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Holy Rule for Apr. 5

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Continued prayers, please, for Bernie, doing better after his stroke, but still a way to go. Prayers, too, for Deacon Paul and his work in St. Charles,
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 5, 2004
      +PAX

      Continued prayers, please, for Bernie, doing better after his stroke, but still a way to go.
      Prayers, too, for Deacon Paul and his work in St. Charles, Missouri. God's will is best.
      All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Thanks so much! JL
      April 5, August 5, December 5
      Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests
      Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
      that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
      who are never lacking in a monastery,
      arrive at irregular hours.
      Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
      be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
      Let them be given such help as they need,
      that they may serve without murmuring.
      And on the other hand,
      when they have less to occupy them,
      let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.
      And not only in their case
      but in all the offices of the monastery
      let this arrangement be observed,
      that when help is needed it be supplied,
      and again when the workers are unoccupied
      they do whatever they are bidden.
      The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
      whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
      Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
      and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
      and in a prudent manner.
      On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
      associate or converse with guests.
      But if he should meet them or see them,
      let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
      ask their blessing and pass on,
      saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.
      REFLECTION

      It is the last paragraph which strikes me. Most monasteries no longer
      enforce it strictly, thankfully. However, it brings to mind a rule of
      thumb that may be applied in other situations.
      Like any rule of thumb, there may be exceptions, but watch the
      reactions of monastics whose silence or enclosure is intruded upon
      very carefully. You can learn a lot about the monastic in question
      from them.

      When the reaction makes the guest (who, after all, probably didn't
      know any better,) feel dirty or small or terribly wrong, you can
      safely guess that the monastic in question has a lot of growing up to
      do. File that info anyway you like, but I'd give her a LOT of
      room...I'd smile sweetly when I had to and then give her a very wide
      berth! I have never seen a truly holy and wise monastic react in such
      a way, never. Watch out for the pursed lips and narrowed eyes, the
      shaming attitude, the evident disgust. None of these things are
      monastic traits. All of them are signs that a lot of further work is
      necessary.

      Silence and enclosure are very effective tools, they are means to an
      end. They can never be ends in themselves. The holy use of these
      tools is quite likely to produce wonderful results, but their unholy
      use can be just as likely to stall progress and growth outright.
      Both, unfortunately, lend themselves all too well to a perversion of
      their good. Both silence and enclosure can play right into the
      stultifying neuroses of the worst kind. People can protect themselves
      with them in order to remain incapable of relationship or
      communication. A wise superior or formation director can nip that
      mistaken notion in the bud, but, alas, not all members of either
      class are wise.

      Enclosure can be all too easily used as a weapon. Every abbess is
      called upon to respect individual weaknesses to a point, but watch
      out for a community wherein some Sisters are VERY enclosed and others
      hardly at all. Silence can be a big help to recollection, but I feel
      a lot more comfortable with a community that can generate
      considerable joyous noise when the occasion arises. People whispering
      all the time in every place do not provoke a sense of home in
      themselves, much less so in others.

      Look at the many Desert Father and Mother accounts of guests arriving
      unexpectedly. The elder dropped fast, silence and everything,
      entertaining with gratitude and evident cheer. Now and then one sees
      a different response, a very cold response, when the elder KNOWS the
      intentions of the guest are flawed, but we rarely know such things
      about guests.

      We are called to bear all things, ALL things sweetly and without a lot
      of fuss. That does not mean we have to like them, merely that we have
      to be cheerful about them and hide our displeasure. We must accept,
      rather than undergo.

      There is probably a good deal more grace in the smiling acceptance
      of an annoyance than there would be in lofty, untrammeled, silent prayer.
      If there were not, God, Who is always merciful and generous, would never have
      allowed the opportunity to come to us. What we make of its potential
      boon is our own affair and, sometimes, our own maturity, as well.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@...
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jerry Lee
      +PAX SORRY TO BE SO TERRIBLY LATE TODAY. Mea culpa! Prayers for the parents of Stephen to enter the Catholic Church, and that Stephen succeed in the course he
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 5, 2005
        +PAX

        SORRY TO BE SO TERRIBLY LATE TODAY. Mea culpa!

