Brother Jerome's Reflections: Dec 14
- +PAX Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the
following, for all their families and those who take care of them:
Please pray for the happy death and eternal repose of Cardinal Avery
Dulles, a convert to Roman Catholicism who was the first U.S.
theologian named a cardinal, died Friday. He was 90. Please pray for
healing for June, rushed to hospital with a very serious heart attack
and in ICU. Prayers also for her husband Pat and all the kids. Please
pray for the happy death and eternal repose of Jane L., who passed
away this morning, and her daughter, Betsy. Tomorrow is the day
Shirley's friend takes her two cats (Tigger and Melody) to the SPCA
no kill facility. Her friend is moving to Alabama on Sunday and
cannot take them. Please pray that they will be accepted. (They have
a no-kill policy). Shirley is fearful that the facility will reject
them and that they'll have to be taken to Animal Services where they
will be destroyed. They are so loving. They deserve a good home
where that love will be returned to them. Please pray for Monica who
is grieving for the death of her best friend. She has much anger in
her from the dramatic event.
+++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
April 14, August 14, December 14
Chapter 60: On Priests Who May Wish to Live in the Monastery
If any ordained priest should ask to be received into the monastery,
permission shall not be granted too readily. But if he is quite
persistent in his request, let him know that he will have to observe
the whole discipline of the Rule and that nothing will be relaxed in
that it may be as it is written: "Friend, for what have you come
It shall be granted him, however, to stand next after the Abbot and
to give blessings and to celebrate Mass, but only by order of the
Without such order let him not make any exceptions for himself,
knowing that he is subject to the discipline of the Rule; but rather
let him give an example of humility to all.
If there happens to be question of an appointment or of some business
in the monastery, let him expect the rank due him according to the
date of his entrance into the monastery, and not the place granted him
out of reverence for the priesthood.
If any clerics, moved by the same desire, should wish to join the
monastery, let them be placed in a middle rank. But they too are to
be admitted only if they promise observance of the Rule and stability.
St. Benedict here is simply insisting again on equality. Just as he
wanted the rich to divest themselves of privilege at entrance, so
does he want the clergy to put aside the privileges that their status
gave them in the world.
This has been difficult in our Order's history to apply. Canon law
itself has given more than a bit of trouble in this respect,
guaranteeing that priests had to be governed by ordained major
superiors and so forth. There have also been backlashes of
anticlericalism among brothers in some areas in the last 50 years.
Neither extreme is a happy one.
Cling instead to what St. Benedict is saying here to all of us about
the equality of all. Only for virtue or experience (or because the
Abbot deems to do so,) may one be placed before another. WOW! Picture
a world run on that model, picture even a corporation! St. Benedict
tries to give privilege only to those worthy of it. Would that every
human institution did that!
The quintessential question of the Holy Rule is that of
Jesus: "Friend, for what have you come?" The only acceptable answer
to the question is: "To seek God." That might be rephrased in any of
a number of ways, but that's the main event, the only game in town,
the end all be all of Benedictine monastic life.
It is very necessary, in stating that we seek God, to admit that we
haven't altogether found Him yet, nor will we ever do so before
death. Even in the beatific vision of heaven itself, we creatures
will never, ever get to the root of our Creator, to the "ground zero"
of God. Ain't gonna happen.
Another way of saying this is that we need to come to the Holy Rule
and to the Gospel and to Christ admitting how frighteningly little we
DO know, how very much we need to learn. If we think an MDiv or an MD
or a BS may have corrected that problem, even slightly, well, maybe
the degree is just about all we've gotten from the experience.
For heaven's sake, after spending so many years of my life trying to
become clever, what a tremendous relief it is to be admittedly dumb:
pluperfectly, fallibly, humanly, screamingly, shriekingly DUMB! Boy,
I love it! Ignorance truly *IS* bliss, just like they told ya!
In one sense, I heartily recommend it. It is the only position from
which one may learn anything at all. Get too smart (or think you
have!) and you will never listen, thereby failing another Benedictine
hallmark. You won't learn because all your energy will go into
composing your rejoinder or response. Such people do not learn. They
merely joust. Life is more than that, much more. Tons more.
Love and prayers,