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Nov 7

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX March 8, July 8, November 7 Chapter 31: What Kind of Man the Cellarer of the Monastery Should Be As cellarer of the monastery let there be chosen from the
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 2002
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      March 8, July 8, November 7
      Chapter 31: What Kind of Man the Cellarer of the Monastery Should Be
      As cellarer of the monastery
      let there be chosen from the community
      one who is wise, of mature character, sober,
      not a great eater, not haughty, not excitable,
      not offensive, not slow, not wasteful,
      but a God-fearing man
      who may be like a father to the whole community.


      Let him have charge of everything.
      He shall do nothing without the Abbot's orders,
      but keep to his instructions.
      Let him not vex the brethren.
      If any brother
      happens to make some unreasonable demand of him,
      instead of vexing the brother with a contemptuous refusal
      he should humbly give the reason
      for denying the improper request.

      Let him keep guard over his own soul,
      mindful always of the Apostle's saying
      that "he who has ministered well
      will acquire for himself a good standing" (1 Tim. 3:13).


      Let him take the greatest care
      of the sick, of children, of guests and of the poor,
      knowing without doubt
      that he will have to render an account for all these
      on the Day of Judgment.


      Let him regard all the utensils of the monastery
      and its whole property
      as if they were the sacred vessels of the altar.
      Let him not think that he may neglect anything.
      He should be neither a miser
      nor a prodigal and squanderer of the monastery's substance,
      but should do all things with measure
      and in accordance with the Abbot's instructions.

      REFLECTION

      One could offer a very incomplete litany here and say: parent,
      teacher, boss, all of you! Read this chapter. One could be more
      complete and say that anyone who has any charge over things on which
      others depend should read this. That would include, at one time or
      another, all of us!

      We do not realize how much like a cellarer we truly are: all of us
      administer things we do not own outright. All property is held in
      stewardship, all things are given by God for the commonwealth
      (literally!) If we administer some of His wealth unjustly, it is Him
      we offend. St. Thomas Aquinas was very clear in his teachings about
      property rights and responsibilities. God made things- all of
      creation- so that people could thrive. When we see to it that some
      thrive frighteningly much more than others and others thrive not at
      all, something is terribly amiss.

      I am not cellarer, but I am guestmaster. We do receive our guests AS
      Christ, but one soon learns that our guests are NOT Christ. Very
      often the job of guestmaster is to protect the "Christs" (you should
      pardon that usage, no insult to the Lord intended!) from each other.
      Sometimes I have to protect myself from them and that is always hard,
      too. Usually I ask myself: What would you do if this person were
      doing this to another guest? If the answer is intervene, than I do so
      far less if the question involves me rather than another guest. Make
      no mistake, however, there are guests who have made me feel most
      unwelcome, even loathsome in my own home. Sigh...

      Just as there are limits to my own control, (this is my home, but it
      is not my house,) there are limits to all of the things that all of
      us own. No one, no one in Christendom owns outright. There is always
      the responsibility for the good of others, for sharing, for kindness
      and clemency.

      Cling to the line about not vexing others. It is always very, very
      cheap and easy to let others live. It usually "costs" us far less
      than we are willing to admit on a bad day. As Father Damian of St.
      Leo used to say: "If it gives him so much pleasure and me so little
      pain, why not?" However, spare yourself a lot of pain and frustration
      at the onset by realizing firmly that treating others that way will
      in no way guarantee that they will return the compliment, often quite
      the reverse. But that isn't the reason one does it. One does it for
      Christ.



      Love and prayers,

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