Holy Rule for Oct. 28
Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias: Frs. Bede and Giles returned from their
Holy Land trip safe and sound.
Prayers, please, for Adam and his parents and Shirley his, grandmother, and
her other three grandchildren, all on the road this weekend while Shirley
worries for their safety at home. May God protect them all! Prayers for Brian,
hip replacement on Monday, and for his wife, Veronica. He has cardiac trouble,
so there are extra worries for them both. Prayers for Mattie, terminal cancer
held off for a while by chemo, and for Paul, her husband and all their
Pat, early fifties, has a serious health issue but hasn't divulged it to
many yet. She needs prayers since she's discerning her career right now based
on this health concern. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is
best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Hi! Thanks so much.
February 27, June 28, October 28
Chapter 21: On the Deans of the Monastery
If the community is a large one,
let there be chosen out of it
brethren of good repute and holy life,
and let them be appointed deans.
These shall take charge of their deaneries in all things,
observing the commandments of God
and the instructions of their Abbot.
Let men of such character be chosen deans
that the Abbot may with confidence
share his burdens among them.
Let them be chosen not by rank
but according to their worthiness of life
and the wisdom of their doctrine.
If any of these deans should become inflated with pride
and found deserving of censure,
let him be corrected once, and again, and a third time.
If he will not amend,
then let him be deposed
and another be put in his place who is worthy of it.
And we order the same to be done in the case of the Prior.
St. Benedict reverences seniority- a traditional monastic value- in
many places, but he also moderates that tradition, keeping it from
turning into ageism. When considering the appointment of these deans,
their worthy lives and teachings are the criteria, not their age.
Unspoken here, but nevertheless evident, is the demand that seniors
obey such young officials.
There is no room for griping about young "whipper-snappers" here!
Obedience is not about the age or wisdom or human perfection of the
superior. It is about faith that God leads us through such flawed
human beings of every sort. When "X" crosses you or breaks your heart
or stokes your anger, it is imperative to recall that this often has
precious little to do with "X" and his or her personality. It's is God's gift
to your self-study. He wants you to learn something about yourself
and tests you. "X" might not even be faintly aware of being used as
an instrument of His will! (Recalling this all the time is a LOT
harder than it sounds, a lifelong struggle.)
A further check here is given by the insistence on personal holiness.
Granted, even in monasteries, the clever and manipulatively ambitious
sort can get around this and sometimes do, but what if all our
offices, in monastery AND Church went to really holy people? The
first objection (usually put forward by the ambitious who would be
overlooked under this system!) is that they would be TERRIBLE
administrators. So? The point there was what?
Next time you want a fun day-dream, try to picture a Church and Order
run entirely by the holy and wise. Wow! Now usually, day-dreaming is
an utter waste of time, but this one is not. After you have spent
some time envisioning all those things, go out and BE what you
dreamed. Truly live as if the dream had come to pass. Be prepared to
be a little lonely: none of us are likely soon to see a Church run
entirely by saints. But we can all make that dream one person closer
to coming true, by changing ourselves, by incarnating that ideal as
best we can. The only ones we can surely change are ourselves!
Of course, there will be loud complaints about saints in charge, too.
For one thing, as Dorothy Day observed, saints are terribly hard to
live with. For another, the problem is our lack of faith, a problem
even good governance will not remove. Only we can remove that
problem. It starts with us!
Love and prayers,
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