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Holy Rule for Nov. 14: All Souls OSB

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers for A., discerning a call to a new ministry. Prayers, too, for Sadie, second bout with breast cancer, and for Jenny, bladder cancer. Prayers for
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 14, 2005

      Prayers for A., discerning a call to a new ministry. Prayers, too, for Sadie, second bout with breast cancer, and for Jenny, bladder cancer. Prayers for Kay and her husband, elderly and in poor health, and for Kay's sister, Audrey, golf ball-sized growth in her throat and on oxygen.

      Prayers of Deo gratias and thanks: the man on trial for Felicia's murder was convicted, at least some comfort and closure for her parents, the trial have been a very stressful affair for them. GREAT Deo gratias prayers for Abigail, the young woman stabbed and paralyzed in the UK that we prayed for some time ago. She has delivered a healthy baby boy, Dominic, truly a gift of God! Also, Joyce gives thanks that her farm and neighbor's farms were spared from a raging forest fire. Twenty minutes of rain went a long way to help the firefighters, Deo gratias! 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

      + + + Feast of All Souls of the Benedictine Order + + +

      Alas, today's feast got dumped in many congregations' new calendars.
      So, while this is a bit of nostalgia for some, it is lovely nonetheless!

      A blessed feast of All Souls OSB to all! Whatever your Church's
      feelings about prayers for the dead, this is the day when we remember
      all the courageous monastics in history who have gone before us.

      What a family of richness and tradition and HUMANITY we truly have!!
      Granted, for those who do believe in prayer for the departed, a lot
      of that should be going on, but for those who do not, well, think of
      it as a kind of supernatural Veterans' Day!

      We owe deep thanks to all who kept the Order alive and thriving
      through 15 centuries or so. Without them, it would never have been
      here for us to join. We owe our deepest thanks of all to God, Who
      strengthened them with His infinite Love and Mercy!

      And please say a little prayer for Dr. Jean Ronan, whose teaching
      helped me write today's reflection.

      March 15, July 15, November 14
      Chapter 36: On the Sick

      Before all things and above all things,
      care must be taken of the sick,
      so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person;
      for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" (Matt 25:36),
      and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me"
      But let the sick on their part consider
      that they are being served for the honor of God,
      and let them not annoy their sisters who are serving them
      by their unnecessary demands.
      Yet they should be patiently borne with,
      because from such as these is gained a more abundant reward.
      Therefore the Abbess shall take the greatest care
      that they suffer no neglect.

      For these sick let there be assigned a special room
      and an attendant who is God-fearing, diligent and solicitous.
      Let the use of baths be afforded the sick
      as often as may be expedient;
      but to the healthy, and especially to the young,
      let them be granted more rarely.
      let the use of meat be granted to the sick who are very weak,
      for the restoration of their strength;
      but when they are convalescent,
      let all abstain from meat as usual.

      The Abbess shall take the greatest care
      that the sick be not neglected by the cellarers or the attendants;
      for she also is responsible for what is done wrongly by her disciples.


      Visitors quite characteristically remark on the peace of Benedictine
      monasteries. They surely ought to be able to notice something very
      different from the world at large, something would probably be very
      wrong with the house if none could. On the other hand, no matter how
      politely we may respond to those who exclaim how peaceful things are,
      I'll bet that most monastic hearts can sinkingly say to
      themselves: "Yeah, but you don't LIVE here..."

      My dear theology professor, Dr. Jean Ronan, used to always say: "The
      mills of God grind slowly, yet exceeding fine...." She meant that in
      a karma sort of way, what goes around comes around sooner or later.
      However, today's reading and life in community have taught me to see
      an additional meaning. The mills of God truly DO turn very slowly.
      Sometimes their windmill blades are barely stirred by a hesitant
      breeze. No wonder that outsiders and first-time visitors cannot
      notice them grinding the wheat!

      Ah, denied the fall-into-the-ground-and-die brand of outright
      martyrdom, our grains of wheat must be ground into flour, a process
      of immolation no less complete, but most uncomfortably slower! St.
      Teresa of Avila said that the martyrs "bought Heaven cheaply" winning
      with one swing of the axe what we must struggle on many years to

      Don't make the mistake of looking only at the beauty of the ripe
      wheat swaying gently in the breeze and sunlight, the smoothness of a
      sack of pre-sifted flour and the fragrant warmth of a freshly baked
      loaf. Between and before those highlights comes a LOT of the
      grindstone! To say nothing of the sickle at first...oh, yeah, and
      that threshing and winnowing part- I almost forgot. What fun!

      What on earth does all this have to do with care of the sick? Ah, you
      have been patient and that is commendable. Take heart, the point of
      all this is at hand.

      The borders between sickness and meanness and evil are often blurred
      to indistinguishable levels. One age posited demons for epilepsy, our
      own sees exculpating psychological illness or impairment behind all
      manner of skullduggery. We have too little time, in many cases, to
      waste a lot of time with thorny and perhaps impossible diagnoses. In
      charity, we are usually obliged to assume that the meanest of people
      are simply not well. We do, after all, have to think the best of

      That can be damnably maddening. We WANT to ascribe blame when hurt or
      wronged. Every flawed human nerve in our body can begin to cry: "No
      quarter, no mercy!" Gee, in a flawed human way of speaking, wouldn't
      it be nice if we could! But we can't, we simply cannot. If we do, we
      become so unlike the mercy of Christ, the love of God, that our souls
      are in very great peril. This can sabotage our spiritual struggles in
      nothing flat.

      Hence, the care of the sick comes very much into play with the way we
      deal with those who hurt or harm us. This is a far different affair
      from doormat policy. Any who have ever worked in health care could
      readily attest that the sick must often be treated with a lot of less
      than lovely stuff: cautery, surgery, pumps and tubes and even, yes,
      at times, amputation. Having any of the procedures one has routinely
      performed on others done to oneself can be MOST enlightening!

      Hey, all of us are nice, good people in our own eyes much of the
      time. Our biggest gaffs are usually those to which we are all but
      completely blind. We must realize that this is not just true of
      ourselves, but of others as well. And, perhaps most difficult of all,
      we must see that sometimes WE are the ones who really need to be in
      the waiting room for cautery or amputation... Sigh... Ain't life and
      humility grand?

      Hence, whenever a relationship or person truly does require
      remediation, we must behave as we would like to be treated in the
      same circumstance. Compassion, love and gentle kindness, not
      patronization or scorn or abrupt roughness must rule the day. Many of
      us have experienced both the kind of nurse one loved and the kind
      that one would gladly forget if one could! Which sort of treatment do
      you wish to give?

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

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