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Holy Rule for Nov. 26

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of the following, for all their families and all who mourn them: Edna, 70 s, breast cancer. Alfred, 50 s,
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 25, 2007
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      Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of the following, for all their families and all who mourn them:

      Edna, 70's, breast cancer.

      Alfred, 50's, heart attack.

      Tim, 42, quadriplegic and multiple infections wore his body out.

      Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their families and all who treat or care for them:

      Janie, 100, multiple problems of old age, but mentally clear!

      Mary Dee, 12, Downs syndrome.

      Louis, 37, stomach cancer, now terminal, for his happy death.

      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

      March 27, July 27, November 26
      Chapter 47: On Giving the Signal for the Time of the Work of God

      The indicating of the hour for the Work of God
      by day and by night
      shall devolve upon the Abbot
      either to give the signal himself
      or to assign this duty to such a careful brother
      that everything will take place at the proper hours.

      Let the Psalms and the antiphons be intoned
      by those who are appointed for it,
      in their order after the Abbot.
      And no one shall presume to sing or read
      unless he can fulfill that office
      in such a way as to edify the hearers.
      Let this function be performed
      with humility, gravity and reverence,
      and by him whom the Abbot has appointed.


      Like it or not, for good or ill, the buck stops with the Abbot. This
      is true of many, if not all authority figures, so if you fall into
      such a group, know that when the Holy Rule speaks of the Abbot, it
      speaks of any Benedictine in authority, with a charge or
      responsibility, whether in the monastery, the family or a job in
      the world.

      There is a down side to the authority given here. Abbots are human.
      They can make bad choices, they can listen to bad advice, they can
      empower the wrong people. None of these things will, in and of
      itself, absolve us from obedience, but they often have some pragmatic
      use in helping us realize with whom (and what!) we are dealing.

      I have known at least two abbots who were blind to the faults of
      people they empowered to dangerous lengths. Virtually everybody else
      in the community knew, and, though risky, I would say that's a fairly
      safe rule of thumb: all of the monks are rarely wrong about someone.
      Oh, there may be the terribly occasional genuine saint who is
      misunderstood, but usually, when the common opinion was that bad,
      there was a reason for all that smoke somewhere!

      Which reminds those of us who do have authority to listen to those
      who disagree. Sometimes they are very, very right and we are wrong.
      Sometimes the person we think is so wonderful is not so hot to
      others, has a dark side that we never see, because the individual
      wishes to impress the source of empowerment. Sigh...

      Except for the rare above-mentioned saint, it is uncommon for someone
      in a monastery to be that disliked because they are doing wonderfully
      well. I'm not saying that NEVER happens, but at least in my monastic
      experience, doing a job terribly well is not usually what earns
      disfavor. Being a terror, on the other hand, readily does.

      If the Abbot misses the fact and enables one who IS a terror, his
      flock will be overdriven in nothing flat. As Scripture suggests, they
      may all die in one day and rest assured, those of them who don't will
      wish they'd been able to!

      Monastics can endure a lot patiently, but I have never seen such a
      megalomaniac's power survive into a successor's abbacy. Interesting
      to note, but when the power is removed, the vocation often
      vaporizes, too. Many a heavyweight honcho has departed soon after the
      Abbot that enabled him has left office. Few, if any of them, were mourned.

      Which brings us to another glitch. Your charge in the monastery
      cannot be your vocation. If you make it so, you will quite likely
      lose when asked to choose between the two. I LIKE being guestmaster,
      but I don't need to be guestmaster. Something else would be fine.

      What I NEED to be is a monk. For some, sadly, the need-to-be thing is
      to be in power. Tragic and very, very sad... I have never known such
      an individual in monastic life of whom I was the least bit envious.
      They are pathetically sad creatures.

      But this is also true of ALL walks of life. All we really NEED to be
      is Christ's, to be holy. That means to do our VOCATION well, whatever that may be.
      The rest is all fluff. Every single Christian and especially those
      of us who choose the Benedictine path, need to examine this and our own
      attitude to jobs or power VERY, very closely

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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