Prayers, please, for Dunstan, recurrent kidney stone problems, and
for the will of God in Tracey's search for prison ministry. Also for
my friend, Fr. Vincent, of St. Leo Abbey. It's his death anniversary.
God's will is best! All is mercy and grace. Thanks! NRN JL
January 10, May 11, September 10
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be
Let the Abbess always bear in mind
that at the dread Judgment of God
there will be an examination of these two matters:
her teaching and the obedience of her disciples.
And let the Abbess be sure
that any lack of profit
the master of the house may find in the sheep
will be laid to the blame of the shepherd.
On the other hand,
if the shepherd has bestowed all her pastoral diligence
on a restless, unruly flock
and tried every remedy for their unhealthy behavior,
then she will be acquitted at the Lord's Judgment
and may say to the Lord with the Prophet:
"I have not concealed Your justice within my heart;
Your truth and Your salvation I have declared" (Ps. 39:11).
"But they have despised and rejected me" (Is. 1:2; Ezech. 20:27).
And then finally let death itself, irresistible,
punish those disobedient sheep under her charge.
If you are a parent or a boss or a teacher or a minister, ordained or
not, please look very carefully at something in this chapter: we will
be judged on our teaching. The complete obedience of those under our
care is not entirely up to us, but our teachings are very much in our
Tremendous harm has been done by people in authority, any authority,
teaching things that are false to those they serve, whether
implicitly or explicitly. Tremendous harm is risked by teaching one's
own subjective opinion on important matters of faith or morals. One
MAY be right, but then again, not necessarily so.
This is not simply a feeling issue here at all. Whatever the seeming
drawbacks of the teachings of one's Church, they have a weight of
tradition and communal reflection and the care of the Holy Spirit
behind them. Our subjective, personal feelings cannot equal that.
Orthodoxy, truth, has very, very wide skirts. If we know that and
understand it, it is NOT terribly difficult to get everyone, one way
or the other, under those skirts. It CAN be done.
On the other hand making extensive dress alterations that we
ourselves feel are suitable is not as appropriate as some may deem.
In a job situation, it could cost both you and the unfortunates who
believed you the loss of employment. In religious matters, the price
could be considerably higher, the risk greater.
Whenever we are in any position to teach by word or example, we must
be very, very careful that what we give as Gospel is not a thinly
disguised version of our own current hang-ups. People deserve far
more than that and so do we!
Love and prayers,
Petersham, MA 01366