Prayers, please, for the repose of the souls of Margaret Ibbotson and
Pat Ratcliff and for their families. (We prayed for Pat a few days
ago and she has died after her stroke. Margaret has virtually no
family to pray for her.) Prayers, too, for Frances, struggling to
work with serious insomnia. God's will is best. All is mercy and
grace. Thanks so much. JL
April 16, August 16, December 16
Chapter 61: How Pilgrim Monks Are To Be Received
But if as a guest she was found exacting or prone to vice,
not only should she be denied membership in the community,
but she should even be politely requested to leave,
lest others be corrupted by her evil life.
If, however, she has not proved to be the kind
who deserves to be put out,
she should not only on her own application be received
as a member of the community,
but she should even be persuaded to stay,
that the others may be instructed by her example,
and because in every place it is the same Lord who is served,
the same King for whom the battle is fought.
Moreover, if the Abbess perceives that she is worthy,
she may put her in a somewhat higher rank.
[And not only with regard to a nun
but also with regard to those in priestly or clerical orders
the Abbess may establish them in a higher rank
than would be theirs by date of entrance
if she perceives that their life is deserving.
Let the Abbess take care, however,
never to receive a nun from another known monastery
as a member of her community
without the consent of her Abbess or a letter of recommendation;
for it is written,
"Do not to another what you would not want done to yourself" (Tob.
*[Applicable only to women of some contemporary monastic communities
in the Anglican Communion.]
The flip side of a visitor having a few good things to point out is
one who has very little good to say at all, carping about everything.
Just as the monastic family is to listen carefully at first to see
which brand of critic they have, here they are warned that the one
who is happy with nothing should be politely asked to leave. It is,
as always, balance. We should fall into neither extreme.
Monasteries and families are very much alike in their innate sense of
being more or less OK. Like families, they can sometimes be mistaken
about this and St. Benedict knows that. However, he also points out
that there are times when that instinctive feeling of being all right
IS right, and a visiting malcontent ought not to disrupt it.
There is a specific application here for single Oblates who may be
dating. Virtually all of us could use some improvements in our lives,
especially if we have fallen into some of the peculiar habits that
seem to thrive among those who live alone. An outside observer, one
who sees the side of our life previously hidden, can offer some real
However, someone who wants to overhaul us or our lives wholesale, is
not a "suitable suitor" or friend! We must learn to live with and
adapt to others, but I'll bet that any of us who have dated have
known at least one of those who wanted to remake us from the ground
up. Not a good idea!
Religious people can actually be too passive in this respect, quite
easily. All kinds of things might enter into that judgement, but self-
emptying and self-destruction are two different things! A
relationship is the union of two people, not the total absorption of
Love and prayers,