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June 6

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Tom, thyroid biopsy, and for Ellen and Mike and all their family and for Mike s mother, who is dying, also for Pete, carotid artery
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 6, 2003

      Prayers, please, for Tom, thyroid biopsy, and for Ellen and Mike and
      all their family and for Mike's mother, who is dying, also for Pete,
      carotid artery blockage on the good side of his brain- the other side
      damaged by a stroke, and for Betsy, his wife. Thanks so much! God's
      will is best! NRN JL

      February 5, June 6, October 6
      Chapter 7: On Humility

      The eighth degree of humility
      is that a monk do nothing except what is commended
      by the common Rule of the monastery
      and the example of the elders.


      I am a much bigger fan of early Sinatra than I am of his later
      career. One of the hits of his closing years, which was also recorded
      by Elvis, was "My Way." It quickly became the defining anthem for
      many in the rather egocentric late 20th century. Actually, though
      both men sang it as an apologia/defense for their lives, by the time
      they got around to recording it, an apology in the more usual sense
      might have been much more in order. Couple these two guys with a
      third, Tony Bennett, in an imaginary trio for another hit, "I've
      Gotta Be Me" and you have the secular rationale of the self in a
      nutshell. I really love Tony Bennett, and I used to own a copy of his
      recording of "I've Gotta Be Me", but now I rather wish he'd passed up
      on that one.

      Both songs take the healthy notion of self and elevate it to a level
      of distortion and falsity. Like any heresy, they erroneously elevate
      a part of truth to being the whole truth and that spells trouble. Our
      selves are wonderful, unique, precious gifts, so are children. Leave
      either unbridled and malformed and you will regret it.

      Humility forms rightly because it is truth. Like the Gospel itself,
      humility is the exact reverse of many a worldly tune. The real,
      objective truth lies in the paradox, in the tension of yes AND no to
      many things which the world would accept unquestioningly as "YES!"

      So, here comes the 8th degree. It's message is that it is most safe
      to assume that doing it one's own way is neither right nor terribly
      bright. We may find that sometimes we are right, but even there, so
      long as the action is morally neutral, the wise course is subjection
      to the common mind. Benedictines swim in schools, it's our nature to
      do so.

      In fact, even doing it someone else's tested, tried and true way
      makes no sense. God calls us to the house and the observance that
      will best suit us. If we have made a mistake in hearing Him, He will
      somehow gets us to transfer (unless we STILL can't hear Him!)
      Otherwise, let things alone.

      A recurrent malady in the history of the American Cassinese
      Congregation (and heaven knows how many other congregations!) has
      been Trappist fever. It plagued Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, founder of
      the Order in America in his day, and it has resurfaced repeatedly in
      the years since his death. Now, Boniface Wimmer is not likely to be
      canonized any time soon, but he did not deserve a lot that was heaped
      on him by Trappist wannabes. He was a great missionary and a great
      builder. He may not have been in the top ten monastically speaking,
      but literally thousands of monastics have followed his road without
      plunging into the depths of perdition.

      Want to be a Trappist? Do so. Want to join St. Vincent's? Do so. Want
      to combine the two? Get lost! Mercifully, for all concerned, it was
      the "get lost" position that prevailed. We come to the monastery, to
      the Rule, to be taught, not to teach them. We come to be directed,
      not to direct, to be formed, not to form.

      If we allow all those things to happen to us in humility we quite
      likely WILL be elements of change for the better in the community's
      history, but that change will be one planned by God, not ourselves.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery
      Petersham, MA
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