        Prayers for the parents of Stephen to enter the Catholic Church, and that Stephen succeed in the course he is now enrolled in, for Jeanne, her recovery, her daughter Melanie and all their family, for Mary, who had cardiac surgery, her recovery and all her family, especially Louise, for our Oblate Marj Hayes, who died last night, for her husband Bill, 92, and all her family. For Pat, a generous and kind convenience store owner who was killed during its robbery, and for all his family. For Denise, seeing a doctor about brain surgery and for her husband, Daniel, and all their family, and for Bishop Weigand, liver transplant, and the donor who helped him by giving part of his own liver. Lord, help them as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Alleluia! Thanks so much. JL


        April 5, August 5, December 5
        Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests

        Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
        that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
        who are never lacking in a monastery,
        arrive at irregular hours.
        Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
        be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
        Let them be given such help as they need,
        that they may serve without murmuring.
        And on the other hand,
        when they have less to occupy them,
        let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.
        And not only in their case
        but in all the offices of the monastery
        let this arrangement be observed,
        that when help is needed it be supplied,
        and again when the workers are unoccupied
        they do whatever they are bidden.
        The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
        whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
        Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
        and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
        and in a prudent manner.
        On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
        associate or converse with guests.
        But if he should meet them or see them,
        let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
        ask their blessing and pass on,
        saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.
        REFLECTION

        It is the last paragraph which strikes me. Most monasteries no longer
        enforce it strictly, thankfully. However, it brings to mind a rule of
        thumb that may be applied in other situations.
        Like any rule of thumb, there may be exceptions, but watch the
        reactions of monastics whose silence or enclosure is intruded upon
        very carefully. You can learn a lot about the monastic in question
        from them.

        When the reaction makes the guest (who, after all, probably didn't
        know any better,) feel dirty or small or terribly wrong, you can
        safely guess that the monastic in question has a lot of growing up to
        do. File that info anyway you like, but I'd give her a LOT of
        room...I'd smile sweetly when I had to and then give her a very wide
        berth! I have never seen a truly holy and wise monastic react in such
        a way, never. Watch out for the pursed lips and narrowed eyes, the
        shaming attitude, the evident disgust. None of these things are
        monastic traits. All of them are signs that a lot of further work is
        necessary.

        Silence and enclosure are very effective tools, they are means to an
        end. They can never be ends in themselves. The holy use of these
        tools is quite likely to produce wonderful results, but their unholy
        use can be just as likely to stall progress and growth outright.

        Both, unfortunately, lend themselves all too well to a perversion of
        their good. Both silence and enclosure can play right into the
        stultifying neuroses of the worst kind. People can protect themselves
        with them in order to remain incapable of relationship or
        communication. A wise superior or formation director can nip that
        mistaken notion in the bud, but, alas, not all members of either
        class are wise.

        Enclosure can be all too easily used as a weapon. Every abbess is
        called upon to respect individual weaknesses to a point, but watch
        out for a community wherein some Sisters are VERY enclosed and others
        hardly at all. Silence can be a big help to recollection, but I feel
        a lot more comfortable with a community that can generate
        considerable joyous noise when the occasion arises. People whispering
        all the time in every place do not provoke a sense of home in
        themselves, much less so in others.

        Look at the many Desert Father and Mother accounts of guests arriving
        unexpectedly. The elder dropped fast, silence and everything,
        entertaining with gratitude and evident cheer. Now and then one sees
        a different response, a very cold response, when the elder KNOWS the
        intentions of the guest are flawed, but we rarely know such things
        about guests.

        We are called to bear all things, ALL things sweetly and without a lot
        of fuss. That does not mean we have to like them, merely that we have
        to be cheerful about them and hide our displeasure. We must accept,
        rather than undergo.

        There is probably a good deal more grace in the smiling acceptance
        of an annoyance than there would be in lofty, untrammeled, silent prayer.
        If there were not, God, Who is always merciful and generous, would never have
        allowed the opportunity to come to us. What we make of its potential
        boon is our own affair and, sometimes, our own maturity, as well.

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        jeromeleo@...
        Petersham, MA

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jerry Lee
        +PAX Continued prayers, please, for Mother Claudia and for her Mom who has liver cancer, continued prayers, too, for Joy, still on life support and beginning
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 5, 2006
          +PAX

          Continued prayers, please, for Mother Claudia and for her Mom who has liver cancer, continued prayers, too, for Joy, still on life support and beginning to respond slightly! Deo gratias! Continued prayers for Pauline of Monastic life list, no updates as yet.

