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Dec. 14

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for J., who is facing serious financial problems meeting her house taxes because of family medical costs. Need a lot of help here,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2003
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      Prayers, please, for J., who is facing serious financial problems
      meeting her house taxes because of family medical costs. Need a lot
      of help here, please. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. AND
      He will always take care of us! Thanks so much! JL

      April 14, August 14, December 14
      Chapter 60: On Priests Who May Wish to Live in the Monastery

      If any ordained priest
      should ask to be received into the monastery,
      permission shall not be granted too readily.
      But if he is quite persistent in his request,
      let him know
      that he will have to observe the whole discipline of the Rule
      and that nothing will be relaxed in his favor,
      that it may be as it is written:
      "Friend, for what have you come (Matt. 26:50)?"

      It shall be granted him, however, to stand next after the Abbot
      and to give blessings and to celebrate Mass,
      but only by order of the Abbot.
      Without such order let him not make any exceptions for himself,
      knowing that he is subject to the discipline of the Rule;
      but rather let him give an example of humility to all.

      If there happens to be question of an appointment
      or of some business in the monastery,
      let him expect the rank due him
      according to the date of his entrance into the monastery,
      and not the place granted him
      out of reverence for the priesthood.

      If any clerics, moved by the same desire,
      should wish to join the monastery,
      let them be placed in a middle rank.
      But they too are to be admitted only if they promise
      observance of the Rule and stability.


      St. Benedict here is simply insisting again on equality. Just as he
      wanted the rich to divest themselves of privilege at entrance, so
      does he want the clergy to put aside the privileges that their status
      gave them in the world.

      This has been difficult in our Order's history to apply. Canon law
      itself has given more than a bit of trouble in this respect,
      guaranteeing that priests had to be governed by ordained major
      superiors and so forth. There have also been backlashes of
      anticlericalism among brothers in some areas in the last 50 years.
      Neither extreme is a happy one.

      Cling instead to what St. Benedict is saying here to all of us about
      the equality of all. Only for virtue or experience (or because the
      Abbot deems to do so,) may one be placed before another. WOW! Picture
      a world run on that model, picture even a corporation! St. Benedict
      tries to give privilege only to those worthy of it. Would that every
      human institution did that!

      The quintessential question of the Holy Rule is that of
      Jesus: "Friend, for what have you come?" The only acceptable answer
      to the question is: "To seek God." That might be rephrased in any of
      a number of ways, but that's the main event, the only game in town,
      the end all be all of Benedictine monastic life.

      It is very necessary, in stating that we seek God, to admit that we
      haven't altogether found Him yet, nor will we ever do so before
      death. Even in the beatific vision of heaven itself, we creatures
      will never, ever get to the root of our Creator, to the "ground zero"
      of God. Ain't gonna happen.

      Another way of saying this is that we need to come to the Holy Rule
      and to the Gospel and to Christ admitting how frighteningly little we
      DO know. If we think holy orders or an MDiv or an MD or a BS have
      corrected that problem, even slightly, well, maybe (you should pardon
      the pun,) BS is just about all we've gotten from the experience.

      For heaven's sake, after spending so many years of my life trying to
      become clever, what a tremendous relief it is to be dumb:
      pluperfectly, fallibly, humanly, screamingly, shriekingly DUMB! Boy,
      I love it! Ignorance truly *IS* bliss, just like they told ya!

      In one sense, I heartily recommend it. It is the only position from
      which one may learn anything at all. Get too smart (or think you
      have!) and you will never listen, another Benedictine hallmark. You
      won't learn because all your energy will go into composing your
      rejoinder or response. Such people do not learn. They merely joust.
      Life is more than that, much more. Tons more.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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