Prayers for Tom and Courtney, on their birthdays. Ad multos annos, many years!
For the happy death and eternal rest of Justino, 96, and for all who mourn him.
For the spiritual, mental and physical welling-being of the following, for all their loved ones and those taking care of them:
Elizabeth, 80's, Justino's wife, dementia and Alzheimer's and had to be hospitalized at his death.
For their granddaughter Jasmine who was having an extremely difficult timeconceiving. She's pregnant, was able to share the good news with her grandfather before he died. May she be blessed with a safe and healthy pregnancy.
For Marilyn and Jim, they lost their baby for whom we prayed. May the Lord
heal their wounded spirits and give them the grace of hope.
For Peter. organ transplant surgery scheduled soon.
Eunice, diagnosed with breat cancer, and for her daughter, Leslie and all their dear ones.
Pat who is undergoing an operation to remove an artificial hip joint because of a staph infection. She will have to undergo several months of rehabilitation and will then have to have another hip joint implanted. Also pray for her family this is only the latest in family problems. 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 6, July 6, November 5
Chapter 29: Whether Brethren Who Leave the Monastery Should Be
If a brother
who through his own fault leaves the monastery
should wish to return,
let him first promise full reparation for his having gone away;
and then let him be received in the lowest place,
as a test of his humility.
And if he should leave again,
let him be taken back again,
and so a third time;
but he should understand that after this
all way of return is denied him.
This one could well apply to groups other than monasteries, families
especially. There is, however, a whole array of extra problems tied
into family applications. Putting it all too briefly, one can ( and
sometimes sadly must,) limit the ability of the offender to harm the
family, even limit it severely, while still retaining ties of love
and care. A very delicate balance!
The Gospel tells us to forgive 70 times 7 times and surely, we must.
That, however, is a command on us individually, and a command, by the
way, that calls for forgiveness, not foolhardiness. One needn't keep
one's hand on the same hot stove throughout all the forgiving!
At some point, too, probably well before the end of one's forgiveness
rope, the offender would probably have incurred at least some loss of
privilege. Obviously, the dog that is forgiven for killing sheep
several times will not likely tend the flock.
The thing to remember here and in families is that we are not dealing
with only two individuals, but a group. Re-entry into a monastery (or
family,) can be a very tense thing. It is certainly worth doing, but may
not be a good thing to do limitless times. It wears out the family and
it wears out the community. We must always love, always forgive, but
sometimes limits to harm have to be set for the good of all.
St. Benedict is not mean here. There is no element of surprise to the
offender about the three-strikes-and-you're-out program: she has
heard it ever since novitiate. It might be construed as mean if there
were no forewarning, but there is. Anyone coming back for the third time
knows they are on their last leg. Foul up that time, and you're history.
The monastery is a specialized society with a specialized goal:
seeking union with God for all its members. Because of that
specialized nature, the monastery does not have an infinite
commitment to anyone, except to one who truly perseveres unto death.
This is unlike the stronger and more necessary bonds of Church or
Not everyone who wants to join a monastery is truly called to be a
monastic. Perhaps, too, one is called, but not to that particular
monastery. People can be allowed to leave, or they can be thrown out,
or they can be told they can never come back after the third time.
This is a different situation from forgiveness. The one denied
further entry must, no doubt at all, be forgiven, but he must also
know that his chances to disrupt the community have come to an end.
Monasteries need a relative level of peace to fulfill their purpose:
creating a place in which God may be served and the monastic life
be fostered. The limits of three times' return have that sacred purpose
Love and prayers,
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