Holy Rule: Brother Jerome July 9
- Holy Rule for July 9
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. Prayers for all those who have, or will, this
day taken their own lives. May God in His infinite forgiveness have
mercy on them. Also, for Brother Jerome and a rapid solution to his
computer problems. JL
(Until our good Brother Jerome has a new email address please bless me
with your prayer requests at:
Prayers for all Benedictines preparing to celebrate the Solemnity of our
Holy Father Benedict on Tuesday: may it be a feast of great graces for
all. We should always remember to pray for graces BEFORE a great feast,
to prepare ourselves better than usual so that we may profit as much as
possible from the day at hand! It is very true that the more one puts
into a feast, the more one gets out of it. It is also true that, as
Abbot Francis of St. Leo used to say: "The bigger the feast, the harder
the devil works." Protecting ourselves and our communities with some
prayers against that can only be a great idea! 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 9, July 9, November 8
Chapter 31: What Kind of Man the Cellarer of the Monastery Should Be
Above all things let him have humility; and if he has nothing else to
give let him give a good word in answer for it is written, "A good word
is above the best gift" (Eccles. 18:17).
Let him have under his care all that the Abbot has assigned to him,
but not presume to deal with what he has forbidden him.
Let him give the brethren their appointed allowance of food without any
arrogance or delay, that they may not be scandalized,
mindful of the Word of God as to what he deserves "who shall scandalize
one of the little ones" (Matt 18:6).
If the community is a large one, let helpers be given him,
that by their assistance he may fulfill with a quiet mind the office
committed to him. The proper times should be observed in giving the
things that have to be given and asking for the things that have to be
asked for, that no one may be troubled or vexed in the house of God.
Many would shrug at a chapter like this saying: "I'm not cellarer.
What has that to do with me?" Everything, everything. This chapter, like
those on the Abbot, is a masterful view of Benedictine authority and
stewardship in any capacity. We should never presume to usurp roles that
are not our own, but in covering those roles, the Holy Rule again and
again gives models to ALL.
I am guestmaster, not cellarer, but this chapter reminds me that no job
is an empire, a turf, a personal fiefdom that one administers
temperamentally and without love. Jobs, for Benedictines in world or
monastery, are stewardships, not power trips. (At least that OUGHT to be
true. God save us, it is often otherwise...) If people have to become so
careful of a given official, wearing kid gloves at every possible turn,
something is very, very wrong. Now the community is reduced to serving
the official, when it is supposed to be the other way around!
Of course, the needs of those who come to us at work or at home can be
overwhelming, even oppressive at times, but we are told not to react to
those buttons pushed, but to react with love and humility. Whatever your
job is, the reality is that if there were none with needs, you would
likely be unemployed. Always remember that. We serve, we do not rule.
Our call is to forget ourselves in service, not to present our
intransigent selves to be served.
Our motto is Peace, because St. Benedict knew how completely
essential to a fruitful monastic life inner peace was and is. That's
why he gives this really rather astounding principle: "...no one may
be troubled or vexed in the house of God." It's God's house, not
ours. Wake up, folks, if the maid is giving orders tyrannically,
something's wrong at the manor! It's not her house. It's His.
A certain amount of vexation is inevitable, and part of the monastic
struggle and very useful. A chronic, ulcerating source of repeated
vexation is not. If that comes through an official, something must be
done. If the numbers are too few to remove the official, then that's
what the penal code chapters are all about. Cancers, real, malignant
tumors on our peace are meant to be removed. If they are retained by a
superior's blindness, the superior can become as harmful as the growth
We may have to endure that, circumstances being what they may,
but it is helpful to at least know its dysfunctionality. Even that
dysfunction can be used by God to bring good. God and God alone can
bring good out of ANYTHING, even you and me! We are not in the hands of
bad situations, we are in the hands of God, loving hands that never
fail, if only we trust Him!
Love and prayers,
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