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Holy Rule for Sept. 16

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their families and all who treat or care for them: Fr. Robert,
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 15, 2007
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      Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their families and all who treat or care for them:

      Fr. Robert, had a stroke, but still able to speak, and for Babrbara, his spiritual daughter.

      Nadeem and Laura, entering the initial Oblate formation at St. Vincent's Archabbey, Latrobe, PA

      Fr. Rudy, in his 40's, on life support after a brain aneurysm last Sunday.

      Lawrence, 15, brain clot and ICU after going through the windshield in a car accident, and for the other four teens injured with him.

      Peg, major depressive episode. 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 16, May 17, September 16
      Chapter 3: On Calling the Brethren for Counsel

      Whenever any important business has to be done
      in the monastery,
      let the Abbot call together the whole community
      and state the matter to be acted upon.
      Then, having heard the brethren's advice,
      let him turn the matter over in his own mind
      and do what he shall judge to be most expedient.
      The reason we have said that all should be called for counsel
      is that the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.

      Let the brethren give their advice
      with all the deference required by humility,
      and not presume stubbornly to defend their opinions;
      but let the decision rather depend on the Abbot's judgment,
      and all submit to whatever he shall decide for their welfare.

      However, just as it is proper
      for the disciples to obey their master,
      so also it is his function
      to dispose all things with prudence and justice.


      Benedictine government is not pure democracy, but it is a lot more
      representative than Church government in its time or, for that
      matter, our own. One sometimes wishes that both Church and state
      of today had a more Benedictine flavor!

      The Catholic Church actually had models in its early years that were
      MORE democratic than St. Benedict, the synagogue model and the
      charismatic, both more congregational in their aspects. Both were
      abandoned for the monarchial episcopate model connected with Antioch.

      Over 15 centuries of Benedictine history, constitutions have divided
      the powers of abbot and community more specifically. There are times-
      not many, to be sure- when a chapter can thwart an abbot. There are
      times the abbot cannot act alone. But, by and large, our superiors
      have been left with a lot more power than the US President or the
      Queen of the United Kingdom, but less power than the average bishop.

      The way of St. Benedict is hardly mob rule, but it does ensure a
      voice to those governed, a voice that must be listened to, even when
      it is not definitive. How clearly St. Benedict saw what would happen to
      a community with no voice: the members would feel ripped off, and rightly

      There is no way at all that the world was ready for pure democracy in
      St. Benedict's time. The majority of the populace was illiterate, few
      indeed were educated, and there were no means of mass communication.
      Whole empires, like the Aztec and Incan, rose without the slightest
      awareness that there were other people on the planet, nor was the rest
      of the world aware of them. I would be the last person to call for free
      elections in such a milieu. By contrast, it almost makes feudalism look like
      a really good idea for the times.

      And maybe it was, but it has ceased to be for our own time. There are
      clearly levels of education, communication and general ability in the
      population today that call for more participation, not less. Tough
      saying, but St. Benedict was writing for a society whose rank and
      file was largely full of uncouth rustics. True, they got a lot of their rough
      edges honed down in the monastic setting, but they were not as
      capable of contributing to decision-making as people are today.

      I am not writing this with an axe to grind, saying that the world should
      follow the Benedictine model. (Though that would certainly be my personal
      wish.) What I am trying to point out is the perennial wealth and freshness
      to be found in St. Benedict's Holy Rule. Its wisdom is as germane today as
      it was 1,500 years ago. It bears the proud hallmark of both truth and
      it is ageless.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

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