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Holy Rule: Brother Jerome Aug 6

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2006
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      +PAX 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. 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. ++ Please
      pray for Karen who fell and injured her ankle last night on the way to
      her father's rosary. Today, after her father's memorial service, she
      went into emergency and found out she broke a bone. She is in a boot
      cast. She, Ted and the boys will be headed back to WA from Idaho on
      Monday. Please pray for quick recovery, no pain, and safe trip home. ++
      ++ Ann requests prayers please for the grand-daughter of one of their
      Oblates, Jean. 'Miracle' is the baby's name and that is what they are
      wanting for her as she has multiple health problems ... was not expected
      to survive long after birth but is now three months old .. prognosis is
      poor... prayers for her parents and grandparents too please. ++ 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 much. JL
      In the interim please bless me by sending prayer requests to:
      mlopiccolo@... or:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OblatesOfStBenedict/ April 6, August
      6, December 6
      Chapter 54: Whether a Monastic Should Receive Letters or Anything Else

      On no account shall a monastic be allowed
      to receive letters, blessed tokens or any little gift whatsoever
      from parents or anyone else,
      or from her sisters,
      or to give the same,
      without the Abbess's permission.
      But if anything is sent her even by her parents,
      let her not presume to take it
      before it has been shown to the Abbess.
      And it shall be in the Abbess's power to decide
      to whom it shall be given,
      if she allows it to be received;
      and the sister to whom it was sent should not be grieved,
      lest occasion be given to the devil.

      Should anyone presume to act otherwise,
      let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.


      REFLECTION

      Community, even in its Latin roots ( "com" meaning with and "unitas"
      meaning
      unity,) is fully dependent upon unity. Do anything to threaten or
      destroy
      that unity and you have threatened or destroyed the community itself.
      For this
      reason, St. Benedict goes out of his way to explain why some exceptions
      must
      be made on account of infirmity or weakness and also expressly forbids
      other
      forms of favoritism. This chapter is a prime example of the Holy Rule
      giving
      firm and adamant instructions about inequality.

      St. Benedict has already made it clear that monastics are to be given
      everything they need, truly need. He has even made some provision for
      those
      whose weakness makes further consideration necessary. Remember, our
      Benedictine
      poverty is based on lack of excess, not extreme want. If, through
      violating the
      principles in this chapter, excess is allowed to creep in for a few, it
      will
      result in hard feelings, jealousies and other unlovely traits that will
      strike
      at the heart of common unity.

      Such excess also damages the individual monastic receiving it. The
      monastic struggle is stymied if one enters rich and, thanks to his
      family, remains so, or if one enters poor and latches onto a
      benefactor whose gifts make one rich by comparison. Just as oxygen is
      necessary for fire, so is a certain equality necessary for community. We
      need
      that community, because, as Benedictines, it is our way to God. We dare
      not
      threaten it with "Animal Farm" adaptations that find us saying that
      "some
      monastics are more equal than others."

      What can Oblates glean here? Well, what about our attitudes towards
      classism and the world at large? How smugly indifferent dare we be
      about anyone in abject poverty, about any system or government that
      keeps people in such dire straits? How do we assess our own economic
      position in regards to sharing? How much above others do we allow
      ourselves to
      be economically, socially? There are a wealth of deep questions here,
      and a
      wealth of troubling answers in the unjust inequalities that abound in
      human
      society when it is unaided by grace.

      One aside to close. We ask permission before giving things to one
      another and then tell the recipient we have permission, so that they
      needn't
      ask again to keep the item. Shortly after I arrived here, the cellaress
      of
      the Sisters' community gave me a postcard of Canada geese, because she
      knew I
      liked them. This woman, who could by assigned charge move large sums of
      money
      back and forth, approached me with the card and said: "I have permission
      to
      give you this." I was impressed. It may seem silly to some, but I was
      truly
      edified.

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




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