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Holy Rule for June 30

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Sorry to be so late today, mea culpa! Prayers, please, for Warren, who had a stroke, which hit him after a variety of other medical problems. It has left
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 30 9:36 AM
      +PAX

      Sorry to be so late today, mea culpa!

      Prayers, please, for Warren, who had a stroke, which hit him after a variety of other medical problems. It has left him blind in both eyes, with only fuzzy peripheral vision. He loved to read and do daily crossword puzzles, had also begun sculpting, and this loss of vision has been terribly hard for him. Prayers, too, for Ann, his daughter and for all his family. Prayers, also for David, terminally ill with a brain tumor, and for all his family. Continued prayers for Clancy, comatose in hospice from cancer, but still alive, longer than they expected her to be. For her happy death into the arms of God and all her family and friends. 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

      February 29, June 30, October 30
      Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults

      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.

      REFLECTION

      While some today may chafe at these chapters, known as the penal code
      of the Holy Rule, believe me, the modern problem is NOT that they are
      too stringently enforced. Quite the opposite. The Benedictine
      atmosphere of gentle moderation can cloak and empower a lot of
      timidity and cowardice, too. Neither are very loving, they're just
      useful means of avoidance.

      Not all love is tough love, but all love IS tough. When a parent or
      boss or superior chooses their own comfort by avoiding confrontation
      with a problem member, everyone suffers. Those in authority are
      called to love, and love leaves no stone unturned, not even those
      that are horribly difficult to lift.

      The message here for all of us is "Look at your own choir stall",
      which is a Benedictine way of saying "Mind your own business and
      examine your conscience." If you are in authority, or get there
      someday, don't be a flop or an unloving wimp. If you are not in
      charge, don't make yourself one of the problems. It is terribly hard
      for rank and file to ignore what ought not to be ignored, but
      sometimes we simply have to do so or leave. That is one of the VERY
      great ascetic disciplines of common life. Believe me, fasting pales
      to nothing beside this one. I'd rather fast any day!

      I have known monastics (and employees and managers and parents!) who
      forced more than one person out by their unchecked behavior, something a
      good superior could have fixed or at least mitigated. To assume that the
      offenders were ALWAYS the instruments of God's will in such cases, that the person
      was supposed to leave or "just couldn't take it," is blatantly false and
      pathetically stupid. It is even more tragic when the one in charge is taking the easy
      way out by non-intervention. That scenario would be tantamount to saying that child
      abuse was just an instrument of God's will. It isn't. No serious offense is and no
      monastic should be left in such peril uncorrected.

      God's will has to work around and in spite of human frailty, but
      human frailty can and does often put huge obstacles in the way.
      Meanness and abusiveness can destroy others' vocations as well as
      one's own. So can cowardice and inactivity in the name of false
      charity.

      Over the years I have heard excuses close to whining from people in
      all areas of authority: political, ecclesiastical, parental, monastic
      and administrative. "Nothing can be done about so-and-so. My hands
      are tied." I hate to say that I remain unable to completely buy that,
      largely because sometimes I've been around long enough to see a
      successor (or the juvenile courts!) DO something about so-and-so.

      I have also been in charge enough times to realize that often
      something CAN be done. It is not palatable or easy, but it is
      possible. One of the things that strengthened me as listowner was the
      memory of weak superiors and ineffectual bosses and the tension of
      living in the chaotic messes they enabled by abdicating their
      responsibility.

      Monastics come to the Holy Rule for the benefit of discipline and
      growth and guidance toward holiness. We have a right to same, and no
      one should have to know that only for child abuse will he or she get
      it. There are many, many abuses that involve neither sex, nor
      children, nor outsiders that require equal attention.

      If we take an firm hand in one area only (an area which, it must be
      noted, is financially very dangerous...) we will look rather foolish
      in priding ourselves that we are left with a community that can keep
      its hands off children. There's more to it than that. Much more.

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

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jerry Lee
      +PAX Forgive me, please, that I was unable to send e mails of acknowledgment to the prayer requests yesterday. Please accept the fact that they appeared in the
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 30 6:19 AM
        +PAX

        Forgive me, please, that I was unable to send e mails of acknowledgment to the prayer requests yesterday. Please accept the fact that they appeared in the Holy Rule post as a guarantee I was praying along with all of us. JL

        Deo gratias and thanksgiving for Donna's Dad, for whom we prayed, doing much better after his stroke and going home today. Wonderful progress has been made and the family thanks all for their prayers. Prayers for Ann, recovering from surgery, and for Louise, who has gone to God. For her happy death and eternal rest and for all who mourn her. Continued prayers for Al, so beset by job and immigration problems. 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

        February 29, June 30, October 30
        Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults

        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.

