A personal favor, please. My Dad, a huge influence in my life; today
would have been his 90th birthday. Please say a prayer for the Jerome
for whom I took the name! Thanks so much! NRN -JEROME Leo
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.
Our charity must be greater than that of the world. I know of few
places of secular employment that would take a person back even once,
let alone three times, after a foul-up that was their own fault. St.
Benedict insists on three tries, not for those who must be expelled,
but for those who leave through their own fault.
This is generous to those who need generosity, but also firm to those
who need firmness: three strikes and you really ARE out! I know one
poor fellow whose life is a mess and not least of all because he
absolutely will not accept that he has no monastic vocation. he has
been in more monasteries than some of us even knew existed, different
countries, different Orders, nothing fits. I don't mean three or four
attempts, I mean LOTS of attempts. While one had, at an earlier date,
to admire his determination, now everyone I know shakes their head
sadly. This is an obsession he cannot get beyond. That can happen
with an individual joining a community, too, and it is a wonderful
thing that the Holy Rule provides the community with a gentle, but
firmly legal way to say: "Enough."
However, many people make it on their second try, some even on their
third. Some make it later in another house, as I did. St. Benedict
makes room for slow learners like me. He asks that we all do that and
face it, folks, all of us are surrounded by a good many slow learners
in any area of life who need some slack.
Love and prayers,
Jerome, OSB jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery