Holy Rule for Mar. 5
Prayers, please, for Tom on his birthday, for his health and many more blessed and grace-filled years to come.
Prayers, too, for Br. Aelred of Pluscarden on his feastday. Ad multos annos, many years!
For the happy death and eternal rest of Jane's friend, Lainy, and for her Mom, Rosemarie and Jane and all who mourn her.
For the spiritual, mental and physical health of Jim, mid-80's, in ICU with multiple health problems, for all his loved ones and all who take care of him.
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
Mar 5, Jul 5, Nov 4
Chapter 28: On Those Who Will Not Amend after Repeated Corrections
If a sister who has been frequently corrected for some fault,
and even excommunicated,
does not amend,
let a harsher correction be applied,
that is, let the punishment of the rod be administered.
But if she still does not reform
or perhaps (which God forbid)
even rises up in pride and wants to defend her conduct,
then let the Abbess do what a wise physician would do.
Having used applications,
the ointments of exhortation,
the medicines of the Holy Scriptures,
finally the cautery of excommunication
and of the strokes of the rod,
if she sees that her efforts are of no avail,
let her apply a still greater remedy,
her own prayers and those of all the others,
that the Lord, who can do all things
may restore health to the sister who is sick.
But if she is not healed even in this way,
then let the Abbess use the knife of amputation,
according to the Apostle's words,
"Expel the evil one from your midst" (1 Cor. 5:13),
"If the faithless one departs, let her depart" (1 Cor. 7:15)
lest one diseased sheep contaminate the whole flock.
The Holy Rule and its author, St. Benedict, are tremendously kind,
insisting that we go all the way we possibly can and even a bit
beyond with the erring. All that love and care and sorely tried
patience is absolutely necessary before this point, "the knife of
amputation," is reached. This, too, is a great and important part of
mercy, though we may not easily see that at first.
It is tremendously unkind, unloving and unmerciful to hang onto a
person to whom we can no longer offer hope of treatment or genuine
help. There are times when such played out relationships become
terribly toxic to the sufferer and to all concerned. There are times
when nothing is left but, as AA would put it, to let that person hit
Even that may or may not work, but we sometimes have nothing
else to apply. To continue forbearance at such a time is merely to
enable, to actually participate in the person's self-destruction. Al
Anon (sp.?) could tell you a lot about the wisdom of enabling.
This is so hard for us, to finally, seemingly "give up" on someone.
In truth, we never do that. We still pray, we must, but we must also
have the humility to admit that we no longer be of useful help, that
we are even likely to harm further by enabling.
That is an affront to our natural pride: we OUGHT to be able to heal
ANYTHING, ANYONE... Sigh... But we aren't. We are also wounded, also
imperfect, neither better nor more capable than the poor sufferer for
whom we erroneously think we can be a healing god from the sky.
St. Benedict is NOT saying to give up on the person- I still pray
for people who left decades ago and probably should have done so. I
have no idea where they are or what they're doing, but I do know the
monastery didn't seem to be the place that was most helpful to them,
nor were they particularly a gift to the community.
What St. Benedict is saying is that we must have the wisdom and
humility to stop trying things that don't work, for the good of all
concerned, including ourselves. When this point is reached, no one
can help but God. He can always do so, but to wait for Him to do it
in a situation already mired beyond hope in dysfunction is not a
great notion. Fix what you can and pray for the rest.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for our Sister Mary Paula, on her feastday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos!
Prayers for Mary, on her birthday, graces galore and many more! Ad multos annos!
Deo gratias, Moira, for whom we prayed, safely delivered Victor, 11 lbs, and 2 oz., 22 inches long! Prayers, too, for all the family, Dad and brother, Angel and Angel 3rd, and for Gerry and Eva and Victor’s other set of grandparents.
Prayers for three couples that need to get their marriages blessed and receive the Sacraments.
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!
January 25, May 26, September 25
Chapter 7: On Humility
Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying,
"Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,
and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11).
In saying this it shows us
that all exaltation is a kind of pride,
against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard
when he says,
"Lord, my heart is not exalted,
nor are mine eyes lifted up;
neither have I walked in great matters,
nor in wonders above me."
But how has he acted?
"Rather have I been of humble mind
than exalting myself;
as a weaned child on its mother's breast,
so You solace my soul" (Ps. 130:1-2).
if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility
and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation
to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life,
by our ascending actions
erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream,
on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending.
By that descent and ascent
we must surely understand nothing else than this,
that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility.
And the ladder thus set up is our life in the would,
which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled.
For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder,
and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted
the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.
Today we begin St. Benedict's extensive treatment of humility.
Humility and obedience are so closely linked that it is virtually
impossible to speak of one without adding the other. Since both are
essential Benedictine virtues, it is easy to say that there is no
such thing as a holy Benedictine who has not climbed or is not
climbing this ladder. I have never known a holy monk who was not
humble, in fact, along with charity, it was usually their most outstanding trait.
A lot of this chapter will grate on modern ears. I will be the first
to admit that some people need assertiveness training. However, in my
experience, most of us do not. Most of us manage to be assertive on a
daily- even hourly- basis without much difficulty. Remember, too,
that modern psychology is a science which, like all science, is
limited to observable data.
Hence, it is not surprising that the generalities of psychology deal
with relations between people and things. The catch here is that the
humility St. Benedict speaks of is rooted in relationship of humans
to God, a sphere in which psychology finds itself woefully out
of its element. It lacks the supernatural basis of faith; this impedes it in this
area. Balance, always balance. Keep God in focus in these areas.
The model is His greatness, not our own.
A quickie on the Psalm quote today: "...neither have I walked in
great matters, nor in matters above me." This was a favorite of
Brother Patrick Creamer, my mentor. He learned to do it quite
well and in just 46 years or so!! He'd laugh at my saying that.
I speak as one who has been all too focused at many times on the
monastic soap opera and its hand-wringing tempests in teacups. About
many things, even most, we must learn simply not to get upset, not to
trouble ourselves with matters too great, even though we may have to
call them "great" with an inner, rueful chuckle.
That's not apathy, simply a frank admission that, in many cases, others
have charge of areas so that the rest need NOT worry or concern themselves.
The purpose of the division of responsibility is to give the community the
chance to focus their energy on the one thing really needful. This is especially
true in monasteries, but the principle has applications in the workplace, too.
In the latter, there may be times when one is morally obliged to get involved,
but the key word is "morally". About trivia or non-essentials in any milieu,
shrug, say nothing and keep your sanity.
You will never have peace until you learn to leave all that alone, to
distrust it for the empty and tragic charade that it truly is. And you will
never get anywhere if you don't have peace. The road to that peace is
humility and love.
Love and prayers,