        REFLECTION

        While some today may chafe at these chapters, known as the penal code
        of the Holy Rule, believe me, the modern problem is NOT that they are
        too stringently enforced. Quite the opposite. The Benedictine
        atmosphere of gentle moderation can cloak and empower a lot of
        timidity and cowardice, too. Neither are very loving, they're just
        useful means of avoidance.

        Not all love is tough love, but all love IS tough. When a parent or
        boss or superior chooses their own comfort by avoiding confrontation
        with a problem member, everyone suffers. Those in authority are
        called to love, and love leaves no stone unturned, not even those
        that are horribly difficult to lift.

        The message here for all of us is "Look at your own choir stall",
        which is a Benedictine way of saying "Mind your own business and
        examine your conscience." If you are in authority, or get there
        someday, don't be a flop or an unloving wimp. If you are not in
        charge, don't make yourself one of the problems. It is terribly hard
        for rank and file to ignore what seemingly ought not to be ignored, but
        sometimes we simply have to do so or leave. That is one of the VERY
        great ascetic disciplines of common life. Believe me, fasting pales
        to nothing beside this one. I'd rather fast any day!

        I have known monastics (and employees and managers and parents!) who
        forced more than one person out by their unchecked behavior, something a
        good superior could have fixed or at least mitigated. To assume that the
        offenders were ALWAYS the instruments of God's will in such cases, that the
        person was supposed to leave or "just couldn't take it," is blatantly false and
        pathetically stupid. It is even more tragic when the one in charge is taking the
        easy way out by non-intervention. That scenario would be tantamount to saying that
        child abuse was just an instrument of God's will. It isn't. No serious offense is and
        no monastic should be left in such peril uncorrected.

        God's will has to work around and in spite of human frailty, but
        human frailty can and does often put huge obstacles in the way.
        Meanness and abusiveness can destroy others' vocations as well as
        one's own. So can cowardice and inactivity in the name of false
        charity.

        Over the years I have heard excuses close to whining from people in
        all areas of authority: political, ecclesiastical, parental, monastic
        and administrative. "Nothing can be done about so-and-so. My hands
        are tied." I hate to say that I remain unable to completely buy that,
        largely because sometimes I've been around long enough to see a
        successor (or the juvenile courts!) DO something about so-and-so.

        I have also been in charge enough times to realize that often
        something CAN be done. It is not palatable or easy, but it is
        possible. One of the things that strengthened me as listowner was the
        memory of weak superiors and ineffectual bosses and the tension of
        living in the chaotic messes they enabled by abdicating their
        responsibility. Responsibility is the ministry of service which is
        appropriate to authority, it is a necessary function of love.

        Monastics come to the Holy Rule for the benefit of discipline and
        growth and guidance toward holiness. We have a right to same, and no
        one should have to know that only for child abuse will he or she get
        it. There are many, many abuses that involve neither sex, nor
        children, nor outsiders that require equal attention.

        If we take an firm hand in one area only (an area which, it must be
        noted, is financially very dangerous...) we will look rather foolish
        in priding ourselves that we are left with a community or Church that
        can keep its hands off children. There's more to it than that. Much more.

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

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Br. Jerome Leo
        +PAX Prayers, please for the safety of Beccy and Jerry and all travelling on this holiday weekend in the US. Prayers for a separated Mom in a very, very
        Message 3 of 5 , Jun 29 6:51 PM
          +PAX

          Prayers, please for the safety of Beccy and Jerry and all travelling on this holiday weekend in the US. Prayers for a separated Mom in a very, very difficult psoition with her kids and their visiting their Dad, for the will of God in this very complicated situation.

          Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for:

          Gavin, the 6 month old we prayed for, he is making great strides and seems to be overcoming his infection, but still needs prayers and for his parents.

          Jeanette and Dale, successful medical procedures.

          Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of James, 82, uncle of our Sister Mary Paula, and for all his family and those who mourn him.

          Prayers for the spiritual, physical and mental health of the following, and for their families and all who treat them or care for them,

          Br. Vincent's Dad, Cos, congestive heart failure and kidney problems, and especially for his wife, Vita, trying so hard to care for him.

          Diane, shingles.

          David, severe depression and for Chris, who worries so about him.

          Jeanette, new tests, severe lung condition.

          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

          February 29, June 30, October 30
          Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults

          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.

