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Holy Rule for Jan. 23

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX As better than a foot of new snow, (which is still falling, blizzard conditions till this afternoon!) graces our front yard, a narrow ribbon of which I
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 23, 2005
      +PAX

      As better than a foot of new snow, (which is still falling, blizzard conditions till this afternoon!) graces our front yard, a narrow ribbon of which I have cleared to the car, I ask prayers for all those least able to cope in a really massive blizzard that is hitting much of the northeastern US today. For safety for all! But I do love the snow! Moved north to get it and have it in abundance today!! God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Alleluia! Thanks so much. JL

      January 23, May 24, September 23
      Chapter 5: On Obedience

      But this very obedience
      will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
      only if what is commanded is done
      without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.
      For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God,
      since He Himself has said,
      "He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).
      And the disciples should offer their obedience with a good will,
      for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
      For if the disciple obeys with an ill will
      and murmurs,
      not necessarily with his lips but simply in his heart,
      then even though he fulfill the command
      yet his work will not be acceptable to God,
      who sees that his heart is murmuring.
      And, far from gaining a reward for such work as this,
      he will incur the punishment due to murmurers,
      unless he amend and make satisfaction.

      REFLECTION

      Trust me, folks, I am not second-guessing St. Benedict on this one, I
      just think there is a chance that he is often misread and that
      something not at all contrary to his precepts needs to be emphasized.

      Few who share my cynical bent would fail to chafe at a reading of
      this passage which implies that we must all be cheerful, Pollyanna
      optimists, blithely smiling automatons. Yes, we are told not to
      murmur, and to put the very best face on our obedience that we
      possibly can. Often the real miracle of grace is that we can just
      barely obey in silence, without any comment at all. No doubt that is
      a tender mercy to those who live with us! We must not read St.
      Benedict harshly, even less so God. We must keep the loving parent
      image ever before our eyes in both instances.

      I want to expand the image of the non-murmuring heart a bit. Some
      days one's heart cannot murmur, because it is numb and paralyzed,
      unable to do much of anything more explicit than ache. After being racked
      and tortured brutally in prison, St. Edmund Campion's keeper asked him
      how he felt. He replied: "Not ill, because not at all."

      Some days everything seems like another trip to the rack, some days
      one's heart is Ground Zero, and everything coming at it seems to be
      just one more horrible plane. Never, never think that St. Benedict is
      telling us to put a happy face on this. A brave face or even a blank
      expressionless one may be all one can muster. We are asked to try, to
      do our best, to be as brave as we can.

      How very great is the love of God for us at such times. A favorite
      image I have used before is very apt here: the heart of God is like a
      Mother's refrigerator door, plastered with children's bad, even
      ghastly art. (OK, I KNOW it may be age-appropriate art, but bear with
      me on this one....) God is bursting and beaming with pride at our
      struggling efforts. He cares not a wit that we are not beaming with
      false cheer ourselves. With all that mud on our faces, who could see
      the forced smile anyhow?

      There will never be a time, in this world or in the next, when God
      loves us more than He does when we are fallen, crawling toward Him on
      all fours and still barely hanging on. The effort, always the effort
      is what God sees.

      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 Anastasia, a psychiatrically troubled teen who has been arrested for assault and battery with a deadly weapon and went incommunicado when her
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 23, 2006
        +PAX

        Prayers for Anastasia, a psychiatrically troubled teen who has been arrested for assault and battery with a deadly weapon and went incommunicado when her Dad bailed her out, also for her long-suffering parents and her sister, the victim of her attack.

        Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias, Lois, for whom we prayed, she is now cancer-free. She thanks all and said she could feel herself surrounded by prayer. Prayers for Wes and his mother who is undergoing treatment for cancer. Prayers as well for Rob and Melissa and their son, Adam. Their dog, Alice, appears to have pancreatic cancer. Also, prayers for Gayle and Scott, a young couple of deep faith who want a child badly, may God give them one according to His Will. Prayers, too, for Greg, a young man in his 20's in California with lymphoma cancer. Not a good prognosis. Prayers for him and his parents, for comfort, strength and peace, as well as healing. 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 23, May 24, September 23
        Chapter 5: On Obedience

        But this very obedience
        will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
        only if what is commanded is done
        without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.
        For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God,
        since He Himself has said,
        "He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).
        And the disciples should offer their obedience with a good will,
        for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
        For if the disciple obeys with an ill will
        and murmurs,
        not necessarily with his lips but simply in his heart,
        then even though he fulfill the command
        yet his work will not be acceptable to God,
        who sees that his heart is murmuring.
        And, far from gaining a reward for such work as this,
        he will incur the punishment due to murmurers,
        unless he amend and make satisfaction.

        REFLECTION

        Trust me, folks, I am not second-guessing St. Benedict on this one, I
        just think there is a chance that he is often misread and that
        something not at all contrary to his precepts needs to be emphasized.

        Few who share my cynical bent would fail to chafe at a reading of
        this passage which seems to imply that we must all be cheerful, Pollyanna
        optimists, blithely smiling automatons. Yes, we are told not to
        murmur, and to put the very best face on our obedience that we
        possibly can. Often the real miracle of grace is that we can just
        barely obey in silence, without any comment at all. No doubt that is
        a tender mercy to those who live with us! We must not read St.
        Benedict harshly, even less so God. We must keep the loving parent
        image ever before our eyes in both instances.

        I want to expand the image of the non-murmuring heart a bit. Some
        days one's heart cannot murmur, because it is numb and paralyzed,
        unable to do much of anything more explicit than ache. After being racked
        and tortured brutally in prison, St. Edmund Campion's keeper asked him
        how he felt. He replied: "Not ill, because not at all."

        Some days everything seems like another trip to the rack, some days
        one's heart is Ground Zero, and everything coming at it seems to be
        just one more horrible plane. Never, never think that St. Benedict is
        telling us to put a happy face on this. A brave face or even a blank
        expressionless one may be all one can muster. We are asked to try, to
        do our best, to be as brave as we can.

        How very great is the love of God for us at such times. A favorite
        image I have used before is very apt here: the heart of God is like a
        Mother's refrigerator door, plastered with children's bad, even
        ghastly art. (OK, I KNOW it may be age-appropriate art, but bear with
        me on this one....) God is bursting and beaming with pride at our
        struggling efforts. He cares not a wit that we are not beaming with
        false cheer ourselves. With all that mud on our faces, who could see
        the forced smile anyhow?

        There will never be a time, in this world or in the next, when God
        loves us more than He does when we are fallen, crawling toward Him on
        all fours and still barely hanging on. The effort, always the effort
        is what God sees.

        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 of thanks and Deo gratias, for Kasey, on her birthday. Graces abundant and many happy years! Ad multos annos! Prayers for some pedestrians struck
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 22, 2007
          +PAX

          Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias, for Kasey, on her birthday. Graces
          abundant and many happy years! Ad multos annos!

          Prayers for some pedestrians struck in the dark and for the motorist who hit
          them, apparently none of them were killed, but no further details available.
          Al, for whose immigration troubles we prayed for has been offered two jobs in
          his field, at a magnet high school and a state university! Deo gratias! Now
          he needs prayers to renew his visa; prayers, too, for his new wife, also not
          a citizen, and their married life together.


