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Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. Oct 29

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX Please pray for a happy death and eternal repose for the soul of Eileen Simmons (83) who passed away after a long illness this past Wednesday. Please
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 28, 2007
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      +PAX


      Please pray for a happy death and eternal repose for the soul of
      Eileen Simmons (83) who passed away after a long illness this past
      Wednesday. Please pray for her family also.


      Please pray for Adam's sister-in-law who is to give birth some day
      next week. May she and his first niece, Abigale Olivia, have a safe
      delivery. We prayed for Abigale earlier when it was thought that she
      had cysts in her brain, these, thanks be to God, are no longer
      present.

      Please pray for safe travel for our good Brother Jerome.

      Please pray for Sister Juliana, and elderly Sister, who is going
      into the hospital on Tuesday November 6th for a needle biopsy,
      possible cancer, possible mastectomy. Please prayer that the tests
      reveal there is no cancer and she does not need a masectomy and that
      she is blessed with peace during this time.

      +Please pray that Divine Mercy will shine upon all those who have
      taken their own lives.+

      Please pray for all those whose prayer requests were not able to be
      posted for whatever reason. God is outside of time and our prayers
      are never, ever late. 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

      Until the return of our good Brother Jerome please bless me with
      your prayer requests at:
      michael_oblate@...


      February 28, June 29, October 29
      Chapter 22: How the Sisters Are to Sleep

      Let each one sleep in a separate bed. Let them receive bedding
      suitable to their manner of life, according to the Abbess's
      directions. If possible let all sleep in one place; but if the
      number does not allow this, let them take their rest by tens or
      twenties with the seniors who have charge of them.

      A candle shall be kept burning in the room until morning.

      Let them sleep clothed and girded with belts or cords -- but not
      with their knives at their sides, lest they cut themselves in their
      sleep -- and thus be always ready to rise without delay when the
      signal is given and hasten to be before one another at the Work of
      God,
      yet with all gravity and decorum.

      The younger shall not have beds next to one another, but among
      those of the older ones.

      When they rise for the Work of God let them gently encourage one
      another, that the drowsy may have no excuse.


      REFLECTION

      Hastening "yet will all gravity and decorum" has prompted many a
      community joke, many a wry comment as one ran most ungracefully,
      parts of the habit flapping wildly in the breeze, to whatever the
      bell was about to make one late for! St. Benedict far antedates the
      Three Stooges, but he still took precautions to ensure that we
      would not look EXACTLY like Moe, Larry and Curly when we went to
      choir or dinner! Admittedly, some of our human tendency still
      arises to give a partial glimpse of that comedic trio, but, as
      always, the picture is balanced!

      The idea of sexual temptations being thwarted by a lamp burning and
      fully clothed juniors interspersed among seniors is germane here,
      but there is also another very pragmatic rationale. First off, the
      young, even in monasteries, tend to giggle. No point in turning
      grand silence into a noisy slumber party!

      Even more importantly, the elderly may have problems during the
      night if their health is declining. Hale and hearty (and hopefully
      easily awakened!) juniors nearby promise them assistance, if
      needed. However, if you want a humorous take on the knives issue,
      it may
      have been to prevent mayhem and murder of the snorers, an idea
      which has doubtlessly occurred to many light sleepers!

      Of course, dormitory sleeping is a thing of the past in our Order
      today, but its nice to see the thoughtfulness behind its original
      expression in the Holy Rule. There's a bit of the "mother" in St.
      Benedict, going out of his way to mention a small detail like not
      sleeping with knives. It is worthy of note, however, that St.
      Benedict, as always is MODERATELY maternal, not neurotically so! He
      doesn't get all bent out of shape, but he cares greatly and deeply.

      One of the most beautiful images in this passage is the exhortation
      to "gently encourage one another" at the hour of rising. Remember
      that the strictest silence of all prevailed at this time. Now
      picture the monastics gently encouraging one another! With no
      words, there
      had to be a lot of touch, a lot of gentle smiles, a lot of warmth
      and care expressed NON-verbally.

      There is a particularly good suggestion for Oblates: practice
      showing non-verbal affection some time! Try to express your care,
      concern and camaraderie for those around you with smiles, winks,
      pats on the back and such. Not ALL the time, but hone this skill. A
      wordless message of praise or solidarity or love can be treasured
      by another, often much more than what we might have said.

      A very good idea of how loving a monastic is can be had by
      disturbing their silence (or sleep, I imagine!!) Is the reaction
      cross and withering? Watch out for that one! Is there a smile, even
      a warm one, a reaction of sweetness? Well, when silence is over,
      that is a
      monastic to whose words you may want to listen carefully.

      One species of Australian eucalyptus keeps the ground around itself
      clear by emitting a toxic substance that renders other growth
      impossible. Sad to say, but sometimes monastics in community (or in
      families, or in workplaces!) can engage in a very similar toxicity.
      There is a terrible facial message that says: "Don't even come near
      me- with anything at all!" We need to watch ourselves carefully for
      that one.

      Everyone has bad days, now and then. Good communities and good
      families know how to spot them in each other. If, however, those
      days get strung together for some time and fairly often, something
      is very, very wrong. Either the monastic doesn't belong in
      community or they do belong in treatment. The monastic life, in
      cloister or marketplace, is not the proper arena for eucalyptus
      toxicity!


      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
      Petersham, MA
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