Holy Rule: Brother Jerome Aug 5
- +PAX ++ Please pray for an end to the insane violence in the mid-East,
for the repose of ALL the souls and for the surviving members of
families. ++ ++ Please pray for Mary Lou for a happy and peaceful
was given 24 to 48 hours after a long battle with cancer. Also for her
husband Tom and their family. ++
++ Prayers please for Barbara. ++ ++ Please pray for Nicole,
Gary and the kids as they travel from Ohio to the Outer Banks. ++ ++
Please pray for the father of Fr. Brendan's brother-in-law; he has
terminal cancer and about 6 months to live. ++
Please pray for all those whose prayer requests are not able to be
posted for whatever reason. God is outside of time and our prayers are
never, ever late. Lord, help us as You know and will. God's will is
best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so
Please pray for all those who have ended or will,this day end their
earthly lives by their own hands. May Almighty God in His infinite mercy
grant them eternal rest. Amen. In the interim please bless me by
sending prayer requests to: mlopiccolo@... or:
April 5, August 5, December 5
Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests
Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
who are never lacking in a monastery,
arrive at irregular hours.
Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
Let them be given such help as they need,
that they may serve without murmuring.
And on the other hand,
when they have less to occupy them,
let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.
And not only in their case
but in all the offices of the monastery
let this arrangement be observed,
that when help is needed it be supplied,
and again when the workers are unoccupied
they do whatever they are bidden.
The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
and in a prudent manner.
On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
associate or converse with guests.
But if he should meet them or see them,
let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
ask their blessing and pass on,
saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.
I am living proof that, when a monastery has to, it can get by with
less than a guest master "possessed by the fear of God." Some
days, "impressed by the fear of God" is about the best I can pull
off. There are other days when I take comfort in the fact that all
the Holy Rule really says about the guest house itself is that there be
sufficient number of made-up beds and a kitchen of its own, because
beyond that are not likely to be forthcoming! But I digress...
Asking that the house of God be prudently governed by the prudent
surely applies to more than the guest house. That principle goes for the
whole monastery, as well as for the families and homes of those
the world outside the cloister. This is not just another call to
economy or order for their own sakes. We are Benedictines, we don't do
ANYTHING for its own sake, except God!
The whole idea of balance and peace and moderation and serenity is
nothing more or less than a singular setting for a pearl of very
great price. We need those things for our monastic struggle to be
most effective. Sometimes a surgeon might have to operate on a bloody
battlefield, but don't be surprised if infection follows.
It's the same with us and dysfunctional, imprudent messes. We CAN
operate there if we have to, but infections are likely to follow. We
certain amount of reduction of inconsequential hassles to focus on the
thing necessary. St. Benedict strives to provide us with that.
No, the monastery is not a sterile surgical suite (and I always worry
one looks that way!) but neither is it an ill-housed flock of free range
chickens. Show me a monastery or home that has become a zoo and I can
guarantee you there will be a LOT of spiritual ramifications, as well.
We are not necessarily Thomists (though if memory serves me properly,
Order conducted some of St. Thomas Aquinas' early schooling,) but we can
affirm that "peace is the tranquility of order." St.Thomas' view of the
virtues is important to us, too, imbued with the principles of
"Virtus in media stat." Virtue stands in the middle way. What could be
Benedictinely moderate and balanced?
It must be clearly remembered that when we speak of "prudence", we
speak of a virtue, a thing of holiness and a golden mean. Not for
nothing did our contemporary language get the unlovely title
of "prude" from the same root. All manner of foolish timidity,
cowardice, stinge and hearts-by-Frigidaire prudishness have been
falsely named prudence.
Prudence is not and never can be a wicked thing. Prudence, real
wisdom, is a thing always to be desired. False prudence, on the other
of which there is sadly no shortage, is a thing always and everywhere to
rejected. Give such people a lot of room.
False prudence and meanness of spirit, whatever else they
may be, are windows into one's heart. The view is not always lovely
and may require a lot of prayer, but one is better off to never
follow such a troubled person. Just be kind and very, very careful!
Love and prayers,
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