Holy Rule for July 8
Ardent thanks for all who prayed for Mary and Comet. Both are home, Deo gratias. The vet suspects an inner ear problem may be what she has, not a stroke, but is unsure. The ear problem should correct itself within three weeks, so it is a wait and see type thing. In the meantime, we need to protect her from injuring herself when she falls. As Comet is a large dog and Mary, her human, also has a lot of orthopedic problems, we'd be grateful for ongoing prayers.
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Jennie, 91, for her nephew, Michael, and all their family, and all who mourn her.
Prayers for a mother confronted with a very difficult visit from one of her children.
Joyous prayers for Father Alexander Bevan, OSB, of Ealing Abbey, London. He is being ordained to the Priesthood today. May God bless all his monastic life and priestly ministry. Ad multos annos, many year of grace and blessing.
Prayers for the spiritual, physical and mental health of the following and for all their loved ones and all who treat or care for them:
Fr. Kevin, breast cancer, continued prayers as he continues his treatments.
Maria and her son, who has been rushed into hospital with possible heart attack. He has a wife and two very young children and lives across the country from Maria.
March 8, July 8, November 7
Chapter 31: What Kind of Man the Cellarer of the Monastery Should Be
As cellarer of the monastery let there be chosen from the community one
who is wise, of mature character, sober, not a great eater, not haughty,
not excitable, not offensive, not slow, not wasteful, but a God-fearing
man who may be like a father to the whole community.
Let him have charge of everything. He shall do nothing without the
Abbot's orders, but keep to his instructions. Let him not vex the
brethren. If any brother happens to make some unreasonable demand of
him, instead of vexing the brother with a contemptuous refusal he should
humbly give the reason for denying the improper request.
Let him keep guard over his own soul, mindful always of the Apostle's
saying that "he who has ministered well will acquire for himself a good
standing" (1 Tim. 3:13).
Let him take the greatest care of the sick, of children, of guests and
of the poor, knowing without doubt that he will have to render an
account for all these on the Day of Judgment.
Let him regard all the utensils of the monastery and its whole property
as if they were the sacred vessels of the altar. Let him not think that
he may neglect anything. He should be neither a miser nor a prodigal and
squanderer of the monastery's substance, but should do all things with
measure and in accordance with the Abbot's instructions.
The Abbot is father to the family, in all respects. Some of those,
however, are delegated to others, so that no one, not even the Abbot,
may be overburdened. In one sense, the Abbot may be said to be the
father in things spiritual and the cellarer in things material. It is
interesting that St. Benedict requires very similar qualities in both.
What lies beneath that requirement is the Benedictine view of property,
of goods, of the earth itself. We scorn excess, in either direction, but
we do not scorn the material world, we reverence it as if it were one of
the vessels of the altar! This is very different from a Buddhist view, where
all creation might be looked upon as "maya," illusion.We see creation
for what it truly is: a stupendous and free gift of God to all.
While we always place people before things, we demand that both people
and things be the objects of downright exquisite care. We love both
because they are God's gifts, because they are both the means of
sustaining our lives for God's ends. As such, the Holy Rule's view does
not permit that things be loved in and of themselves, for themselves
alone. That's an attachment we have to be careful to avoid. That false
love, however, can lead to all kinds of erroneous ideas about the good
we administer: stinginess, hoarding, acquisitiveness.
All of these traits translate very easily into the family sphere.
Parents need to achieve a sane balance in regards to material things.
They need not to be career-driven workaholics, but they must also avoid
being poor providers through lack of concern. The key to the middle way
is love, as usual. Love the family members more than anything worldly
and the rest falls more or less into place. If children know that they
come before things, they have learned a lesson that they will pass on
for the rest of their lives.
Face it, many a rich, spoiled child, immersed in privilege, feels
unloved. Things are never an adequate substitute for our hearts, which
are what God, St. Benedict and the Holy Rule ask us to give without
reserve. It is the love, the genuine love, that a child (or anyone else,
for that matter!) will remember. All the rest is dust and ashes.
Love and prayers,
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