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July 15

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Hayley, hospitalized after her husband s suicide. She has attempted suicide several times herself and is a sexual abuse survivor.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 15, 2003
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      Prayers, please, for Hayley, hospitalized after her husband's
      suicide. She has attempted suicide several times herself and is a
      sexual abuse survivor. God's will is best. Thanks so much! NRN JL

      March 15, July 15, November 14
      Chapter 36: On the Sick

      Before all things and above all things,
      care must be taken of the sick,
      so that they willl be served as if they were Christ in person;
      for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" (Matt 25:36),
      and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me"
      (Matt.25:40).
      But let the sick on their part consider
      that they are being served for the honor of God,
      and let them not annoy their sisters who are serving them
      by their unnecessary demands.
      Yet they should be patiently borne with,
      because from such as these is gained a more abundant reward.
      Therefore the Abbess shall take the greatest care
      that they suffer no neglect.


      For these sick let there be assigned a special room
      and an attendant who is God-fearing, diligent and solicitous.
      Let the use of baths be afforded the sick
      as often as may be expedient;
      but to the healthy, and especially to the young,
      let them be granted more rarely.
      Moreover,
      let the use of meat be granted to the sick who are very weak,
      for the restoration of their strength;
      but when they are convalescent,
      let all abstain from meat as usual.


      The Abbess shall take the greatest care
      that the sick be not neglected by the cellarers or the attendants;
      for she also is responsible for what is done wrongly by her disciples.

      REFLECTION

      "Before all things and above all things..." is a very strong
      statement. If St. Benedict meant that, and we must assume he did,
      monasteries and families should not only make sure that the sick are
      full and equal members, but even that they have priority. The sick
      bear a responsibility in this: they are not to "vex" those caring for
      them, but even if they fail in that, they must be borne with
      patiently.

      Let's face it, at a certain point, the sick are definitely "out of
      the loop" in human society. This is even more true of the long-term,
      chronically ill. This is, of course, very typical primate behavior-
      for a nomadic troop of baboons, it would be fine. Christianity and
      Benedictinism, however call us to rise far above such limitations of
      natural response. We are called to be more than natural. We are bound
      to strive for the SUPERnatural.

      Even in monasteries, especially large ones, the sick can be shelved
      and forgotten by some members. Rest assured that, unless wheeled to
      church or refectory, the sick are quite likely to never lay eyes on
      certain members. In this aspect, the monastics mirror a similar flaw
      in the secular world and in many families: out of sight, out of mind.
      The concerns of one's active daily life can lead to a certain
      selfishness, and the Holy Rule is trying to prevent this. We must be
      different from the world, different from that nomadic troop of
      primates. We must be more. Both Gospel and Rule, baptism and monastic
      commitment demand that.

      The flip side of this coin- and I think those who have worked in
      hospitals and nursing homes can confirm this- is that there is
      something very special about those who quite resolutely do NOT leave
      the sick out of the loop. In both monastery and world, those with a
      heart for the ill seem to be a special breed. I worked in a monastery
      infirmary for some time. I have never seen a mediocre monk- much less
      what we might term a "bad" one- regularly involved with the sick
      unless they were forced to be. The ones you could always count on
      were the holy ones: simple, humble, self-effacing. Prima donnas might
      one day wind up in the infirmary as patients, but one rarely, if
      ever, saw them as visitors.

      Oblates in the world, there is a rich field of endeavor here and you
      will hardly have to get in line to enter it. Nursing homes freak you
      out? There are adult day care programs that might be easier for you.
      I used to do four Communion services a week in such places when I was
      in Boston, and, had I been able, they would have gladly let me do
      more. When I left to come here, seven years ago, every single one of
      those services dropped to once a month or less. There is work for you
      to do if you want to get yourself commissioned as a eucharistic
      minister and go for it. These were people that not only the world,
      but even the Church had largely forgotten. The chance to do anything
      for them enriched my life immeasurably.

      Does even day care get to you? Then turn to the families of the
      chronically ill. To a large extent, they often share the isolation of
      the patient in a very real and very unfair way. Find some ways to not
      forget them, to give them a breath of normalcy and relief and you
      will find their lives, the patient's life and your own changing for
      the better. Everyone can do something, and there is plenty to do!

      Ask most people what the hallmark of the Benedictine Order is and
      they will likely respond with either liturgy or hospitality. Our Holy
      Rule's prescription that all guests be received as Christ is
      justifiably famous, as is our concern for the liturgy. However,
      another hallmark less attended to is this chapter's insistence that
      we receive and serve Christ in the sick, too. Would that we deserved
      to have people choosing between THREE hallmarks for their answer-
      care of the sick, liturgy and hospitality!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      jeromeleo@...
      Petersham, MA
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