          Prayers of thanks for the peaceful death of Bessie,93, for her happy death
          and eternal rest, also for her son Nick, daughter-in-law Margaret, and all
          who mourn her. Prayers for the happy death of Mattie, who has not too long to
          go. She is battling cancer, prayers, too, for her husband Paul. Prayers for
          Annie, librarian at Lincoln-Sudbury High School and for the whole school
          community there. A young student was stabbed to death near her library by another
          student this week. Prayers for the victim, for his happy death and eternal
          rest, for his family and for the boy who stabbed him and his family. Prayers of
          thanks and Deo gratias for Tom, progress in rebuilding a relationship with
          his children. 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 24, May 25, September 24
          Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence

          Let us do what the Prophet says:
          "I said, 'I will guard my ways,
          that I may not sin with my tongue.
          I have set a guard to my mouth.'
          I was mute and was humbled,
          and kept silence even from good things" (Ps. 38:2-3).
          Here the Prophet shows
          that if the spirit of silence ought to lead us at times
          to refrain even from good speech,
          so much the more ought the punishment for sin
          make us avoid evil words.


          Therefore, since the spirit of silence is so important,
          permission to speak should rarely be granted
          even to perfect disciples,
          even though it be for good, holy edifying conversation;
          for it is written,
          "In much speaking you will not escape sin" (Prov. 10:19),
          and in another place,
          "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21).


          For speaking and teaching belong to the mistress;
          the disciple's part is to be silent and to listen.
          And for that reason
          if anything has to be asked of the Superior,
          it should be asked
          with all the humility and submission inspired by reverence.


          But as for coarse jests and idle words
          or words that move to laughter,
          these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
          and for such conversation
          we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.

          REFLECTION

          Ever wonder why speech is considered so dangerous? Because it can
          build up the false self, the very false self that we are trying to
          tear down with our other hand. I have, to my shame, reveled in a
          flame war or two. Once I got JUST the right zinger and aimed it
          mercilessly- in an apology yet!! One astute list member commented
          that I had shot the olive branch of peace with a crossbow! Ouch!
          He was so right!

          I don't know about everyone, but I can be terribly pleased with
          myself over such things, things of which I should in fact be ashamed.
          Our arms can easily reach to the shoulders of that false self,
          patting it on the back and congratulating it for hours afterwards.
          Wrong, wrong, wrong. The false self will grow and thrive badly enough
          on our own. Why on earth would we wish to offer it any mindless
          assistance?

          Let me speak for myself, here. Probably 90% of what comes out of my
          mouth other than prayer is unnecessary. A further percentage I am
          afraid to even stab at is downright harmful to me. I don't imagine I
          am terribly far from average in this respect. And talk about damage
          from second-hand speech. There are LOTS of things I wish I had never,
          ever heard. Wow, if only we would guard silence as zealously as smoke-
          free zones. Wouldn't that be right in line with fearing that which
          can destroy the soul more than that which kills the body alone? I
          seem to recall some Guy having something to say along those lines.

          We aren't Trappists in the world. We cannot control our spaces as if
          they were monasteries, but we can and must control our own mouths.
          Total silence would likely be read as uncaring rudeness, but what
          about some alternative forms of silence? What if one resolved to
          speak not at all, all day, except in words of kindness, mercy or
          support, to never open one's mouth except to affirm.

          Now there's a thought. Could I have a seat in the no-griping section,
          please? Pursue that line of thinking, be creative. Fast for a week
          from contention and see what happens. Try a day of not talking at all
          about yourself. Try a whole day of asking others about themselves!
          One way or another, increase the levels of good one can do with
          speech and diminish those of harm.

          "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21)"

          Not just the tongue, folks, but the keyboard and any other writing
          instrument, too! Serenity cannot coexist with meanness of thought,
          word or deed. Doesn't happen. Serenity can be held only in a field of
          gentleness and deep, tender mercy!

          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, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Kasey, on her
          Message 4 of 5 , Jan 22, 2008
            +PAX

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

            Kasey, on her birthday

            a young woman for whom conception is difficult and pregnancy would be a serious risk, and for her husband, for God's perfect will for them

            Joan, having lung surgery this morning

            Deo gratias for the health aides who are helping Maryann's elderly Mo, since her Dad can no longer take care of her.

