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Holy Rule for Feb. 29

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Steve, just out of the hospital from a bout with a bleeding ulcer, also for Alexandria, a stroke after multiple surgeries, now in a
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 29, 2004
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for Steve, just out of the hospital from a bout with
      a bleeding ulcer, also for Alexandria, a stroke after multiple
      surgeries, now in a coma and apparently dying. Prayers, too, for my
      Dad, Jerome Hughes, on the anniversary of his death. God's will is
      best. All is mercy and grace. Thanks so much. JL

      February 29, June 30, October 30
      Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults
      (If there is no 29th of Feburary, append this entry to the previous.)

      If a brother is found to be obstinate,
      or disobedient, or proud, or murmuring,
      or habitually transgressing the Holy Rule in any point
      and contemptuous of the orders of his seniors,
      the latter shall admonish him secretly a first and a second time,
      as Our Lord commands (Matt. 18:15).
      If he fails to amend,
      let him be given a public rebuke in front of the whole community.
      But if even then he does not reform,
      let him be placed under excommunication,
      provided that he understands the seriousness of that penalty;
      if he is perverse, however,
      let him undergo corporal punishment.

      REFLECTION

      It is sad, indeed, that a chapter like this ever had to be written,
      sad in St. Benedict's time, sad in our own. How little human beings
      change in some ways! Why on earth would anyone come to a monastic
      struggle with an attitude that says: "I know better. I'm right and
      they're wrong."? Why would anyone persist in staying with such an
      attitude?

      Because they are blind. It's another favorite trick of Satan. Blurred
      or clouded assessments of the reality at hand are his forte.
      Especially when these phony lenses get applied to religious matters,
      the obstinacy and self-righteousness can go to extremes.

      Look, beloveds, every single one of us, from the newest Oblate
      candidate to the Abbot Primate, came to the monastic life, to the
      Holy Rule, to be CHANGED. We came to learn, not to teach. We came to
      reform ourselves, not the monastery. We not only arrived with that
      attitude, we must keep it all of our lives. We came to surrender, not
      to demand.

      That's why this chapter is both so very sad and so very important.
      The monastic at any point in life who has renounced that attitude of
      discipleship has abandoned the struggle. We must hope it is a
      temporary abandonment, because it can be fatal to one's vocation. It
      can undo all the good work we have behind us. It can delude us into
      thinking we are persevering when we have actually long ago quit.

      Superiors and community (or family!) can be a big reality check here
      and that is what this chapter seeks to provide. Gentleness, love and
      tact are in order, but something must be done. One must be very
      careful at such times not to lord it over another smugly. But one
      must also be very careful not to do nothing at all, especially if one
      is in authority. The risk to the falling member is too great to
      ignore.

      If, alas, you find yourself to be that falling member, for heaven's
      sake (quite literally!) LISTEN. That is such a Benedictine trait, our
      Holy Rule begins with that word. If others are that upset, there may
      well be something wrong. Don't deny it. Check it out with all the
      humility you can muster, but be very aware that your humility may
      well be the thing that is currently terribly impaired. Be as honest
      as truthful as you can. Try, try with all your strength, to let
      yourself always be changed for the good, and strive to see that good,
      even when it is hard.

      If you are one of the lucky ones not in this leaking boat, be deeply
      humbled and grateful to God. Pray every day for all of those in the
      Order, the Church, the world, who are sinking. They need our prayers
      badly. Think how different the Titanic might have been with enough
      lifeboats...

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