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Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. July 4

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX Our good Brother Jerome has asked me to tell all the members of the Holy Rule Group that his computer has contracted a virus. Consequently, he will not be
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2006
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      +PAX Our good Brother Jerome has asked me to tell all the members of the
      Holy Rule Group that his computer has contracted a virus. Consequently,
      he will not be able to post Prayer Intentions or answer emails for fear
      of infecting other computers. Brother's first thought was concern about
      the members of the group and he is greatly troubled that he will not be
      able to post your prayer intentions until he is back online. Brother
      feels that in some way he is letting us down but, of course, we all know
      better than that and I did my best to assurre him of that. He will be
      praying for all his members and I ask all members to pray for our good
      Brother Jerome and a speedy solution to his computer problems. In the
      meantime I will do my best to keep his reflections posted daily.
      U.I.O.G.D. All my love and Prayers.....michael...oblate March 4,
      July 4, November 3
      Chapter 27: How Solicitous the Abbot Should Be for the Excommunicated


      Let the Abbot be most solicitous in his concern for delinquent brethren,
      for "it is not the healthy but the sick who need a physician" (Matt
      9:12) And therefore he ought to use every means
      that a wise physician would use.
      Let him send senpectae, that is, brethren of mature years and wisdom,
      who may as it were secretly console the wavering brother
      and induce him to make humble satisfaction; comforting him
      that he may not "be overwhelmed by excessive grief" (2 Cor. 2:7),
      but that, as the Apostle says, charity may be strengthened in him (2
      Cor. 2:8). And let everyone pray for him.

      For the Abbot must have the utmost solicitude and exercise all prudence
      and diligence lest he lose any of the sheep entrusted to him. Let him
      know that what he has undertaken is the care of weak souls and not a
      tyranny over strong ones; and let him fear the Prophet's warning through
      which God says, "What you saw to be fat you took to yourselves, and what
      was feeble you cast away" (Ezec. 34:3,4). Let him rather imitate the
      loving example of the Good Shepherd who left the ninety-nine sheep in
      the mountains
      and went to look for the one sheep that had gone astray, on whose
      weakness He had such compassion that He deigned to place it on His own
      sacred shoulders and thus carry it back to the flock (Luke 15:4-5).


      REFLECTION

      The Abbess is clearly expected to go the extra mile and a bit beyond for
      the erring monastic. Hope of reform is held for the longest possible
      time. However, remember balance, that Benedictine hallmark? Hope to the
      extreme would turn to damage. The balance, the moderator of reality
      demands that, at some point, if literally all else has failed, the
      situation be faced for what it is and the monastic expelled.
      This is so important for families. How many of us know adults who are
      carrying baggage all their lives from a parent's mistake in this
      regard? All attention is focused on one child (or parent!) to the
      detriment of the rest of the family. Or all attention is focused on a
      child and it ruins the marriage. St. Benedict is very orthodox here:
      he calls us to heroic efforts, but not to stupidity, which would
      damage the rest of the family.

      OK, usually you cannot permanently "excommunicate" one of your
      children, that doesn't apply. But what does apply is that you can
      (even must, for the good of the rest of the group,) stop making
      that child or spouse or sibling or co-worker the determining, pivotal
      point in a dysfunctional three ring circus.

      Bosses, superiors, teachers and parents, anyone in authority can make
      the WHOLE group suffer by mismanaging a troubled person. The untreated
      problem harries everyone and much of the blame for that rests with the
      one in a position to intervene. This is one of the very hard things the
      Holy Rule asks, to truly balance relationships that are often charged
      with all kinds of intense
      emotions.

      There are limits to our love for each sheep. Why? Because there are
      other sheep to be loved, too. The responsibility is spread over all.
      Yes, the shepherd may leave the 99 *for a while* to hunt for the lost
      one, but the rest of the flock may never be abandoned wholesale. A very
      hard saying, but, as St. Benedict so often is, right on the money!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@...
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA



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