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Holy Rule for Jan. 16

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    Karen s Mom, she was in a car accident last week and is in ICU on a respirator. Unkown prognosis. A young man who is working on his PhD is having serious
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 15, 2008
      Karen's Mom, she was in a car accident last week and is in ICU on a respirator. Unkown prognosis.

      A young man who is working on his PhD is having serious financial problems, trying to finish it. He's so close to the end, but all his aid resources have dried up. He is a young father with a family of 4 children.

      Mary, 88, hospitalized yesterday and in severe pain from several fractures (severe osteoporosis, no fall) and has fluid on her lungs. She and her 94-year-old husband, John, live in their own home and
      She has many allergies to painkillers, so they haven't been able to adequately handle the pain yet. And for her daughter, Elaine.

      Grant,16, is having surgery on Wednesday to remove a malignant tumor (baseball size) from his lung. They are concerned it could be attached to his heart. A few weeks later he needs to go in again to have another one removed from his other lung. There are other tumors but they are removing the largest ones to keep him comfortable.

      Continued prayers for Danielle, found to have a rare virus and hospitalized for a few more days. She has young children at home and child care could become a problem.

      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

      January 16, May 17, September 16
      Chapter 3: On Calling the Brethren for Counsel

      Whenever any important business has to be done
      in the monastery,
      let the Abbot call together the whole community
      and state the matter to be acted upon.
      Then, having heard the brethren's advice,
      let him turn the matter over in his own mind
      and do what he shall judge to be most expedient.
      The reason we have said that all should be called for counsel
      is that the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.

      Let the brethren give their advice
      with all the deference required by humility,
      and not presume stubbornly to defend their opinions;
      but let the decision rather depend on the Abbot's judgment,
      and all submit to whatever he shall decide for their welfare.

      However, just as it is proper
      for the disciples to obey their master,
      so also it is his function
      to dispose all things with prudence and justice.

      REFLECTION

      Benedictine government is not pure democracy, but it was a lot more
      representative than Church government in its time or, for that
      matter, our own. It was also vastly more democratic that secular feudalism!
      One wishes that both Church and state of today had a
      more Benedictine flavor!

      The Catholic Church actually had models in its early years that were
      MORE democratic than St. Benedict, the synagogue model and the
      charismatic, both more congregational in their aspects. Both were
      abandoned for the monarchial episcopate model connected with Antioch.
      The bishop became monarch and so it has largely remained. That model
      fell far below the Benedictine standard of at least consultative
      democracy.

      Over 15 centuries of Benedictine history, constitutions have divided
      the powers of abbot and community more specifically. There are times-
      not many, to be sure- when a chapter CAN thwart an abbot. There are
      times the abbot cannot act alone. But, by and large, our superiors
      have been left with a lot more power than the US President or the
      Queen of the United Kingdom, but less power than the average bishop.

      The way of St. Benedict is hardly mob rule, but it does ensure a
      voice to those governed, a voice that must be listened to, even when
      it is not definitive. How different history might be if people only had as
      much voice as the Holy Rule allows. How clearly St. Benedict saw what
      would happen to a community in such an instance: the members would
      feel ripped off, and rightly so. Very important things had come to light, and
      the rank and file were left in the dark. Trust was violated and trust is the
      very foundation of community.

      There is no way at all that the world was ready for pure democracy in
      St. Benedict's time, in diocese or monastery or state. Large majorities of
      the
      populace were illiterate, few indeed were educated, and there were no
      means of mass communication. Whole empires, like the Aztec and Incan,
      rose without the slightest awareness that there were other people on
      the planet, nor was the rest of the world aware of them. I would be
      the last person to call for free elections in such a milieu. By
      contrast, it almost makes feudalism look like a really good idea for
      the times.

      And maybe it was, but it has ceased to be for our own time. There are
      clearly levels of education, communication and general ability in the
      population today that call for more participation, not less. Tough
      saying, but St. Benedict was writing for a society whose rank and
      file was largely full of really rustic, less than brightest bulb types.
      True, they got a lot of their rough edges honed down in the monastic
      setting, but they were not as capable of contributing to decision-making
      as people are today.

