Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. Nov 2
From the pen (sort of) of our good Brother Jerome:
Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Pat's Mom,
for Pat and for all their family. Pat is humble enough to be annoyed
with me for reminding folks, but it was she who gave us the computer
used to send the Holy Rule to all of you, so she is a benefactor to
us all. Please pray for her Mom and for Pat and her family with
Greetings, too, from Rome, where I have been carrying you faithfully
in my heart to the holy places! I prayed extra hard for us all at
Monte Cassino. Home on Sat.!
Deo Gratias! Adams' niece for whom we prayed has delivered baby
Abigale Olivia 7 lbs 12 oz and 20 inches long. Prayer please for the
proud mother, Adam and all the family.
Prayers please for Haim S. who took a nasty fall and struggling with
Prayers are urgently requested for J. G.'s fellow parishioner ,
Jenny R., who is suffering from a suspected virus and is extremely
ill in hospital also for her husband John.
+ Please pray that Divine Mercy will shine upon all those who have
taken their own lives and on the souls of all those who have gone to
their repose. +
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:
March 3, July 3, November 2
Chapter 26: On Those Who Without an Order Associate with the
If any sister presumes without an order from the Abbess to
associate in any way with an excommunicated sister, or to speak
with her,or to send her a message, let her incur a similar
punishment of excommunication.
The principle here goes well afield of monastic excommunication.
Tempting though it often is, at some very real point one cannot
(and ought not!) "protect" another from a parent or abbot or
teacher or spouse. For better or worse, the one charged by God with
the care of the child or monastic or student or partner really
bears that charge, in ways that we cannot interfere with.
This chapter was written for those who had already gone through all
the earlier stages. They wound up in the ultimate form of monastic
exclusion. At that point, one must leave the monastic and Abbot to
themselves and pray. We are not called to play good cop/bad cop any
We must stand back in prayerful silence. God gave the monastic and
the superior and the Abbey to each other. It is folly of the
richest sort to assume He didn't know what He was doing. God also
gave the parent and child, boss and employee, and the spouses to
Remember, I said "at some point" one must do nothing but pray.
There are plenty of ways to be genuinely helpful before that point
is reached and one ought to do so. I surely tried to love my
students who broke my heart with their pain, but at some point I
God gave X this parent and God is not mean. Cannot be. Will never
be. I had to trust Him at that extreme and pray for the best, which
is all God works for anyway. And God works MUCH more efficiently
than I do.
Our railing at the seeming harshness of this chapter can cover
another very important fact. Sometimes WE are the seemingly
malevolent torturers and we don't even see that. Rare is the person
who can truly judge themselves with the standards they cavalierly
apply to others! Even worse, it often happens that we are BOTH the
torturer and the innocent victim, doing it most hatefully within
our hearts, where none but God can enter.
Our own flawed and fallen hearts trash our own pathetic souls,
beating them up with all kinds of useless recrimination and self-
loathings. Whoops! Not what we would have first noticed, is it? Yet
we sometimes lock the doors of that torture chamber with the key
that locks out even God: free will. We and we alone can thwart God
in our own regard. Scary power, isn't it?
Check out the times we have "excommunicated" ourselves, check out
the times we have damnably placed ourselves beyond any help from
anyone. The injustice there is much harder for us to see, but it is
terribly real. Whenever we do that, we affirm the terrible heresy
that we know better than God, that His omniscience stops at the
door to our inner
I love Gerard Manley Hopkins; he is my all-time favorite poet. I
think he and I had more than a thing or two in common, not least of
which were the tendencies to depression and beating oneself up with
extreme efficiency. Here's something he wrote that sings to my
heart, and I hope to yours as well.
"My own heart let me more have pity on; let
Me live to my sad self hereafter kind,
Charitable; not live this tormented mind
With this tormented mind tormenting yet."
Pray for the awful excommunications that you CANNOT help and look
ever so carefully for those you and you alone can relieve, those of
your own soul and heart! God alone can bring good from evil, any
evil. Ask Him, let Him. He will never fail.
A final word on this day when many of us are thinking on Purgatory.
This is my own opinion, not official teaching, but I don't think it
contradicts the teaching in any way. Try to think of Purgatory as
also being our chance to forgive ourselves. Surely the awesome
mercy and love of God are so infinite that many of us may have a
hard time accepting them at first, a hard time forgiving OURSELVES
for being so dumb. Purgatory might very well serve that purpose,
too! We cannot, after all, be perfectly happy in Heaven until we
are perfectly comfortable there. For that comfort, self-forgiveness
is very necessary!
Love and prayers,