Holy Rule for Nov. 3
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the folliwng, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Barbara Anne, it seems to be a disc problem in her neck, radiating pain down her right shoulder and right arm. The disc may be ruptured and impinging on the nerve that leads all the way to her right hand. It's not a constant pain at this time, but intermittent, and wakes her up at night.
Marianne, 88, who has been incapacitated by a crippling stroke for many months, and now has pneumonia and congestive heart failure, and has just been placed in the care of Hospice. For a happy death whenever God calls her. Please pray also for her two remaining sisters, Janet and Joyce, and for all her family.
Deo gratias and prayers of thanks for Veronica, for whom we prayed re her cancer. It was found that there were no other cancer spots in her body apart from the tumour on her lung which has now been successfully removed. She is so grateful for all prayers... thanks too from her family.
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 4, July 4, November 3
Chapter 27: How Solicitous the Abbot Should Be for the
Let the Abbot be most solicitous in his concern for delinquent
brethren, for "it is not the healthy but the sick who need a
physician" (Matt 9:12) And therefore he ought to use every means
that a wise physician would use. Let him send senpectae, that is,
brethren of mature years and wisdom, who may as it were secretly
console the wavering brother
and induce him to make humble satisfaction; comforting him that he
may not "be overwhelmed by excessive grief" (2 Cor. 2:7), but that,
as the Apostle says, charity may be strengthened in him (2 Cor.
2:8). And let everyone pray for him.
For the Abbot must have the utmost solicitude and exercise all
prudence and diligence
lest he lose any of the sheep entrusted to him. Let him know that
what he has undertaken is the care of weak souls and not a tyranny
over strong ones; and let him fear the Prophet's warning through
which God says, "What you saw to be fat you took to yourselves, and
what was feeble you cast away" (Ezec. 34:3,4). Let him rather
imitate the loving example of the Good Shepherd who left the ninety-
nine sheep in the mountains
and went to look for the one sheep that had gone astray, on whose
weakness He had such compassion that He deigned to place it on His
own sacred shoulders and thus carry it back to the flock (Luke 15:4-
This is the chapter that makes the entire penal code (as it is
usually termed,) of the Holy Rule clear. The Abbot (or parent
or teacher or boss or spouse,) is actually called to exercise super
concern for the fallen. Hence, it is clear that the whole purpose
of punishment in the Holy Rule is only to heal, to reform. It is an action
of great hope, not a cop out of exclusion, not simply writing a person
off because of the difficulties presented.
How often do we "punish" another, or even ourselves, as a means of
write-off, of abdication of our responsibility to love? Both the
Gospel and St. Benedict teach us that is wrong, it is not a
Christian response and not at all the way we should "conveniently"
unload ourselves of a troubled human being in our lives.
All of us charged with the care of others must pay close attention
to this chapter. It is so easy to love the "perfect" child or the
whiz kid student. It is so easy to heap acceptance and confident
affirmation on the types of employees who least need it, while the
strugglers and the strays have their feelings of inferiority
confirmed. People of any age quite often stoop to the level that
others expect of them. We must offer them the best chance we can to
do and be all that they can.
The world will offer all the empty praise that is necessary to the
successful. It is the shallow way of the world to do so. Christians
and monastics, however, are called to be OTHER than the world.
There has to be something topsy-turvy in the way we love that
becomes puzzlingly apparent. We have to love the underdog, even
when the underdog is driving us slowly nuts. This doesn't mean we
don't love the holy and good ones, it means we never, never fail to
love the plodders. It means that we always remember that we are
in many ways ourselves.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Matt and Bettie are celebrating 22 years of marriage, not 201 as they awful typo reads. I thought it was 21 years, but Matt kindly corrected my mistake.