanct are often
                  not at all that holy!

                  An outsider's objective view can let us see a good deal about
                  ourselves. Some things we may want to change, some we may realize are
                  fine as they are. Either way, the visitor can be a reality check of
                  great worth.


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

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

                   

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