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4014Holy Rule for Nov. 18

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    Nov 17, 2012
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      Prayers, please, for newly ordained Deacon Armando, he has a growth on his vocal chords, and is on voice rest, biopsy taken and pending.

      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 19, July 19, November 18
      Chapter 40: On the Measure of Drink

      "Everyone has her own gift from God,
      one in this way and another in that" (1 Cor. 7:7).
      It is therefore with some misgiving
      that we regulate the measure of others' sustenance.
      Nevertheless, keeping in view the needs of the weak,
      we believe that a hemina of wine a day is sufficient for each.
      But those to whom God gives the strength to abstain
      should know that they will receive a special reward.

      If the circumstances of the place,
      or the work
      or the heat of summer
      require a greater measure,
      the superior shall use her judgment in the matter,
      taking care always
      that there be no occasion for surfeit or drunkenness.
      We read
      it is true,
      that wine is by no means a drink for monastics;
      but since the monastics of our day cannot be persuaded of this
      let us at least agree to drink sparingly and not to satiety,
      because "wine makes even the wise fall away" (Eccles. 19:2).

      But where the circumstances of the place are such
      that not even the measure prescribed above can be supplied,
      but much less or none at all,
      let those who live there bless God and not murmur.
      Above all things do we give this admonition,
      that they abstain from murmuring.


      "Above all...abstain from murmuring." The murmuring here (and
      everywhere it is mentioned in the Holy Rule,) is mean-spirited
      griping about people or conditions. Never for an instant think that
      Benedictine standards require one to be blind to real problems.
      Even Abbots can be removed and have been. The process is neither simple
      nor a great deal of fun, but it has been done. Real evils ought to be
      addressed and usually are.

      It's hard to write about this, because a certain unwritten law (well,
      written in the hearts of monastics!) governs what is and isn't
      murmuring. It's an intuitive sort of principle that one learns by
      living among and observing other monastics. I can also affirm that even the
      intuitive sense about what is or isn't murmuring is not infallible!
      A lot of self can get tied up in such assessments.

      There are healthy levels of opposition and resistance in a
      healthy community, but their boundaries most not be violated. In
      fact, any superior or community which mercilessly destroys ALL
      disagreement or opposition is in serious danger. Part of community's
      efficacy is that vastly different people live together in peace.
      Maybe peace is the key to assessing a lot of murmuring.

      Listen up, m'dears, I cannot know what another's pain is or how they
      should seek help for it, but I do know that the Benedictine way is
      NOT to pass that on and not to stand idly by and watch another do so.

      Poor Br. X, a murmurer now long dead, I pray for his tortured soul. However, it
      was not his fault alone. There was an Abbot who listened, there were monks
      who did, too. A united refusal to listen to such poison might have
      helped him, or it might have actually driven him out, but in fact
      neither of those things happened. We all bear a two-sided obligation to mean
      murmuring: don't start it, and don't listen to it. Venom doesn't have
      any effect if it doesn't get in the bloodstream. See to it that you
      never help it on it's way.

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

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