      I am not writing this with an axe to grind, saying that the Church
      and world should follow the Benedictine model. (Though that would
      certainly be my personal wish.) What I am trying to point out is the
      perennial wealth and freshness to be found in St. Benedict's Holy
      Rule. Its wisdom is as germane today as it was 1,500 years ago. It
      bears the proud hallmark of both truth and wisdom: it is ageless.

      In Church and State, the people of the developed world are ready,
      willing, and quite capable of having a lot more say than antiquated
      standards have allowed them. No wonder the powers that be are
      terrified of that.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for Nicholas, may God protect him and his vocation. Ardent prayers for the healing of Kaitlyn Rose. Prayers for Francis Xavier, whose 40th
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 15

        +PAX

         

        Prayers for Nicholas, may God protect him and his vocation.

         

        Ardent prayers for the healing of Kaitlyn Rose.

         

        Prayers for Francis Xavier, whose 40th birthday was Sunday. May he come to a full faith and relationship with Christ, may God’s purpose in his life be fulfilled. Prayers, too, for his Mom.

         

        Prayers for Len and his wife and family. Len is beginning hospice services. I am uncertain of his faith and beliefs, may he be reconciled to God and have a happy death.

         

        Prayers for Steve and his wife and family, he has been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. He never smoked and is a long time Christian. May he and his wife remain firm in faith and trust and for his healing.

         

        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

        January 16, May 17, September 16
        Chapter 3: On Calling the Brethren for Counsel

        Whenever any important business has to be done
        in the monastery,
        let the Abbot call together the whole community
        and state the matter to be acted upon.
        Then, having heard the brethren's advice,
        let him turn the matter over in his own mind
        and do what he shall judge to be most expedient.
        The reason we have said that all should be called for counsel
        is that the Lord often reveals to the younger what is best.

        Let the brethren give their advice
        with all the deference required by humility,
        and not presume stubbornly to defend their opinions;
        but let the decision rather depend on the Abbot's judgment,
        and all submit to whatever he shall decide for their welfare.

        However, just as it is proper
        for the disciples to obey their master,
        so also it is his function
        to dispose all things with prudence and justice.

        REFLECTION

        Benedictine government is not pure democracy, but it was a lot more
        representative than Church government in its time or, for that
        matter, our own. It was also vastly more democratic than secular feudalism!

        Over nearly 15 centuries of Benedictine history, constitutions have divided
        the powers of abbot and community more specifically. There are times-
        not many, to be sure- when a chapter CAN thwart an abbot. There are
        times the abbot cannot act alone. But, by and large, our superiors
        have been left with a lot more power than the US President or the
        Queen of the United Kingdom, but less power than the average bishop.

        The way of St. Benedict is hardly mob rule, but it does ensure a
        voice to those governed, a voice that must be listened to, even when
        it is not definitive. How different history might be if people only had as
        much voice as the Holy Rule allows.

        There is no way at all that the world was ready for pure democracy in
        St. Benedict's time, in diocese or monastery or state. Large majorities of
        the populace were illiterate, few indeed were educated, and there were no
        means of mass communication. Whole empires, like the Aztec and Incan,
        rose without the slightest awareness that there were other people on
        the planet, nor was the rest of the world aware of them. It almost makes
        feudalism look like a really good idea for the times.

        And maybe it was, but it has ceased to be for our own time. There are
        clearly levels of education, communication and general ability in the
        population today that call for more participation, not less. Tough
        saying, but St. Benedict was writing for a society whose rank and
        file was largely full of really rustic types.
        True, they got a lot of their rough edges honed down in the monastic
        setting, but they were not as capable of contributing to decision-making
        as people are today.

        I am not writing this with an axe to grind, saying that the world should
        follow the Benedictine model. (Though that would certainly be my personal wish.)
        What I am trying to point out is the perennial wealth and freshness to be found
        in St. Benedict's Holy Rule. Its wisdom is as germane today as it was almost
        1,500 years ago. It bears the proud hallmark of both truth and wisdom: it is ageless.


        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA

         

         

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