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Holy Rule for Mar. 28

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Jeff, 28, severe headaches turned out to be a rapidly growing brain tumor, for which he had emergency surgery, biopsy results not
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 28, 2005
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      Prayers, please, for Jeff, 28, severe headaches turned out to be a rapidly growing brain tumor, for which he had emergency surgery, biopsy results not known yet, and for his distraught wife and family. Prayers, too, for Josh, a seminarian, who had an emergency appendectomy last week, for his Mom and family, too. HUGE Deo gratias prayers for Ethan, 3, out of ICU now and perhaps home by Wednesday, and for Christie and Mike, expecting after wanting a child so badly, and for all couples seeking to have children. Continued prayers for Pope John Paul II and for Terry Schiavo. Lord, help them as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Alleluia! Thanks so much. JL

      March 29, July 29, November 28
      Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

      From the Calends of October until the beginning of Lent,
      let them apply themselves to reading
      up to the end of the second hour.

      At the second hour let Terce be said,
      and then let all labor at the work assigned them until None.
      At the first signal for the Hour of None
      let everyone break off from her work,
      and hold herself ready for the sounding of the second signal.
      After the meal
      let them apply themselves to their reading or to the Psalms.

      On the days of Lent,
      from morning until the end of the third hour
      let them apply themselves to their reading,
      and from then until the end of the tenth hour
      let them do the work assigned them.
      And in these days of Lent
      they shall each receive a book from the library,
      which they shall read straight through from the beginning.
      These books are to be given out at the beginning of Lent.

      But certainly one or two of the seniors should be deputed
      to go about the monastery
      at the hours when the sisters are occupied in reading
      and see that there be no lazy sister
      who spends her time in idleness or gossip
      and does not apply herself to the reading,
      so that she is not only unprofitable to herself
      but also distracts others.
      If such a one be found (which God forbid),
      let her be corrected once and a second time;
      if she does not amend,
      let her undergo the punishment of the Rule
      in such a way that the rest may take warning.

      Moreover, one sister shall not associate with another
      at inappropriate times.

      REFLECTION

      Lectio divina, sacred reading, is the Benedictine form of
      contemplation, more ancient than many later forms, both Carmelite and
      Athonite. Being so ancient, it comes with very few directions. Much
      of its "method" has been developed and handed down by monastics over
      the centuries since St. Benedict. Even in that embellished form, it
      remains a very, very simple and efficient means to contemplative
      prayer. One simply reads Scripture or the Fathers (or Mothers!)
      slowly, reflectively, ruminating (like a cow chewing its cud!) on
      each word and verse. As St. Romuald later observed, one waits like a
      chick for whatever its mother gives it. One does not read to get
      through the book. One reads to see if and when the Holy Spirit calls
      us to higher prayer with a word or phrase that strikes the heart. At
      that point, one should follow one's heart and not worry about
      finishing the page! Cleared for takeoff!

      It is interesting that St. Benedict weaves all these schedules of
      contemplative reading and prayer together with his manual labor
      concerns, without any ado. There's another example of the dignity and
      holiness of work in a Benedictine theology. Our work, too, is prayer.
      It must be. We must, somehow, learn to be all prayer. That same
      ruminative mindfulness that colors our lectio must color our labor as
      well. It is a different form of attention, a different form of
      prayer, but it is prayer nonetheless! Just ask any gardener or cook
      with a mystical heart or, for that matter, any toilet cleaner or
      diaper changer of the same ilk!

      The Carmelites prescribe mental prayer, which should, with
      recollection, spread throughout one's day. The hesychasts of Mount
      Athos, Romania and Russia stress the Jesus Prayer, said vocally until
      it becomes automatic in the heart at all times. Both of these are
      more explicit methodologies, but the Benedictine aim is the same:
      prayer without ceasing, prayer in choir and garden and cell, prayer
      at reading and prayer at work. Mindfulness of God at all times is the
      contemplative goal of all these systems.

      This is just my own opinion, but I am inclined to think that the
      Dominican concept of contemplation comes closest to our own, largely
      because of their love of study. Study, for the Dominican, is often
      very similar to lectio in the Benedictine scheme of things. Why?
      Because the Dominican seeks Truth, and Jesus said: "I am the Truth."
      A Dominican could be reading Karl Marx and still know that every bit
      of real, objective truth garnered from that reading would be yet
      another shard, no matter how small, in the infinite mosaic of the
      face of Christ. That is a mosaic none of us shall ever complete in
      this life, but oh, how much more familiar He shall seem to us when we
      meet Him because of it!

      Maybe I'm just prejudiced, but I think that a Dominican education,
      such as I had, is a wonderful preparation for Benedictine life.

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

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jerry Lee
      +PAX The Holy Rule is going out tonight, because I have an early lab work in the morning, hence, if your prayer requests came in later, they will go on Mar.
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 27, 2006
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        The Holy Rule is going out tonight, because I have an early lab work in the morning, hence, if your prayer requests came in later, they will go on Mar. 29. God is outside of time, He won't have any trouble with that.

        Prayers, please, for Barb, healing from surgery on her broken wrist, also for Opal, seeking more of the faith, may she not run from God's call! Prayers for Jean's Mom, 95, recently had three procedures, two of them surgeries, prayers for her continued improvement and for Jean, who lives in another city and worries about her. Prayers for Ramiro, undergoing treatment for a blood clot on his lung, and for his wife and family. they are expecting their first child in a few months. prayers for all the health care folks treating those we pray for and the ministers who care for them spiritually. 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

        March 29, July 29, November 28
        Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

        From the Calends of October until the beginning of Lent,
        let them apply themselves to reading
        up to the end of the second hour.

        At the second hour let Terce be said,
        and then let all labor at the work assigned them until None.
        At the first signal for the Hour of None
        let everyone break off from her work,
        and hold herself ready for the sounding of the second signal.
        After the meal
        let them apply themselves to their reading or to the Psalms.

        On the days of Lent,
        from morning until the end of the third hour
        let them apply themselves to their reading,
        and from then until the end of the tenth hour
        let them do the work assigned them.
        And in these days of Lent
        they shall each receive a book from the library,
        which they shall read straight through from the beginning.
        These books are to be given out at the beginning of Lent.

        But certainly one or two of the seniors should be deputed
        to go about the monastery
        at the hours when the sisters are occupied in reading
        and see that there be no lazy sister
        who spends her time in idleness or gossip
        and does not apply herself to the reading,
        so that she is not only unprofitable to herself
        but also distracts others.
        If such a one be found (which God forbid),
        let her be corrected once and a second time;
        if she does not amend,
        let her undergo the punishment of the Rule
        in such a way that the rest may take warning.

        Moreover, one sister shall not associate with another
        at inappropriate times.

        REFLECTION

        Lectio divina, sacred reading, is the Benedictine form of
        contemplation, more ancient than many later forms, both Carmelite and
        Athonite. Being so ancient, it comes with very few directions. Much
        of its "method" has been developed and handed down by monastics over
        the centuries since St. Benedict. Even in that embellished form, it
        remains a very, very simple and efficient means to contemplative
        prayer. One simply reads Scripture or the Fathers (or Mothers!)
        slowly, reflectively, ruminating (like a cow chewing its cud!) on
        each word and verse. As St. Romuald later observed, one waits like a
        chick for whatever its mother gives it. One does not read to get
        through the book. One reads to see if and when the Holy Spirit calls
        us to higher prayer with a word or phrase that strikes the heart. At
        that point, one should follow one's heart and not worry about
        finishing the page! Cleared for takeoff!

        It is interesting that St. Benedict weaves all these schedules of
        contemplative reading and prayer together with his manual labor
        concerns, without any ado. There's another example of the dignity and
        holiness of work in a Benedictine theology. Our work, too, is prayer.
        It must be. We must, somehow, learn to be all prayer. That same
        ruminative mindfulness that colors our lectio must color our labor as
        well. It is a different form of attention, a different form of
        prayer, but it is prayer nonetheless! Just ask any gardener or cook
        with a mystical heart or, for that matter, any toilet cleaner or
        diaper changer of the same ilk!

        The Carmelites prescribe mental prayer, which should, with
        recollection, spread throughout one's day. The hesychasts of Mount
        Athos, Romania and Russia stress the Jesus Prayer, said vocally until
        it becomes automatic in the heart at all times. Both of these are
        more explicit methodologies, but the Benedictine aim is the same:
        prayer without ceasing, prayer in choir and garden and cell, prayer
        at reading and prayer at work. Mindfulness of God at all times is the
        contemplative goal of all these systems.

        This is just my own opinion, but I am inclined to think that the
        Dominican concept of contemplation comes closest to our own, largely
        because of their love of study. Study, for the Dominican, is often
        very similar to lectio in the Benedictine scheme of things. Why?
        Because the Dominican seeks Truth, and Jesus said: "I am the Truth."
        A Dominican could be reading Karl Marx and still know that every bit
        of real, objective truth garnered from that reading would be yet
        another shard, no matter how small, in the infinite mosaic of the
        face of Christ. That is a mosaic none of us shall ever complete in
        this life, but oh, how much more familiar He shall seem to us when we
        meet Him because of it!

        Maybe I'm just prejudiced, but I think that a Dominican education,
        such as I had, is a wonderful preparation for Benedictine life.

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

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jerry Lee
        +PAX Nope, you re not seeing things. I sent the wrong reading out yesterday and today is a catch-up. Today s reading went out yesterday. Oddly enough, I did
        Message 3 of 6 , Mar 29, 2006
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          Nope, you're not seeing things. I sent the wrong reading out yesterday and today is a catch-up. Today's reading went out yesterday. Oddly enough, I did EXACTLY the same thing a year ago. 56 year old brain much?? JL

          Ardent prayers for Pauline Tinguely, of Monastic Life list, a cherished Amma of our ML community, she is hospitalized with serious low sodium problems, resulting in a lot of complications, on top of the terrible skin affliction she was already suffering. Doctors remain baffled after many tests, so prayers for them, too, and for Don her husband and all Pauline's family.

          Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Gerardus, very near death, John of Bobtown, who died Mar. 11, Ed of Valyermo, whom we prayed for recently, for June, both of whom died two days ago, prayers for their families and all who mourn them.

          Prayers for the spiritual and bodily health of Janet, single Mom with the flu, of Ann, discernment for family and personal problems, of Marlene, results of her latest scan for cancer today, of Jack, battling cancer with only one lung, of Jay, head trauma from a car accident and not doing well, family must travel some distance to visit him, of Freddie and his wife Linda, only option for treatment of his brain tumor is surgery, of Joy, already suffering from cancer, comatose after a car accident last night, both ankles broken, went into cardiac arrest, but is on a respirator and seems to be holding her own, of Ellen, chemo and radiation for recurrent cancer spreading to her lymph glands, complicated by diabetes, lung infection and hepatitis C, of Sandy, who donated part of her own liver to Ellen a while back, of Tomasso, back problems, for Diane, feeling abandoned and facing some family rift with her son, needing spiritual strength and guidance, for Asha, one job ending, seeking another, many trials and inner wounds and temptations, for God's will in his life, for Gregory, undecided about getting a divorce, for his wife and Mom, and for Opal, on the road to some spiritual help. Let us pray for all their families and loved ones and the doctors and ministers who are trying to help them.

          Lastly, Elizabeth asks prayers for her step-daughters, Miriam, who suffered brain injuries several years ago in a car wreck and Christine, who was driving. Also for her husband their birth Mom and some family problems in communication. She actually asked for folks to join in a novena (beginning today and ending April 6,) that she is making to our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Realizing this will not be everyone's tradition, as many of our readers are not Catholic, I ask prayers for the special intentions. If any want a copy of the prayer to make the novena, write me to and I will forward the one she sent. 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

          March 28, July 28, November 27
          Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

          Idleness is the enemy of the soul.
          Therefore the sisters should be occupied
          at certain times in manual labor,
          and again at fixed hours in sacred reading.
          To that end
          we think that the times for each may be prescribed as follows.

          From Easter until the Calends of October,
          when they come out from Prime in the morning
          let them labor at whatever is necessary
          until about the fourth hour,
          and from the fourth hour until about the sixth
          let them apply themselves to reading.
          After the sixth hour,
          having left the table,
          let them rest on their beds in perfect silence;
          or if anyone may perhaps want to read,
          let her read to herself
          in such a way as not to disturb anyone else.
          Let None be said rather early,
          at the middle of the eighth hour,
          and let them again do what work has to be done until Vespers.

          And if the circumstances of the place or their poverty
          should require that they themselves
          do the work of gathering the harvest,
          let them not be discontented;
          for then are they truly monastics
          when they live by the labor of their hands,
          as did our Fathers and the Apostles.
          Let all things be done with moderation, however,
          for the sake of the faint-hearted.

          REFLECTION

          With one of our several mottos, Ora et Labora, Pray and Work,
          Benedictines have developed a marvelous theology of work. Our
          centuries of reflection on the relationship of prayer and work, and
          on the dignity of work itself have been shared with the Church at
          large and have gone a long way to flesh out the Christian theology of
          labor.

          There's a beautiful glimpse of St. Benedict's tenderness here,
          wrapped in one of his frequent exhortations to moderation. Here we
          have a very important "WHY" of moderation: it is done "for the sake
          of the faint-hearted." Got that? The median road of monastic
          observance is not gauged by the strong, but by the weak among us.
          Herculean ascetics that might quench the smoldering ember or break
          the bruised reed are not for us. In a very real way, God Himself
          decides the observance of a given house by sending those whom He does
          to join it.

          Neither my community nor your family or workplace is an accidental
          fluke. (Tempting to think so at times, but they aren't!) God sent
          those other people who drive you nuts there and He then placed you in
          the midst of them. Odd sense of humor He has! But He knows what He is
          about.

          Some monasteries are the only place in the world a particular member
          of that house could ever be a monastic. Don't scorn that, reverence
          it! What a great and tender mercy of God is there! We are a huge
          Order with rooms and slots for everybody on a very, very wide
          spectrum. Some work more, some pray more, but all must try to balance.

          We work AND pray: Ora et Labora. Carry either too far and the results
          will not be pretty. Too much work can wear a community out, make them
          all but useless for prayer. If this continues for too long a time, it
          can kill monastic life entirely. On the other hand, pray too much and
          work too little and you will wind up with a lot of spoiled, pampered
          lap dogs and lounge lizards of prayer, weak and soft and not much
          good for anything- INCLUDING prayer! See how important balance is?

          Oblates here are at a disadvantage. They don't usually have a
          superior living right with them to tell them when they have gone
          around the bend, off the top and over the falls. That's why those
          objective people who ARE placed around the Oblate, like spouses,
          parents, friends, employers or co-workers, are voices we should
          listen to carefully.

          Note I said "objective." The advice of others is not always and
          everywhere good, but sometimes they can very clearly
          see things to which we are completely blind. That's too important a
          gift to be written off or ignored. Besides, listening is a very
          Benedictine act and so is respect for and attention to authority, as
          well as fraternal obedience.

          The world of the Oblate is full, would we only look, with checks and
          balances to keep us moderate and on course. As Francis Thompson
          observed of the secular world at large:

          "The angels keep their ancient places,
          Turn but a stone and start a wing!
          'Tis we, 'tis our estranged faces
          That miss the many-splendored thing!"

          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, please, for Nettie, whom we have prayed before, in her final days, for her happy death and eternal rest and for Mary, her daughter, who s
          Message 4 of 6 , Mar 27, 2007
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            Prayers, please, for Nettie, whom we have prayed before, in her final days,
            for her happy death and eternal rest and for Mary, her daughter, who's
            trying to spend as much time with her dying mom as possible. Prayers for Tony,
            stage 4 cancer of the liver. Deo Gratias for Nick, the barber whom we prayed
            for. His tests show cancer, but Stage 2. Prayers for Carol, in hospice, for her
            happy death and eternal rest and for her childhood friend, Joan who sat with
            her yesterday.

            Cindy, for whom we prayed, has gone to God, prayers for her happy death and
            eternal rest and for her husband, Terry, her children, Jason and Marie and all
            who mourn her. Deo gratias: Liz, for whom we prayed has delivered her baby.
            Courtney weighs under four pounds and she will be in neonatal ICU for a
            while, she needs prayers to gain weight and strength and prayers for her parents,
            Terry and Liz, as well.

            Prayers for Charlie, potentially fatal meningitis and for Jennifer and all
            his family. Prayers for Marushka, stress leave from work and badly needing a
            transfer to another position with her employer. Prayers for an annulment
            process. 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

            March 29, July 29, November 28
            Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

            From the Calends of October until the beginning of Lent,
            let them apply themselves to reading
            up to the end of the second hour.

