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
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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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