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Dec. 7

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Judy and her Mom, who has died, also for Pat, who has died and for Thom, her faithful caregiver, and for Judy s brother-in-law,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 2003
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      Prayers, please, for Judy and her Mom, who has died, also for Pat,
      who has died and for Thom, her faithful caregiver, and for Judy's
      brother-in-law, possible heart attack. Prayers of Thanksgiving for
      the birth of Jacob Perry, for his parents and his proud grandmother,
      Jay, also for Jan, 30, bi-polar, seeking work and housing and having
      a tough time now, for her Mom, Barb, and her brother, Brian, himself
      bi-polar and having family difficulties. Prayers, too, for Al, 40,
      bone cancer. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace! Thanks so
      much! JL

      April 7, August 7, December 7
      Chapter 55: On the Clothes and Shoes of the Brethren

      Let clothing be given to the brethren
      according to the nature of the place in which they dwell
      and its climate;
      for in cold regions more will be needed,
      and in warm regions less.
      This is to be taken into consideration, therefore, by the Abbot.

      We believe, however, that in ordinary places
      the following dress is sufficient for each monk:
      a tunic,
      a cowl (thick and woolly for winter, thin or worn for summer),
      a scapular for work,
      stockings and shoes to cover the feet.

      The monks should not complain
      about the color or the coarseness of any of these things,
      but be content with what can be found
      in the district where they live and
      can be purchased cheaply.

      The Abbot shall see to the size of the garments,
      that they be not too short for those who wear them,
      but of the proper fit.

      Let those who receive new clothes
      always give back the old ones at once,
      to be put away in the wardrobe for the poor.
      For it is sufficient if a monk has two tunics and two cowls,
      to allow for night wear and for the washing of these garments;
      more than that is superfluity and should be taken away.
      Let them return their stockings also and anything else that is old
      when they receive new ones.

      Those who are sent on a journey
      shall receive drawers from the wardrobe,
      which they shall wash and restore on their return.
      And let their cowls and tunics be somewhat better
      than what they usually wear.
      These they shall receive from the wardrobe
      when they set out on a journey,
      and restore when they return.


      Well, I could write another love song to the habit, and I surely do
      love it, but there is an issue here for all who are outside the
      cloister, yet still with the monastic struggle. Clothes do not make
      the monastic, but they do set up some very potent markers, for good
      or ill. The Benedictine job is to find the golden mean, avoiding

      One's clothing sends a message, fair or not. The message it sends may
      very well advance or inhibit any subsequent messages one my try to
      send. Sometimes lay people who are intensely religious will go
      overboard in what can only be called eccentiricty in dress. Bad move!
      Right or wrong, our society writes them off at first glance. The odds
      of being a witness who is heard are diminished. We should want our
      appearance to suggest that Jesus Christ is WORTH turning to, not that
      we are simply fools with no fashion sense.

      Simple, decent, clean, middle-of-the-road clothing is a goal
      virtually any Oblate can attain. Not too flashy and costly, but
      neither so tacky or beyond the fringe that it invokes scorn. The
      cheaper the better, but not just for stinge!

      The clothing industry in the West rides roughshod on the backs of a
      LOT of oppressed people in the less developed countries. Buying your
      good clothes used may not stop those awful practices, but it will at
      least stop your direct complicity in them. Buy a used $45 shirt at a
      Salvation Army Thrift Store and your $5 or less will actually go
      towards helping someone in need, not just perpetuating that need.
      Think how you look, but think very carefully of where your money goes.

      A further little fussy word here. Think twice about wearing labels
      that show OUTSIDE. I speak as one who used to love buying used shirts
      with Ralph Lauren's polo player emblazoned on the breast. Sigh...
      Conspicuous consumption depends on visible labels like that, and you
      could be adding to a fire you'd rather extinguish. As a monk, I
      became embarrassed to wear such things. It sent the wrong message

      Lastly, almost everyone I know could make do with less clothes. We
      pack a lot of consumerist variety into those closets of ours and that
      sends a message, too. Always remember that the extra coat in our
      chest "belongs to the poor," as St. Basil said.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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