Holy Rule for July 19
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and for all who take care of them:
Beth's father, who has cancer. He is in his nineties and has had good health and been active up to now. He has decided not to medicate. And for Beth, a cancer survivor, that the condition not return.
Deo gratias for prayers answered in the past.
Zeny, that he will find relief from the excruciating pain he is in from either
sciatica or a herniated disc. May tests this week indicate the problem and
that the doctors may be able to help him.
Sandra, that she may find a job placement.
Last week we asked for prayers for Fr Mike Carroll for his liver transplant. Please continue prayers for him as he has a 2nd liver transplant yesterday. Also, for those living in the Los Angeles area, he is in need of blood, which can be donated at UCLA Medical Ctr.
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 19, July 19, November 18
Chapter 40: On the Measure of Drink
"Everyone has her own gift from God,
one in this way and another in that" (1 Cor. 7:7).
It is therefore with some misgiving
that we regulate the measure of others' sustenance.
Nevertheless, keeping in view the needs of the weak,
we believe that a hemina of wine a day is sufficient for each.
But those to whom God gives the strength to abstain
should know that they will receive a special reward.
If the circumstances of the place,
or the work
or the heat of summer
require a greater measure,
the superior shall use her judgment in the matter,
taking care always
that there be no occasion for surfeit or drunkenness.
it is true,
that wine is by no means a drink for monastics;
but since the monastics of our day cannot be persuaded of this
let us at least agree to drink sparingly and not to satiety,
because "wine makes even the wise fall away" (Eccles. 19:2).
But where the circumstances of the place are such
that not even the measure prescribed above can be supplied,
but much less or none at all,
let those who live there bless God and not murmur.
Above all things do we give this admonition,
that they abstain from murmuring.
NOTE: Looking at this a few years after I wrote it, I have more pity on Br. X.,
who features in the end of this reflection. I toned down what I said a bit. I
cannot read minds or souls: no one can. Only God knows what motivated Br. X,
though I thought I did when I was younger. That he upset a lot of people in
undeniable, why or how, or the root of his problem is a matter beyond any of us.
It would a terrible wasted opportunity not to briefly mention alcoholism
and other twelve step programs with this reading. So many in ALL walks of
life, our own Benedictine families included, suffer from addictions. May
all who abstain because they must offer the hardships of that road to recovery
for all those who suffer still. May we all remember that addiction is an
illness, not a moral scourge to whip people who suffer from it.
"Above all...abstain from murmuring." The murmuring here (and
everywhere it is mentioned in the Holy Rule,) is mean-spirited
griping about people or conditions. Never for an instant think that
Benedictine standards require one to be blind to real problems.
Even Abbots can be removed and have been. The process is neither simple
nor a great deal of fun, but it has been done. Real evils ought to be
addressed and usually are.
It's hard to write about this, because a certain unwritten law (well,
written in the hearts of monastics!) governs what is and isn't
murmuring. It's an intuitive sort of principle that one learns by
living among and observing other monastics.
There are healthy levels of opposition and resistance in a
healthy community, but their boundaries must not be violated. In
fact, any superior or community which mercilessly destroys ALL
disagreement or opposition is in serious danger. Part of community's
efficacy is that vastly different people live together in peace.
Maybe peace is the key to assessing a lot of murmuring. The worst
murumuring monk I ever knew- now dead some years- had a life of nearly
non-stop murmuring and he seemed to report such things with an eye
to harm. I once heard Bro. Patrick refer to this guy as "diabolical" and
that was not an adjective he used lightly.
Virtually nothing and no one measured up to Br. X's standards.
He was awful to live with and I feared him when I was a novice. But
there is the catch: he WAS awful to live with, even for himself. He
perhaps was filled with anger and pain and sought to make the
world around him match. What a convoluted mess!
Listen up, m'dears, I cannot know what another's pain is or how they
should seek help for it, but I do know that the Benedictine way is
NOT to pass that on and not to stand idly by and watch another do so.
Horrible to say, it took me years to get over Br. X's treatment of me. When
I came here it took me years to learn that I no longer had to cover
my flanks or look over my shoulder: we have no one that mean, nor
would we accept someone who was.
Poor Br. X, I pray for his tortured soul. Nearly 30 years later, I still
recall him with a shudder. However, it was not his fault alone. There was
an Abbot who listened, there were monks who did, too. A united refusal
to listen to such poison might have helped him, or it might have actually
driven him out, but in fact that did not happen. We all bear a two-sided
obligation to mean murmuring: don't start it, and don't listen to it. Venom
doesn't have any effect if it doesn't get in the bloodstream. See to it that you
never help it on it's way.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Prayers, please, for a woman who is trying to get established with a doctor;each one she has called either is not taking new patients or does not accept her insurance. Several are retiring or leaving their practice.