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Holy Rule for Jan. 7

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX I ask your prayers, please, for a wonderful couple and family. Their marriage of over 50 years was recently ended by the death of one of the spouses, and
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 7, 2005
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      I ask your prayers, please, for a wonderful couple and family. Their marriage of over 50 years was recently ended by the death of one of the spouses, and this was preceded by several very significant losses of deaths in their immediate family. Prayers, please for them all, for the eternal rest of those who have died and for the grace and strength and courage and even, in time, joy, of those who survive. Prayers, too, for an Army Ranger sent to Iraq, who had only 20 minutes to call his worried parents and say goodbye, also for Natalie, the loving co-worker of his folks who asked for our prayers, and for ALL in harm's way in Iraq. Continued prayers for the tsunami victims, living and dead, and those trying to help them. How our loving God's Heart must ache at the pains in our broken world today. God's will is best (and He doesn't will evil!) All is mercy and grace: it truly will come out to that in the ultimate, and even in the present, if we let it. God is never absent. Alleluia! Thanks so much. JL

      A blessed Russian Christmas to all! Ann Chatlos, who features in today's reflection, taught me about Russian Christmas and often celebrated it with just the two of us, went to God some years ago. Say an extra prayer for her and those she loves. Thanks! JL

      January 7, May 8, September 7
      Prologue (concluded)

      And so we are going to establish
      a school for the service of the Lord.
      In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
      But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
      for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
      do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
      whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
      For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
      our hearts expand
      and we run the way of God's commandments
      with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
      Thus, never departing from His school,
      but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
      until death,
      we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
      and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.

      REFLECTION

      Sadly, a certain cynicism has been woven into my life like a
      repeating plaid. Happily, it has not grown worse with age, but has
      been moderated (how Benedictine!) into a faintly acceptable level of
      occasional curmudgeonhood. If my cynicism is now a rather muted
      tartan background, it was not always so. I can clearly recall reading
      the line about expanding hearts and running with unspeakable
      sweetness of love twenty some years ago and thinking: "Yeah, right!
      Real likely..."

      Now that passage is my all-time favorite in the Holy Rule. I thought
      twice before saying that, because there are so many things in the
      Rule that I deeply love, but yeah, this one is the best loved for me.
      Why? Because it is linked to love and, secondarily, because it alerts
      us to the necessary hope that the monastic struggle DOES get easier
      in time, in certain ways, even though it is never over until death.

      "Our hearts expand..." they truly do. Mine has already been
      wonderfully stretched and pulled and enlarged beyond my wildest
      dreams, often with me kicking and screaming every inch of the way. I
      have no doubt that it will grow bigger still, capable of holding
      more, but I know I could not stand that now, it would be too much.
      God works slowly, according to our individual needs. Better than
      anyone, He knows that doing it all at once would reduce us to
      shivering panic.

      The biggest factor that I can see in God's work of heart renovation
      for me has been intercessory prayer. When you renovate a building,
      you have to tear down some walls, a dusty, ugly, painful mess. Ah,
      but the light and air and space that one finds in those new areas
      where walls had stood! In praying for God's people, I learned to love
      them, more prayer equaled more love and so it spiraled upward and
      spirals on!

      Gerard Manley Hopkins complained of his celibacy toward the end of
      his life, of being "time's eunuch,": "Mine, O Thou Lord of life,
      send my roots rain." I can certainly relate! Though I tried three
      times earlier, I did not become a monk till I was 43. Many of the
      years in between attempts were spent looking for love in all the
      wrong places, often with plenty of fleeting success. You may be sure
      that the "gift" of celibacy left me vastly less thrilled than a child
      with a pony..."Wow! New leg irons and manacles for my birthday! You
      shouldn't have!" Left to my own devices, I would quit tomorrow, or
      maybe this afternoon at the very latest. Single is most definitely
      NOT what I spent my life pining to become one day.

      The rain for my roots was that work in progress, the expansion of my
      heart. It's not the same as other loves I have known and in no way as
      graphic or immediate or intimate, but oh, it is deep. I am sure it is
      not incompatible with married love, but God seemed to want it so for
      me. True to form, I argued with Him for years about that and still do
      at times.

      Like many people, I do not have a spousal love for God, more power to
      those who do, but it has not been possible for me. I am often
      embarrassed to find that the only Christ I can really swell to
      rapture about is the One I encounter in praying for His members, for
      His Mystical Body. I have, however, attained a relative serenity
      about this: it is, after all, a very powerful reminder that Christ IS
      His members, that we are all cells in His awesome Body.

      When a novice in my twenties, I used to look at two real saints of
      St. Leo Abbey, Brothers David Gormican and Raphael Daly, both now
      gone to God. I am not even sure I thought it had become easier for
      them at the end of their lives, I thought, with the mindlessness so
      easy for me then, that they were just so old they didn't care
      anymore. Wrong!

      My dear friend Ann Chatlos was a FABULOUS cook and she had been at it
      for years. One day I went to see her and we sat talking in her
      kitchen, she was fiddling around, nothing special. Frankly, I didn't
      even notice any activity that would have produced a meal. She finally
      turned around and said to me: "Stay for dinner." I asked when it
      would be ready and she said, "Now." I was floored. While we spoke, a
      pie, chicken and roast potatoes and something else I forget had been
      going on. A full meal with nothing out of cans and a homemade
      dessert, yet it appeared that she had just been chatting.

      That's the nonchalance of Brother David and Brother Raphael. It
      wasn't that they didn't care, it was that things of sanctity had
      become so much second nature to them that many of those around them
      never noticed that dinner was ready. May that nonchalance of sanctity
      come to us all, and may Brothers David and Raphael and Ann, now also
      with God, pray us there.

      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, please, for Bill, having a cardiac cath and other work done to increase circulation to a foot he is in danger of losing. There is also some
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 7, 2006
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        +PAX

        Prayers, please, for Bill, having a cardiac cath and other work done to increase circulation to a foot he is in danger of losing. There is also some chance he will not survive the surgery, and for Barbara, who asked prayers for him. Prayers for Larry, who suffered a mild heart attack, resting after a cath and stent procedure, for his wife, his brother Keith, and all their family. Prayers for Dorothy, extensive cancer surgery at the end of this month. Prayers for a man seriously addicted to computer games, that he regain his life in proper balance.

        Prayers of Deo gratias and thanks for all of our petitions answered that never got mentioned, and Deo gratias for David, for whom we prayed a while back. Finally he is in a state mental hospital and beginning to make some progress. Also, a great Deo gratias for the mother of one of our readers, who left her abusive husband of many years, and for her very grateful daughter. May both remain safe from harm. This was a situation her daughter had resigned herself to never seeing resolved. Thanks be to God and to all for their prayers.

        A blessed Russian Christmas to all! Ann Chatlos, who features in today's
        reflection, taught me about Russian Christmas and often celebrated it with just
        the two of us. Ann went to God some years ago. Say an extra prayer for her and those
        she loves. 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 7, May 8, September 7
        Prologue (concluded)

        And so we are going to establish
        a school for the service of the Lord.
        In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
        But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
        for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
        do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
        whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
        For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
        our hearts expand
        and we run the way of God's commandments
        with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
        Thus, never departing from His school,
        but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
        until death,
        we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
        and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.

        REFLECTION

        Sadly, a certain cynicism has been woven into my life like a
        repeating plaid. Happily, it has not grown worse with age, but has
        been moderated (how Benedictine!) into a faintly acceptable level of
        occasional curmudgeonhood. If my cynicism is now a rather muted
        tartan background, it was not always so. I can clearly recall reading
        the line about expanding hearts and running with unspeakable
        sweetness of love twenty some years ago and thinking: "Yeah, right!
        Real likely..."

        Now that passage is my all-time favorite in the Holy Rule. I thought
        twice before saying that, because there are so many things in the
        Rule that I deeply love, but yeah, this one is the best loved for me.
        Why? Because it is linked to love and, secondarily, because it alerts
        us to the necessary hope that the monastic struggle DOES get easier
        in time, in certain ways, even though it is never over until death.

        "Our hearts expand..." they truly do. Mine has already been
        wonderfully stretched and pulled and enlarged beyond my wildest
        dreams, often with me kicking and screaming every inch of the way. I
        have no doubt that it will grow bigger still, capable of holding
        more, but I know I could not stand that now, it would be too much.
        God works slowly, according to our individual needs. Better than
        anyone, He knows that doing it all at once would reduce us to
        shivering panic.

        The biggest factor that I can see in God's work of heart renovation
        for me has been intercessory prayer. When you renovate a building,
        you have to tear down some walls, a dusty, ugly, painful mess. Ah,
        but the light and air and space that one finds in those new areas
        where walls had stood! In praying for God's people, I learned to love
        them, more prayer equaled more love and so it spiraled upward and
        spirals on!

        Gerard Manley Hopkins complained of his celibacy toward the end of
        his life, of being "time's eunuch,": "Mine, O Thou Lord of life,
        send my roots rain." I can certainly relate! Though I tried three
        times earlier, I did not become a monk till I was 43. Many of the
        years in between attempts were spent looking for love in all the
        wrong places, often with plenty of fleeting success. You may be sure
        that the "gift" of celibacy left me vastly less thrilled than a child
        with a pony..."Wow! New leg irons and manacles for my birthday! You
        shouldn't have!" Left to my own devices, I would quit tomorrow, or
        maybe this afternoon at the very latest. Single is most definitely
        NOT what I spent my life pining to become one day.

        The rain for my roots was that work in progress, the expansion of my
        heart. It's not the same as other loves I have known and in no way as
        graphic or immediate or intimate, but oh, it is deep. I am sure it is
        not incompatible with married love, but God seemed to want it so for
        me. True to form, I argued with Him for years about that and still do
        at times.

        Like many people, I do not have a spousal love for God, more power to
        those who do, but it has not been possible for me. I am often
        embarrassed to find that the only Christ I can really swell to
        rapture about is the One I encounter in praying for His members, for
        His Mystical Body. I have, however, attained a relative serenity
        about this: it is, after all, a very powerful reminder that Christ IS
        His members, that we are all cells in His awesome Body.

        When a novice in my twenties, I used to look at two real saints of
        St. Leo Abbey, Brothers David Gormican and Raphael Daly, both now
        gone to God. I am not even sure I thought it had become easier for
        them at the end of their lives, I thought, with the mindlessness so
        easy for me then, that they were just so old they didn't care
        anymore. Wrong!

        My dear friend Ann Chatlos was a FABULOUS cook and she had been at it
        for years. One day I went to see her and we sat talking in her
        kitchen, she was fiddling around, nothing special. Frankly, I didn't
        even notice any activity that would have produced a meal. She finally
        turned around and said to me: "Stay for dinner." I asked when it
        would be ready and she said, "Now." I was floored. While we spoke, a
        pie, chicken and roast potatoes and something else I forget had been
        going on. A full meal with nothing out of cans and a homemade
        dessert, yet it appeared that she had just been chatting.

        That's the nonchalance of Brother David and Brother Raphael. It
        wasn't that they didn't care, it was that things of sanctity had
        become so much second nature to them that many of those around them
        never noticed that dinner was ready. May that nonchalance of sanctity
        come to us all, and may Brothers David and Raphael and Ann, now also
        with God, pray us there.

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

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Br. Jerome Leo
        +PAX A blessed Russian Christmas to all celebrating under the Julian Calendar today, prayers, please, for all the martyrs and confessors who suffered under the
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 6, 2008
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          +PAX

          A blessed Russian Christmas to all celebrating under the Julian Calendar today, prayers, please, for all the martyrs and confessors who suffered under the Communist yoke and for those in Communist lands who suffer still.

          Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of the following, for all their loved ones and all who mourn them:

          Please pray that Divine Mercy will shine upon George who has taken his own life.

          Also, please pray that Divine Mercy shine upon another man (name withheld) a suicide found by his boss.

          Please pray for the happy Death and etrnal repose of Jessica. She was found dead on October 4th. She was only 19 years.

          Bill's sister "Aunt Suzy".

          Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

          Sr. Josephina, OSB, cancer.

          Larry, discerning a monastic call and has applied to divinity school, now scholarhsip funds are needed, if God wills. 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 7, May 8, September 7
          Prologue (concluded)

          And so we are going to establish
          a school for the service of the Lord.
          In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
          But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
          for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
          do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
          whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
          For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
          our hearts expand
          and we run the way of God's commandments
          with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
          Thus, never departing from His school,
          but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
          until death,
          we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
          and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.

