Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. March 2
Please pray for the conversion of Aurélie. She hates God, and when
something is mentioned about the Holy Spirit, she gives a very nasty
look, almost scary.
Please that Almighty God will perfect and help complete the work of
Elaine her and co-workers, that God will bless them all so they get
along and see Him in each other and by His grace meet their deadlines
Please pray for John, for whom we have been praying, has been raced
into hospital with internal bleeding ... he is riddled with cancer
so prognosis is not good at all.Please pray that he turns to the God
whom he has been denying the existance of.
Please pray for Dale (USMC) who is deploying again. Obviously I
can't say when in email. Please pray for his protection, his
units protection (I won't state) and a change in Muslim Extremists
hearts that they will turn to the Lord and stop the killing.
Please pray for safe travel for our good Brother Jerome and all
those blessed to participate in the Retreat.
+Please pray the Divine Mercy will shine upon all those who have
taken their 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
March 2, July 2, November 1
Chapter 25: On Weightier Faults
Let the brother who is guilty of a weightier fault be excluded both
from the table and from the oratory. Let none of the brethren join
him either for company or for conversation.
Let him be alone at the work assigned him, abiding in penitential
sorrow and pondering that terrible sentence of the Apostle where he
says that a man of that kind is handed over
for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in
the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5). Let him take his meals alone in
the measure and at the hour which the Abbot shall consider suitable
for him. He shall not be blessed by those who pass by, nor shall
the food that is given him be blessed.
Justice demands that the punishment fit the crime, and St. Benedict
gives the two points between which a spectrum of other methods may
be employed. He does not want a one-size-fits-all system of
correction and clearly says so more than once.
Think of any parent or authority figure you have ever heard
criticized. If punishment was in any way involved, it is most
likely that the fault was in doing too much or too little. A cruel
person can make employees or children or monastics live in terror.
Punishment is relentless and swift and often comes without warning.
This may result in slavish compliance or outright rebellion, but it
never results in a healthy self, for authority or subject. We are
not called to live in dread of unwittingly angering some
intransigent despot, whose whims may be dangerous, indeed. We are
called to live
in peace and mercy: to receive it and to give it to others. That is
true of all monastics, superiors and those governed.
But we are not called to peace at any price whatsoever, which is
the fault of those who do too little to correct. Fear of the
governed is as stupid and pointless as fear of the governor and
neither helps anyone. While too much control may lead the community
to fear the
Abbess, too little will leave them equally afraid of each other!
Note carefully that the missing ingredients in either extreme are
love, real charity, as well as a trusting prayer for grace and
guidance. God is NEVER in charge of such vicious extremes, and if
they occur, it is quite likely that we either didn't ask Him for
grace and help or didn't listen when it came. If we are not showing
His love to all, something is very wrong. If mercy does not temper
justice (and justice does not temper total inaction!) something is
Really peaceful people do not avoid confrontation at all costs, if
they do, even they will never have peace. They will have nothing
more than an uneasy truce or more less perpetual fear. That is not
the loving way to deal with a problem.
The Benedictine way is, as usual, the middle way. Some would put
down the middle way, call it weak, but, as we have seen, it takes a
tremendous amount of guts and grace to do it well. Our way is quite
the reverse of a cop-out: it requires genuine courage and grace, to
say nothing of its chief component, a lot of very frank and
truthful LOVE! Ah, yes, and that mercy which is a mirror of the
Divine Mercy, too!
Love and prayers,