Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. Feb 27
Please pray for Matthew. He isn't yet 21 and has just gotten out on
parole; repeated drug related problems and also bi-polar.
Please pray for Nolla who is to under go for fairly serious surgery
on Thursday and is terrified and also please pray for Veronica for
whom we prayed two years ago when she underwent surgery for cancer,
she now has other lung problems which could prove terminal.
Please pray for safe travel and spiitual growth for our good Brother
Jerome and all involved in the Retreat.
+Please pray that Divine Mercy will shine upon all those who have
taken theri own lives. +
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
February 27, June 28, October 28
Chapter 21: On the Deans of the Monastery
If the community is a large one, let there be chosen out of it
brethren of good repute and holy life, and let them be appointed
deans. These shall take charge of their deaneries in all things,
observing the commandments of God and the instructions of their
Let men of such character be chosen deans that the Abbot may with
confidence share his burdens among them. Let them be chosen not by
rank but according to their worthiness of life and the wisdom of
If any of these deans should become inflated with pride and found
deserving of censure,
let him be corrected once, and again, and a third time. If he will
not amend, then let him be deposed and another be put in his place
who is worthy of it.
And we order the same to be done in the case of the Prior.
Did anyone read this as I did at first, many years ago, and
wonder: "Why did St. Benedict give them an academic name
like "deans"? Well, it was probably the other way around! Since the
first schools were monastic ones, it is quite likely that the
term "dean" entered academia via the Holy Rule!
Surely the academic gown of today is a modified form of our
Benedictine choir robe, the cowl or cuculla. In fact, Benedictines
used to wear their cucullas with the appropriate academic hoods as
their formal dress at graduations and the like. With all due respect
to the johnny-come-latelies like the Dominicans, Franciscans and
Jesuits, when they don full academic regalia, they're wearing a
derived form of our choir habit!
But, enough of trivia...This chapter repeats another important
consideration in St. Benedict's plan: people are not to be
overburdened. This theme is less noticeable than the more important
ones of moderation and the like, but it is there. Again and again,
the Holy Rule says that people should have help with their charges,
certain officials should even be exempted from serving in the
Two things are going on here, both very important. Surely the first
is kindness, gentle consideration for human frailty. The second,
however, is every bit as defining and important: we are not our
work, we are not our jobs, our vocation and worth is only connected
such things tangentially at best. Our motto is Prayer AND Work. The
message is that neither of these should make the other impossible.
This message is equally important for both choir monastics and
Oblates. If your work is so much that your prayer suffers,
something is wrong. However, especially true for those of us in the
secular world, if your prayer is so much that your job or children
or marriage suffers, something is REALLY wrong. If your work
deprives your family or spouse, it might be time to look at
changing it, time to rearrange goals and priorities a bit.
One of the occasional problems of modern life everywhere is not
just that we are too busy, but that we FOCUS too much attachment
and will on stuff that really doesn't matter. Change that focus.
Picture your job today if you had died yesterday. The important
stuff would still get done by someone else. The rest, your own
agenda, would go merrily
down the tubes.
Well, learn from that! A LOT of our own agendas are worth little
more than that: going down the tubes. So why waste so much time and
spiritual and emotional energy on them? As it does so frequently,
the Holy Rule and Benedictine life tell us: "Get real!"
Train yourself- and it is not always easy- to learn what NOT to
care about at all, what does not, and should not matter one bit.
That is the detachment that is truly holy. It is not all that hard
to learn, either, if one keeps at it and asks God for His grace,
without which we can do
Love and prayers,