          REFLECTION

          Sadly, a certain cynicism has been woven into my life like a
          repeating plaid. Happily, it has not grown worse with age, but has
          been moderated (how Benedictine!) into a faintly acceptable level of
          occasional curmudgeonhood. If my cynicism is now a rather muted
          tartan background, it was not always so. I can clearly recall reading
          the line about expanding hearts and running with unspeakable
          sweetness of love twenty some years ago and thinking: "Yeah, right!
          Real likely..."

          Now that passage is my all-time favorite in the Holy Rule. I thought
          twice before saying that, because there are so many things in the
          Rule that I deeply love, but yeah, this one is the best loved for me.
          Why? Because it is linked to love and, secondarily, because it alerts
          us to the necessary hope that the monastic struggle DOES get easier
          in time, in certain ways, even though it is never over until death.

          "Our hearts expand..." they truly do. Mine has already been
          wonderfully stretched and pulled and enlarged beyond my wildest
          dreams, often with me kicking and screaming every inch of the way. I
          have no doubt that it will grow bigger still, capable of holding
          more, but I know I could not stand that now, it would be too much.
          God works slowly, according to our individual needs. Better than
          anyone, He knows that doing it all at once would reduce us to
          shivering panic.

          The biggest factor that I can see in God's work of heart renovation
          for me has been intercessory prayer. When you renovate a building,
          you have to tear down some walls, a dusty, ugly, painful mess. Ah,
          but the light and air and space that one finds in those new areas
          where walls had stood! In praying for God's people, I learned to love
          them, more prayer equaled more love and so it spiraled upward and
          spirals on!

          Gerard Manley Hopkins complained of his celibacy toward the end of
          his life, of being "time's eunuch,": "Mine, O Thou Lord of life,
          send my roots rain." I can certainly relate! Though I tried three
          times earlier, I did not become a monk till I was 43. Many of the
          years in between attempts were spent looking for love in all the
          wrong places, often with plenty of fleeting success. You may be sure
          that the gift of celibacy left me vastly less thrilled than a child
          with a pony..."Wow! New leg irons and manacles for my birthday! You
          shouldn't have!" Left to my own devices, I would quit tomorrow, or
          maybe this afternoon at the very latest. Single is most definitely
          NOT what I spent my life pining to become one day.

          The rain for my roots was that work in progress, the expansion of my
          heart. It's not the same as other loves I have known and in no way as
          graphic or immediate or intimate, but oh, it is deep. I am sure it is
          not incompatible with married love, but God seemed to want it so for
          me. True to form, I argued with Him for years about that and still do
          at times.

          Like many people, I do not have a spousal love for God, more power to
          those who do, but it has not been possible for me. I am often
          embarrassed to find that the only Christ I can really swell to
          rapture about is the One I encounter in praying for His members, for
          His Mystical Body. I have, however, attained a relative serenity
          about this: it is, after all, a very powerful reminder that Christ IS
          His members, that we are all cells in His awesome Body.

          When a novice in my twenties, I used to look at two real saints of
          St. Leo Abbey, Brothers David Gormican and Raphael Daly, both now
          gone to God. I am not even sure I thought it had become easier for
          them at the end of their lives, I thought, with the mindlessness so
          easy for me then, that they were just so old they didn't care
          anymore. Wrong!

          My dear friend Ann Chatlos was a FABULOUS cook and she had been at it
          for years. One day I went to see her and we sat talking in her
          kitchen, she was fiddling around, nothing special. Frankly, I didn't
          even notice any activity that would have produced a meal. She finally
          turned around and said to me: "Stay for dinner." I asked when it
          would be ready and she said, "Now." I was floored. While we spoke, a
          pie, chicken and roast potatoes and something else I forget had been
          going on. A full meal with nothing out of cans and a homemade
          dessert, yet it appeared that she had just been chatting.

          That's the nonchalance of Brother David and Brother Raphael. It
          wasn't that they didn't care, it was that things of sanctity had
          become so much second nature to them that many of those around them
          never noticed that dinner was ready. May that nonchalance of sanctity
          come to us all, and may Brothers David and Raphael and Ann, now also
          with God, pray us there.

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

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