            Lillian, on her birthday

            Stephen, for his growth in faith in God.

            a friend of Jan's, 40's, a husband and a father of two teens, cancer seems to have moved into his bones.

            Deo gratias, Al and Danielle, both of whom we prayed for, are recovering well.

            N., bone scan on Friday

            Jane and her family, her Dad's funeral was very hard on them all.

            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 24, May 25, September 24
            Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence

            Let us do what the Prophet says:
            "I said, 'I will guard my ways,
            that I may not sin with my tongue.
            I have set a guard to my mouth.'
            I was mute and was humbled,
            and kept silence even from good things" (Ps. 38:2-3).
            Here the Prophet shows
            that if the spirit of silence ought to lead us at times
            to refrain even from good speech,
            so much the more ought the punishment for sin
            make us avoid evil words.


            Therefore, since the spirit of silence is so important,
            permission to speak should rarely be granted
            even to perfect disciples,
            even though it be for good, holy edifying conversation;
            for it is written,
            "In much speaking you will not escape sin" (Prov. 10:19),
            and in another place,
            "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21).


            For speaking and teaching belong to the mistress;
            the disciple's part is to be silent and to listen.
            And for that reason
            if anything has to be asked of the Superior,
            it should be asked
            with all the humility and submission inspired by reverence.


            But as for coarse jests and idle words
            or words that move to laughter,
            these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
            and for such conversation
            we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.

            REFLECTION

            Ever wonder why speech is considered so dangerous? Because it can
            build up the false self, the very false self that we are trying to
            tear down with our other hand. I have, to my shame, reveled in a
            flame war or two. Once I got JUST the right zinger and aimed it
            mercilessly- in an apology yet!! One astute list member commented
            that I had shot the olive branch of peace with a crossbow! Ouch!
            He was so right!

            I don't know about everyone, but I can be terribly pleased with
            myself over such things, things of which I should in fact be ashamed.
            Our arms can easily reach to the shoulders of that false self,
            patting it on the back and congratulating it for hours afterwards.
            Wrong, wrong, wrong. The false self will grow and thrive badly enough
            on our own. Why on earth would we wish to offer it any mindless
            assistance?

            Let me speak for myself, here. Probably 90% of what comes out of my
            mouth other than prayer is unnecessary. A further percentage I am
            afraid to even stab at is downright harmful to me. I don't imagine I
            am terribly far from average in this respect. And talk about damage
            from second-hand speech. There are LOTS of things I wish I had never,
            ever heard. Wow, if only we would guard silence as zealously as smoke-
            free zones. Wouldn't that be right in line with fearing that which
            can destroy the soul more than that which kills the body alone? I
            seem to recall some Guy having something to say along those lines.

            We aren't Trappists in the world. We cannot control our spaces as if
            they were monasteries, but we can and must control our own mouths.
            Total silence would likely be read as uncaring rudeness, but what
            about some alternative forms of silence? What if one resolved to
            speak not at all, all day, except in words of kindness, mercy or
            support, to never open one's mouth except to affirm.

            Now there's a thought. Could I have a seat in the no-griping section,
            please? Pursue that line of thinking, be creative. Fast for a week
            from contention and see what happens. Try a day of not talking at all
            about yourself. Try a whole day of asking others about themselves!
            One way or another, increase the levels of good one can do with
            speech and diminish those of harm.

            "Death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Prov. 18:21)"

            Not just the tongue, folks, but the keyboard and any other writing
            instrument, too! Serenity cannot coexist with meanness of thought,
            word or deed. Doesn't happen. Serenity can be held only in a field of
            gentleness and deep, tender mercy!

            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 Kasey, on her birthday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos! Prayers for Andrea, a mother of three in her 40 s. She has a rare skin
            Message 5 of 5 , Jan 22

              +PAX

               

              Prayers for Kasey, on her birthday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!

               

              Prayers for Andrea, a mother of three in her 40’s. She has a rare skin disease horribly disfiguring her face. Prayers that the meds they are giving her helps. There seems to be no cure.

