Holy Rule for August 23
Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for good surgeries for Larry and Amanda, prayers for Jessie, having her tonsils out at 24, often not an easy time for such surgery and prayers for Natalie, the wife and Mom who has all three of them in her heart. Prayers for Don, who has lost contact with concerned friends and efforts to locate him have proved futile. Prayers for all discerning Benedictine vocations. Prayers for John's Dad, on the anniversary of his death, and for all his Dad's fellow soldiers who died in Burma in WW II. Prayers for TM, meeting with an estranged son for the first time in 5 years. Prayers for Mary, on her birthday. 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 23, August 23, December 23
Chapter 65: On the Prior of the Monastery
To us, therefore, it seems expedient
for the preservation of peace and charity
that the Abbot have in his hands
the full administration of his monastery.
And if possible let all the affairs of the monastery,
as we have already arranged,
be administered by deans according to the Abbot's directions.
Thus, with the duties being shared by several,
no one person will become proud.
But if the circumstances of the place require it,
or if the community asks for it with reason and with humility,
and the Abbot judges it to be expedient,
let the Abbot himself constitute as his Prior
whomsoever he shall choose
with the counsel of God-fearing brethren.
That Prior, however, shall perform respectfully
the duties enjoined on him by his Abbot
and do nothing against the Abbot's will or direction;
for the more he is raised above the rest,
the more carefully should be observe the precepts of the Rule.
If it should be found that the Prior has serious faults,
or that he is deceived by his exaltation and yields to pride,
or if he should be proved to be a despiser of the Holy Rule,
let him be admonished verbally up to four times.
If he fails to amend,
let the correction of regular discipline be applied to him.
But if even then he does not reform,
let him be deposed from the office of Prior
and another be appointed in his place who is worthy of it.
And if afterwards he is not quiet and obedient in the community,
let him even be expelled from the monastery.
But the Abbot, for his part, should bear in mind
that he will have to render an account to God
for all his judgments,
lest the flame of envy or jealousy be kindled in his soul.
St. Benedict gives a loftiness of respect to the Abbess that is
almost scary at times. Because of that loftiness, it is refreshing to
see how firmly he has his feet planted in reality checks, too. The
Abbot is human, so are those he appoints. They are called to things
higher, but they can fail them woefully and St. Benedict provides for
But the big reality check here is his caution that the Abbess must be
careful to avoid jealousy. Wow! Right on the mark, but not the first
idea that would have popped into someone's head unless they had lived
Jealousy, like any vice, isn't good for much, but let's mine the few
treasures of information it or any vice offers. Our jealousies tell
us a lot about ourselves, a lot about how far we have to go, a lot
about how terribly short we fall of having made it! Skip the Abbess
and Prioress for a minute here and do some self-inventory. Of whom or
of what are you jealous?
Check out the valuable leads of your own envy. What's going on here?
Is she better looking, thinner, richer? Does he have a better
education? Is the car in the next drive or the house on the next
block or the apartment on the floor above so much nicer that you pine
for it? All of these, wherever you find them, are clues. Follow them
carefully to their source. You may be surprised at what you learn
about yourself by doing so.
Be a bit relentless here. WHY are you jealous of a given thing or
person? Really! Do the better looks mean they have more of a chance
than you have (or had,) in the marriage market? OK, valid, perhaps,
but why is the marriage market an issue? The things we desire or envy
are not always as valid as we think they are. Your own average looks
or lower economic status may have spared you from a LOT of
superficiality in dating or friendship. Ever think of that? Keep
digging on every count and you will find some startling self-truths.
Try (and I know this is hard from personal experience,) examining the
things you think are woeful deprivations as tender mercies. They
often are, perhaps even usually so! Our wishes are not necessarily
infallible heralds of the good or the best.
God often has to protect us from ourselves. When we force ourselves
to finally see that, we can get down to the more important business
of thanking Him for His infinite and unfathomable Divine Mercy! All
truly is mercy and grace. It must be, somehow. The clincher is to
learn to see that!
Love and prayers,
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