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Holy Rule for Sept. 13

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for a safe journey for Abbot Anselm, who left today for Europe. Prayers for Malcolm, on his birthday, and for his family, that he may find God.
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 12, 2007
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      Prayers for a safe journey for Abbot Anselm, who left today for Europe.

      Prayers for Malcolm, on his birthday, and for his family, that he may find God.

      Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Ryan, 25, who took his own life, and for his parents, Debra and Mike and all his family.

      Prayers for the spiritual, physical and mental health of the following and for their loved ones and all who treat or care for them:

      Neda, for success in purchasing a home for herself and her teenage daughter so they can get out of an increasingly hostile environment.

      Ann, C-section, her new baby girl, Chandler, and Carson, possible broken arm, their Dad and all their family.

      Nick, hospitalized, not responding, semi-comatose, not eating, and for his wife, Barbara.

      Rebekka, starting a new job and a move to a new house. Lord, help us all 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

      January 13, May 14, September 13
      Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be

      In her teaching
      the Abbess should always follow the Apostle's formula:
      "Reprove, entreat, rebuke" (2 Tim. 4:2);
      threatening at one time and coaxing at another
      as the occasion may require,
      showing now the stern countenance of a mistress,
      now the loving affection of a mother.
      That is to say,
      it is the undisciplined and restless
      whom she must reprove rather sharply;
      it is the obedient, meek and patient
      whom she must entreat to advance in virtue;
      while as for the negligent and disdainful,
      these we charge her to rebuke and correct.
      And let her not shut her eyes to the faults of offenders;
      but, since she has the authority,
      let her cut out those faults by the roots
      as soon as they begin to appear,
      remembering the fate of Heli, the priest of Silo (1 Kings 2-4).
      The well-disposed and those of good understanding
      let her correct with verbal admonition the first and second time.
      But bold, hard, proud and disobedient characters
      she should curb at the very beginning of their ill-doing
      by stripes and other bodily punishments,
      knowing that it is written,
      "the fool is not corrected with words" (Prov. 18:2; 29:19),
      and again,
      "Beat your son with the rod,
      and you will deliver his soul from death"(Prov. 23:13-14).


      Again, this is for ALL of us, not just Abbots!

      I'll bet that most of us, at one time or another, have had to deal with
      someone whose most frequent response to virtually everyone was a
      sharp, full-force rebuke. That tends to stun people with its severity, a
      severity which is out of line, or we wouldn't be surprised at all!

      I can clearly recall nurses I worked with over 30 years ago who took
      that tactic. What I find interesting is that, in most cases, while I
      remember their faces in that unlovely, acerbic scorn of unmerited
      rebuke, I have often completely forgotten their names. Sad, isn't it?
      But predictable.

      There are three provisions here: "reprove, entreat, rebuke." They
      have the weight of Scripture as well as that of the Holy Rule. All
      three are necessary and, except for the most truly extraordinary
      cases, all three are necessary in that order.

      I think most monastic people who have been listening to God and truly
      examining themselves tend to be gentle. That's fine, but stopping
      permanently at extremes of the gentle points can win one the disgust of
      a community in a big hurry. We tend to pity weak incompetence for a while,
      then we come to loathe it. The Truth we look at, look for and strive
      to learn absolutely demands that when needed, our authority will have
      teeth, no matter how unpleasant that may be to us.

      To exercise that rebuke factor all the time, or because one really
      gets off on it, is sick in the extreme. To fail it out of reticence
      or distaste is a terrible failure in self-control, self-denial and
      ascesis. We need all three modes in our tool kits. Were that not the
      case, the Holy Spirit would have never bothered to aid both Sts. Paul
      and Benedict in putting them there!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

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