Prayers, please, for a couple having serious marital problems, and
the husband is depressed as well. For Eleuterio on his 97th birthday;
for Jason, 16, suicide attempt, worshipping satan and still wanting
to kill himself; for Aimee, facing her rapist's trial, for a young
owman undergoing esophagus surgery, for the health and welfare of
Celeste. God's will be done! NRN JL
March 1, July 1, October 31
Chapter 24: What the Measure of Excommunication Should Be
The measure of excommunication or of chastisement
should correspond to the degree of fault,
which degree is estimated by the judgment of the Abbess.
If a sister is found guilty of lighter faults,
let her be excluded from the common table.
Now the program for one deprived of the company of the table
shall be as follows:
In the oratory she shall intone neither Psalm nor antiphon
nor shall she recite a lesson
until she has made satisfaction;
in the refectory she shall take her food alone
after the community meal,
so that if they eat at the sixth hour, for instance,
that sister shall eat at the ninth,
while if they eat at the ninth hour
she shall eat in the evening,
until by a suitable satisfaction she obtains pardon.
Two VERY important messages here, for both monastery and the world:
serious faults should never be ignored or overlooked and punishment
should be just and proportional.
On one hand, anyone who has ability and authority and fails to use it
because to do so would be distasteful to themselves runs a horrible
risk of sinning by omission. People are not always behaving badly
simply because they are wicked, devious or clever. Sometimes they are
truly unaware, or largely so. Sometimes, they assume, wrongly but
understandably, that "no news is good news." Sometimes, the offender
can be in quite adamant denial that there is anything wrong at all.
One's silence or inactivity at such times can be damning, indeed. One
accepts a difficult responsibility with authority and it is NOT all
pleasant. Tailoring it to make sure it is a breeze can result in
serious harm to all concerned.
But, again, there is Benedictine balance here! The one in authority
must not OVER-react. Think of the people we have known or worked with
who can make the slightest offense a capital case. Touch not mine
anointed!! Whoops! Bit of reality check needed there, too. We have to
do something, but we must be careful not to do too much! All the
weight of right -or wrong!- is usually not entirely on either side.
We must not behave as if it were without serious indications that
such behavior is warranted. Authority requires a particular brand of
Balance, balance, balance and always balance! Merciful and loving as
God is, but remembering that even God has boundaries which we can
render powerless by our stubborn refusals.
Love and prayers,
St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA