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Dec. 19

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Margie, for whom we prayed, has mercifully died. Prayers for her and for her family, especially, Jon, Gary and Thom, that all may find Christ in this
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 19, 2003
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      +PAX

      Margie, for whom we prayed, has mercifully died. Prayers for her and
      for her family, especially, Jon, Gary and Thom, that all may find
      Christ in this crisis. Prayers for the employment search of Andrea.
      Please pray for Joey, severe depression, and for Jim, Anne and their
      three sons, they have suffered a bad house fire. God's will is best.
      All is mercy and grace. Thanks so much! JL

      April 19, August 19, December 19
      Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community

      The juniors, therefore, should honor their seniors,
      and the seniors love their juniors.

      In the very manner of address,
      let no one call another by the mere name;
      but let the seniors call their juniors Brothers,
      and the juniors call their seniors Fathers,
      by which is conveyed the reverence due to a father.
      But the Abbot,
      since he is believed to represent Christ,
      shall be called Lord and Abbot,
      not for any pretensions of his own
      but out of honor and love for Christ.
      Let the Abbot himself reflect on this,
      and show himself worthy of such an honor.

      And wherever the brethren meet one another
      the junior shall ask the senior for his blessing.
      When a senior passes by,
      a junior shall rise and give him a place to sit,
      nor shall the junior presume to sit with him
      unless his senior bid him,
      that it may be as was written,
      "In honor anticipating one another."

      Boys, both small and adolescent,
      shall keep strictly to their rank in oratory and at table.
      But outside of that, wherever they may be,
      let them be under supervision and discipline,
      until they come to the age of discretion.

      REFLECTION

      Abbot Fidelis, my late novicemaster, used to always say that
      Benedictines were "gentlemen monks." At that time, the phrase annoyed
      me a good bit, though I never said so. It seemed to have a ring of
      faint middle-class respectability about it, not a little bourgeois,
      as if we were monks who were "the right sort of people."

      It would still annoy me today if, one meant by that phrase nothing
      more than all those rather hollow social niceties. Not that there's
      anything wrong as such with social niceties, just that I have grown
      up in a country where courtesy, "civil" religion and the like had
      precious little to do with faith itself. Such things, though
      indubitably polite, always seemed to me to be the basically
      disconnected veneer of an often mediocre faith.

      Living among monastics will teach one (hopefully!) by osmosis that
      many of the common courtesies which have become decidedly UNcommon in
      the world are the order of the day here. We get so immersed in that
      that often it is hard to even think of what they are, we just do
      them. The best example I can come up with right now is that there is
      FAR more restraint here against interrupting another's conversation
      here than in the world at large. We do it sometimes, I do it too
      much, but basically we do NOT "butt in."

      There are many other little things, rising when a superior enters,
      not sitting until the superior does in chapter, etc. These in
      themselves may seem empty at first, but when linked to the charity of
      Christ and His Divine Mercy, they become very real gestures of love.
      The fact that we don't think of them much after a while in no way
      diminishes the Treasure that motivates them, Christ Himself.

      Relationships between seniors and juniors are a two-way street. The
      behavior of one feeds (or stokes the fires!) of the other. Hey, this
      is true of all relationships, in every area of life. Want to be
      loved? Give respect. Want to be respected? Give love. It may not work
      in every instance, but it must be the first means we try and the only
      means we never abandon totally.

      Though the Holy Rule clearly exempts (in this passage,) the Abbess,
      because she represents Christ, the express command that the Abbess
      remember why she is treated as Christ is underscored. The Rule is the
      Rule and monastics are human. I have known abbots who treated their
      subjects like fools and were rewarded accordingly! The treatment we
      give to others tends to reflect back upon as from a mirror, often not
      without very good reason!

      So, yes, my dear Abbot Fidelis, hopefully we ARE gentlemen monks (and
      gentle monastics period!) No, we are not like some terribly well-off
      and proper alumni mixer at Yale, or Cambridge, or Harvard or Oxford.
      But we ARE gentle and we are so because of Him Whom we seek and have
      come to love.

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      jeromeleo@...
      Petersham, MA
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