A glorious Easter to all who are celebrating today, and a blessed
Flowery Sunday to all the Orthodox!
Prayers of thanksgiving for Byrony, the infant we prayed for down
under. She is doing much better, on chemo and gaining weight. Glory
to God! Prayers, too, for Peter and Ann and all Byrony's dear ones
who worried and prayed! Deo gratias! God's will be done! NRN JL
April 20, August 20, December 20
Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess
In the constituting of an Abbess
let this plan always be followed,
that the office be conferred on the one who is chosen
either by the whole community unanimously in the fear of God
or else by a part of the community, however small,
if its counsel is more wholesome.
Merit of life and wisdom of doctrine
should determine the choice of the one to be constituted,
even if she be the last of the order of the community.
But if (which God forbid)
the whole community should agree to choose a person
who will acquiesce in their vices,
and if those vices somehow become known to the Bishop
to whose diocese the place belongs,
or to the Abbots, Abbesses or the faithful of the vicinity,
let them prevent the success of this conspiracy of the wicked,
and set a worthy steward over the house of God.
They may be sure
that they will receive a good reward for this action
if they do it with a pure intention and out of zeal for God;
as, on the contrary, they will sin if they fail to do it.
Monasteries can forget sometimes that they are not their own, one of
the unavoidable risks of Benedictine autonomy. While it was usual, in
St. Benedict's day, for monasteries to be under their local bishop
(and still is usual in the East today,) St. Benedict says something
even more telling. The local laity should intervene if the monastery
conspires to elect a loser! Now THAT is going a long way!
Monasteries become dear to those around them, and a sense of
ownership for their local monastery arises in many hearts. St.
Benedict actually endorses that. The monk is not his own, but neither
is the whole community. We belong to the Church, we belong to our own
locale, we belong to the people in a very special way. It entitles
them to warn us that we may have gone amiss and it obliges us to
always recall that our monasteries have ripple effects!
Monasteries, especially in our own day, can forget the Benedictine
balance when it comes to autonomy at times. Our monasteries are not
totally free agents. We exist within a hierarchical order in the
Church that blesses our very existence, to which we owe that
existence. We are nothing of ourselves.
Hence, our entire vocation and life is ecclesial and our independence
is holy only insofar as it is truly ecclesial and upbuilding of the
whole Body of Christ. Regardless of whether our monasteries are Roman
Catholic or members of some other communion, it is essential to
remember that is is from the Church that we receive all the
legitimacy we have, that it is only within the Church that we can
offer what we do.
On another note entirely, for Oblates who are single and dating, what
about using the criteria given for an Abbess for checking out a mate?
Granted the pickings might be slim, but we should always look to
people who are good, who will help us grow spiritually as potential
partners. This age where so many are unchurched may have convinced
many single folks that spirituality is something they can do alone,
without their partners. Well, sometimes it is, to be sure, but it is
a harder road. Indifference is one thing, but if a partner is
downright opposed, it can be a VERY hard road.
Love and prayers,
jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA