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Holy Rule for Dec. 29

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    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,
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 28, 2007
      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,
      however little,
      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.

      REFLECTION

      OK, now we're getting into radical. Any human group, from the
      military to a kindergarten at recess expects one to obey the leader.
      But each other? Give me a break! How many jobs would you have quit if
      you had to obey all of your co-workers? Yet St. Benedict calls such
      obedience a "boon", a wonderfully good thing.

      Well, giving a break is exactly what is intended here. The Kingdom of
      God, which the Holy Rule seeks to guide us to, is ruled by love, not
      hierarchy per se. It includes a hierarchy, yes, but that, too, is
      founded on love. The Kingdom of God strives for peace and serenity.

      The quickest way to soften an environment and let peace flourish is
      to keep people more or less happy, and the quickest way to do that is
      to give in to their legitimate wishes whenever possible. So long as the
      matter at hand is morally neutral, why not give way?

      Now we're getting to the heroic stuff. There are ulterior benefits to
      obeying the boss, but another peer? What's the big deal there? The
      big deal is love, the big deal is forgetfulness of self, the big deal
      is the abdication of control issues.

      Monastic struggle will not free one who is attached to control. It
      will thwart the good of the struggle. Don't beat yourself up too
      badly on this one if you live in the world, because many, many
      monastics in cloisters fail it as well. It is one of Satan's
      sneakiest tricks and he enjoys its effectiveness immensely. What
      could be better than something the poor victims hardly notice at all,
      that eats up their hard work like a ravenous cancer? Very, very handy.

      I am tempted to say that anyone who is addicted to control- at any
      stage of monastic life- ought to be set to cleaning bathrooms until
      the feeling passes. Hey, that would be a great idea, but most
      monasteries do not have that many toilets. Sad, but true.

      Rather than worry about the pathetic individuals so addicted, who can
      make life so unpleasant for those they live with, why not just focus on
      changing ourselves? We can be part of the solution. We can go out of
      our way to make life easier for each other. We can pray for those who
      don't.

      A horrible truth of monastic life is that if one waits for everyone
      to get perfect (according, of course, to one's own standards!) the
      result will be futile and frustrated stagnation. Community we may be,
      but all on the same page we shall never be till heaven, and maybe not
      even there!

      It's a snap to be a pain. Any fool can pull that off with no effort at
      all. Lots of them do, all the time! The harvest, however, is
      isolation and loneliness, which result in bitterness that only fuels
      the vicious cycle.

      In contrast, it is a bit difficult at first to be easy, but it is
      ALSO addictive when done right! One will soon be hunting for ways to
      be easy, because every drop of water makes the ocean a tiny bit less
      salty. The harvest, too, is far more precious: a growing warmth that
      makes one ever more gentle, more open, more loving and glad to be so.
      The harvest is joy and love, not the lie of possession and bitterness.
      You may not change the world alone, but the change in yourself will be
      awesome and dramatic. That alone will go farther still to improve the
      world, to build up the Mystical Body of Christ.

      It is very unlikely that you will ever be able to cure a control
      freak. Give them a lot of room, because (harsh saying here!) they can be
      truly a danger to your serenity. Cultivate among your peers an attitude
      of complete non-control, of nearly total indifference to detail,
      rather like the old peace poster that said: "What if they gave a war
      and no one came?".

      Maybe, just maybe, the wizard might one day wake up to actually see
      that Oz is not with her! That's about your only hope. People like
      this can profit us by being crosses and we can grow from praying for
      them, but getting sucked into their hopelessly false view of reality
      is a fatal mistake.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • russophile2002
      +PAX Prayers for Fr. Michael Owens, who celebrated 32 years of Priesthood yesterday. Many more years! Ad multos annos! Prayers for Mark, rushed to the hospital
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 29, 2016

        +PAX

         

        Prayers for Fr. Michael Owens, who celebrated 32 years of Priesthood yesterday. Many more years! Ad multos annos!

         

        Prayers for Mark, rushed to the hospital after a seizure of some kind and CPR. He seems much better, but the cause of the seizure is still unknown. Tests pending. Prayers for his recovery and for his wife and all his family.

         

        Prayers for B., 14, depressed and suicidal at times, she has a history of self-harming. Ardent prayers for her and her family, that she not harm herself and is successfully treated.

         

        Prayers for Mrs. C., whom we prayed for some time ago, her cancer has returned. Prayers that the treatments work, and, if they don’t, that God grants her a very happy death. Prayers, esp., for her daughter, Linda.

         

        Prayers for Evie and her mother, G., their father and husband abandoned them. Evie is already suffering from a variety of mental issues and her mother now needs to find work to support them both. Prayers for the conversion of the father, too.

         

        Deo gratias and prayers of thanks, Kermit’s wife has been discharged from the hospital and is at home. Continued prayers for her full recovery, and for Kermit

         

         

         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

        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,
        however little,
        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.

        REFLECTION

        OK, now we're getting into radical. Any human group, from the
        military to a kindergarten at recess expects one to obey the leader.
        But each other? Give me a break! How many jobs would you have quit if
        you had to obey all of your co-workers? Yet St. Benedict calls such
        obedience a "boon", a wonderfully good thing.

        Well, giving a break is exactly what is intended here. The Kingdom of
        God, which the Holy Rule seeks to guide us to, is ruled by love.

        The quickest way to soften an environment and let peace flourish is
        to keep people more or less happy, and the quickest way to do that is
        to give in to their legitimate wishes whenever possible. So long as the
        matter at hand is morally neutral, why not give way?

        Now we're getting to the heroic stuff. There are ulterior benefits to
        obeying the boss, but another peer? What's the big deal there? The
        big deal is love, the big deal is forgetfulness of self, the big deal
        is the abdication of control issues.

        It's a snap to be a pain. Anybody can pull that off with no effort at
        all. Lots of folks do, all the time! The harvest, however, is
        isolation and loneliness, which result in bitterness that only fuels
        the vicious cycle.

        In contrast, it may be a bit difficult at first to be easy, but it is
        ALSO addictive when done right! One will soon be hunting for ways to
        be easy, because every drop of water makes the ocean a tiny bit less
        salty. The harvest, too, is far more precious: a growing warmth that
        makes one ever more gentle, more open, more loving and glad to be so.
        The harvest is joy and love, not the lie of possession and bitterness.
        You may not change the world alone, but the change in yourself will be
        awesome and dramatic. That alone will go farther still to improve the
        world, to build up the Mystical Body of Christ.

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB

        www.stmarysmonastery.org

        Petersham, MA

         


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