Prayers, please, for Maura and a friend of hers. The man's son killed
himself a few months ago, now his wife has killed herself. What a
load of sorrow! Also for infant Luke, failing to thrive and for the
repose of the soul of Doc Harris. Thanks so much! JL
March 24, July 24, November 23
Chapter 44: How the Excommunicated Are to Make Satisfaction
One who for serious faults is excommunicated
from oratory and table
shall make satisfaction as follows.
At the hour when the celebration of the Work of God is concluded
in the oratory,
let her lie prostrate before the door of the oratory,
saying nothing, but only lying prone with her face to the ground
at the feet of all as they come out of the oratory.
And let her continue to do this
until the Abbess judges that satisfaction has been made.
Then, when she has come at the Abbess's bidding,
let her cast herself first at the Abbess's feet
and then at the feet of all,
that they may pray for her.
And next, if the Abbess so orders,
let her be received into the choir,
to the place which the Abbess appoints,
but with the provision that she shall not presume
to intone Psalm or lesson or anything else in the oratory
without a further order from the Abbess.
Moreover, at every Hour,
when the Work of God is ended,
let her cast herself on the ground in the place where she stands.
And let her continue to satisfy in this way
until the Abbess again orders her finally to cease
from this satisfaction.
But those who for slight faults are excommunicated
only from table
shall make satisfaction in the oratory,
and continue in it till an order from the Abbess,
until she blesses them and says, "It is enough."
No matter how we came by it, one nasty little of baggage that a lot
of us carry is the inability to say: "It is enough." For some of us,
forgiving ourselves or believing we have been forgiven or even
sensing that we have made all the reparation possible or necessary is
There is great blessing for such people to have an Abbot. Even there,
tremendous trust and obedience are required, because the Evil One
would very much prefer that our upset and lack of faith continue! An
Abbot can put and end to many matters, if only we allow that to
happen. Abbots can offer resolution to many situations and the Holy
Rule confirms them in this power again and again. The buck really
If we let it stop there.... That can be so hard. However, even though
most of us reading this do NOT live with Abbots, we all live with
God, with Christ. He and He alone is in charge of our forgiveness, of
the extent of our reparation or penance. He knows all too well the
extremes of self-damage we can go to without His intervention and He
does intervene, if only we have the faith to allow Him, to listen and
I am finding lately, much to the relief of my obsessive/compulsive
heart and soul, that I really can achieve vastly greater amounts of
inner serenity and peace by putting an affair in my superior's hands
and accepting his judgement. There is they key to the value of this:
inner peace and serenity. We can get nowhere without those passports.
Anything which increases their strength is a chance we ought never to
The divine mercy of God is His greatest attribute, linked inseparably
to His love. We could never for an instant imagine the full extent of
that mercy's grandeur. We do Christ a terrible disservice and
discourtesy when we refuse to believe that His riches are for us,
that only others can be forgiven, but we must struggle on and "save
ourselves" with Pelagian bootstraps firmly in hand! What a sneaky
inverse pride there is in such feelings: I am so special (even
specially wicked!) that I cannot be like the rest of them!
Mercy, mercy and always mercy! If you do not have a superior to live
with, please learn to accept that mercy from God. If you do have a
superior, learn to accept God's mercy through that channel. If you
*ARE* a superior or parent or teacher, strive to be that channel.
Mercy, mercy, always mercy!
Love and prayers,
jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA