I have been praying and I still trust, but the likelihood of our losing electric power is great. Hence, I am sending Monday's Holy Rule out before it becomes impossible to do so. I HOPE I am with you all online again on Monday, but I fear I might not. BJL
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Richard's sister-in-law, and for Richard and Mary Lou and all her family, and for all who mourn her.
Please pray for Norma. Her pulmonary doctor said her lungs are in very bad shape, i.e. in the final stage as if her body were nearly 100. Prayer is her only recourse.
Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mery and
grae. God is never absent, prasie Him! Thanks so much. JL
April 29, August 29, December 29
Chapter 71: That the Brethren Be Obedient to One Another
Not only is the boon of obedience
to be shown by all to the Abbot,
but the brethren are also to obey one another,
knowing that by this road of obedience they are going to God.
Giving priority, therefore, to the commands of the Abbot
and of the Superior appointed by him
(to which we allow no private orders to be preferred),
for the rest
let all the juniors obey their seniors
with all charity and solicitude.
But if anyone is found contentious,
let him be corrected.
And if any brother,
for however small a cause,
is corrected in any way by the Abbot or by any of his Superiors,
or if he faintly perceives
that the mind of any Superior is angered or moved against him,
let him at once, without delay,
prostrate himself on the ground at his feet
and lie there making satisfaction
until that emotion is quieted with a blessing.
But if anyone should disdain to do this,
let him undergo corporal punishment
or, if he is stubborn, let him be expelled from the monastery.
OK, now we're getting into radical. Any human group, from the
military to a kindergarten at recess expects one to obey the
leader. But each other? Give me a break! How many jobs would you
have quit if you had to obey all of your co-workers?
Well, giving a break is exactly what is intended here. The Kingdom
of God, which the Holy Rule seeks to guide us to, is ruled by love.
It includes a hierarchy, yes, but that, too,
is founded on love. The Kingdom of God strives for peace and
serenity.The quickest way to soften an environment and let peace flourish is
to keep people more or less happy, and the quickest way to do that
is to give in to their wishes whenever possible, to put self second
and others first.
Now we're getting to the heroic stuff. There are ulterior benefits
to obeying the boss, but another peer? What's the big deal there?
The big deal is love, the big deal is forgetfulness of self, the
big deal is the abdication of control issues.
Monastic struggle will not free one who is attached to control.
That ambition will thwart the good of the struggle. Don't beat
yourself up too badly on this one if you live in the world, because
many, many monastics in cloisters fail it as well. It is one of
Satan's sneakiest tricks and he enjoys its effectiveness immensely.
What could be better than something the poor victims hardly notice
at all that eats up their hard work like a ravenous cancer? Very, very handy.
I am tempted to say that anyone who is addicted to control- at any
stage of monastic life- ought to be set to cleaning bathrooms until
the feeling passes. Hey, that would be a great idea, but most
monasteries do not have that many toilets!! Sad, but true.
Rather than worry about the pathetic individuals so addicted, who
can make life so unpleasant for those they live with, why not just
pray for them and focus on changing ourselves? We can be part of
the solution. We can go out of our way to make life easier for each
other. We can pray for those who don't.
A horrible truth of monastic life is that if one waits for everyone
to get perfect (according, of course, to one's own standards!) the
result will be futile and frustrated stagnation. Community we may
be, but all on the same page we shall never be till heaven, and
maybe not even there!
It's a snap to be a skunk at a garden party. Anybody can pull that
off with no effort at all. Lots of people do, all the time! The
harvest, however, is isolation and loneliness, which result in
bitterness that only fuels the vicious cycle.
In contrast, it is a bit difficult at first to be easy on others, but it is
ALSO addictive when done right! One will soon be hunting for ways
to be easy to live with, because every drop of water makes the ocean a tiny bit
less salty, as Bl. Teresa of Calcutta used to say. The harvest, too,
is far more precious: a growing warmth that makes one ever more
gentle, more open, more loving and glad to be so. The harvest is joy
and love, not the lie of possession and bitterness. It attracts, rather
than repels others.
It is very unlikely that you will ever be able to cure a control
freak. Give them a lot of room. Cultivate among your peers an
attitude of complete non-control, of nearly total indifference to
needless detail, rather like the old peace poster that said: "What if they
gave a war and no one came?". Another handy rule of thumb is to let
nothing upset you if it does not offend God.
Maybe, just maybe, the wizard might one day wake up to actually see
that Oz is not with him or her! That's about your only hope. People like
this can profit us by being crosses and we can grow from praying
for them, but getting sucked into their hopelessly false view of
reality is a dreadful mistake.
Love and prayers,
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