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Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. Aug 6

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 5, 2007
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      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
      than others."

      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
      ourselves to
      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,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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