Holy Rule for Aug. 21
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
a friend of Sandy, having hip replacement surgery.
Norm, for his happy death.
Prayers for the eternal rest of William, 30, who took his own life, and for his two babies and all his famiily and alll who mourn him.
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
April 21, August 21, December 21
Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbess
Once she has been constituted, let the Abbess always bear in mind
what a burden she has undertaken and to whom she will have to give
an account of her stewardship, and let her know that her duty is
rather to profit her sisters than to preside over them. She must
therefore be learned in the divine law, that she may have a treasure
of knowledge from which to bring forth new things and old. She must
be chaste, sober and merciful. Let her exalt mercy above judgment,
that she herself may obtain mercy. She should hate vices;
she should love the sisterhood.
In administering correction she should act prudently and not go to
excess, lest in seeking too eagerly to scrape off the rust she break
the vessel. Let her keep her own frailty ever before her eyes and
remember that the bruised reed must not be broken. By this we do not
mean that she should allow vices to grow; on the contrary, as we
have already said,
she should eradicate them prudently and with charity, in the way
which may seem best in each case. Let her study rather to be loved
than to be feared.
Let her not be excitable and worried, nor exacting and headstrong,
nor jealous and over-suspicious; for then she is never at rest.
In her commands let her be prudent and considerate; and whether the
work which she enjoins concerns God or the world, let her be
discreet and moderate, bearing in mind the discretion of holy Jacob,
who said, "If I cause my flocks to be overdriven, they will all die
in one day." Taking this, then, and other examples of discretion,
the mother of virtues,
let her so temper all things that the strong may have something to
strive after, and the weak may not fall back in dismay.
And especially let her keep this Rule in all its details, so that
after a good ministry she may hear from the Lord what the good
servant heard who gave the fellow-servants wheat in due
season: "Indeed, I tell you, he will set that one over all his
goods" (Matt. 24:27).
<Very tongue in cheek tone here!>
"Man, these chapters are a joy to read! Not a better way to call to
mind every slightest flaw in one's superior. They just do not
measure up to St. Benedict's ideal. No doubt, if we had people in
authority who did all this, we should all be better.... " Ya-da, ya-
Maybe yes, maybe no.
OK, now here's the real news, and I am afraid it is neither pretty
nor consoling: re-read the chapter and substitute "monastic" for
every time the word "abbess" occurs. Less than thrilling, right?
Make it worse, substitute any noun that refers to yourself or your
vocation. Try parent or teacher or nurse or supervisor. Whoops! The
whole process becomes stunningly less pleasant, doesn't it?
This one, like so many chapters on officials, is for all of us, not
just the Abbot. Nobody will ever measure up to this loftiness
without grace. While we are waiting for that grace to work, it may
be useful to remember how different people are. There will always be
which you excel that another doesn't, there will always be those who
do better, those who do worse. What's the common thread? No one is
perfect, no one can even come close without God's love and
Love and prayers,
Jerome Leo, OSB
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- +PAXPrayers for the Benedictine Nuns of the Congregation of Ste. Bathilde, having their General Chapter, for guidance from the Holy Spirit for all.Prayers for Louis, having kidney surgery.Prayers for Paul, having serious back surgery.