            At the second hour let Terce be said,
            and then let all labor at the work assigned them until None.
            At the first signal for the Hour of None
            let everyone break off from her work,
            and hold herself ready for the sounding of the second signal.
            After the meal
            let them apply themselves to their reading or to the Psalms.

            On the days of Lent,
            from morning until the end of the third hour
            let them apply themselves to their reading,
            and from then until the end of the tenth hour
            let them do the work assigned them.
            And in these days of Lent
            they shall each receive a book from the library,
            which they shall read straight through from the beginning.
            These books are to be given out at the beginning of Lent.

            But certainly one or two of the seniors should be deputed
            to go about the monastery
            at the hours when the sisters are occupied in reading
            and see that there be no lazy sister
            who spends her time in idleness or gossip
            and does not apply herself to the reading,
            so that she is not only unprofitable to herself
            but also distracts others.
            If such a one be found (which God forbid),
            let her be corrected once and a second time;
            if she does not amend,
            let her undergo the punishment of the Rule
            in such a way that the rest may take warning.

            Moreover, one sister shall not associate with another
            at inappropriate times.

            REFLECTION

            Lectio divina, sacred reading, is the Benedictine form of
            contemplation, more ancient than many later forms, both Carmelite and
            Athonite. Being so ancient, it comes with very few directions. Much
            of its "method" has been developed and handed down by monastics over
            the centuries since St. Benedict. Even in that embellished form, it
            remains a very, very simple and efficient means to contemplative
            prayer. One simply reads Scripture or the Fathers (or Mothers!)
            slowly, reflectively, ruminating (like a cow chewing its cud!) on
            each word and verse. As St. Romuald later observed, one waits like a
            chick for whatever its mother gives it. One does not read to get
            through the book. One reads to see if and when the Holy Spirit calls
            us to higher prayer with a word or phrase that strikes the heart. At
            that point, one should follow one's heart and not worry about
            finishing the page! Cleared for takeoff!

            It is interesting that St. Benedict weaves all these schedules of
            contemplative reading and prayer together with his manual labor
            concerns, without any ado. There's another example of the dignity and
            holiness of work in a Benedictine theology. Our work, too, is prayer.
            It must be. We must, somehow, learn to be all prayer. That same
            ruminative mindfulness that colors our lectio must color our labor as
            well. It is a different form of attention, a different form of
            prayer, but it is prayer nonetheless! Just ask any gardener or cook
            with a mystical heart or, for that matter, any toilet cleaner or
            diaper changer of the same ilk!

            The Carmelites prescribe mental prayer, which should, with
            recollection, spread throughout one's day. The hesychasts of Mount
            Athos, Romania and Russia stress the Jesus Prayer, said vocally until
            it becomes automatic in the heart at all times. Both of these are
            more explicit methodologies, but the Benedictine aim is the same:
            prayer without ceasing, prayer in choir and garden and cell, prayer
            at reading and prayer at work. Mindfulness of God at all times is the
            contemplative goal of all these systems.

            This is just my own opinion, but I am inclined to think that the
            Dominican concept of contemplation comes closest to our own, largely
            because of their love of study. Study, for the Dominican, is often
            very similar to lectio in the Benedictine scheme of things. Why?
            Because the Dominican seeks Truth, and Jesus said: "I am the Truth."
            A Dominican could be reading Karl Marx and still know that every bit
            of real, objective truth garnered from that reading would be yet
            another shard, no matter how small, in the infinite mosaic of the
            face of Christ. That is a mosaic none of us shall ever complete in
            this life, but oh, how much more familiar He shall seem to us when we
            meet Him because of it!

            Maybe I'm just prejudiced, but I think that a Dominican education,
            such as I had, is a wonderful preparation for Benedictine life.

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






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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Br. Jerome Leo
            +PAX Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Eva, who died Thursday at about noon, and continued prayers for her son, Dave, and all their
            Message 5 of 6 , Mar 28, 2008
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              Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Eva, who died Thursday at about noon, and continued prayers for her son, Dave, and all their family.

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

              Barbara, unable to walk, possible toxins and heart infection.

              Brad, attempted suicide, but now on meds, family seeking residential tretament facility.

