Oct 31 and Prayers, Please!
A LOOOONG absence due to stubborn klez viruses. Sigh.. Please
remember Pat, the wonderful woman who bought our monastery a new
computer so that our web page could go forward. George, who built the
page for us is now looking for work. Please keep his job search in
your prayers!Please also pray for Ellen's health and for the health
of Mark and his brother. Thanks so much!
Love and prayers,
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.
I know of no house that still practices this form of punishment. (As
trivia, I'd like to hear about it if someone else does know...)
Having said that, and being all too aware that a lot of these
penitential code chapters hardly ring warmly to modern ears, let me
venture forth to say something in defense of the wisdom here.
Like many people, I have struggled with scrupulosity all of my adult
life. Anyone who has can tell you that it can get better, but it
never goes away. There is always a tiny bit of Pelagian-save-yourself
nonsense going on in one way or another as one trips and stumbles
over trying so hard to learn that Christ is Mercy.
People who are scrupulous in any degree have a terrible time knowing
that they have been forgiven. They go back again and again to the
same old sins and trot them out, trying so hard to "make up" for them
somehow. Well, reparation is a great idea, and a holy thing, but even
AA and the 12 steps would tell us that we make reparation "whenever
possible." Sometimes it is not. The neurosis of the scrupey delights
in such times: a feast of self-loathing.
These chapters offered the offender a way to know they had "done
their time" for this or that fault. Granted, that's no guarantee of
peace- people even walk out of Confession quite unsure sometimes.
Still, the concept, the idea of repairing a fault here has to be on
the side of the angels! The methods, the approaches may not work
today, but we really need to find other new approaches that do,
because the knowledge and peace they facilitate in the guilt is not
I am going to Stockbridge, MA, to the Divine Mercy Shrine today. We
are striving to make it a true mini-pilgrimage and you may be SURE
that I will carry all of you in my heart there. My particular
intention is for vocations to my community and for the vocations of
four wonderful young men in particular. I hope you will pray along
with me on those!! Thanks so much and I am so glad to be back!
Love and prayers,