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Dec. 9

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Nanette, facing a daunting burden of decisions about home repairs, that she do God s will. God s will is best. All is mercy and
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 9, 2003
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      Prayers, please, for Nanette, facing a daunting burden of decisions
      about home repairs, that she do God's will. God's will is best. All
      is mercy and grace. Thanks so much. JL

      April 9, August 9, December 9
      Chapter 56: On the Abbess's Table

      Let the Abbess's table always be with the guests
      and the pilgrims. But when there are no guests,
      let it be in her power to invite whom she will of the sisters.
      Yet one or two seniors must always be left with the others
      for the sake of discipline.


      Let me give you a bit of pragmatic application here. I don't know if
      this is true everywhere, but in both houses I have actually lived in,
      the monks tended to eat rather fast. Secularly speaking, I have a
      reputation for being a fast eater when dining alone, even I have
      sometimes wondered about how good that is for digestion! Here,
      however, with no conversation to slow me down at all, the monks eat
      like the wind and I am always the last one, even when gulping down as
      fast as I can. This has resulted in my learning to take less and
      finish whatever I really need at the guesthouse! Sigh...

      Anyway, the upshot here is that guests OFTEN dine more slowly than
      the monastics and we all get up together for grace. If the guests are
      where the Abbot can see them, it is easier to check on who's done and
      who isn't. We wait for them to finish. (At least 99% of the time. I
      have known especially slow guests to win at this face-off once or
      twice! We just said grace and left them to finish...)

      Monastics (like children or spouses!) can be dreadful creatures of
      habit, you should pardon the pun... I can tell you that sometimes
      that waiting seems interminable. I can also tell you that it is good
      for us, for all of us, and this applies equally to families. We
      ALLOW, even enable and encourage the guest to inconvenience us to a
      certain extent. That's part of our hospitality, part of receiving
      Christ, often in a considerably distressing disguise.

      Oblates in families or the world, trust me on this one, I know
      company can sometimes be a pain. I have had company most of the time
      for most of the last seven years. While I relish the occasional day
      when the house is empty, they are fewer and farther between each
      year. The message here is not only for guests in our homes, but for
      others in general, at work, when shopping or (horrors!) driving. LET
      others put you out a bit. Adopt a courtesy that is greater than the
      world's. Many works of genuine mercy can be done in such situations.

      I used to work the desk in a public library. From that and from my
      hospital and teaching years, I can tell you that a courteous,
      hospitable, Christian attitude of charity can stand out, really touch
      people. You don't have to be obnoxiously preachy, in fact, that has
      the opposite effect! The subtle grace and love of courtesy will lead
      a lot of people to wonder about you and what motivates you. Some of
      the braver ones will one day even ask. And there is your chance! Go
      slowly and gently, but tell them why.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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