          REFLECTION

          While some today may chafe at these chapters, known as the penal code
          of the Holy Rule, believe me, the modern problem is NOT that they are
          too stringently enforced. Quite the opposite. The Benedictine
          atmosphere of gentle moderation can cloak and empower a lot of
          timidity and cowardice, too. Neither are very loving, they're just
          useful means of avoidance.

          Not all love is tough love, but all love IS tough. When a parent or
          boss or superior chooses their own comfort by avoiding confrontation
          with a problem member, everyone suffers. Those in authority are
          called to love, and love leaves no stone unturned, not even those
          that are horribly difficult to lift.

          The message here for all of us is "Look at your own choir stall",
          which is a Benedictine way of saying "Mind your own business and
          examine your conscience." If you are in authority, or get there
          someday, don't be a flop or an unloving wimp. If you are not in
          charge, don't make yourself one of the problems. It is terribly hard
          for rank and file to ignore what seemingly ought not to be ignored, but
          sometimes we simply have to do so or leave. That is one of the VERY
          great ascetic disciplines of common life. Believe me, fasting pales
          to nothing beside this one. I'd rather fast any day!

          I have known monastics (and employees and managers and parents!) who
          forced more than one person out by their unchecked behavior, something a
          good superior could have fixed or at least mitigated. To assume that the
          offenders were ALWAYS the instruments of God's will in such cases, that the
          person was supposed to leave or "just couldn't take it," is blatantly false and
          pathetically stupid. It is even more tragic when the one in charge is taking the
          easy way out by non-intervention. That scenario would be tantamount to saying
          that child abuse was just an instrument of God's will. It isn't. No serious offense
          is and no monastic should be left in such peril uncorrected.

          God's will has to work around and in spite of human frailty, but
          human frailty can and does often put huge obstacles in the way.
          Meanness and abusiveness can destroy others' vocations as well as
          one's own. So can cowardice and inactivity in the name of false
          charity.

          Over the years I have heard excuses close to whining from people in
          all areas of authority: political, ecclesiastical, parental, monastic
          and administrative. "Nothing can be done about so-and-so. My hands
          are tied." I hate to say that I remain unable to completely buy that,
          largely because sometimes I've been around long enough to see a
          successor (or the juvenile courts!) DO something about so-and-so.

          I have also been in charge enough times to realize that often
          something CAN be done. It is not palatable or easy, but it is
          possible. One of the things that strengthened me as listowner was the
          memory of weak superiors and ineffectual bosses and the tension of
          living in the chaotic messes they enabled by abdicating their
          responsibility. Responsibility is the ministry of service which is
          appropriate to authority, it is a necessary function of love.

          Monastics come to the Holy Rule for the benefit of discipline and
          growth and guidance toward holiness. We have a right to same, and no
          one should have to know that only for child abuse will he or she get
          it. There are many, many abuses that involve neither sex, nor
          children, nor outsiders that require equal attention.

          If we take an firm hand in one area only (an area which, it must be
          noted, is financially very dangerous...) we will look rather foolish
          in priding ourselves that we are left with a community or Church that
          can keep its hands off children. There's more to it than that. Much more.

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

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Br. Jerome Leo
          +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of the 41 dead and the recovery of the 273 wounded in the terrorist attacks in Turkey. Prayers for the families of all,
          Message 4 of 5 , Jun 29 3:07 PM
            +PAX



            Prayers for the eternal rest of the 41 dead and the recovery of the 273
            wounded in the terrorist attacks in Turkey. Prayers for the families of all,
            prayers, too, for the repentance at their last moments of the bombers, may
            all the dead receive mercy. Prayers for all first responders and others
            trying to help.



            Continued prayers for all affected by the West Virginia flooding, there are
            now at least 25 dead, prayers for their eternal rest and all who mourn then,
            prayers for those who were injured or lost possessions or homes and for the
            families of all.



            Prayers for D., having his salary cut or forced into retirement early, and
            for his wife, who is very upset with him over this.



            Prayers for the eternal rest of Peggy T., and for her family and all who
            mourn her.



            Prayers for the eternal rest of Alfred, brother of Reni, and for all his
            family and all who mourn him. Prayers, too, for a 99 year old friend of
            Reni's and for 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 nevere absent, praise Him! Thanks so much.



            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.

            REFLECTION

            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
            attitude?

            Because they are blind. It's another favorite trick of Satan.
            Blurred 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,
            not to demand.

            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 quit long ago.

            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
            one is in authority. The risk to the falling member is too great to
            ignore.

            If, alas, you find yourself to be that falling member, for heaven's
            sake (quite literally!) LISTEN. That is such a Benedictine trait,
            our 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
            good, 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
            lifeboats...

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



















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