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, 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
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
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,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]