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Apr 10

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Dave, very widespread cancer, and for Susan, doing well post-op. Thanks so much! God s will be done. NRN JL April 10, August 10,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 10, 2003
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      Prayers, please, for Dave, very widespread cancer, and for Susan,
      doing well post-op. Thanks so much! God's will be done. NRN JL

      April 10, August 10, December 10
      Chapter 57: On the Artisans of the Monastery

      If there are artisans in the monastery,
      let them practice their crafts with all humility,
      provided the Abbot has given permission.
      But if any one of them becomes conceited
      over his skill in his craft,
      because he seems to be conferring a benefit on the monastery,
      let him be taken from his craft
      and no longer exercise it unless,
      after he has humbled himself,
      the Abbot again gives him permission.

      If any of the work of the craftsmen is to be sold,
      those responsible for the sale
      must not dare to practice any fraud.
      Let them always remember Ananias and Saphira,
      who incurred bodily death (Acts 5:1-11),
      lest they and all who perpetrate fraud
      in monastery affairs
      suffer spiritual death.
      And in the prices let not the sin of avarice creep in,
      but let the goods always be sold a little cheaper
      than they can be sold by people in the world,
      "that in all things God may be glorified" (1 Peter 4:11).


      Monasteries, even up until the late 20th century, were marvelous
      examples of self-sufficiency, provided they were in areas where farms
      could be had, and most of them were. St. Leo is the only place in the
      world I where I have ever tasted raw milk. When I was a boy, they had
      their own dairy farm, citrus packing plant, beef cattle ranch, hay
      operation, carpentry shop, garage, upholstery shop, printing press,
      and probably even more that I've forgotten. They milled their own
      cedar to roof the Abbey Church. There was a paint shop and artists'
      studios for painting, ceramics and stained glass, with a stab at
      sculpture, too. Well before my time, the old German brothers made the
      monks' shoes and butchered their own livestock to feed monks and
      students, too.

      Granted, the people who know how to do these things are largely dying
      off, and they were usually lay brothers, a now defunct category, but
      how I would love to see some of that return in my lifetime. One felt
      different in such a place, safer somehow. There was no need to go out
      or buy, we had own our and it was even better. We were enslaved to
      less things outside of our lives.

      Now, even monasteries, with fewer members than in those days, cannot
      do many of these things anymore, much less many Oblates in the world.
      I would, however, stress that there is a very, very deep
      connectedness to homegrown and handmade things. It verges on the
      liturgical, and surely enhances same. It is, in a very lower case
      sense, truly sacramental. These things are NOT good because they are
      cheaper, though they often are, but because they connect and involve
      us in our own survival and life. They enrich us, this is "soul food"
      in the most literal sense!!

      Do whatever you can to break even the tiniest area of dependency and
      see how good it feels. One herb in one pot on a sunny window or fire
      escape might be enough to start a healthy addiction. Can't grow
      things? (Start with chives or oregano. Both are perennial, both will
      die of nothing but thirst. Fresh chives are so good and so different
      in taste that you will never used freeze-dried again. Never.) Try any
      useful craft. The first time I made my own habit I felt like a
      million dollars, even if I didn't look QUITE that good... Check out
      the first used bread machine you can find (they are pricey, alas...)
      set the timer and you can have bread ready when you get home from
      work in 10-20 minutes of prep time. (If you don't have ten minutes,
      freeze batches of measured dry ingredients when you DO have a minute.
      Then just add liquids and yeast in the morning. Less time than making
      coffee.) You will never walk down the bread aisle (read "airy sponge
      aisle",) in a store the same way again!

      Crock pots are always available very cheap at used stores and tag
      sales. Get one. While you work, as any single person who's used one
      can tell you, dinner will be ready. It will smell and taste a LOT
      better than microwaved frozen food, too. If the pot has a removable
      crock, you can even prepare the raw ingredients the night before and
      refrigerate them.

      Anything, anything you can do or learn to do to set yourself the
      least bit free, to connect yourself more, will be on the side of the
      angels! Why on earth do you think that modern English uses the
      word "crafty" to refer to someone very, very cleverly smart? Language
      is no accident.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA
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