Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Denis, 64 and Mike, 63, and for all their families and all who mourn them.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and for all who take care of them:
Maria and her husband and family, they are expecting another child.
Eileen, who has ovarian cancer and is now waiting for a surgery date.
Sue, out of work for a long time, desperately seeking employment that will be permanent.
Fr. Nigel, bronchitis which developed into a critical case of pneumonia. He is currently in the hospital on a ventilator and in a coma.
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
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
Let men of such character be chosen deans that the Abbot may with
share his burdens among them. Let them be chosen not by rank but
according to their worthiness of life and the wisdom of their
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.
St. Benedict reverences seniority- a traditional monastic value- in
many places, but he also moderates that tradition, keeping it from
turning into ageism. When considering the appointment of these
deans, their worthy lives and teachings are the criteria, not their
age. Unspoken here, but nevertheless evident, is the demand that seniors
obey such young officials.
There is no room for griping about young "whipper-snappers" here!
Obedience is not about the age or wisdom or human perfection of the
superior. It is about faith that God leads us through such flawed
human beings of every sort. When "X" crosses you or breaks your
heart or stokes your anger, it is imperative to recall that this
often has precious little to do with "X" and his or her
personality. It's is God's gift to your self-study. He wants you to
learn something about yourself and tests you. "X" might not even be
faintly aware of being used as an instrument of His will!
(Recalling this all the time is a LOT harder than it sounds, for some a
A further check here is given by the insistence on personal
holiness. Granted, even in monasteries, the clever and
manipulatively ambitious sort can get around this and sometimes do,
but what if all our offices, in monastery AND Church went to really
holy people? The first objection (usually put forward by the
ambitious who would be overlooked under this system!) is that they
would be TERRIBLE administrators. So? The point there was what?
Next time you want a fun day-dream, try to picture a Church and
Order run entirely by the holy and wise. Wow! Now usually, day-
dreaming is an utter waste of time, but this one is not. After you
have spent some time envisioning all those things, go out and BE
dreamed. Truly live as if the dream had come to pass. Be prepared
to be a little lonely: none of us are likely soon to see a Church
run entirely by saints. But we can all make that dream one person
closer to coming true, by changing ourselves, by incarnating that
ideal as best we can. The only ones we can surely change are
Of course, there will be loud complaints about saints in charge,
too. For one thing, as Dorothy Day observed, saints can be terribly
hard to live with. For another, the problem is our lack of faith,
a problem even good governance will not remove. Only we can remove
problem. It starts with us!
Love and prayers,
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