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Holy Rule for Jan. 2

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers for the strength and grace for all who made good New Year s resolutions, that they may keep them! Prayers, too, for Fr. Richard, a priest who
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 2, 2005
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      +PAX

      Prayers for the strength and grace for all who made good New Year's resolutions, that they may keep them! Prayers, too, for Fr. Richard, a priest who killed himself two years ago yesterday after a child abuse allegation. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Alleluia! Thanks so much. JL

      January 2, May 3, September 2
      Prologue

      Let us arise, then, at last,
      for the Scripture stirs us up, saying,
      "Now is the hour for us to rise from sleep" (Rom. 18:11).
      Let us open our eyes to the deifying light,
      let us hear with attentive ears
      the warning which the divine voice cries daily to us,
      "Today if you hear His voice,
      harden not your hearts" (Ps. 94:8).
      And again,
      "Whoever has ears to hear,
      hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Matt. 11-15; Apoc. 2:7).
      And what does He say?
      "Come, My children, listen to Me;
      I will teach you the fear of the Lord" (Ps. 33:12).
      "Run while you have the light of life,
      lest the darkness of death overtake you" (John 12:35).

      REFLECTION

      St. Benedict, just by virtue of the period in which he lived, would
      have been rather more attuned to the Eastern Church Fathers than many
      in the West are today. Not for nothing does he also recommend St.
      Basil's Rule to his monastics! Given all this, the phrase "deifying
      light", which probably strikes most Westerners as just a lovely bit
      of poetry, would ring altogether different bells in Eastern minds,
      and may well have rung those bells in the mind of St. Benedict
      himself..

      Deification, the process of humanity becoming more God-like, is a
      central theme of Eastern spirituality, a favorite theme of the
      Fathers and a big central issue in Eastern monasticism. The whole
      idea of the Incarnation is viewed as God becoming Man so that man
      could be deified. (Don't take that term "deified" literally. The idea
      was that people became God-like, not that they literally became
      gods!) But there was a profound awareness of grace allowing us to
      share in God's life and to become ever more like Him, of being ever
      more intimately united with the Triune Life.

      Put another way, the East would say that we were created in the image
      and likeness of God, but we have lost the likeness. Deification,
      monastic struggle, the spiritual life, all of these strive to regain
      that likeness. We so often speak of balance, but what does that
      balance entail? It is this very deification, it is the closest
      attempt we can make to restore the rightness of Eden. It is our halt
      and lame effort to become what God intended us to be, as closely as
      we can in a fallen world.

      So, as we continue our loving Father's pep talk at the beginning of
      his Holy Rule, let us resolve to never again let that
      phrase "deifying light" slip past our eyes as just another literary
      device. No way! Deification and Light are what we are all about.
      Shine on, dear brothers and sisters, shine on!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@...

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
      +PAX Prayers, please, for Jim S., death anniversary this week, and for his grandson, George and all his family. Prayers for a paralyzed nun (I have no name,)
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 1, 2007
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        +PAX

        Prayers, please, for Jim S., death anniversary this week, and for his
        grandson, George and all his family. Prayers for a paralyzed nun (I have no name,)
        that Our Lady may grant her serenity, or even healing if God wills. Prayers
        for Cindy, who has breast cancer and will have her ovaries removed in the very
        near future. Prayers of Deo gratias and thanks for Gerry and Eva, who
        celebrated their 31st wedding anniversary last week. 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 2, May 3, September 2
        Prologue (continued)

        Let us arise, then, at last,
        for the Scripture stirs us up, saying,
        "Now is the hour for us to rise from sleep" (Rom. 18:11).
        Let us open our eyes to the deifying light,
        let us hear with attentive ears
        the warning which the divine voice cries daily to us,
        "Today if you hear His voice,
        harden not your hearts" (Ps. 94:8).
        And again,
        "Whoever has ears to hear,
        hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Matt. 11-15; Apoc. 2:7).
        And what does He say?
        "Come, My children, listen to Me;
        I will teach you the fear of the Lord" (Ps. 33:12).
        "Run while you have the light of life,
        lest the darkness of death overtake you" (John 12:35).

        REFLECTION

        Check out the similarities of this section, at the beginning of the
        Holy Rule, and the readings of early Lent, which stress that "now is
        the acceptable time." It brings to mind St. Benedict's later chapter
        which says that the monastic life ought always to have some semblance
        of Lent.

