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June 28

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please for the continuing recovery of Johanna after eye surgery and Fr. Robert of Spencer, doing nicely after heart surgery and deeply thankful
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 28, 2003
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      Prayers, please for the continuing recovery of Johanna after eye
      surgery and Fr. Robert of Spencer, doing nicely after heart surgery
      and deeply thankful to all for their prayers. Prayers also for Mary
      of Cape Cod, who accidentally backed over her own dog, killing it and
      is understandably distraught, for Richard, lung cancer, and for
      Christina, pulmonary embolism, and Adrian, going for right leg
      surgery on Tuesday and facing a three month convalescence. God's will
      is best! Thanks! NRN JL

      February 27, June 28, October 28
      Chapter 21: On the Deans of the Monastery

      If the community is a large one,
      let there be chosen out of it
      brethren of good repute and holy life,
      and let them be appointed deans.
      These shall take charge of their deaneries in all things,
      observing the commandments of God
      and the instructions of their Abbot.

      Let men of such character be chosen deans
      that the Abbot may with confidence
      share his burdens among them.
      Let them be chosen not by rank
      but according to their worthiness of life
      and the wisdom of their doctrine.

      If any of these deans should become inflated with pride
      and found deserving of censure,
      let him be corrected once, and again, and a third time.
      If he will not amend,
      then let him be deposed
      and another be put in his place who is worthy of it.

      And we order the same to be done in the case of the Prior.


      Did anyone read this as I did at first, many years ago, and
      wonder: "Why did St. Benedict give them an academic name
      like "deans"? Well, it was probably the other way around! Since the
      first schools were monastic ones, it is quite likely that the
      term "dean" entered academia via the Holy Rule! Surely the academic
      gown of today is a modified form of our Benedictine choir robe, the
      cowl or cuculla. In fact, Benedictines used to wear their cucullas
      with the appropriate academic hoods as their formal dress at
      graduations and the like. With all dues respect to the johnny-come-
      latelies like the Dominicans, Franciscans and Jesuits, when they don
      full academic regalia, they're wearing a derived form of our choir

      But, enough of trivia...This chapter repeats another important
      consideration in St. Benedict's plan: people are not to be
      overburdened. This theme is less noticeable than the more important
      ones of moderation and the like, but it is there. Again and again,
      the Holy Rule says that people should have help with their charges,
      certain officials should even be exempted from serving in the

      Two things are going on here, both very important. Surely the first
      is kindness, gentle consideration for human frailty. The second,
      however, is every bit as defining and important: we are not our work,
      we are not our jobs, our vocation and worth is only connected to such
      things tangentially at best. Our motto is Work AND Prayer. The
      message is that neither of these should make the other impossible.

      This message is equally important for both choir monastics and
      Oblates. If your work is so much that your prayer suffers, something
      is wrong. However, especially true for those of us in the secular
      world, if your prayer is so much that your job or children or
      marriage suffers, something is REALLY wrong. If your work deprives
      your family or spouse, it might be time to look at changing it, time
      to rearrange goals and priorities a bit.

      One of the occasional problems of modern life everywhere is not just
      that we are too busy, but that we FOCUS too much attachment and will
      on stuff that really doesn't matter. Change that focus. Picture your
      job today if you had died yesterday. The important stuff would still
      get done by someone else. The rest, your own agenda, would go merrily
      down the tubes. Well, learn from that! A LOT of our own agendas are
      worth little more than that: going down the tubes. So why waste so
      much time and spiritual and emotional energy on them? As it does so
      frequently, the Holy Rule and Benedictine life tell us: "Get real!"

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