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Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. Nov 1

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2007
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      +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:

      +++++++++In yesterday's reflection, I said that there were times
      when we should NOT correct. Indeed, there are, but I should have
      fine-tuned it a bit more. There are situations in which one is
      morally obliged to say something, where one's silence could
      actually be complicity. Gentleness and courtesy and love are still
      the norm here, but one can actually harm another by not mentioning
      seriously sinful matters. Careful assessments must be made as to
      whom, when and how it is best to approach the matter, but we cannot
      excuse ourselves by shrugging it off, saying we are not "detached"
      enough to correct. That might be true in monastic issues that are
      not seriously sinful, but it is not true in grave moral
      issues. When in doubt, ask a pastor or spiritual director or
      confessor to help you with

      March 2, July 2, November 1
      Chapter 25: On Weightier Faults

      Let the brother who is guilty of a weightier fault be excluded both
      from the table and from the oratory. Let none of the brethren join
      him either for company or for conversation.
      Let him be alone at the work assigned him, abiding in penitential
      sorrow and pondering that terrible sentence of the Apostle where he
      says that a man of that kind is handed over
      for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in
      the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5). Let him take his meals alone in
      the measure and at the hour which the Abbot shall consider suitable
      for him. He shall not be blessed by those who pass by, nor shall
      the food that is given him be blessed.


      OK, here's a meditation that fits the feast today: How many of
      those Saints we are celebrating today once found themselves under
      this stringent punishment and now find themselves in heaven's
      bliss? Probably more than one or two! Punishments like this are a
      wake-up call. Not everyone will take that call, but no doubt many
      who are whooping it up in heaven today would gladly give witness to
      the wisdom of doing so!

      Saints are perfected, not perfect. The final product is very
      different from any point that came before. Punishments like those
      today's chapter suggests are dreadful as end points, but they are
      not at all so as wake-up calls, as points on the way. On the
      contrary, in such cases they can have great beauty. "Amazing Grace,
      how sweet the sound!"

      We have different ways of giving wake-up calls today. I remember a
      priest whose Abbot walked unannounced into his rectory and
      said: "Pack a bag, Father, you are going into treatment for alcohol
      today at Guest House. Right now!" In his case, as in so many, that
      drastic step worked, thanks be to God. That priest died a very
      changed man.

      The error, however, and it is often made out of cowardice, is not
      to give ANY wake-up calls at all. Dump the penal code in the Holy
      Rule and let the failing monastics figure it out for themselves.
      This approach is utterly wrong.

      In the first place, it woefully fails charity. Genuine love often
      obliges us to do unpalatable things. To shirk that demand is
      terribly wrong. Secondly, the monastic mired in whatever delusion
      of sin or illness of addiction has, more often than not, lost the
      ability to see clearly. That's what the community and superior must
      do for such a monastic. To fail to help such a one to awaken to the
      Light that is there for all is a horrible thing.

      We must always remember that Christ came to call the sinners, not
      simply the just. We can pay a lot of lip service to that concept
      without realizing that it could be rendered as: "Christ came to
      call those monastics who need excommunication, not those who
      don't." Get the picture? The ones we most roundly judge (in spite
      of Jesus' insistence that we never do so!) are the ones for whom He
      came. To deny them any opportunity to wake up and get with the
      program is awfully short of genuine love.

      St. Benedict himself says that he wrote his Holy Rule "for
      beginners." Well, folks, check out any skating rink and watch the
      beginners there. You won't have any trouble figuring out who they
      are. Their arms are awkwardly outstretched in futile attempts at
      balance. They wobble, they're clumsy and inept. They fall down a LOT.

      To assume that, in our brave new world, all monastics have lost
      that clumsy ineptitude of beginners is a tragic mistake. We are all
      beginners and we will all die beginners. That's just the way the
      monastic struggle is. Daily we begin again... as the title of one
      on the Holy Rule says!

      Love and prayers,

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