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Oct. 31

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for John, who has cancer, and for his sister, Kathleen. Prayers, too, that a house may sell. Several people are counting on that for
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2003

      Prayers, please, for John, who has cancer, and for his sister,
      Kathleen. Prayers, too, that a house may sell. Several people are
      counting on that for their financial welfare. God's will is best. All
      is mercy and grace. Thanks so much. JL

      March 1, July 1, October 31
      Chapter 24: What the Measure of Excommunication Should Be

      The measure of excommunication or of chastisement
      should correspond to the degree of fault,
      which degree is estimated by the judgment of the Abbess.

      If a sister is found guilty of lighter faults,
      let her be excluded from the common table.
      Now the program for one deprived of the company of the table
      shall be as follows:
      In the oratory she shall intone neither Psalm nor antiphon
      nor shall she recite a lesson
      until she has made satisfaction;
      in the refectory she shall take her food alone
      after the community meal,
      so that if they eat at the sixth hour, for instance,
      that sister shall eat at the ninth,
      while if they eat at the ninth hour
      she shall eat in the evening,
      until by a suitable satisfaction she obtains pardon.


      Let's face it, St. Benedict has a lot to say about excommunication- a
      clumsy term, perhaps, because people often assume it means
      excommunication from the Church, which is the only sense of the word
      we commonly have today. It does not, of course mean that, just a
      punishment of exclusion from certain community functions.

      Let's face something else, at least in this chapter. Fasting an extra
      three hours might not be lovely, but no intoning in choir? What bad
      news! Gosh... Even many of us who CAN sing would look at that as a
      nice break!

      And eating alone? Well, the extra fast was a drag, but I
      sure missed that droning reader and the tedious book we've been
      reading. What awful luck!

      See the difference in perception a millennium or so can make? That
      may be a large part of why the penal code is not followed today: some
      of its punishments simply make little sense to modern monastics, some
      seem mean, and others (as above,) seem like downright vacations.

      The rest of this applies with great ease to family situations,
      marital situations and the workplace. Something must be gleaned from
      all this legislation for punishment: the one at fault must be told
      when something is wrong. That, after all, is the only reason for
      punishment, to be a wake up call to the less than brilliant.

      Unfortunately, the monastic hatred of personal confrontation endemic
      in our ranks assumes (because it is easiest to do so,) sufficient
      brilliance for all to sooner or later figure out that they are amiss.
      It just ain't so, folks, sorry! Things fester when they go ignored
      for years. Things that someone should have dealt with gently, but
      firmly and even summarily, in formation or childhood, torture the
      family in later years.

      Look, it is hard, VERY hard, to confront a predictably stubborn or
      difficult child or monastic or spouse or employee on a bad day. It's
      easy to see why one would rather not do so. But the Holy Rule asks
      many things that are difficult of us, and this one is unquestionably
      for the good of all, both the offender and the offended. The false
      charity, (really just cowardice in polite drag,) that omits to make
      these difficult corrections goes a long way to making everyone's life
      hellish in the future.

      Also, in workplace especially, bear in mind that the authority figure
      here is the abbot, not the rank and file. One dare not assume all
      those prerogatives as a peer and equal. Fraternal correction will get
      a chapter of its own later on, but it is not a mantle to be assumed
      lightly. We must beware of the other extreme: becoming universal
      policing agents for all and sundry. A tiny spark of Gestapo flickers
      in many, if not most human hearts. Do nothing to fan the flame!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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