          Prayers for one suffering such stress that it is increasingly physically painful, for peace and a measure of calm to ease the pain and stress. Prayers for Joyce, her husband and their beloved cat, Jesse, he has urology problems and possible liver disease.

          Prayers for Houssam, 7 months, born with double heart malfunctions, one surgery already and facing another. His parents seem to have gotten the help they need to cover costs, but both the little boy and they need tremendous strength and grace to get through all this. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

          April 5, August 5, December 5
          Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests

          Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
          that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
          who are never lacking in a monastery,
          arrive at irregular hours.
          Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
          be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
          Let them be given such help as they need,
          that they may serve without murmuring.
          And on the other hand,
          when they have less to occupy them,
          let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.
          And not only in their case
          but in all the offices of the monastery
          let this arrangement be observed,
          that when help is needed it be supplied,
          and again when the workers are unoccupied
          they do whatever they are bidden.
          The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
          whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
          Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
          and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
          and in a prudent manner.
          On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
          associate or converse with guests.
          But if he should meet them or see them,
          let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
          ask their blessing and pass on,
          saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.

          REFLECTION

          It is the last paragraph which strikes me. Most monasteries no longer
          enforce it strictly, thankfully. However, it brings to mind a rule of
          thumb that may be applied in other situations.
          Like any rule of thumb, there may be exceptions, but watch the
          reactions of monastics whose silence or enclosure is intruded upon
          very carefully. You can learn a lot about the monastic in question
          from them.

          When the reaction makes the guest (who, after all, probably didn't
          know any better,) feel dirty or small or terribly wrong, you can
          safely guess that the monastic in question has a lot of growing up to
          do. File that info any way you like, but I'd give her a LOT of
          room...I'd smile sweetly when I had to and then give her a very wide
          berth! I have never seen a truly holy and wise monastic react in such
          a way, never. Watch out for the pursed lips and narrowed eyes, the
          shaming attitude, the evident disgust. None of these things are
          monastic traits. All of them are signs that a lot of further work is
          necessary.

          Silence and enclosure are very effective tools, but they are means to an
          end. They can never be ends in themselves. The holy use of these
          tools is quite likely to produce wonderful results, but their unholy
          use can be just as likely to stall progress and growth outright.

          Both, unfortunately, lend themselves all too well to a perversion of
          their good. (Satan loves that kind of trick!) Both silence and enclosure
          can play right into the stultifying neuroses of the worst kind. People
          can protect themselves with them in order to remain incapable of relationship
          or communication. A wise superior or formation director can nip that
          mistaken notion in the bud, but, alas, not all members of either
          class are wise.

          Enclosure can be all too easily used as a weapon. Every abbess is
          called upon to respect individual weaknesses to a point, but watch
          out for a community wherein some Sisters are VERY enclosed and others
          hardly at all. Silence can be a big help to recollection, but I feel
          a lot more comfortable with a community that can generate
          considerable joyous noise when the occasion arises. People whispering
          all the time in every place do not provoke a sense of home in
          themselves, much less so in others.

          Look at the many Desert Father and Mother accounts of guests arriving
          unexpectedly. The elder dropped fast, silence and everything,
          entertaining with gratitude and evident cheer. Now and then one sees
          a different response, a very cold response, when the elder KNOWS the
          intentions of the guest are flawed, but we rarely know such things
          about guests.

          We are called to bear all things, ALL things sweetly and without a lot
          of fuss. That does not mean we have to like them, merely that we have
          to be cheerful about them and hide our displeasure. We must accept,
          rather than undergo, a wonderful principle from Dom Jean-Marie Dechanet, OSB,
          in his book on Christian Yoga.

          There is probably a good deal more grace in the smiling acceptance
          of an annoyance than there would be in lofty, untrammeled, silent prayer.
          If there were not, God, Who is always merciful and generous, would never have
          allowed the opportunity to come to us. What we make of its potential
          boon is our own affair and, sometimes, our own maturity, as well.

