Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Holy Rule for Dec. 18

Expand Messages
  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Roger, who died suddenly, and for his brother, Brian, and all his family and all who mourn him. Lord, help us all
    Message 1 of 58 , Dec 17, 2012
    • 0 Attachment
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Roger, who died suddenly, and for his brother, Brian, and all his family and all who mourn him.

      Lord, help us all as you know and will. God's will is best. All is mery and
      grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

      April 18, August 18, December 18
      Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community

      Let all keep their places in the monastery
      established by the time of their entrance,
      the merit of their lives and the decision of the Abbot.
      Yet the Abbot must not disturb the flock committed to him,
      nor by an arbitrary use of his power ordain anything unjustly;
      but let him always think
      of the account he will have to render to God
      for all his decisions and his deeds.

      Therefore in that order which he has established
      or which they already had,
      let the brethren approach to receive the kiss of peace and Communion,
      intone the Psalms and stand in choir.
      And in no place whatever should age decide the order
      or be prejudicial to it;
      for Samuel and Daniel as mere boys judged priests.

      Except for those already mentioned, therefore,
      whom the Abbot has promoted by a special decision
      or demoted for definite reasons,
      all the rest shall take their order
      according to the time of their entrance.
      Thus, for example,
      he who came to the monastery at the second hour of the day,
      whatever be his age or his dignity,
      must know that he is junior
      to one who came at the first hour of the day.
      Boys, however, are to be kept under discipline
      in all matters and by everyone.

      REFLECTION

      St. Benedict, who has stressed fairness in so many ways, even
      equality, also insists on order, hence the title of this chapter. But
      it is an order which is largely established by God: the time of
      entrance. God calls when He chooses, whomever He chooses. When that
      person responds, that, for the most part, is going to determine their
      place in community.

      Families, too, need order.
      We are used to hearing sibling rivalry horror stories that traipse
      far into adult life as psychological baggage. How many of them might
      have been avoided if, as St. Benedict prescribed for his family,
      order was never decided by capriciousness and affection was equal.

      Children cannot understand favoritism and rightly so. But a child
      could be a bit more comfortable with rewards for good behavior, or for
      the merit of their siblings' lives. That might annoy them, true, but at
      least it is something they, too, can work towards. Arbitrary
      affectional preference is not.

      Note that St. Benedict leaves the Abbot free to advance anyone for
      his own reasons, but immediately tacks on a warning that the Abbot
      must not disturb his flock and that he must give an account of his
      stewardship. Abbots are human, not infallible. Human affection can
      enter into their choices and St. Benedict warns them against that.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers, please, for Kathleen, 92, having esophageal surgery, many problems, badly needs prayers. Prayers, please, for Adolfo and his wife, Mary Carmen.
      Message 58 of 58 , Jan 16, 2013
      • 0 Attachment
        +PAX

        Prayers, please, for Kathleen, 92, having esophageal surgery, many problems, badly needs prayers.

        Prayers, please, for Adolfo and his wife, Mary Carmen.

        Prayers for Chris, on his 42nd birthday, graces galore and many more!

        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.

        January 17, May 18, September 17
        Chapter 3: On Calling the Brethren for Counsel

        In all things, therefore, let all follow the Rule as guide,
        and let no one be so rash as to deviate from it.
        Let no one in the monastery follow his own heart's fancy;
        and let no one presume to contend with his Abbot
        in an insolent way or even outside of the monastery.
        But if anyone should presume to do so,
        let him undergo the discipline of the Rule.
        At the same time,
        the Abbot himself should do all things in the fear of God
        and in observance of the Rule,
        knowing that beyond a doubt
        he will have to render an account of all his decisions
        to God, the most just Judge.

        But if the business to be done in the interests of the monastery
        be of lesser importance,
        let him take counsel with the seniors only.
        It is written,
        "Do everything with counsel,
        and you will not repent when you have done it" (Eccles. 32:24).

        REFLECTION

        The key here is not to contend insolently; there is no proscription
        against telling the Abbot one feels something is amiss, so long as it
        is done respectfully and humbly. We are Benedictines, not fascists;
        we have a Father, not a Fuhrer.

        Human nature being what it is, people are usually more prone to cite
        the Abbot's responsibility to seek counsel than they are to cite the
        equally important proscription against contending with one's Abbot!
        There's a cure for that and many other ills buried within this
        chapter, a telling phrase whose observance promises peace. That
        little gem urges the monastics not to follow their "own heart's
        fancy."

        Follow that gem and peace abounds! For one thing, whether abbot or
        monastic, parent or child, boss or employee, the focus of the
        relationship ceases to become self. None of us are anywheres near the
        big deal we'd either like to be or think ourselves to be! Much of
        what seems earth-shattering to us is really small stuff, indeed.

        This is so important to monastic struggle because it is so intricately
        interwoven with detachment and holy indifference. We must learn how
        to hold onto our inner peace, how to safeguard it from damage at the
        hands of trivia. An abject TERRIBLE day for us, one when we are so
        hurt or angry that the world seems to have stopped, is just another average
        day for the rest of the community. Until, of course we decide we ARE
        the center of the universe and ruin it for them... Cling to that
        knowledge of trivia and less will suffer!

        At that point of recognizing trivia, truth and therefore, humility
        enter into the equation. We need very good "trivia
        detectors" and their default setting must be aimed at ourselves,
        rarely cast elsewhere except in cases of really great need. We can
        keep those detectors more than amply busy just in our own hearts
        and wills! We need to know deception, falsity, trivia, but it is
        essential to know them first in ourselves.

        If these good tools of detection are aimed only at others, the result
        will be pride and a fall, not humility and truth. Jesus said "I am
        the Truth," and to Him we must prefer nothing. Hence, our first
        desire must always be the truth and the truth is that the earth does
        not revolve around us as an axis!

        Our age, particularly, has embraced the idea of "Follow your bliss!"
        Well, maybe...sometimes.... but maybe not, too. Our "bliss" is no
        guarantee of infallibility. Years ago, and for many years of my life,
        I thought my "bliss" would be very different from where I finally wound up.

        As a handy rule of thumb, I would say that the will of God quite
        often looks nothing like bliss at first. Hence, confusing bliss with
        the divine will can be very risky. The will of God often BECOMES
        bliss when we are in the midst of following it, or in hindsight, but we
        frequently
        have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into that compliance!

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.