        That perpetual Lent chapter is the source of a lot of grumbling about
        austerity from one camp and cheering about it from another. Both may
        have missed a salient point. Perhaps the greatest element of
        perpetual Lent has less to do with austerity- even the monastic fast
        did not last all year. What IS perpetually in style is wakefulness
        and self-examination.

        Monastic life withers in either smugness or a rut. What St. Benedict
        wants us to do is always to try and stay at that serious moment of
        taking inventory that many of us feel at Lent's beginning. We need to
        always be checking what needs to be cleaned up and we need to be
        prepared, even a bit eager, to start working on it.

        This is why a daily examination of conscience is so necessary.
        Compline, the traditional liturgical place for such examens, is a
        very apt place for same. As we prepare for sleep, which prefigures
        death, we prepare also for death, by examining our faults and asking
        forgiveness.

        The Holy Rule, like Lent, is by no means the gateway to an easier
        life, but to a holier one. As we actually grow in holiness much of it
        will become easier, more natural to us. But until that time, it is a
        struggle and, in unconquered areas, it remains something of a
        struggle for all of our lives. What's hard about that struggle isn't
        fasting or penance, but changing ourselves. Austere practices are
        just a means to that end, not ends in themselves.

        The whole idea of Lent and the Holy Rule is lasting change for the
        better. Lent is a seasonal construct to get us to begin anew, the
        Holy Rule says that beginning anew must be a daily thing. Lent is an
        attempt to get us to do for forty days what we ought to have been
        doing all year. The Holy Rule is a way to do what we ought to do all
        year, every day.

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




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Br. Jerome Leo
        +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of Sr. Gemma s Mom and Br. Isidore s Dad, both of whom are ill, and for both monastics and
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 1, 2008
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          +PAX

          Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of Sr. Gemma's Mom and Br. Isidore's Dad, both of whom are ill, and for both monastics and all their families. Lord, help us 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 2, May 3, September 2
          Prologue (continued)

          Let us arise, then, at last,
          for the Scripture stirs us up, saying,
          "Now is the hour for us to rise from sleep" (Rom. 18:11).
          Let us open our eyes to the deifying light,
          let us hear with attentive ears
          the warning which the divine voice cries daily to us,
          "Today if you hear His voice,
          harden not your hearts" (Ps. 94:8).
          And again,
          "Whoever has ears to hear,
          hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Matt. 11-15; Apoc. 2:7).
          And what does He say?
          "Come, My children, listen to Me;
          I will teach you the fear of the Lord" (Ps. 33:12).
          "Run while you have the light of life,
          lest the darkness of death overtake you" (John 12:35).

          REFLECTION

          Check out the similarities of this section, at the beginning of the
          Holy Rule, and the readings of early Lent, which stress that "now is
          the acceptable time." It brings to mind St. Benedict's later chapter
          which says that the monastic life ought always to have some semblance
          of Lent.

          That perpetual Lent chapter is the source of a lot of grumbling about
          austerity from one camp and cheering about it from another. Both may
          have missed a salient point. Perhaps the greatest element of
          perpetual Lent has less to do with austerity- even the monastic fast
          did not last all year. What IS perpetually in style is wakefulness
          and self-examination.

          Monastic life withers in either smugness or a rut. What St. Benedict
          wants us to do is always to try and stay at that serious moment of
          taking inventory that many of us feel at Lent's beginning. We need to
          always be checking what needs to be cleaned up and we need to be
          prepared, even a bit eager, to start working on it.

          This is why a daily examination of conscience is so necessary.
          Compline, the traditional liturgical place for such examens, is a
          very apt place for same. As we prepare for sleep, which prefigures
          death, we prepare also for death, by examining our faults and asking
          forgiveness.

          The Holy Rule, like Lent, is by no means the gateway to an easier
          life, but to a holier one. As we actually grow in holiness much of it
          will become easier, more natural to us. But until that time, it is a
          struggle and, in unconquered areas, it remains something of a
          struggle for all of our lives. What's hard about that struggle isn't
          fasting or penance, but changing ourselves. Austere practices are
          just a means to that end, not ends in themselves.

          The whole idea of Lent and the Holy Rule is lasting change for the
          better. Lent is a seasonal construct to get us to begin anew, the
          Holy Rule says that beginning anew must be a daily thing. Lent is an
          attempt to get us to do for forty days what we ought to have been
          doing all year. The Holy Rule is a way to do what we ought to do all
          year, every day.

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

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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