Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. Aug 6
Please pray for the successful pregnancy -- just about to start her
5th month-- of Kathie's daughter....there may not be anything to
worry about but Kathie is a bit concerned.
Prayers please, for Dan, 25. Was on a fishing trip early Fri. with
a friend, and their car had an accident; both died. Prayers for his
family, esp. his mom, Kathy and for Tara, who works with Kathy, and
is at a loss how to comfort Kathy.
Please pray for all those whose prayer requests are not able to be
posted for whatever reason. God is outside of time and our prayers
are never, ever late. help us as You know and will. God's will is
best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him!
Thanks so much. JL
+ Please pray that Divine Mercy will shine upon all those who have
taken their own lives. +
Until the return of our good Brother Jerome please bless me with
your prayer requests at:
April 6, August 6, December 6
Chapter 54: Whether a Monastic Should Receive Letters or Anything
On no account shall a monastic be allowed to receive letters,
blessed tokens or any little gift whatsoever from parents or anyone
else, or from her sisters, or to give the same,
without the Abbess's permission. But if anything is sent her even by
her parents, let her not presume to take it before it has been shown
to the Abbess. And it shall be in the Abbess's power to decide to
whom it shall be given, if she allows it to be received; and the
sister to whom it was sent should not be grieved, lest occasion be
given to the devil.
Should anyone presume to act otherwise, let her undergo the
discipline of the Rule.
Community, even in its Latin roots ( "com" meaning with and "unitas"
meaning unity,) is fully dependent upon unity. Do anything to
threaten or destroy that unity and you have threatened or destroyed
the community itself. For this reason, St. Benedict goes out of his
way to explain why some exceptions must be made on account of
infirmity or weakness and also expressly forbids other forms of
favoritism. This chapter is a prime example of the Holy Rule
giving firm and adamant instructions about inequality.
St. Benedict has already made it clear that monastics are to be
given everything they need, truly need. He has even made some
provision for those whose weakness makes further consideration
necessary. Remember, our Benedictine poverty is based on lack of
excess, not extreme want. If, through violating the principles in
this chapter, excess is allowed to creep in for a few, it will
result in hard feelings, jealousies and other unlovely traits that
will strike at the heart of common unity.
Such excess also damages the individual monastic receiving it. The
monastic struggle is stymied if one enters rich and, thanks to his
family, remains so, or if one enters poor and latches onto a
benefactor whose gifts make one rich by comparison. Just as oxygen is
necessary for fire, so is a certain equality necessary for
community. We need that community, because, as Benedictines, it is
our way to God. We dare not threaten it with "Animal Farm"
adaptations that find us saying that "some monastics are more equal
What can Oblates glean here? Well, what about our attitudes towards
classism and the world at large? How smugly indifferent dare we be
about anyone in abject poverty, about any system or government that
keeps people in such dire straits? How do we assess our own economic
position in regards to sharing? How much above others do we allow
be economically, socially? There are a wealth of deep questions
here, and a wealth of troubling answers in the unjust inequalities
that abound in human society when it is unaided by grace.
One aside to close. We ask permission before giving things to one
another and then tell the recipient we have permission, so that they
needn't ask again to keep the item. Shortly after I arrived here,
the cellaress of the Sisters' community gave me a postcard of Canada
geese, because she knew I liked them. This woman, who could by
assigned charge move large sums of money back and forth, approached
me with the card and said: "I have permission
togive you this." I was impressed. It may seem silly to some, but I
was truly edified.
Love and prayers,