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Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. Dec 8

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Immaculate Conception Monastery and for Conception Abbey on their patronal feast. +Deo Gratias! Michael & Kimara are now the proud
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 2006

      Prayers, please, for Immaculate Conception Monastery and for
      Conception Abbey on their patronal feast.

      +Deo Gratias! Michael & Kimara are now the proud grandparents of a
      healthy baby girl born at 3 AM, 8 lbs 14oz. This was a very high
      risk pregnancy. Deo Gratias! +Please pray for Stuart Whitla who has
      been given 3 weeks to live. He has renal cell cancer, has had a
      kidney removed, but there is nothing they can do. +Please continue
      to pray for Walter, who had a stroke in the spring. He is doing
      well. Deo Gratias! +Deo Gratias! Donna received the final lab report
      from John Hopkins Hospital. Her tumor was definitely in the 5%
      class and was benign. What a wonderful blessing for Chrismas! Deo
      Gratias! +Please pray that Divine Mercy will shine on all those 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 8, August 8, December 8
      Chapter 55: On the Clothes and Shoes of the Brethren

      For bedding let this suffice:
      a mattress, a blanket, a coverlet and a pillow.

      The beds, moreover, are to be examined frequently by the Abbot,
      to see if any private property be found in them.
      If anyone should be found to have something
      that he did not receive from the Abbot,
      let him undergo the most severe discipline.

      And in order that this vice of private ownership
      may be cut out by the roots,
      the Abbot should provide all the necessary articles:
      cowl, tunic, stockings, shoes, belt,
      knife, stylus, needle, handkerchief, writing tablets;
      that all pretext of need may be taken away.
      Yet the Abbot should always keep in mind
      the sentence from the Acts of the Apostles
      that "distribution was made to each according as anyone had need"
      (Acts 4:35).
      In this manner, therefore,
      let the Abbot consider weaknesses of the needy
      and not the ill-will of the envious.
      But in all his decisions
      let him think about the retribution of God.


      This chapter may appear to have little to say to Oblates until one
      gives a more evangelical twist to it: "where your treasure is, there
      your heart shall be also." The monastic who has separate sources of
      income has a safety net, a way to ask for things (or get them without
      asking!) that would otherwise unlikely be available. Not only is this
      bad for the common unity, it is bad for the monastic, too. It
      scatters one's focus and diminishes one's dependency on God. It
      leaves dangling threads of control all over one's life.

      Oblates in the world, have to have some source of income, whatever
      that may be, but they can readily and profitably examine where their
      treasure lies. They can also make sure that those who depend on them
      have all they truly need, yet keep them from getting spoiled or
      carried away with consumerist fluff. Especially at this holiday
      season, when the television is filled with a horrendous glut of
      materialist orgy, our Benedictine hearts should say: "Enough really
      IS enough!"

      But do we say that, or are we to some degree sucked into the lunacy
      of a secular winter fest? (One can no longer even say "pagan" of the
      secular winter fest. At least the pagans, whatever their lacks may
      be, believe in SOMETHING and worship. That can no longer be said of
      much of the world's hoopla at this time of year.)

      As Christians and as Benedictines, we have an awesome
      responsibility to be witnesses against that secular falsehood,
      against the extremes of consumerism which rob so many of life and
      maim our planet which we must share with all. Not only is the planet
      harmed, but goods are distributed with such glaring inequity and even
      the hapless consumers are often left with debts (and credit rates!)
      that enslave them years into the future. All in the name of what?
      Surely not the kind of "honor" Jesus would have sought for His birth
      and Incarnation.

      Benedictine attitudes toward poverty are not deprivation, but they
      are not excess, either. Always, always moderation. For us, virtue
      truly does stand in the middle way!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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