Holy Rule: Brother Jerome Aug 11
- +PAX ++ Please continue your prayers for Bob (very painful therapy),
Patrick (spinal surgery), Julie (colon surgery) and Val (open heart
surgery). ++ ++ Please pray for Bill who is recovering from back
surgery of 8/10. Please pray for Sandra who took and overdose of insulin
and is dying. ++ Please pray for the soul of Luke who committed
suicide this week and for all those affected by his death, especially
his girlfriend who has terminal breast cancer. I ask your prayers also
for Alexandria, an elderly woman with a broken hip and messed up medical
insurance, her son Rudy with terminal liver disease and her daughter
Alice who is trying to hold things together while working full-time.
Also please pray for Diana's mother-in-law, another Alice, that she may
recognize the need she and her husband have for a full-time caregiver
situation. ++ ++ Prayers please for Ben who is hospitalized for
schizophrenia and physical injury. ++ ++ Joyce has a good suggestion
for our prayers. Yesterday during Mass I had an idea. It was the feast
of St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, who was killed in
the Holocaust. Since that event was instrumental in making the UN
decide to give the land of the Arabs to the Jewish people, maybe we
should be praying to this saint to intercede for the warring parties in
the Israel-Lebanon war. ++ ++ Bea S. is having good and bad days.
Another bad one Tuesday. Please keep Praying. ++ 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 much. JL 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 11, August 11, December 11
Chapter 58: On the Manner of Receiving Sisters
When anyone is newly come for the reformation of her life,
let her not be granted an easy entrance;
but, as the Apostle says,
"Test the spirits to see whether they are from God."
If the newcomer, therefore, perseveres in her knocking,
and if it is seen after four or five days
that she bears patiently the harsh treatment offered her
and the difficulty of admission,
and that she persists in her petition,
then let entrance be granted her,
and let her stay in the guest house for a few days.
After that let her live in the novitiate,
where the novices study, eat and sleep.
A senior shall be assigned to them who is skilled in winning souls,
to watch over them with the utmost care.
Let her examine whether the novice is truly seeking God,
and whether she is zealous
for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials.
Let the novice be told all the hard and rugged ways
by which the journey to God is made.
If she promises stability and perseverance,
then at the end of two months
let this rule be read through to her,
and let her be addressed thus:
"Here is the law under which you wish to fight.
If you can observe it, enter;
if you cannot, you are free to depart."
If she still stands firm,
let her be taken to the above-mentioned novitiate
and again tested in all patience.
And after the lapse of six months let the Rule be read to her,
that she may know on what she is entering.
And if she still remains firm,
after four months let the same Rule be read to her again.
Then, having deliberated with herself,
if she promises to keep it in its entirety
and to observe everything that is commanded,
let her be received into the community.
But let her understand that,
according to the law of the Rule,
from that day forward she may not leave the monastery
nor withdraw her neck from under the yoke of the Rule
which she was free to refuse or to accept
during that prolonged deliberation.
The Holy Rule is an awesome document about 1,500 years old. Since it is
always both these things, it is helpful to look at then and now in
In St. Benedict's time, and for many centuries after him, numerous less
lofty social reasons obtained for joining a monastery.
This was, alas, as true for the nobility and it was for the serfs.
Got an unmarriageable daughter? Ship her off to join the "unclaimed
treasures" abbey, if they won't take her, found and fund of your
own.Got a younger son with no inheritance or title, not the sharpest
in the drawer, either? Sounds like a vocation to the Church to me...
queen or ex-wife a governmental problem? Have I got a convent for YOU!
For the lower socioeconomic groups, it was often flat out social
climbing to join the monastery. Hey, if you couldn't be a yuppie in
the Middle Ages, this is what you did, or tried to do! You not only
came out well-dressed and well-fed, but you often got educated in the
bargain, too. If one was not born noble, or if one was less than
warfare, the Church was the ONLY way to climb to power.
History has removed or severely limited many of these shoddy reasons for
joining. Hence, it is not always wise to play hard to get with the
same out of the way. I have known communities who played too hard to get
too long and now get nothing at all.
Whooops! Poetic justice there! Maybe you should have just stuck to
not sleeping with knives at your side when you wanted to get literal
the Holy Rule!
Before the worst of the vocations crunch came, there was a terrible
myth afloat in the late 60's and early 70's: "the perfect vocation."
out for these ephemeral dreams has seriously harmed more than one house.
Just as women were learning to debunk the Cinderella myth, many houses
prey to the foolish notion that Prince or Princess Charming really WOULD
on a charger one day.
Sometimes the only thing worse than a "perfect vocation" who leaves
is one who stays. One such widely acclaimed "dream team vocation" I
know arrived with education all completed, and a master's degree, as
Hosanna and hoo-hah!! Couldn't have fit the 1970 dream more perfectly.
My, was this arrival ever heralded and sadly used as the standard to
the vocations of others who applied later. (In the interests of
even use the gender here.)
This one grew up to be- and remained for years- one of the most serious
treacherous problems the community in question has ever faced in its
history. The damage will take years to correct and has already taken
few. Not all dreams are nightmares, but all nightmares are dreams!
See what I mean? It's balance again, always, always balance. This is
not only of monasteries, but of single Oblates seeking a mate and of any
seeking to fill a job slot or assign a task to a child. The apparently
"perfect" one may not always be the best bet! I can speak from long and
none-too-bright personal experience as a layman of begging the wrong
love me that being too easy isn't a great idea, either.
Balance, look at the person, the REAL person, not the "perfect" one
you desire so much that you see an illusion. Mindfulness, here!
Really, really, look at the real, strive to see it well and then act
accordingly. Jesus, after all, IS the Truth.
Ask any employer, many a plodder who was given a chance and knows it
try harder and actually perform much better than the "dream" who arrived
all ducks neatly in a row. In any situation in life, it is crucially
to remember that carved-in-stone standards are never subjective and
ALWAYS are. Thus, a little flexibility is going to be required unless
totally content with never getting anywhere.
In my years before becoming a monk, I often campaigned for, insisted
and ultimately GOT the wrong one desired. Sigh... Any surprise that I
single at 43 to profess vows? God is in charge of these things, but God
terribly polite. Get in His way and He will usually leave you to your
devices, since they can be the most effective teachers! Be too picky or
picky enough and you will miss whatever treasure He has for you. Don't
Love and prayers,
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