Prayers, please, for John and Anne, on their 25th wedding
anniversary! Ad multos annos! Also for Louise, my mother; today would
have been her 85th birthday. God's will be done! Thanks so much. NRN
April 29, August 29, December 29
Chapter 71: That the Brethren Be Obedient to One Another
Not only is the boon of obedience
to be shown by all to the Abbot,
but the brethren are also to obey one another,
knowing that by this road of obedience they are going to God.
Giving priority, therefore, to the commands of the Abbot
and of the Superior appointed by him
(to which we allow no private orders to be preferred),
for the rest
let all the juniors obey their seniors
with all charity and solicitude.
But if anyone is found contentious,
let him be corrected.
And if any brother,
for however small a cause,
is corrected in any way by the Abbot or by any of his Superiors,
or if he faintly perceives
that the mind of any Superior is angered or moved against him,
let him at once, without delay,
prostrate himself on the ground at his feet
and lie there making satisfaction
until that emotion is quieted with a blessing.
But if anyone should disdain to do this,
let him undergo corporal punishment
or, if he is stubborn, let him be expelled from the monastery.
My dear friend, Fr. Damian, of St. Leo Abbey, once said: "If it gives
him so much pleasure and causes me so little pain, why not?" Great
philosophy! It is very easy to let people have their way in
reasonable requests and it goes a very long way to strengthen peace,
security and unity.
Think of how people are described who answer any request with
cheerful action: "She's someone you can count on." Well, we all ought
to be able to count on one another. If you are a Benedictine in a
situation where people are not dependable in this fashion, try being
a counter witness. Let people count on you, then, when their hearts
soften a bit, tell 'em what Father Damian said. If even one person
changes, the world is better.
Not all obedience is equal, even this chapter points that out.
Obeying the abbot is one thing, obeying each other is quite another.
But there is a connection to ALL obedience. Sometimes obeying a co-
worker is a lot easier than obeying the boss, yet these small steps
of compliance also strengthen us. Obeying each other can be a back
door way into some real growth in obedience. The key to obedience is
learning to control our own will. Any good effort in that direction
will yield results.
Want some really deep theological perspective? Obeying each other
simply makes us nicer people.As a Southern nurse I used to work with
once said: "Anybody can be a skunk at a garden party if they want to,
but why bother?" She and Father Damian are both right: it is easy to
let others live.
Love and prayers,
St. Mary's Monastery