Holy Rule for August 19
Prayers, please, for Tom, a good deal of pain after his epidural and a few days yet to see if it worked well. Prayers for Denise, brain mass discovered and further testing required, also for A.J., 24, brittle alcoholism with frequent relapses, currently drinking again, but he has been trying to help himself. Prayers for Joey and Carol and their daughter Sarah, who is going off to college, a tough goodbye for all concerned, and for Sarah's continued growth and progress in life and studies. Prayers for Fr. Sanchez, the third Colombian priest to be murdered this week, dragged from his classroom and brutally shot. Prayers, too, for Connie, having heart surgery this morning, and for all her family and her kind friend who asked prayers. Prayers for Trisha and John on their 27th anniversary and for John's job application, also for Keara, their daughter and her friend, traveling to New York and needing good accommodations, not an easy matter for young travelers. Prayers for Joe, 45, killed in a car accident, leaving a wife, Su, and two daughters, for his happy death and eternal rest and for all his 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
April 19, August 19, December 19
Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community
The juniors, therefore, should honor their seniors,
and the seniors love their juniors.
In the very manner of address,
let no one call another by the mere name;
but let the seniors call their juniors Brothers,
and the juniors call their seniors Fathers,
by which is conveyed the reverence due to a father.
But the Abbot,
since he is believed to represent Christ,
shall be called Lord and Abbot,
not for any pretensions of his own
but out of honor and love for Christ.
Let the Abbot himself reflect on this,
and show himself worthy of such an honor.
And wherever the brethren meet one another
the junior shall ask the senior for his blessing.
When a senior passes by,
a junior shall rise and give him a place to sit,
nor shall the junior presume to sit with him
unless his senior bid him,
that it may be as was written,
"In honor anticipating one another."
Boys, both small and adolescent,
shall keep strictly to their rank in oratory and at table.
But outside of that, wherever they may be,
let them be under supervision and discipline,
until they come to the age of discretion.
Relationships between seniors and juniors are a two-way street. The
behavior of one feeds (or stokes the fires!) of the other. Hey, this
is true of all relationships, in every area of life. Want to be
loved? Give respect. Want to be respected? Give love. It may not work
in every instance, but it must be the first means we try and the only
means we never abandon totally.
Though the Holy Rule clearly exempts (in this passage,) the Abbess,
because she represents Christ, the express command that the Abbess
remember why she is treated as Christ is underscored. The Rule is the
Rule and monastics are human. I have known abbots who treated their
subjects like fools and were rewarded accordingly! The treatment we
give to others tends to reflect back upon as from a mirror, often
with very good reason!
That mirror image can be the key to a LOT of our pain and discomfort with
others. It is not at all uncommon to see people mimic perfectly the behaviors
they complain about most bitterly in others. How many times do we see one
who almost exactly replicates the parent or sibling at whose hands they have
most suffered? And usually all unawares! If one said to such an individual:
"You are being JUST like so-and-so!" the response would probably be angry
and not slight.
We must all be very, very, very mindful and vigilant that the behaviors we are
hurt by or angered by or loathe do NOT show up in our own tool kits. If they do,
there is a double result. Not only do we fail morally at charity, but we isolate
ourselves socially from the very people who might be able to help us. It becomes
a vicious circle, creating the loneliness we complain of and fear.
When your buttons are pushed and you are very annoyed, examine the behavior
that set you off VERY, very carefully. Many times it is our own faults in others that most
offend us! This is easily seen in those around us reacting to what they themselves
loathe (and image!) but it is much harder to see in ourselves. Don't give up this
effort and self-inventory! It is an important part of the monastic struggle.
Try with all your might never, ever to pass pain on. It is very hard at times,
but all of us know the unlovely examples of the many who are all too determined,
even glad to make sure that their pain gets spread around. There is no shortage of
such nonsense in the world. Don't duplicate services!
Love and prayers,
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