Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. March 15
Please continue to pray for healing for our good Brother Jerome who
has a very nasty case of Flu.
Please continue prayers for Chris in the Police Academy and thanks
to people who are praying for him.
+Please pray that 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 15, July 15, November 14
Chapter 36: On the Sick
Before all things and above all things, care must be taken of the
sick, so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person;
for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" (Matt 25:36),
and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me"
But let the sick on their part consider that they are being served
for the honor of God, and let them not annoy their sisters who are
serving them by their unnecessary demands. Yet they should be
patiently borne with, because from such as these is gained a more
abundant reward. Therefore the Abbess shall take the greatest care
that they suffer no neglect.
For these sick let there be assigned a special room and an
attendant who is God-fearing, diligent and solicitous. Let the use
of baths be afforded the sick as often as may be expedient; but to
the healthy, and especially to the young, let them be granted more
Moreover, let the use of meat be granted to the sick who are very
weak, for the restoration of their strength; but when they are
convalescent, let all abstain from meat as usual.
The Abbess shall take the greatest care that the sick be not
neglected by the cellarers or the attendants; for she also is
responsible for what is done wrongly by her disciples.
Visitors quite characteristically remark on the peace of
Benedictine monasteries. They surely ought to be able to notice
something very different from the world at large, something would
probably be very wrong with the house if none could. On the other
hand, no matter how politely we may respond to those who exclaim
how peaceful things are, I'll bet that most monastic hearts- and
maybe all- sinkingly say: "Yeah, but you don't LIVE here..."
My dear theology professor, Dr. Jean Ronan, used to always
say: "The mills of God grind slowly, yet exceeding fine...." She
meant that in a karma sort of way, what goes around comes around
sooner or later. However, today's reading and life in community
have taught me to see an additional meaning. The mills of God truly
DO turn very slowly. Sometimes their windmill blades are barely
stirred by a hesitant breeze. No wonder that outsiders and first-
time visitors cannot notice them grinding the wheat!
Ah, denied the fall-into-the-ground-and-die brand of outright
martyrdom, our grains of wheat must be ground into flour, a process
of immolation no less complete, but most uncomfortably slower! (St.
Teresa of Avila said that the martyrs "bought Heaven cheaply"
winning with one swing of the axe what we must struggle on many
years to acquire.)
Don't make the mistake of looking only at the beauty of the ripe
wheat swaying gently in the breeze and sunlight and the smoothness
of a sack of pre-sifted flour. Between those two comes a LOT of the
grindstone! To say nothing of the sickle at first...oh, yeah, and
that winnowing part- I almost forgot.
What on earth does all this have to do with care of the sick? Ah,
you have been patient and that is commendable. Take heart, the
point of all this is at hand.
The borders between sickness and meanness and evil are often
blurred to indistinguishable levels. One age posited demons for
epilepsy, our own sees exculpating psychological illness or
impairment behind all manner of skullduggery. We have too little
time, in many cases, to waste a lot of time with thorny and perhaps
impossible diagnoses. In charity, we are usually obliged to assume
that the meanest of people are simply not well. We do, after all,
have to think the best of people.
That can be terribly maddening. We WANT to ascribe blame when hurt
or wronged. Every flawed human nerve in our body can begin to
cry: "No quarter, no mercy!" Gee, in a flawed human way of
speaking, wouldn't it be nice if we could! But we can't, we simply
cannot. If we do, we become so unlike the mercy of Christ, the love
of God, that our souls are in very great peril. This can sabotage
our spiritual struggles in nothing flat.
Hence, the care of the sick comes very much into play with the way
we deal with those who hurt or harm us. This is a far different
affair from being a passive doormat for the world. Any who have ever
worked in health care could readily attest that the sick must often
be treated with a lot of less than lovely stuff: cautery, surgery,
pumps and tubes and even,
yes, at times, amputation. (I had catheterized probably hundreds of
people before I ever had the procedure done myself. It was most
informative. How I wish my training had started with that procedure
being done to me. I never did it to a patient the same way again.)
Hey, all of us are nice, good people in our own eyes much of the
time. Our biggest gaffs are usually those to which we are all but
completely blind. We must realize that this is not just true of
ourselves, but of others as well. And, perhaps most difficult of
all, we must see that sometimes WE are the ones who really need to
be in the waiting room for cautery or amputation... Sigh... Ain't
life and humility grand?
Hence, whenever a relationship or person truly does require
remediation, we must behave as we would like to be treated in the
same circumstance. Compassion, love and gentle kindness, not
patronization or scorn or abrupt roughness must rule the day. Many
of us have experienced both the kind of nurse one loved and the kind
that one would gladly forget if one could! Which sort of treatment
do you wish to give?
Love and prayers,