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Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. March 15

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 14, 2008
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      +PAX

      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"
      (Matt.25:40).

      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
      rarely.
      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.


      REFLECTION

      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,

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