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Nov 2

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX March 3, July 3, November 2 Chapter 26: On Those Who Without an Order Associate with the Excommunicated If any sister presumes without an order from the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2002
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      March 3, July 3, November 2
      Chapter 26: On Those Who Without an Order Associate with the
      Excommunicated

      If any sister presumes
      without an order from the Abbess
      to associate in any way with an excommunicated sister,
      or to speak with her,
      or to send her a message,
      let her incur a similar punishment of excommunication.


      REFLECTION

      The principle here goes well afield of monastic excommunication.
      Tempting though it often is, at some very real point one cannot (and
      ought not!) be able to "protect" another from a parent or abbot or
      teacher or spouse. For better or worse, the one charged by God with
      the care of the child or monastic or student or partner really bears
      that charge, in ways that we cannot interfere with.

      In the inner city, I have taught children whose home lives were so
      pathetic that one was honestly tempted to line their parents up and
      shoot them. It seemed the only way out. Thankfully, it was not
      feasible, because it only SEEMED to be the only answer, the only
      help. Things look that way when we forget God is in charge, when we
      think we control more of destiny than we actually do, when we fail to
      trust Him to always, always bring good out of evil, if only we ask
      Him and let Him.

      This chapter was written for those who had already gone through all
      the earlier stages. They wound up in the ultimate form of monastic
      exclusion. At that point, one must leave the monastic and Abbot to
      themselves and pray. We are not called to play good cop/bad cop any
      longer. We must stand back in prayerful silence. God gave the
      monastic and the superior and the Abbey to each other. It is folly of
      the richest sort to assume He didn't know what He was doing. God also
      gave the parent and child, boss and employee, and the spouses to each
      other.

      Remember, I said "at some point" one must do nothing but pray. There
      are plenty of ways to be genuinely helpful before that point is
      reached and one ought to do so. I surely tried to love my students
      who broke my heart with their pain, but at some point I was helpless.
      God gave X this parent and God is not mean. Cannot be. Will never be.
      I had to trust Him at that extreme and pray for the best, which is
      all God works for anyway. And God works MUCH more efficiently than I
      do.

      Our railing at the seeming harshness of this chapter can cover
      another very important fact. Sometimes WE are the seemingly
      malevolent torturers and we don't even see that. Rare is the person
      who can truly judge themselves with the standards they cavalierly
      apply to others! Even worse, it often happens that we are BOTH the
      torturer and the innocent victim, doing it most hatefully within,
      where none can enter. Our own flawed and fallen hearts trash our own
      pathetic souls, beating them up with all kinds of useless
      recrimination and self-loathings. Whoops! Not what we would have
      first noticed, is it? Yet we lock the doors of that torture chamber
      with the key that locks out even God: free will. We and we alone can
      thwart God in our own regard. Scary power, isn't it?

      Check out the times we have "excommunicated" ourselves, check out the
      times we have damnably placed ourselves beyond any help from anyone.
      The injustice there is much harder for us to see, but it is terribly
      real.

      I love Gerard Manley Hopkins; he is my all-time favorite poet. I
      think he and I had more than a thing or two in common, not least
      which were the tendencies to depression and beating oneself up with
      extreme efficiency. Here's what he wrote that sings to my heart, and
      I hope to yours as well.

      "My own heart let me more have pity on; let
      Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
      Charitable; not live this tormented mind
      With this tormented mind tormenting yet."

      Pray for the awful excommunications that you CANNOT help and look
      ever so carefully for those you and you alone can relieve, those of
      your own soul and heart! God alone can bring good from evil, any
      evil. Ask Him, let Him. He will never fail.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery
      Petersham, MA
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