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Apr 12

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for A., depressed and suicidal and for R., who is trying to help. God s will be done. Thanks so much! NRN JL April 12, August 12,
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 12, 2003

      Prayers, please, for A., depressed and suicidal and for R., who is
      trying to help. God's will be done. Thanks so much! NRN JL

      April 12, August 12, December 12
      Chapter 58: On the Manner of Receiving Sisters

      When she is to be received
      she promises before all in the oratory
      fidelity to monastic life
      and obedience.
      This promise she shall make before God and His Saints,
      so that if she should ever act otherwise,
      she may know that she will be condemned by Him whom she mocks.
      Of this promise of hers let her draw up a document
      in the name of the Saints whose relics are there
      and of the Abbess who is present.
      Let her write this document with her own hand;
      or if she is illiterate, let another write it at her request,
      and let the novice put her mark to it.
      Then let her place it with her own hand upon the altar;
      and when she has placed it there,
      let the novice at once intone this verse:
      "Receive me, O Lord, according to Your word, and I shall live:
      and let me not be confounded in my hope" (Ps. 118[119]:116).
      Let the whole community answer this verse three times
      and add the "Glory be to the Father."
      Then let the novice prostrate herself at each one's feet,
      that they may pray for her.
      And from that day forward
      let her be counted as one of the community.

      If she has any property,
      let her either give it beforehand to the poor
      or by solemn donation bestow it on the monastery,
      reserving nothing at all for herself,
      as indeed she knows that from that day forward
      she will no longer have power even over her own body.
      At once, therefore, in the oratory,
      let her be divested of her own clothes which she is wearing
      and dressed in the clothes of the monastery.
      But let the clothes of which she was divested
      be put aside in the wardrobe and kept there.
      Then if she should ever listen to the persuasions of the devil
      and decide to leave the monastery (which God forbid),
      she may be divested of the monastic clothes and cast out.
      Her document, however,
      which the Abbess has taken from the altar,
      shall not be returned to her, but shall be kept in the monastery.


      The Church approves religious rules. This is the basis for asserting
      that our Holy Rule is inspired by the Holy Spirit, because the Church
      gave its seal of approval. The Church, however, is indubitably older
      and often wiser (in SOME respects, but by no means ALL!) than
      monastic life. It predates every form of optional religious
      commitment. It is the blessing of the Church which makes official
      monastic life possible for any and all of us.

      This is just a prelude to saying that the wisdom of the Church long
      ago stopped people from making solemn vows, a life-long commitment
      difficult to break, right out of novitiate. Not only does this longer
      program protect people, to a certain extent, from making a mistake,
      it also spare the monastery from having a lot of jerks with chapter
      votes running the show. There are many, many I have known who left in
      simple vows that I remain eternally grateful for the fact that they
      were never chapter members!! What a zoo that would have been!

      A year may well have been enough in St. Benedict's time. People had
      vastly shorter life spans, it was a bigger chunk of their lives. They
      also had to grow up more quickly and their options were fewer by far
      than those of our own day.

      Oblates, therefore, can garner a few kernels of truth in this chapter
      about committment, that bugbear of the baby boomer generation and
      beyond. Modern people find it terribly hard to commit, some never
      manage it at all. As such, a bit of wisdom older than our own age may
      be very useful in our everyday lives.

      Whether it's a marriage or engagement or job or volunteer chairperson
      position, don't jump at things. Read the Rule, so to speak, three
      times at least! Look, look, look as mindfully as you can at the truth
      and reality of the situation. I have a friend who has suffered
      terribly in relationships which he ALWAYS insists are just wonderful
      and worth the effort, any effort, no matter who can see otherwise. He
      clings to this denial until they dump him and I DO mean clings. His
      head is eternally (I have never known another this bad,) in the sand,
      invincibly trapped in ignorant denial. Kindly recall what part of
      one's anatomy is bared to the world at large when one's head is in
      the sand... Small wonder that his friends and I can tell otherwise.

      Benedictines are not people afraid of commitment, but we live in a
      world where many are. Our witness here must be care and balance. We
      must resolutely walk BETWEEN the extremes of foolhardy haste and
      crippling fear. In the world of today, that is no small witness and
      no easy task. Pull this one off, and you have a done a service to
      many, not just to yourself!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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