Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. July 5
- Holy Rule for July 5
Prayers, please, for all those with prayer requests who were not able to
have them posted! God knows and will receive our prayers for their
intentions just the same. Also, for Brother Jerome and a rapid solution
to his computer problems. 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
March 5, July 5, November 4
Chapter 28: On Those Who Will Not Amend after Repeated Corrections
If a sister who has been frequently corrected for some fault,
and even excommunicated, does not amend, let a harsher correction be
applied, that is, let the punishment of the rod be administered.
But if she still does not reform
or perhaps (which God forbid)
even rises up in pride and wants to defend her conduct,
then let the Abbess do what a wise physician would do.
Having used applications,
the ointments of exhortation,
the medicines of the Holy Scriptures,
finally the cautery of excommunication
and of the strokes of the rod,
if she sees that her efforts are of no avail,
let her apply a still greater remedy,
her own prayers and those of all the others,
that the Lord, who can do all things
may restore health to the sister who is sick.
But if she is not healed even in this way,
then let the Abbess use the knife of amputation,
according to the Apostle's words,
"Expel the evil one from your midst" (1 Cor. 5:13),
and again, "If the faithless one departs, let her depart" (1 Cor. 7:15)
lest one diseased sheep contaminate the whole flock.
Not everyone should be a monastic. Of those who should, not everyone
belongs in this or that given monastery. Failing to realize either point
can lead to a lot of trouble. We hear a lot about the mistaken notions
of many physicians, that death is a failure of their skill, that
therefore the terminal patients sometimes suffer from the doctor's
avoidance, in one form or another, of their impending death.
Hey, it's not about the doctor, and, frankly, it's not about death,
either! It's about life, all of life, full of contradiction and paradox.
Death means that a given chronology on earth has run out, not that the
doctor failed. (Of course, viewing things otherwise does
require a certain level of egocentricity, something no doctor or
superior or has ever had, as we all know...)
I clearly remember an older RN whose incompetence was so bad that she
was made a supervisor. Because she was older, no one had the heart to
tell her that it wasn't a great idea to have her risking lives anymore,
so they kicked her upstairs, at a farther remove from bedside. Women 30
years younger quickly learned to humor her. They had to. I once saw her
initiate cardiac massage on a conscious, reacting visitor on the floor.
Her pounding on his sternum actually made the poor guy gasp....
See what I mean? Not everyone belongs everywhere. To keep someone
somewhere at any price is dumb beyond words. It probably even does the
one protected a great disservice and it is NOT always "charitable".
At bottom, we should worry only about salvation. Well, no one's
salvation depends ultimately on being in any given spot. It may be
harder elsewhere, or it may be easier, but no human condition is such
that one will be lost if one is not there. Salvation does not depend
totally on us: it was effected by Someone else, Whose ways are a mystery
we often do not understand.
Just as some people insist on getting married, no matter what, to the
wrong person at the wrong time, just so they're married, there are
others who insist on the wrong job or the wrong monastery. When this
happens, whoever is in charge has a wonderful, loving opportunity to set
things aright and really ought to do so.
St. Benedict insists that we try everything, but not that we go on
trying it forever, a fact sometimes perilously missed.
Love and prayers,
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