Brother Jerome's Reflection: March 6
- Holy Rule for Mar. 6
Prayers, please, for James, 5 months old, and his parents, as they deal with his persistent cough.
Ryan and Jenny continue to ask for prayers for Damon. He has been in and out of a coma since the 26th of February, and has not stopped having seizures. Please pray for Ryan and Jenny, for as his parents, the stress and concern they face for their little boy is immense, and that Damon continue to be strengthened and tended carefully by the Father and His angels. There is a chance that Damon might be assigned a bed at an excellent rehabilitation center in his own town and his parents pray that their selection board hearts be softened to their application.
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
March 6, July 6, November 5
Chapter 29: Whether Brethren Who Leave the Monastery Should Be
If a brother
who through his own fault leaves the monastery
should wish to return,
let him first promise full reparation for his having gone away;
and then let him be received in the lowest place,
as a test of his humility.
And if he should leave again,
let him be taken back again,
and so a third time;
but he should understand that after this
all way of return is denied him.
This one could well apply to groups other than monasteries, families
especially. There is, however, a whole array of extra problems tied
into family applications. Putting it all too briefly, one can ( and
sometimes sadly must,) limit the ability of the offender to harm the
family, even limit it severely, while still retaining ties of love
and care. A very delicate balance!
The Gospel tells us to forgive 70 times 7 times and surely, we must.
That, however, is a command on us individually, and a command, by the
way, that calls for forgiveness, not foolhardiness. One needn't keep
one's hand on the same hot stove throughout all the forgiving!
At some point, too, probably well before the end of one's forgiveness
rope, the offender would probably have incurred at least some loss of
privilege. Obviously, the dog that is forgiven for killing sheep
several times will not likely tend the flock.
The thing to remember here and in families is that we are not dealing
with only two individuals, but a group. Re-entry into a monastery (or
family,) can be a very tense thing. It is certainly worth doing, but may
not be a good thing to do limitless times. It wears out the family and
it wears out the community. We must always love, always forgive, but
sometimes limits to harm have to be set for the good of all.
St. Benedict is not mean here. There is no element of surprise to the
offender about the three-strikes- and-you're- out program: she has
heard it ever since novitiate. It might be construed as mean if there
were no forewarning, but there is. Anyone coming back for the third time
knows they are on their last leg. Foul up that time, and you're history.
The monastery is a specialized society with a specialized goal:
seeking union with God for all its members. Because of that
specialized nature, the monastery does not have an infinite
commitment to anyone, except to one who truly perseveres unto death.
This is unlike the stronger and more necessary bonds of Church or
Not everyone who wants to join a monastery is truly called to be a
monastic. Perhaps, too, one is called, but not to that particular
monastery. People can be allowed to leave, or they can be thrown out,
or they can be told they can never come back after the third time.
This is a different situation from forgiveness. The one denied
further entry must, no doubt at all, be forgiven, but he must also
know that his chances to disrupt the community have come to an end.
Monasteries need a relative level of peace to fulfill their purpose:
creating a place in which God may be served and the monastic life
be fostered. The limits of three times' return have that sacred purpose
Love and prayers,
http://www.stmarysm onastery. org