A blessed solemnity of St. Joseph to all celebrating him today! JL
March 19, July 19, November 18
Chapter 40: On the Measure of Drink
"Everyone has her own gift from God,
one in this way and another in that" (1 Cor. 7:7).
It is therefore with some misgiving
that we regulate the measure of others' sustenance.
Nevertheless, keeping in view the needs of the weak,
we believe that a hemina of wine a day is sufficient for each.
But those to whom God gives the strength to abstain
should know that they will receive a special reward.
If the circumstances of the place,
or the work
or the heat of summer
require a greater measure,
the superior shall use her judgment in the matter,
taking care always
that there be no occasion for surfeit or drunkenness.
it is true,
that wine is by no means a drink for monastics;
but since the monastics of our day cannot be persuaded of this
let us at least agree to drink sparingly and not to satiety,
because "wine makes even the wise fall away" (Eccles. 19:2).
But where the circumstances of the place are such
that not even the measure prescribed above can be supplied,
but much less or none at all,
let those who live there bless God and not murmur.
Above all things do we give this admonition,
that they abstain from murmuring.
Check it out, beloveds, imbalance and griping are condemned again and
again in the Holy Rule. They are traps which can undo all our
efforts, which can innoculate the virtue we have struggled to gain.
Whole lives have been shattered by alcoholism, by the "secret"
drinking that everybody knew about but no one confronted. Equally
true, but less evident, is the harm done by murmuring. Sadly, it is
less often addressed. Since its harm is primarily spiritual, the
secular world will not only overlook it, but often applaud it or find
As Christians and monastics, we have to check murmuring in ourselves,
but in others as well. Few like to do the latter, since issues of
human respect come into play and nobody wants to be thought THAT much
of a goody-goody. With skill and timing, however, one can learn to
stop murmuring, to sway the topic, to correct the offender without
making them feel like slime. Sometimes it can be as simple as a
gentle and cheerful assumption of the opposite position. And there is
always the old standby, said kindly: "Oh, I don't know..." That's the
whole secret of fraternal correction: it cannot make the other feel
less than they are, nor can it make the one offering it proud!
Corrections without love, in which our own self-interests are
entangled, our own agendas foremost, usually should not be given.
Love and prayers,
jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA