Prayers for Elizabeth, whose death anniversary was yesterday. God's
will is best. All is mercy and grace. Thanks so much! JL
January 9, May 10, September 9
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be
An Abbess who is worthy to be over a monastery
should always remember what she is called,
and live up to the name of Superior.
For she is believed to hold the place of Christ in the monastery,
being called by a name of His,
which is taken from the words of the Apostle:
"You have received a Spirit of adoption ...,
by virtue of which we cry, 'Abba -- Father'" (Rom. 8:15)!
Therefore the Abbess ought not to teach or ordain or command
anything which is against the Lord's precepts;
on the contrary,
her commands and her teaching
should be a leaven of divine justice
kneaded into the minds of her disciples.
"An Abbess who is worthy..." Take a quick look at all the Holy Rule
says about the Abbot and everybody who thinks they'd be worthy, line
up now. Hopefully, there will be no takers. If you did get in line,
maybe we can see about some professional help..
NO ONE is worthy of those lofty things, they are gifts. Just as no
one is worthy of the loving trust of a child for its parent, or the
loyalty of an employee for a boss. God gives all our offices of
authority special gifts. We may not know that, we may not use them,
but they are there.
As Benedictines, we particularly believe that God gives special
graces to the Abbot to enable him to guide us. This is not at all to
say that he is infallible, or that he is bright and certainly not
that he is perfect. What it does say is that God's love for all those
the Abbot guides becomes focused on him in grace and gift to do God
(and us!) proud!
It can be a REAL test of faith to see God's will coming to one
through a person whose frailty one knows all too well. Nevertheless,
I have seen it happen again and again. I am in no way tempted to try
to describe HOW or WHY it happens, but it does. It's grace. It is, in
a sense, a miracle. But then, so is everything, when one stops to
really think of it.
St. Faustina Kowalska (+1938) said that the Lord told her in one of
her visions: "...all creatures, whether they know it or not, and
whether they want to or not, always fulfill My will." OK, I know
that's private revelation, but so are a lot of popular ideas. I
believe that one and find it a great comfort. Don't ask me how that
works with free will, I'm not prepared to venture a guess. But it
does resonate very consistently will St. Paul's saying that, for
those who love God, all things work together for good.
Love and prayers,