Holy Rule for Nov. 5
Prayers for the eternal rest of my Dad, Jerome, who would have been 100 today. He died when he was only 47.
Please continue to remember in your prayers all those without heat, water, food, gas, or shelter in those States still not receiving help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Please pray for Rose who has liver disease caused by Hep C. She was supposed to start treatment for it this week, but the doctor discovered an infection in the knee she had replaced 18 months ago, so that has to be cleared up before treatment can begin. Rose is upset and depressed by all of this, so needs prayers for healing of her mind, heart and soul as well as her body.
Deo Gratias. Trey received some good news yesterday about the ramp that will be needed for Trey. Trey will be coming home Thursday. The people from the Spinal Cord Commission are going to donate the materials AND build it!
Prayers for John, colonoscopy this Monday and Anne, major surgery next week to close her mucous fistula and wound.
Stephen, who faithfully asks prayers here for many others, now needs them himself: he is in the hospital with cardiac arrhythmia and tachycardia, stress induced.
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 6, July 6, November 5
Chapter 29: Whether Brethren Who Leave the Monastery Should Be
If a brother who through his own fault leaves the monastery should
wish to return, let him first promise full reparation for his
having gone away; and then let him be received in the lowest place,
as a test of his humility. And if he should leave again, let him be
taken back again, and so a third time; but he should understand
that after this all way of return is denied him.
There are variant readings of the first line of this chapter among
manuscripts. Some authorities accept the additional phrase "or is
expelled", though the RB1980 translation does not. As with so many
things this ancient, it is hard to tell who is right (and
sometimes, if that matters!) I checked in the library downstairs,
but I can't find our autographed first edition of the Holy Rule
However, let's err on the side of mercy if we are to err at all.
Since most modern translations omit the phrase, let's take a look
at the other possibility: what if it really was what St. Benedict
had in mind?
If so, it reveals a mercy and love and tenderness beyond anything
we have ever seen in the Holy Rule. If, even after all the hassle
that can occur before one actually gets thrown out one could STILL
be forgiven, and up to three times, that is very great mercy
to say the least. Still, it is a very consistent reading with the
penal code that precedes it. If the only reason for Benedictine
punishment is reform and conversion, then even the ultimate
punishment of expulsion might have a hook of possible conversion
From this perspective, let us look at ourselves for a moment. How
do we "punish" people or banish them from our lives and hearts? I
use quotes around "punish" to stress the lunacy that very often
such "punishments" harm no one but ourselves. We decide, once and
for all that this or that person has had it. End of story. Well, if
one reads the Holy Rule carefully, there MAY be an "end of story"
point for Benedictines, but it does not come as often or as early
or as readily as some of us might think and we must be saddened if
it does come!
Face it, a lot of us think of punishment is about us, not the
offender. It is OUR "justice" that gets fed, that makes demands,
that says we are done with the problem person. Whoa! If God's ideas
are anything like that (and we daily ask Him to use our standards of
mercy in the Our Father,) we are in deep, deep trouble. Our
punishments must have an eye to reform, not revenge, to conversion,
not conclusion. Permanent rifts, as even the Rule allows, may
sometimes occur, but our attitude then should be sadness, not joy.
And always, always and everywhere, we must pray for such people. Never give
up on prayer for them.
Love and prayers,
[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.