              Tracey, who ran into a pole after losing control on icy roads. She was 8 months pregnant; the baby is fine, but tracy is still unable to reccognize her daughter and does not remember being pregnant even though she's held her baby boy. She thinks she's 16; she recognizes her brother but not her sister.

              Victoria and for the relationship God wills her to have with her sister and nephew.
              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

              ++++ Ah, the problems of doing re-runs: this is the fourth time I have copied
              and sent reflections for 3/28 and 3/29 in reverse order. Sigh.... Mea culpa!
              Here is the 28th to catch up. JL

              March 28, July 28, November 27
              Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

              Idleness is the enemy of the soul.
              Therefore the sisters should be occupied
              at certain times in manual labor,
              and again at fixed hours in sacred reading.
              To that end
              we think that the times for each may be prescribed as follows.

              From Easter until the Calends of October,
              when they come out from Prime in the morning
              let them labor at whatever is necessary
              until about the fourth hour,
              and from the fourth hour until about the sixth
              let them apply themselves to reading.
              After the sixth hour,
              having left the table,
              let them rest on their beds in perfect silence;
              or if anyone may perhaps want to read,
              let her read to herself
              in such a way as not to disturb anyone else.
              Let None be said rather early,
              at the middle of the eighth hour,
              and let them again do what work has to be done until Vespers.

              And if the circumstances of the place or their poverty
              should require that they themselves
              do the work of gathering the harvest,
              let them not be discontented;
              for then are they truly monastics
              when they live by the labor of their hands,
              as did our Fathers and the Apostles.
              Let all things be done with moderation, however,
              for the sake of the faint-hearted.

              REFLECTION

              With one of our several mottos, Ora et Labora, Pray and Work,
              Benedictines have developed a marvelous theology of work. Our
              centuries of reflection on the relationship of prayer and work, and
              on the dignity of work itself have been shared with the Church at
              large and have gone a long way to flesh out the Christian theology of
              labor.

              There's a beautiful glimpse of St. Benedict's tenderness here,
              wrapped in one of his frequent exhortations to moderation. Here we
              have a very important "WHY" of moderation: it is done "for the sake
              of the faint-hearted." Got that? The median road of monastic
              observance is not gauged by the strong, but by the weak among us.
              Herculean ascetics that might quench the smoldering ember or break
              the bruised reed are not for us. In a very real way, God Himself
              decides the observance of a given house by sending those whom He does
              to join it.

              Neither my community nor your family or workplace is an accidental
              fluke. (Tempting to think so at times, but they aren't!) God sent
              those other people who drive you nuts there and He then placed you in
              the midst of them. Odd sense of humor He has! But He knows what He is
              about.

              Some monasteries are the only place in the world a particular member
              of that house could ever be a monastic. Don't scorn that, reverence
              it! What a great and tender mercy of God is there! We are a huge
              Order with rooms and slots for everybody on a very, very wide
              spectrum. Some work more, some pray more, but all must try to balance.

              We work AND pray: Ora et Labora. Carry either too far and the results
              will not be pretty. Too much work can wear a community out, make them
              all but useless for prayer. If this continues for too long a time, it
              can kill monastic life entirely. On the other hand, pray too much and
              work too little and you will wind up with a lot of spoiled, pampered
              lap dogs and lounge lizards of prayer, weak and soft and not much
              good for anything- INCLUDING prayer! See how important balance is?

              Oblates here are at a disadvantage. They don't usually have a
              superior living right with them to tell them when they have gone
              around the bend, off the top and over the falls. That's why those
              objective people who ARE placed around the Oblate, like spouses,
              parents, friends, employers or co-workers, are voices we should
              listen to carefully.

              Note I said "objective." The advice of others is not always and
              everywhere good, but sometimes they can very clearly
              see things to which we are completely blind. That's too important a
              gift to be written off or ignored. Besides, listening is a very
              Benedictine act and so is respect for and attention to authority, as
              well as fraternal obedience.

              The world of the Oblate is full, would we only look, with checks and
              balances to keep us moderate and on course. As Francis Thompson
              observed of the secular world at large:

              "The angels keep their ancient places,
              Turn but a stone and start a wing!
              'Tis we, 'tis our estranged faces
              That miss the many-splendored thing!"

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

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