Holy Rule for August 16
Prayers of Deo gratias and thanks: Mary Ann got the job in her home state, and Siobahn and Brianna are going back to being home schooled.
Prayers, please, for Dunstan, on a vocation discernment trip to Christ in the Desert, continued prayers for P., also discerning, for grace for all involved to see what God wills. Prayers for Br. Ralph, a serious bike accident required skin grafts on his arms, and for Br. Bosco, professing vows, God willing, next month. Prayers for John, torn retina requiring surgery. Prayers for all the Conventual Franciscan Friars I met yesterday and their ministries. 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
April 16, August 16, December 16
Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received
But if as a guest he was found exacting or prone to vice,
not only should he be denied membership in the community,
but he should even be politely requested to leave,
lest others be corrupted by his evil life.
If, however, he has not proved to be the kind
who deserves to be put out,
he should not only on his own application be received
as a member of the community,
but he should even be persuaded to stay,
that the others may be instructed by his example,
and because in every place it is the same Lord who is served,
the same King for whom the battle is fought.
Moreover, if the Abbot perceives that he is worthy,
he may put him in a somewhat higher rank.
And not only with regard to a monk,
but also with regard to those in priestly or clerical orders
the Abbot may establish them in a higher rank
than would be theirs by date of entrance
if he perceives that their life is deserving.
Let the Abbot take care, however,
never to receive a monk from another known monastery
as a member of his community
without the consent of his Abbot or a letter of recommendation;
for it is written,
"Do not to another what you would not want done to yourself" (Tob.
Not all criticism is good. Every person at the door of your
workplace, home or monastery has been sent or allowed there by God.
They may even be doing His will unwittingly by their pickiness or
crankiness. That doesn't mean that every single criticism should be
taken to heart. Sometimes the message God sends is positive,
sometimes negative, sometimes merely an exercise in endurance! Trust
me, I have worked in the guest house for over nine years...
Some of us are so complacent that we badly need to be taken down a
bit. Others, however, have such wounded self-esteem that they will
need protection, need to be careful and yes, MINDFUL enough to
balance what is said to them by critical types. Hear what people say,
but sift it very carefully.
Critics might be right, but they might be wrong, too. Some people, I
have no doubt, are sent to us for no reason other than to teach us to
recognize such fools as those of whom St. Paul speaks and suffer them
[hopefully!] gladly, or at least start working at suffering them
civilly. I usually find myself STILL working at "civilly." Gladly is
a pretty tall order!
Some of us, too, need to listen to this while putting ourselves in
the role of the one criticizing. At St. Leo, when I was a novice in the mid
1970's, we had one priest who thought every single homily
should "shake 'em up a bit." Well, yes and no and never at all
times. Most of us had moved through and beyond what he was stuck in
and this resulted in a good deal of frustration for all concerned.
For one thing, he missed the fact that, by now, most of the
community had been "shaken up" quite regularly for 7 years or so, and
not always for the better nor always by the brightest. People quite
rightly got weary of that. He got his chance at first, but it wasn't
long before our only response was annoyance, followed soon thereafter
by relative deafness. ("Oh no, look who's celebrant today...") He
missed the balance and when we miss balances, we largely fail.
Watch out for terribly angry or unhappy people who work hard- whether
consciously or not- at making everyone else as miserable as themselves,
finding fault with absolutely everything. Such people will be terribly unhappy
and bored in heaven if it really turns out to be so perfect that they
cannot suggest any improvements. These types set themselves up. After
a while, others do not listen to them, even on the occasions when
they are right.
Learn, if you don't already know, how to discount people like that.
Don't let them destroy your inner peace, you need that too badly!
Strive to never be a person like that. Don't make a life calling out
of shaking people up, they'll get over you fast. But neither should a
timid, uncharitable politeness make you afraid to speak when it is
really necessary and might actually help. Balance, ALWAYS balance!
All of us, guests and hosts, critics and sufferers, need to be guided
by charity and gentleness. I know people with whom talking is as
dangerous as skipping through a field of land-mines. One never knows
what will set them off. The most innocent and sincere exchange can
trigger an explosion.
Monastics must never, never be like that. We must work at eradicating
every possible trace of that in ourselves. Such pettiness is all too
full of self, beyond which, it actually hurts and harms people. What
on earth shall we say to God if He ever asks us about that?
Love and prayers,
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