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Holy Rule for Oct. 31

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  • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Ryan, having seizures, no diagnosis yet. His family fears it might be a brain tumor. Prayers for a young man who was fired from his
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 30 6:04 PM
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for Ryan, having seizures, no diagnosis yet. His family
      fears it might be a brain tumor. Prayers for a young man who was fired from his
      previous position and has a job interview with another company tomorrow. He is
      also meeting with his previous employer to try to work things out there.
      Pray for God's Will for this very troubled young man who needs a job
      desperately. Prayers for Jean, 73, who died suddenly from a stroke, for her happy death
      and eternal rest and for all who mourn her. Prayers for Ruth, we have prayed
      for her in the past, especially for her husband, who has cancer and their
      financial straits resulting from costs of his treatment and care. Now doctors
      have found a mass in her left side, further tests are pending and she is
      hoping for the best. This couple has a lot on their hands and need prayers badly.
      Lord, help us all 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

      March 1, July 1, October 31
      Chapter 24: What the Measure of Excommunication Should Be

      The measure of excommunication or of chastisement
      should correspond to the degree of fault,
      which degree is estimated by the judgment of the Abbess.


      If a sister is found guilty of lighter faults,
      let her be excluded from the common table.
      Now the program for one deprived of the company of the table
      shall be as follows:
      In the oratory she shall intone neither Psalm nor antiphon
      nor shall she recite a lesson
      until she has made satisfaction;
      in the refectory she shall take her food alone
      after the community meal,
      so that if they eat at the sixth hour, for instance,
      that sister shall eat at the ninth,
      while if they eat at the ninth hour
      she shall eat in the evening,
      until by a suitable satisfaction she obtains pardon.

      REFLECTION

      Let's face it, St. Benedict has a lot to say about excommunication- a
      clumsy term, perhaps, because people often assume it means
      excommunication from the Church, which is the only sense of the word
      we commonly have today. It does not, of course mean that, just a
      punishment of exclusion from certain community functions.

      Let's face something else, at least in this chapter. Fasting an extra
      three hours might not be lovely, but no intoning in choir? What bad
      news! Gosh... Even many of us who CAN sing would look at that as a
      nice break!

      And eating alone? Well, the extra fast wasn't great, but I
      sure missed that droning reader and the tedious book we've been
      reading. What awful luck!

      See the difference in perception a millennium or so can make? That
      may be a large part of why the penal code is not followed today: some
      of its punishments simply make little sense to modern monastics, some
      seem mean, and others (as above,) seem like downright vacations.

      The rest of this applies with great ease to family situations,
      marital situations and the workplace. Something must be gleaned from
      all this legislation for punishment: the one at fault must be told
      when something is wrong. That, after all, is the only reason for
      punishment, to be a wake up call.

      Unfortunately, the monastic hatred of personal confrontation endemic
      in our ranks assumes (because it is easiest to do so,) sufficient
      brilliance for all to sooner or later figure out that they are amiss.
      It just ain't so, folks, sorry! Things fester when they go ignored
      for years. Things that someone should have dealt with gently, but
      firmly and even summarily, in formation or childhood, torture the
      family in later years.

      Look, it is hard, VERY hard, to confront a predictably stubborn or
      difficult child or monastic or spouse or employee on a bad day. It's
      easy to see why one would rather not do so. But the Holy Rule asks
      many things that are difficult of us, and this one is unquestionably
      for the good of all, both the offender and the offended.

      Please take very careful note, however, of the gentleness and real
      concern that is essential if such confrontations are to succeed. Explosive,
      violent tactics, harsh words and actions at the first hint of trouble are
      not the monastic way. There is charity, always charity first. If we cannot be
      sure of that selfless love in ourselves, we would sometimes do far better
      to remain silent.

      We must avoid the false charity, (really just cowardice in polite drag,)
      that omits making these difficult corrections. It goes a long way to making
      everyone's life hellish in the future. Sometimes that false charity can also
      be
      hatred or violence or revenge in pious disguise, and that is equally
      terrible, and
      also goes along way to making others miserable.

      Also, in workplace especially, bear in mind that the authority figure
      here is the abbot, not the rank and file. One dare not assume all
      those prerogatives as a peer and equal. Fraternal correction will get
      a chapter of its own later on, but it is not a mantle to be assumed
      lightly. We must beware of the other extreme: becoming universal
      policing agents for all and sundry. A tiny spark of Gestapo flickers
      in many of our all too human hearts. Do nothing to fan the flame!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
      Petersham, MA



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for the Benedictines of Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, their basilica was destroyed by the latest earthquake. Prayers
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 30 3:42 PM

        +PAX

         

        Prayers for the Benedictines of Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, their basilica was destroyed by the latest earthquake. Prayers for all those affected or injured by this strong earthquake. Thanks be to God, no deaths reported so far, prayers that all remain safe._

         

        Prayers for Ik, a third year student in Africa who has no place to live, may God give him shelter.

         

        Prayers for D., struggling with bisexuality.

         

        Lord, help us all 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

        March 1, July 1, October 31
        Chapter 24: What the Measure of Excommunication Should Be

        The measure of excommunication or of chastisement
        should correspond to the degree of fault,
        which degree is estimated by the judgment of the Abbess.


        If a sister is found guilty of lighter faults,
        let her be excluded from the common table.
        Now the program for one deprived of the company of the table
        shall be as follows:
        In the oratory she shall intone neither Psalm nor antiphon
        nor shall she recite a lesson
        until she has made satisfaction;
        in the refectory she shall take her food alone
        after the community meal,
        so that if they eat at the sixth hour, for instance,
        that sister shall eat at the ninth,
        while if they eat at the ninth hour
        she shall eat in the evening,
        until by a suitable satisfaction she obtains pardon.

        REFLECTION

        Ever run over something unintentionally with a lawnmower? Most of us
        have. If you personally have never done such a thing, it would be
        far less upsetting to me if you never said so... LOL! Think about it.
        Who, in their right mind, would deliberately take a mower that is
        costly to repair or replace and aim for an obstacle in the grass?
        Face it, while there could be malevolence here, it is very unlikely.

        Yet the only case of this lighter excommunication of which I have
        personal knowledge was just this dumb. In the 1960's, a junior
        monk I knew ran over a water sprinkler while mowing. The guy
        didn't mean to do it and, as far as I know, admitted his guilt,
        turned himself in. He got this light excommunication for a
        while as punishment.

        That was one of the problems with "excommunication" (which, by the
        way, refers only to communal life, not to the Church or its
        Sacraments.) It could be used for silly, innocent mistakes,
        unintentional accidents. In cases like the one I noted, it often
        stressed the material above the personal. Obviously, the greatest
        treasure of the monastery was the monastic, not the water sprinkler!
        It could, as such, lack mercy and fall far short of the Gospel,
        something the Holy Rule, rightly interpreted, will never call us to do.

        As so often happens, we abandon one extreme only to flee madly to its
        opposite extreme. We went from too much to too little, sometimes
        nothing at all. In the last 35 years or so, I have heard of only one
        threat of excommunication and it did not have to be carried out,
        thank heavens. Still, we have abandoned the good that was in the
        practice: a clear, codified way to let someone know they were out of
        line, that something was wrong, that they needed help or reform or
        both.

        We replaced this (allegedly,) with talking to the individual, a sane
        enough response, except that some superiors find this hard
        to do well. That's not surprising, given the monastic
        aversion to conflict and confrontation. But it is CONFLICT we should
        avoid, not loving confrontation. We're called to a lot of the latter. It is
        the stuff of which reform and conversion is often generated. The
        Rule's system gave a "language" and an idiom to a
        superior who may not have been able to "say" it any other way. It
        eased the road for the timid.

        Just talking to someone is fine as an alternative, but one has to
        actually do it. Some problems in people will neither identify nor
        repair themselves. It is folly to think that they will, to presume
        that all people have a level of clairvoyance or maturity that many,
        in fact, do not.

        Not only that, but as the Rule itself points out, some people cannot
        understand or "hear" a verbal correction. Things have not changed
        as much in the intervening 15 centuries as we might like to think they have.
        Some still can't hear. We still need a humane middle point between
        nothing and something very extreme.

        Parents take warning. Embrace either of these extremes and your
        children will be talking about you many, many years later, to
        therapists or in bars, or both! Ditto bosses and superiors. Your job
        is the exact and complete opposite of ignoring major flaws, of
        letting things like that go. If your head is in the sand on any
        significant count, everyone in the family suffers including,
        eventually, yourself.

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA

         

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