Holy Rule fo May 12
Prayers, please, for Dave, on his birthday. Ad multos annos and many more!
Prayers for me, I have been appointed Oblate Master for our monastery. Pray that I may worthily serve and not get in God's way, please.
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
January 11, May 12, September 11
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be
Therefore, when anyone receives the name of Abbess,
she ought to govern her disciples with a twofold teaching.
That is to say,
she should show them all that is good and holy
by her deeds even more than by her words,
expounding the Lord's commandments in words
to the intelligent among her disciples,
but demonstrating the divine precepts by her actions
for those of harder hearts and ruder minds.
And whatever she has taught her disciples
to be contrary to God's law,
let her indicate by her example that it is not to be done,
lest, while preaching to others, she herself be found reprobate (1
and lest God one day say to her in her sin,
"Why do you declare My statutes
and profess My covenant with your lips,
whereas you hate discipline
and have cast My words behind you" (Ps. 49:16-17)?
"You were looking at the speck in your brother's eye,
and did not see the beam in your own" (Matt. 7:3).
This isn't just for abbots and parents, this is for all of us.
Example is put forward as the primary means of teaching, even before
words. All of us must "walk the talk" and practice what we preach.
Everyone of us is obliged to somehow uncover the splendor of the City
of God in our lives, to show it to others. Mere verbal description
will be of little help in comparison to actually living out the vision.
I remember many of my parents' words, we all do. When I am really
trying to gauge my behavior according to their standards, however, it
is often not words that I hear in my mind. I think of how they would
have acted in a given situation. If their behavior shames me at my own
planned response, I usually try to follow their plan of action, not
mine. Like everyone, however, I am not perfect and do not always
choose the higher road that memory of them shows me. Sad...
All of us put forward an image of who we are in words, one way or
another. As years go by, we usually get a more or less complete
picture of who we are and of the self we wish to present to the
world. This is where family, community and marriage can be so
The people who live with us, see right through the flaws
in our verbal picture. It is less easy for us to believe in our grand
images of ourselves when we are rubbing shoulders with one or more
reality checks all the time! These reality checks can point out
genuine greatness in areas we might not have expected, but they can
also underscore the pathetic comedy of our pretensions.
Both are useful for humility, both lead to truth. Those pointing out
our flaws are no more infallible than we are, but they can often be a
lot more objective.
Ever watch a foreign film with the audio badly dubbed into another
language? It is jarring and annoying. What St. Benedict is saying to
all of us here is to get the picture and the sound into synchronized
form. For all Christians, all Benedictines, there should be no
disparity between video and audio! Lofty ideal that!
St. Benedict knew that loftiness would be hard for us to reach, too.
He knew there would be beams in our eyes, specks in others'. Hence, a
lot of this boils down to approach and attitude. Come on to others
from a position of "I'm OK and you are not," and see where it gets
you. You might make a temporary dent. You might even change a few of
the really less than bright.
Most wise people, however, will give you a lot of room. They see the
mask, the falsity there, and it inhibits much else from getting through to
them. It's like really competent actors being cast in a role that does
not fit them at all. One sits through the whole movie thinking: "No way
can I believe that she is so-and-so!" "Great play, nice plot, but I didn't find
the male lead credible..."
Hopefully, at that final Awards night, there will be Tony's, Emmies
and Oscars for all of us, with maybe a Golden Globe or two thrown
into our totals!
Love and prayers,
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