Since last year was a Leap Year and this year is not, a reading got skipped that should have been appended to the 28th. Here it is: February 29, June 30,Message 1 of 53 , Feb 28, 2009View SourceSince last year was a Leap Year and this year is not, a reading got skipped that should have been appended to the 28th. Here it is:
February 29, June 30, October 30
Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults
(If there is no 29th of Feburary, append this entry to the previous.)
If a brother is found to be obstinate,
or disobedient, or proud, or murmuring,
or habitually transgressing the Holy Rule in any point
and contemptuous of the orders of his seniors,
the latter shall admonish him secretly a first and a second time,
as Our Lord commands (Matt. 18:15).
If he fails to amend,
let him be given a public rebuke in front of the whole community.
But if even then he does not reform,
let him be placed under excommunication,
provided that he understands the seriousness of that penalty;
if he is perverse, however,
let him undergo corporal punishment.
It is sad, indeed, that a chapter like this ever had to be written,
sad in St. Benedict's time, sad in our own. How little human beings
change in some ways! Why on earth would anyone come to a monastic
struggle with an attitude that says: "I know better. I'm right and
they're wrong."? Why would anyone persist in staying with such an
Because they are blind. It's another favorite trick of Satan.
or clouded assessments of the reality at hand are his forte.
Especially when these phony lenses get applied to religious matters,
the obstinacy and self-righteousness can go to extremes.
Look, beloveds, every single one of us, from the newest Oblate
candidate to the Abbot Primate, came to the monastic life, to the
Holy Rule, to be CHANGED. We came to learn, not to teach. We came to
reform ourselves, not the monastery. We not only arrived with that
attitude, we must keep it all of our lives. We came to surrender,
That's why this chapter is both so very sad and so very important.
The monastic at any point in life who has renounced that attitude of
discipleship has abandoned the struggle. We must hope it is a
temporary abandonment, because it can be fatal to one's vocation. It
can undo all the good work we have behind us. It can delude us into
thinking we are persevering when we have actually long ago quit.
Superiors and community (or family!) can be a big reality check here
and that is what this chapter seeks to provide. Gentleness, love and
tact are in order, but something must be done. One must be very
careful at such times not to lord it over another smugly. But one
must also be very careful not to do nothing at all, especially if
is in authority. The risk to the falling member is too great to
If, alas, you find yourself to be that falling member, for heaven's
sake (quite literally!) LISTEN. That is such a Benedictine trait,
Holy Rule begins with that word. If others are that upset, there may
well be something wrong. Don't deny it. Check it out with all the
humility you can muster, but be very aware that your humility may
well be the thing that is currently terribly impaired. Be as honest
as truthful as you can. Try, try with all your strength, to let
yourself always be changed for the good, and strive to see that
even when it is hard.
If you are one of the lucky ones not in this leaking boat, be deeply
humbled and grateful to God. Pray every day for all of those in the
Order, the Church, the world, who are sinking. They need our prayers
badly. Think how different the Titanic might have been with enough
Love and prayers,
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+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: Dave, recurrentMessage 53 of 53 , Mar 13, 2009View Source+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:
Dave, recurrent prostate cancer, seeing oncologist on the 18th, and for Elaine, his wife.
Tom, upper erosive esophagitus, a stomach ulcer and hiatal hernia. The current meds are
not helping the problem. Seeing doctor today.
Joyce, who had surgery and several organs are filled with cancer.
The family needs prayers as it is very hard for them to deal with the diagnosis.
Carol, undergoing surgery to repair leg tendons on Thursday... for a safe operation, and a quick, comfortable, and complete recovery.
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Doris, who has gone to God, for all her family and all who mourn her.
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 13, July 13, November 12
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
Let the brethren serve one another, and let no one be excused from
the kitchen service
except by reason of sickness or occupation in some important work.
For this service brings increase of reward and of charity. But let
helpers be provided for the weak ones, that they may not be
distressed by this work; and indeed let everyone have help, as
required by the size of the community or the circumstances of the
locality. If the community is a large one,
the cellarer shall be excused from the kitchen service; and so also
those whose occupations are of greater utility, as we said above.
Let the rest serve one another in charity.
The one who is ending his week of service shall do the cleaning on
Saturday. He shall wash the towels with which the brethren wipe
their hands and feet; and this server who is ending his week, aided
by the one who is about to begin, shall wash the feet of all the
brethren. He shall return the utensils of his office to the
cellarer clean and in good condition,
and the cellarer in turn shall consign them to the incoming server,
in order that he may know what he gives out and what he receives
I know some houses have moved away from having table waiters, but
something is lost in that. We have cafeteria style first portions
here, then the waiter goes around to offer seconds and clears the
dishes. It isn't a really big deal, but it does have a great reward,
as the Holy Rule points out. Because we are a small community, only
8, everyone, even the Superior takes a turn at waiting.
Formerly, in some houses (maybe in all, but I am not sure,) the
Abbot would wait tables on Holy Thursday. There was a nice
connection there: he who held the place of Christ waited on all on
the feast of the Last Supper, and washed the feet of twelve in
Church that day.
The connection here is personalist. Waiting on people connects you
very much to them, as any waiter could tell you. Restaurants may
not pursue that connection to any depth, but a home situation, like
a monastery, surely does. There's a great notion here for Oblates
do not live alone: take turns waiting. We can get slumped into Dad
or Mom or husband or wife always being waiter or waited upon.
Switch off, care for each other, in this and many, many other ways!
There are tons of ways of serving another, serving each other, that
have nothing at all to do with tables or dining. There are many,
many, equivalent forms of foot-washing. Hunt for them diligently and
practice them with deep love!
Love and prayers,
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