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Catching up... Missed reading

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    Since last year was a Leap Year and this year is not, a reading got skipped that should have been appended to the 28th. Here it is: February 29, June 30,
    Message 1 of 53 , Feb 28, 2009
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      Since last year was a Leap Year and this year is not, a reading got skipped that should have been appended to the 28th. Here it is:

      February 29, June 30, October 30
      Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults
      (If there is no 29th of Feburary, append this entry to the previous.)

      If a brother is found to be obstinate,
      or disobedient, or proud, or murmuring,
      or habitually transgressing the Holy Rule in any point
      and contemptuous of the orders of his seniors,
      the latter shall admonish him secretly a first and a second time,
      as Our Lord commands (Matt. 18:15).
      If he fails to amend,
      let him be given a public rebuke in front of the whole community.
      But if even then he does not reform,
      let him be placed under excommunication,
      provided that he understands the seriousness of that penalty;
      if he is perverse, however,
      let him undergo corporal punishment.

      REFLECTION

      It is sad, indeed, that a chapter like this ever had to be written,
      sad in St. Benedict's time, sad in our own. How little human beings
      change in some ways! Why on earth would anyone come to a monastic
      struggle with an attitude that says: "I know better. I'm right and
      they're wrong."? Why would anyone persist in staying with such an
      attitude?

      Because they are blind. It's another favorite trick of Satan.
      Blurred
      or clouded assessments of the reality at hand are his forte.
      Especially when these phony lenses get applied to religious matters,
      the obstinacy and self-righteousness can go to extremes.

      Look, beloveds, every single one of us, from the newest Oblate
      candidate to the Abbot Primate, came to the monastic life, to the
      Holy Rule, to be CHANGED. We came to learn, not to teach. We came to
      reform ourselves, not the monastery. We not only arrived with that
      attitude, we must keep it all of our lives. We came to surrender,
      not
      to demand.

      That's why this chapter is both so very sad and so very important.
      The monastic at any point in life who has renounced that attitude of
      discipleship has abandoned the struggle. We must hope it is a
      temporary abandonment, because it can be fatal to one's vocation. It
      can undo all the good work we have behind us. It can delude us into
      thinking we are persevering when we have actually long ago quit.

      Superiors and community (or family!) can be a big reality check here
      and that is what this chapter seeks to provide. Gentleness, love and
      tact are in order, but something must be done. One must be very
      careful at such times not to lord it over another smugly. But one
      must also be very careful not to do nothing at all, especially if
      one
      is in authority. The risk to the falling member is too great to
      ignore.

      If, alas, you find yourself to be that falling member, for heaven's
      sake (quite literally!) LISTEN. That is such a Benedictine trait,
      our
      Holy Rule begins with that word. If others are that upset, there may
      well be something wrong. Don't deny it. Check it out with all the
      humility you can muster, but be very aware that your humility may
      well be the thing that is currently terribly impaired. Be as honest
      as truthful as you can. Try, try with all your strength, to let
      yourself always be changed for the good, and strive to see that
      good,
      even when it is hard.

      If you are one of the lucky ones not in this leaking boat, be deeply
      humbled and grateful to God. Pray every day for all of those in the
      Order, the Church, the world, who are sinking. They need our prayers
      badly. Think how different the Titanic might have been with enough
      lifeboats...

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB

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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them: Dave, recurrent
      Message 53 of 53 , Mar 13, 2009
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        +PAX

        Prayers, please for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

        Dave, recurrent prostate cancer, seeing oncologist on the 18th, and for Elaine, his wife.

        Tom, upper erosive esophagitus, a stomach ulcer and hiatal hernia. The current meds are
        not helping the problem. Seeing doctor today.

        Joyce, who had surgery and several organs are filled with cancer.
        The family needs prayers as it is very hard for them to deal with the diagnosis.

        Carol, undergoing surgery to repair leg tendons on Thursday... for a safe operation, and a quick, comfortable, and complete recovery.

        Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Doris, who has gone to God, for all her family and all who mourn her.

        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 13, July 13, November 12
        Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen

        Let the brethren serve one another, and let no one be excused from
        the kitchen service
        except by reason of sickness or occupation in some important work.
        For this service brings increase of reward and of charity. But let
        helpers be provided for the weak ones, that they may not be
        distressed by this work; and indeed let everyone have help, as
        required by the size of the community or the circumstances of the
        locality. If the community is a large one,
        the cellarer shall be excused from the kitchen service; and so also
        those whose occupations are of greater utility, as we said above.
        Let the rest serve one another in charity.

        The one who is ending his week of service shall do the cleaning on
        Saturday. He shall wash the towels with which the brethren wipe
        their hands and feet; and this server who is ending his week, aided
        by the one who is about to begin, shall wash the feet of all the
        brethren. He shall return the utensils of his office to the
        cellarer clean and in good condition,
        and the cellarer in turn shall consign them to the incoming server,
        in order that he may know what he gives out and what he receives
        back.

        REFLECTION

        I know some houses have moved away from having table waiters, but
        something is lost in that. We have cafeteria style first portions
        here, then the waiter goes around to offer seconds and clears the
        dishes. It isn't a really big deal, but it does have a great reward,
        as the Holy Rule points out. Because we are a small community, only
        8, everyone, even the Superior takes a turn at waiting.

        Formerly, in some houses (maybe in all, but I am not sure,) the
        Abbot would wait tables on Holy Thursday. There was a nice
        connection there: he who held the place of Christ waited on all on
        the feast of the Last Supper, and washed the feet of twelve in
        Church that day.

        The connection here is personalist. Waiting on people connects you
        very much to them, as any waiter could tell you. Restaurants may
        not pursue that connection to any depth, but a home situation, like
        a monastery, surely does. There's a great notion here for Oblates
        who
        do not live alone: take turns waiting. We can get slumped into Dad
        or Mom or husband or wife always being waiter or waited upon.
        Switch off, care for each other, in this and many, many other ways!

        There are tons of ways of serving another, serving each other, that
        have nothing at all to do with tables or dining. There are many,
        many, equivalent forms of foot-washing. Hunt for them diligently and
        practice them with deep love!

        Love and prayers,

        Jerome, OSB
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org

        Petersham, MA





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