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Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. March 3

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX Please pray for, Monique. She is in very critical condition with a rare lung disease. The Dr. thinks it is Goodpasture syndrome, an autoimmune disorder
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2008
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      +PAX


      Please pray for, Monique. She is in very critical condition with a
      rare lung disease. The Dr. thinks it is Goodpasture syndrome, an
      autoimmune disorder that attacks the lungs and kidneys.

      Please pray for Jeanni, undergoing exploratory surgery March 3rd for
      probable ovarian cancer, for the calming of her anxieties and her
      comfort in Christ.

      Please pray for Anastasia for whom we have prayed before. She tried
      to commit suicide two nights ago and is hospitalized.

      Please pray for Terry G.. Terry is suffering with inoperable cancer
      and just this past week lost her husband of 53 years to a heart
      attack.

      Please pray for the happy death and eternal repose of Richard's mom,
      who is nearing the end of her life due to bladder cancer and for
      Rich and Maraya who are caring for her 24/7 with tenderness and
      care, that they receive the strength to continue this most
      challenging ministry of love.

      +Please pray that Divine Mercy wi;; 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 3, July 3, November 2
      Chapter 26: On Those Who Without an Order Associate with the
      Excommunicated

      If any sister presumes without an order from the Abbess to
      associate in any way with an excommunicated sister, or to speak
      with her, or to send her a message, let her incur a similar
      punishment of excommunication.

      REFLECTION

      When punishment is necessary, the community should support it, at
      least passively. This united front should be far different from the
      human tendency we often see to abandon those in trouble. Quite the
      reverse, like everything in the Holy Rule, this must be fueled by
      the
      concern born of great love.

      Common life can often leave one with a slew of relationships which
      are polite and civil, even cordial, but frankly no deeper than a
      lot of people at work have with each other. That's sad, but it does
      happen. Times of crisis like this should awaken us to the necessary
      depth of love for all.

      Hard though it may sometimes be, we may not rejoice at the downfall
      of another. We must participate in common punishments because they
      are for the good of all, but also because they are primarily for
      the good of the offender, whom we must love. Admittedly, sometimes
      the only way one can express that concern is prayer, but we must
      pray!

      Sometimes, both superiors and communities can have an inordinate
      fear of giving punishment. What if she leaves? Yeah, what if....?
      Maybe she is supposed to leave, maybe this is God's way of telling
      her something about herself that she cannot see. Some people who
      really, truly do NOT belong in monastic life cannot be convinced of
      this.

      Some people who are terrible at a given job will not wake up to
      that fact in any other way. In some cases toxic folks must be told
      gently, but explicitly, that if they insist on continuing to harm
      themselves and others, they'll have to do it elsewhere, without
      destroying the rest
      of the family any longer.

      Some find the Rule harsh in this respect, but there is a great love
      and mercy here. The Holy Rule forbids what most people in groups
      will do: passive aggression. We cannot just wordlessly force the
      person out without a clue as to why.

      Punishment must be named and specific, the offender must know and
      those around her must care. It may in fact force a monk out, but he
      will know why when he leaves. This is vastly different from the
      ordinary human means of exclusion and expulsion. It includes grace.
      It includes love. Lots of love! And its justice is always somehow
      wrapped in mercy.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
      _brjeromeleo@..._ (mailto:brjeromeleo@...)
      Petersham, MA
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