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Oct. 30

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, for Rick, for whom we prayed and for Linda, his wife. Rick died yesterday. Continued prayers for all threatened by fires in California, along
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 30, 2003

      Prayers, for Rick, for whom we prayed and for Linda, his wife. Rick
      died yesterday. Continued prayers for all threatened by fires in
      California, along with prayers of thanks for those unscathed. Sr MJ's
      family send thanks for all your prayers. Sr. Dorothy, for whom we
      prayed is recovering well from her hip replacement. God's will is
      best. All is mercy and grace. Thanks so much. JL

      February 29, June 30, October 30
      Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults

      If a brother is found to be obstinate,
      or disobedient, or proud, or murmuring,
      or habitually transgressing the Holy Rule in any point
      and contemptuous of the orders of his seniors,
      the latter shall admonish him secretly a first and a second time,
      as Our Lord commands (Matt. 18:15).
      If he fails to amend,
      let him be given a public rebuke in front of the whole community.
      But if even then he does not reform,
      let him be placed under excommunication,
      provided that he understands the seriousness of that penalty;
      if he is perverse, however,
      let him undergo corporal punishment.


      Calm down, folks! Nobody uses corporal punishment any more, though I
      can tell you that its use in certain cases has often been a
      daydreaming temptation! It's worth noting that, for most people, such
      daydreams always chuckle at the thought of someone ELSE getting
      corporal punishment, not themselves! Sigh... Me included.

      While some today may chafe at these chapters, known as the penal code
      of the Holy Rule, believe me, the modern problem is NOT that they are
      too stringently enforced. Quite the opposite. The Benedictine
      atmosphere of gentle moderation can cloak and empower a lot of
      timidity and cowardice, too. Neither are very loving, they're just
      useful means of avoidance.

      Not all love is tough love, but all love IS tough. When a parent or
      boss or superior chooses their own comfort by avoiding confrontation
      with a problem member, everyone suffers. Those in authority are
      called to love, and love leaves no stone unturned, not even those
      that are horribly difficult to lift.

      Most of us can think of far too many examples of timid authority
      failures in families and workplaces. One probably cannot change the
      people in charge that effect such negligence. One ought to bravely
      try, but it often doesn't work. One can moan a lot about it, but that
      gets to murmuring in no time and is also counter-productive.

      The message here for all of us is "Look at your own choir stall",
      which is a Benedictine way of saying "Mind your own business and
      examine your conscience." If you are in authority, or get there
      someday, don't be a flop or an unloving wimp. If you are not in
      charge, don't make yourself one of the problems. It is terribly hard
      for rank and file to ignore what seemingly ought not to be ignored,
      but sometimes we simply have to do so or leave. That is one of the
      VERY great ascetic disciplines of common life. Believe me, fasting
      pales to nothing beside this one. I'd rather fast any day!

      Over the years I have heard excuses close to whining from people in
      all areas of authority: political, ecclesiastical, parental, monastic
      and administrative. "Nothing can be done about so-and-so. My hands
      are tied." I hate to say that I remain unable to completely buy that,
      largely because sometimes I've been around long enough to see a
      successor (or the juvenile courts!) DO something about so-and-so. My
      own time as list owner of Monastic Life taught me that deciding to do
      something can heap tons of abuse on one's head, but something often
      can be done.

      Monastics come to the Holy Rule for the benefit of discipline and
      growth and guidance toward holiness. We have a right to same, and no
      one should have to know that only for the most flagrant of abuses
      will he or she get it. St. Benedict points us toward the "bonum
      obedientiae", the good, the gift of obedience. That means that, for
      Benedictines, there must be something much more than mere non-
      intervention. There has to be someone on the rudder. There has to be
      something more stable than the ever-changing weathervanes of
      consensus or self-will. Micromanaging is a terrible fault, but no
      management at all is far worse.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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