Holy Rule for August 20
Prayers for our Br. Bernard on his feastday, also for the eternal rest of Sr. Ann Bernard and St. Leo's Br. Bernard Aurentz, and for all our Bernards! Happy feastday! Prayers, too, for vocations, since St. Bernard brought 37 relatives and friends in with him, he should be quite the fellow to ask!! Prayers for Anastasia and her parents. She has been in a residential treatment program and is soon to go home. 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 20, August 20, December 20
Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess
In the constituting of an Abbess
let this plan always be followed,
that the office be conferred on the one who is chosen
either by the whole community unanimously in the fear of God
or else by a part of the community, however small,
if its counsel is more wholesome.
Merit of life and wisdom of doctrine
should determine the choice of the one to be constituted,
even if she be the last of the order of the community.
But if (which God forbid)
the whole community should agree to choose a person
who will acquiesce in their vices,
and if those vices somehow become known to the Bishop
to whose diocese the place belongs,
or to the Abbots, Abbesses or the faithful of the vicinity,
let them prevent the success of this conspiracy of the wicked,
and set a worthy steward over the house of God.
They may be sure
that they will receive a good reward for this action
if they do it with a pure intention and out of zeal for God;
as, on the contrary, they will sin if they fail to do it.
Let me hasten to assure you that, in Abbot Hugh of Pluscarden, we
have such a wonderful father that I proudly forwarded this reflection to him
the first time it ran. Ad multos annos!!
There is an old monastic saying that holds that "The community gets
the Abbot it deserves and the vocations it deserves." Like most
generalizations, this one has kernels of both falsity and truth.
Heresy is obviously taking a small truth and making it the only truth
and this is no different. It is rash (even if sometimes seemingly
handy!) to simplify the inscrutable workings of the Holy Spirit, of
our all-merciful God and His love into such a small compartment of
However, there IS that kernel of truth! I have certainly lived
through times at St. Leo and seen them elsewhere which gave
frightening credence to one or both halves of the axiom! There is a
human side to these things, God DOES use human means to accomplish
His perfect Will and we, let us face it, are far from perfect
On that human side of things, like does tend to attract like. A house
where holiness is at least frequent, if not common, is likely to
elect an Abbot good and holy enough to nurture that. Unfortunately,
houses often elect one Abbot to counterbalance the effects, not
always delightful, of a predecessor, so a lot of things come into
play here. A house where holiness abounds is likely to attract holy
vocations. This is also sadly true of some mediocre situations. I
have long felt that God has chosen a WIDE diversity of monastic
observance so that all those He calls could find a slot somewhere.
The sad truth that the saying does NOT address is that even good and
holy houses are thirsting badly for vocations these days. Something
else, something other, something strange has been added to imbalance
the equation and no one can be sure just what. Pray, pray with all
your hearts for vocations, good and holy vocations to the monastic
life on every level, as monks, as nuns, as Oblates. With our dimmed
vision looking through glasses darkly, we can neither see nor know
perfectly what wonders of His Will God is working now, much less why!
Just pray for His Will for all of us!
Love and prayers,
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