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Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. Dec 2

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX +Please bless me with your Prayer Requests at: michael_oblate@yahoo.com +Prayers please for the safety and well being of the Holy Father in his travels.
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2006

      +Please bless me with your "Prayer Requests" at:

      +Prayers please for the safety and well being of the Holy Father in
      his travels. +Please pray for Ed who is full of cancer and has a few
      weeks to live. +Please pray for David, going in for minor surgery.
      Also for Will as he seeks
      spiritual/vocational direction over the next two weeks, for Susie,
      feeling a wee-bit overwhelmed at work and battling a nasty cold and
      for Br.
      Karekin, BSG as he transitions into a different ministry. +Deo
      Gratias! Please pray for continued strength and enlightnment for
      Adrian who started her conversion to the Holy Catholic Church two
      weeks ago. + Please pray for 5 month old baby, JP with RSV. He was
      transported to hospital yesterday for O2 assistance. He was taken
      off of it last night but was put back on this morning. +Please pray
      for one looking for a suitable, 'fulfilling' job and for lots of
      others trying to find one and being turned down time and again
      without much explanation. +Please pray for M., a nurse with a drug
      problem, likely to lose his/her job only a year into his/her
      career. M. and spouse are expecting their first child in February.
      +Prayers, please, on the occasion of the passing of Dom Benedict
      Lang, monk of Portsmouth, who departed this life at the age of 94,
      in the 60th year of his monastic profession. +

      + Please pray that Divine Mercy will shine upon those souls who
      have taken their own lives. +

      Lord, help them 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

      April 2, August 2, December 2

      Chapter 51: On Brethren Who Go Not Very Far Away

      A Brother who is sent out on some business
      and is expected to return to the monastery that same day
      shall not presume to eat while he is out,
      even if he is urgently requested to do so
      by any person whomsoever,
      unless he has permission from his Abbot.
      And if he acts otherwise, let him be excommunicated.


      Some of us may recall childhood playmates who were not allowed to eat
      at our homes or anywhere else, just at their own home. I know I do.
      Our family considered her family a bit strange, a bit over the top in
      caution, but one thing was very clear. They were a VERY close-knit
      family. OK, I have known lots of close-knit families that were not
      weird, but let's look at the positive side here.

      That girl's family had a high level of what sociologists term
      liminality. The term is used often to describe Hasidic Jews and the
      Old Order Amish. It is the degree of difference from the rest of the
      world that is undertaken voluntarily and its effect is to heighten
      the connectedness of the group in question, to strengthen bonds.

      Even though he could not have named it that, maybe liminality is
      something of what St. Benedict is aiming at in this chapter. Surely
      we ARE meant to be communal, to be cenobitic families that are very
      closely bonded to one another. Surely a meal is one way of both
      stressing that bond and limiting outside competitive ones. There is
      also the problem- greater in St. Benedict's day than in our own- of
      the monastic dining on heaven knows what that was forbidden.

      These days, far less is forbidden to us dietarily as monastics, but
      there are still dangers of monastics being wined and dined and
      getting far too accustomed to "only-the-best-for-me-thanks!" We are
      certainly allowed to eat out, but I think that it is significant
      that, in my
      monastery, we are ordinarily forbidden to eat in expensive places or
      in people's homes without permission.

      That's just our custom here. In many ways, it is very good, too.
      Remember that we usually go out in our habits. I sure don't mind
      being seen in Taco Bell or some family restaurant in my habit, but I
      would be woefully embarrassed and ashamed to be seen so attired in
      the most expensive restaurant in Boston. What kind of a statement
      would that make?

      Our homes are domestic churches, they are temples. However humble,
      they are the banquet halls of a great King.That's what we are called
      to remember
      in this chapter. Our homes are sacred, whether Oblate or Abbot
      we live in the houses of God. To His dwelling place, others must
      never be
      preferred. Ask me where I'd like to eat my last meal and the answer
      would be
      right here at home, even if our most culinarily-challenged monk were
      that day. (Names have been omitted to protect the guilty, but some
      reading this will be able to fill in the blanks!!)

      Having said that we all dwell in domestic temples, banquet halls of
      the Greatest
      King, let us also take care to invite others to share that
      tremendous grace. The
      simplest meal in such a setting, provided the host sees it for the
      splendor of God's
      presence that it truly is, is a rich blessing for the guests,
      indeed. And we are, after
      all Benedictines: hospitality is one of our trademarks!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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