Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Nov 1

Expand Messages
  • russophile2002
    +PAX A most blessed Solemnity of All Saints to everyone! Happy feastday to everybody, it is a namesday for all of us! March 2, July 2, November 1 Chapter 25:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1, 2002

      A most blessed Solemnity of All Saints to everyone! Happy feastday to
      everybody, it is a namesday for all of us!

      March 2, July 2, November 1
      Chapter 25: On Weightier Faults
      Let the brother who is guilty of a weightier fault
      be excluded both from the table and from the oratory.
      Let none of the brethren join him
      either for company or for conversation.
      Let him be alone at the work assigned him,
      abiding in penitential sorrow
      and pondering that terrible sentence of the Apostle
      where he says that a man of that kind is handed over
      for the destruction of the flesh,
      that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5).
      Let him take his meals alone
      in the measure and at the hour
      which the Abbot shall consider suitable for him.
      He shall not be blessed by those who pass by,
      nor shall the food that is given him be blessed.


      OK, here's a meditation that fits the feast today: How many of those
      Saints we are celebrating today once found themselves under this
      stringent punishment and now find themselves in heaven's bliss?
      Probably more than one or two! Punishments like this are a wake-up
      call. Not everyone will take that call, but no doubt many who are
      whooping it up in heaven today would gladly give witness to the
      wisdom of doing so!

      Saints are perfected, not perfect. The final product is very
      different from any point that came before. Punishments like today's
      chapter suggests are dreadful as end points, but they are not at all
      so as wake-up call, as points on the way. On the contrary, in such
      cases they can have great beauty.

      We have different ways of giving wake-up calls today. I remember a
      priest whose Abbot walked unannounced into his rectory and
      said: "Pack a bag, Father, you are going into treatment for alcohol
      today at Guest House. Right now!" In his case, as in so many, that
      drastic step worked, thanks be to God. He died a very changed man.

      The error, however, and it is often made out of cowardice, is not to
      give ANY wake-up calls at all. Dump the penal code in the Holy Rule
      and let the failing monastics figure it out for themselves. This
      approach is utterly wrong. In the first place, it woefully fails
      charity. Genuine love often obliges us to do unpalatable things. To
      shirk that demand is terribly wrong. Secondly, the monastic mired in
      whatever delusion of sin or illness of addiction has, more often than
      not, lost the ability to see clearly. That's what the community and
      superior must do for such a monastic. To fail to help such a one to
      awaken to the Light that is there for all is a horrible thing.

      We must always remember that Christ came to call the sinners, not
      simply the just. We can pay a lot of lip service to that concept
      without realizing that it could be rendered as: "Christ came to call
      those monastics who need excommunication, not those who don't." Get
      the picture? The ones we most roundly judge (in spite of Jesus'
      insistence that we never do so!) are the ones for whom He came. To
      deny them any opportunity to wake up and get with the program is
      awfully short of genuine love.

      St. Benedict himself says that he wrote his Holy Rule "for
      beginners." Well, folks, check out any skating rink and watch the
      beginners there. You won't have any trouble figuring out who they
      are. Their arms are awkwardly outstretched in futile attempts at
      balance. They wobble, they're clumsy and inept. They fall down a LOT.
      To assume that, in our brave new world, all monastics have lost that
      clumsy ineptitude of beginners is a tragic mistake. We are all
      beginners and we will all die beginners. That's just the way the
      monastic struggle is. Daily we begin again...

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB jeromeleo@... Petersham, MA
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.