Brother Jerome's Reflection: March 5
- Holy Rule for Mar. 5
Please pray for our good Brother Jerome and his retreatants.
Prayers please for Brendon who is having heart problems as he waits for a heart transplant ... he was born with only three chambers in his heart instead of the usual four and , as a result, has had a life long series of heart problems. Prayers also for Wyn who is having serious problems with both of her knees.
Please ask for prayers for Brother Aelred and all at Pluscarden Abbey on the day of Brother Aelred's Solemn Profession, the Mass is at 11 a.m. GMT (U.K. time).
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,