Continued prayers for Ian, Dana and their family, custody battle;
prayers also for Farnborough Abbey during their visitation; continued
prayers for all in harm's way in Iraq: it is far from over. Thanks so
much! God's will be done. NRN JL
April 16, August 16, December 16
Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received
But if as a guest she was found exacting or prone to vice,
not only should she be denied membership in the community,
but she should even be politely requested to leave,
lest others be corrupted by her evil life.
If, however, she has not proved to be the kind
who deserves to be put out,
she should not only on her own application be received
as a member of the community,
but she should even be persuaded to stay,
that the others may be instructed by her example,
and because in every place it is the same Lord who is served,
the same King for whom the battle is fought.
Moreover, if the Abbess perceives that she is worthy,
she may put her in a somewhat higher rank.
[And not only with regard to a nun
but also with regard to those in priestly or clerical orders
the Abbess may establish them in a higher rank
than would be theirs by date of entrance
if she perceives that their life is deserving.
Let the Abbess take care, however,
never to receive a nun from another known monastery
as a member of her community
without the consent of her Abbess or a letter of recommendation;
for it is written,
"Do not to another what you would not want done to yourself" (Tob.
*(The gender switch is built in at the OSB site.) [Applicable only to
women of some contemporary monastic communities
in Protestant Communions.]
Not all criticism is good. Every person at the door of your
workplace, home or monastery is a challenge for virtue from God. They
may even be doing His will unwittingly by their pickiness or
That doesn't mean that every single criticism should be taken to
heart. Sometimes the message God sends is positive, sometimes
negative, sometimes merely an exercise in endurance! Trust me, I have
worked in the guest house for over six years...
Some of us are so complacent that we badly need to be taken down a
bit. Others, however, have such wounded self-esteem that they will
need protection, need to be careful and yes, MINDFUL enough to
balance what is said to them by critical types. Hear what people say,
but sift it very carefully. They might be right, but they might be
Some people, I have no doubt, are sent to us for no
reason other than to teach us to recognize such fools as those of
whom St. Paul speaks and suffer them [hopefully!] gladly, or at least
start working at suffering them civilly. I usually find myself STILL
working at "civilly." Gladly is a pretty tall order!
Some of us, too, need to listen to this while putting ourselves in
the role of the guest. At St. Leo, when I was a novice in the mid
1970's, we had one priest who thought every single homily
should "shake 'em up a bit." Well, yes and no and neither, at
For one thing, he missed the fact that, by now, most of the
community had been "shaken up" quite regularly for 7 years or so, and
not always for the better nor always by the brightest. People quite
rightly get weary of that. He got his chance at first, but it wasn't
long before our only response was annoyance, followed soon thereafter
by relative deafness. ("Oh no, look who's celebrant today...") He
missed the balance and when we miss balances, we largely fail.
Even "Father Disturbus" had the occasional good idea, but they get
buried in the avalanche of not so hot stuff. Learn, if you don't
already know, how to discount people like that. Strive to never be a
person like that. Don't make a life calling out of shaking people up,
they'll get over you fast. But neither should a timidly, uncharitable
politeness make you afraid to speak when it is really necessary and
might actually help.
It is a sad fact that many of the "Disturbi" of the world
have no clue, none at all, how annoying they are. Try very hard to
ascertain whether or not you're one of them, and if you are, please
stop! For everyone's sake.
Love and prayers,
Jerome, OSB (who can be a bit of a Disturbus at times himself!)
jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA