Holy Rule for July 24
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Pauline Tinguely, on the anniversary of her death. She was a charter member of Monastic Life list and truly an Amma to us all, and for all her family and all who mourn her.
Prayers, please, for Ellen, very stressful changes at work.
Prayers for one who badly needs to go to Confession.
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 24, July 24, November 23
Chapter 44: How the Excommunicated Are to Make Satisfaction
One who for serious faults is excommunicated
from oratory and table shall make satisfaction as follows.
At the hour when the celebration of the Work of God is concluded in the
oratory, let her lie prostrate before the door of the oratory, saying
nothing, but only lying prone with her face to the ground at the feet of
all as they come out of the oratory. And let her continue to do this
until the Abbess judges that satisfaction has been made.
Then, when she has come at the Abbess's bidding, let her cast herself
first at the Abbess's feet and then at the feet of all, that they may
pray for her.
And next, if the Abbess so orders, let her be received into the choir,
to the place which the Abbess appoints,
but with the provision that she shall not presume to intone Psalm or
lesson or anything else in the oratory without a further order from the
Moreover, at every Hour, when the Work of God is ended, let her cast
herself on the ground in the place where she stands. And let her
continue to satisfy in this way until the Abbess again orders her
finally to cease
from this satisfaction.
But those who for slight faults are excommunicated
only from table shall make satisfaction in the oratory,
and continue in it till an order from the Abbess, until she blesses them
and says, "It is enough."
There is a LOT here for family and workplace, though one might not think
so at first glance. This chapter is not about kneeling and prostrations,
it is about asking for and receiving forgiveness.
The most important part of the puzzle here is that the offender accepts
correction, even punishment, and goes through the process to amend.
One more really important point here. Especially in the really major
offenses, it is quite likely that more monastics are involved, not just
the Abbot and the offender. Still, St. Benedict does not include them in
the decision to forgive.
This is strikingly useful. The terms of forgiveness are NOT in our
hands, but in those of the Abbess. There is someone who has the
authority and right to say: "This is finished, we've got to move on!"
Wow! Now that's the sort of umpire or referee we could use in many areas
of life. It may not be available at your place of work (unless you
are the boss,) but it surely can be a big help in any family when a
parent assumes this role justly.
There is yet another bit of wisdom to be gleaned here that has nothing
to do with body language 1,500 years old. St. Benedict establishes a
system for the contrite one to actually make amends, to ask for
forgiveness and receive it. Sad to say, there are people who would not forgive
or forget. "There is NOTHING you could do that would ever make me
This is a horrible thing, but truthfully, after a certain point, it is
no longer the fault of the one who originally goofed, but of the
one who refuses to forgive, who bears a grudge. This is a much more
serious issue than kneeling or not kneeling in choir, more detrimental to
community than stretching out by the door for a week or so. This is cancerous.
If Christians don't forgive when
asked, our common life cannot go on, and common life is an integral part
of Christianity. When people accept correction and ask for forgiveness and try
to amend, we must honor that somehow.
We still have to live with people, for all 7x70 times they ask
to be forgiven. Maybe we will never be able to be as vulnerable with
them again, but we have to establish at LEAST civility, and hopefully
even more than that. And, who knows, maybe, in time
most of our original innocence and vulnerability will return. But
those things do take time. To refuse outright to forgive is to guarantee
that the good things about reconciliation for both parties will never
happen at all. We are denied the "luxury" of such refusals
by both Gospel and Rule.
Love and prayers,
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Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for al their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Pat, terminal brain cancer, for her happy death.
Deo gratias, David got his contract, prayers for him in his new job.
Debbie , a mother of two young children, just diagnosed with lymphoma leukemia;
Shannon, that she know God's great love for her and be open to his guidance and will;
for financial stability for two persons who are in debt
Andrew, brain cancer, on his 31st birthday.
Lorene, experiencing pains and illness symptoms and worried about results of what this could be. Please pray that she is fine and no disease/illness. Very frightened.
for those still suffering from Hurricane Sandy. May they come out of this tragedy with optimism and find love, peace, health and happiness again.
Paul C. and his family, for God's will to be done.
Prayers for the eternal rest of John F. Kennedy, on the anniversary of his
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 23, July 23, November 22
Chapter 43: On Those Who Come Late to the Work of God or to Table
Anyone who does not come to table before the verse,
so that all together may say the verse and the oration
and all sit down to table at the same time --
through his own carelessness or bad habit
does not come on time
shall be corrected for this up to the second time.
If then he does not amend,
he shall not be allowed to share in the common table,
but shall be separated from the company of all
and made to eat alone,
and his portion of wine shall be taken away from him,
until he has made satisfaction and has amended.
And let him suffer a like penalty who is not present
at the verse said after the meal.
OK, before we all get hopelessly mired in the belief that St.
Benedict is REALLY mired in punctuality issues, let's try a parable
reality check. What if every bus (or train or plane or subway,)
waited for the latecomer to arrive? For starters, the schedule of
everyone sitting helpless on that mode of transportation would be
disrupted. Everyone would be late, every single one. Some would miss
work, others a wedding, others still a connection with friends to
leave on vacation. If all public transport followed such a program,
our whole world would be a chaotic mess of very unhappy campers in
Benedictine communities do things together. Usually, that means that
a late arrival at a meal keeps everyone sitting there when already
finished, waiting for the tardy one to eat. (Occasionally a superior
will intervene and end the meal more or less on time, but often that
is not the case. Everybody waits.) This lengthening of the meal then
throws the whole schedule off. The Office cannot suffer, it's times
are inexorable, so what usually gets clipped is free time, recreation
or work. Rob people of these on a regular basis and they can get very
Lateness which is unavoidable is just that, unavoidable. That's a
time when the meal ought to be prolonged, when the others ought to
witness that we "bear one another's burdens" and so fulfill the law
of Christ. Brother X is my brother. I am responsible for a large chunk
of his communal life. If I say that doesn't matter and stroll into
dinner whenever I feel like it, something is terribly wrong with me.
I need to have my skewed vision and values corrected. That's what
this is all about: loving one another rightly.
Much of the Holy Rule which deals with communal life (and is VERY
easy to apply to family life or workplace,) has to do with what should
really be common courtesy and decency. Granted, sometimes those values get
wrapped in ancient language and gesture, making it less easy to see
how simple and modern they are, but those exhortations to polite,
considerate, gentle living are things anyone can follow in any milieu, to great
benefit! Many of those courtesies are threatened or altogether lacking today.
Helping keep them alive may start a conversion in another we will never know
Love and prayers,
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