               

              Deo gratias and prayers of thanksgiving for Amanda clean from her addiction for one year and the mental illness which has afflicted her for so long is lifting, too. May she grow in grace and health and strength, may God shower her with graces.

               

              Continued prayers for D. and N. and their unborn child. Prayers for a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery, and a healthy baby and mom. This is a high risk pregnancy, so many prayers. They have struggled with infertility for many years.

               

              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 23, May 24, September 23
              Chapter 5: On Obedience

              But this very obedience
              will be acceptable to God and pleasing to all
              only if what is commanded is done
              without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling, or objection.
              For the obedience given to Superiors is given to God,
              since He Himself has said,
              "He who hears you, hears Me" (Luke 10:16).
              And the disciples should offer their obedience with a good will,
              for "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7).
              For if the disciple obeys with an ill will
              and murmurs,
              not necessarily with his lips but simply in his heart,
              then even though he fulfill the command
              yet his work will not be acceptable to God,
              who sees that his heart is murmuring.
              And, far from gaining a reward for such work as this,
              he will incur the punishment due to murmurers,
              unless he amend and make satisfaction.

              REFLECTION

              It is our hearts that convict us in obedience. Not because of
              feelings or emotions, those can be mistaken, but because of the
              relationship between love and will. Many of us have loved someone and
              hated having to do something that the love required, but we did it
              anyway. Our feelings or repugnance were over-ruled by the will in our
              hearts to love. Face it, love does not ALWAYS feel too good, which is
              a principal way it differs from mere feelings.

              Jean Ronan, one of my favorite teachers used to tell me to always make all
              decisions "in the light of the death candle", that is, as if one were about to
              die. How hearing that annoyed me at 30, but how true it is, and the closer one
              gets to the possibility of that death candle, the truer it is. There's a handy
              rule of thumb here. Does our choice put God and our faith first, no matter what?
              If it does not, something is terribly wrong.

              There is also the trust of faith involved here. God is God and we must firmly
              believe He will do the best for us, no matter how unclear that may sometimes be.
              Jesus often told St. Faustina to ask her superiors for permissions, hard
              permissions, to do this or that extra prayer or mortification, that He KNEW they
              would refuse. Then, after the refusal, He would tell Faustina that
              her obedience meant more to Him than the thing denied.

              He also said to her that all creatures do His will, whether they want
              to not or, whether they know it or not. Now there's a hefty order!
              Still when we look at St. Paul's remark that, "for those who love
              God, all things work together for good," this is not at all far-fetched.
              St. Paul did not say "all wise things", or "well-intentioned things", or
              "cooperative things". He said "all" and he was inspired to say that by
              the Holy Spirit.

              "All things".....hmmmm. I think there is a mystical point where the will of God
              cannot be thwarted. This is evident in the lives of many saints. When Jesus
              told them nothing could harm them, He wasn't just kidding around! In spite
              of seemingly insuperable odds, His will for them would triumph again and
              again. But this is NOT just for saints: it is true for all of us! Obedience
              throws us into the vortex of that, but it gets easier as our faith
              (and experience of God's goodness!) deepens.

              We have been too ready to think that obedience depends only on
              humans, who are flawed. It doesn't. All obedience is given to God.
              Our love and trust and His love and mercy are the deciding factors,
              not the universally flawed human weakness that plagues every human
              means of God's will in this world.

              Want a little theological aside here? Look at what this concept of
              all doing His will does to the concept of sin. It makes it the ULTIMATE rip-off.
              If, even when we try to thwart God, we further His plans (and face it, He
              *IS* clever enough to pull that off,) then we are left with absolutely nothing
              but the bitter ashes of our own useless self- defeat. Whether we are with Him or
              against Him, His kingdom will nevertheless come. What a tragedy to have been nothing
              more than a futile obstacle to that!

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

               

               

               

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