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Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. July 25

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX Please pray for all those who have or will, this day, ended their earthly lives by their own hands. May Almighty God in His infinite mercy grant them
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 25, 2006
      +PAX Please pray for all those who have or will, this day, ended
      their earthly lives by their own hands. May Almighty God in His infinite
      mercy grant them eternal rest. Amen. Please pray for our good Brother
      Jerome and a solution to his computer problems. In the interim please
      bless me by sending prayer requests to: mlopiccolo@...
      <mailto:mlopiccolo@...> or:
      March 25, July 25, November 24
      Chapter 45: On Those Who Make Mistakes in the Oratory

      When anyone has made a mistake while reciting a Psalm, a responsory, an
      antiphon or a lesson, if he does not humble himself there before all by
      making a satisfaction, let him undergo a greater punishment because he
      would not correct by humility what he did wrong through carelessness.

      But boys for such faults shall be whipped.


      This chapter bears the key to Benedictine community and
      mercy: the offender is willing, perhaps even eager at times, to humble
      himself after a fault, without any prompting, before any action is taken
      from superiors. Contrast this with those who resist ardently the
      slightest correction and you will quickly see what such behaviour
      indicates! The hallmarks of our Order are humility and obedience.

      OK, another little slice of monastery life here! Brother Isidore is
      Canadian, and runs very true to the stereotypical Canadian politeness
      and reticence we Statesiders often tease him about. Brother joins in
      this fun with a lot of good humour. (Please note British Commonwealth
      spelling preferences here, a token offering!) One of his favourite lines
      of jest is: "I'm sorry, it was my fault." This is best repeated while
      striking his breast, after a glaringly obvious gaff by the OTHER party,
      and all enjoy a laugh.

      We follow the custom of kneeling in choir when one makes an audible
      mistake here. Brother Isidore sits in my row. On more than one waggish
      occasion, I have been known to comment that, if one wants to have a
      little fun in choir, all one needs to do is make a mistake, act like
      nothing happened, and wait for the Canadian to kneel. Oh, well, it's a
      joke we all like- even Brother Isidore!

      In winter time, when cough drops appear in choir stalls like a seasonal
      rubric, I have also been known to place several crumpled wrappers in
      Brother Isidore's choir stall while he was up singing in the schola. For
      those who don't know, littering is *THE* original sin in Canada. (Ever
      hear people comment how much cleaner the Canadian side of Niagara Falls
      is? It's no joke.) Brother always rewards me by recoiling with suitable
      horror when he returns to his place and finds the offensive American

      The kneeling is just a way to say "I'm sorry" to the group. It also has
      some (though by no means a total,) deterrent effect. Many are the days
      when I kneel for the third time in one Office hour and just think: "Why
      don't I just STAY on my knees for the duration?" It can be funny, too.
      Hear a big gaff and watch 2/3 of a row kneel after the verse is
      finished. On the other hand, I often- though not always, alas- try not
      to look at who kneels. I can assure you, from the many times I kneel
      myself, I find merit in the practice every time. Honestly and truthfully
      admitting gaffs can be a source of great growth.

      And there's the key for all of us who are NOT in choir. Admit your
      mistakes, own up, apologize. These common courtesies are very Christ-
      like and are very, very rare in our world today. Modern people can have
      such a distorted view of their own impeccability. When we admit ours, we
      throw a compelling image of Christ into that secular morass. It may be
      just throwing bread on the waters, but we never know whom our truthful
      admissions may touch and lead to God.

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org <http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/>
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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