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Feb 27

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  • russophile2002 <jeromeleo@earthlink.net>
    +PAX February 27, June 28, October 28 Chapter 21: On the Deans of the Monastery If the community is a large one, let there be chosen out of it brethren of good
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 27, 2003

      February 27, June 28, October 28
      Chapter 21: On the Deans of the Monastery

      If the community is a large one,
      let there be chosen out of it
      brethren of good repute and holy life,
      and let them be appointed deans.
      These shall take charge of their deaneries in all things,
      observing the commandments of God
      and the instructions of their Abbot.

      Let men of such character be chosen deans
      that the Abbot may with confidence
      share his burdens among them.
      Let them be chosen not by rank
      but according to their worthiness of life
      and the wisdom of their doctrine.

      If any of these deans should become inflated with pride
      and found deserving of censure,
      let him be corrected once, and again, and a third time.
      If he will not amend,
      then let him be deposed
      and another be put in his place who is worthy of it.

      And we order the same to be done in the case of the Prior.


      St. Benedict reverences seniority- a traditional monastic value- in
      many places, but he also moderates that tradition, keeping it from
      turning into ageism. When considering the appointment of these deans,
      their worthy lives and teachings are the criteria, not their age.
      Unspoken here, but nevertheless evident, is the demand that seniors
      obey such young officials. There is no room for griping about
      young "whipper-snappers" here!

      A further check here is given by the insistence on personal holiness.
      Granted, even in monasteries, the clever and manipulatively ambitious
      sort can get around this and sometimes do, but what if all our
      offices, in monastery AND Church went to really holy people? The
      first objection (usually put forward by the ambitious who would be
      overlooked under this system!) is that they would be TERRIBLE
      administrators. So? The point there was what?

      Next time you want a fun day-dream, try to picture a Church and Order
      run entirely by the holy and wise. Wow! Now usually, day-dreaming is
      an utter waste of time, but this one is not. After you have spent
      some time envisioning all those things, go out and BE what you
      dreamed. Be prepared to be a little lonely: none of us are likely to
      see a Church run entirely by saints. But we can all make that dream
      one person closer to coming true, by changing ourselves, by
      incarnating the dream as best we can.

      We spend so much time falling all over ourselves to point out that
      holiness is not incompatible with so many vocations, even essentially
      part of them, why not just include ecclesiastical bureaucracy in that
      list? Revolution much? Kingdom of God! The radical holiness of saints
      in charge would make the greatest secular revolutionaries look like
      Cub Scouts and Brownies.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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