          Love and prayers,
          Jerome, OSB
          jeromeleo@...
          Petersham, MA

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
          +PAX Carol, for whom we have been prayed, has gone to God, for her happy death and eternal rest and for all who mourn her, including her childhood friend,
          Message 4 of 6 , Apr 4, 2007
            +PAX

            Carol, for whom we have been prayed, has gone to God, for her happy death
            and eternal rest and for all who mourn her, including her childhood friend,
            Joan, who was away in another state caring for Betty, her sister, who broke her
            hip. Prayers, too, for Betty to accept her situation and work with Joan to
            become more independent in her recovery.

            Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Bob, who had been diagnosed
            with cancer and was beginning to suffer greatly. His death was probably a
            reaction to medication. He seems to have had no personal relationship with God,
            so special prayers for that and for his son, who has no faith, and for his
            niece and sister who have been praying for him, and for all who mourn him. Lord,
            help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and
            grace. God is never absent, praise Him ! Thanks so much. JL

            April 5, August 5, December 5
            Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests

            Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
            that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
            who are never lacking in a monastery,
            arrive at irregular hours.
            Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
            be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
            Let them be given such help as they need,
            that they may serve without murmuring.
            And on the other hand,
            when they have less to occupy them,
            let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.
            And not only in their case
            but in all the offices of the monastery
            let this arrangement be observed,
            that when help is needed it be supplied,
            and again when the workers are unoccupied
            they do whatever they are bidden.
            The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
            whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
            Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
            and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
            and in a prudent manner.
            On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
            associate or converse with guests.
            But if he should meet them or see them,
            let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
            ask their blessing and pass on,
            saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.

            REFLECTION

            It is the last paragraph which strikes me. Most monasteries no longer
            enforce it strictly, thankfully. However, it brings to mind a rule of
            thumb that may be applied in other situations.
            Like any rule of thumb, there may be exceptions, but watch the
            reactions of monastics whose silence or enclosure is intruded upon
            very carefully. You can learn a lot about the monastic in question
            from them.

            When the reaction makes the guest (who, after all, probably didn't
            know any better,) feel dirty or small or terribly wrong, you can
            safely guess that the monastic in question has a lot of growing up to
            do. File that info any way you like, but I'd give her a LOT of
            room...I'd smile sweetly when I had to and then give her a very wide
            berth! I have never seen a truly holy and wise monastic react in such
            a way, never. Watch out for the pursed lips and narrowed eyes, the
            shaming attitude, the evident disgust. None of these things are
            monastic traits. All of them are signs that a lot of further work is
            necessary.

            Silence and enclosure are very effective tools, but they are means to an
            end. They can never be ends in themselves. The holy use of these
            tools is quite likely to produce wonderful results, but their unholy
            use can be just as likely to stall progress and growth outright.

            Both, unfortunately, lend themselves all too well to a perversion of
            their good. (Satan loves that kind of trick!) Both silence and enclosure
            can play right into the stultifying neuroses of the worst kind. People
            can protect themselves with them in order to remain incapable of relationship
            or communication. A wise superior or formation director can nip that
            mistaken notion in the bud, but, alas, not all members of either
            class are wise.

            Enclosure can be all too easily used as a weapon. Every abbess is
            called upon to respect individual weaknesses to a point, but watch
            out for a community wherein some Sisters are VERY enclosed and others
            hardly at all. Silence can be a big help to recollection, but I feel
            a lot more comfortable with a community that can generate
            considerable joyous noise when the occasion arises. People whispering
            all the time in every place do not provoke a sense of home in
            themselves, much less so in others.

            Look at the many Desert Father and Mother accounts of guests arriving
            unexpectedly. The elder dropped fast, silence and everything,
            entertaining with gratitude and evident cheer. Now and then one sees
            a different response, a very cold response, when the elder KNOWS the
            intentions of the guest are flawed, but we rarely know such things
            about guests.

            We are called to bear all things, ALL things sweetly and without a lot
            of fuss. That does not mean we have to like them, merely that we have
            to be cheerful about them and hide our displeasure. We must accept,
            rather than undergo, a wonderful principle from Dom Jean-Marie Dechanet, OSB,
            in his book on Christian Yoga.

            There is probably a good deal more grace in the smiling acceptance
            of an annoyance than there would be in lofty, untrammeled, silent prayer.
            If there were not, God, Who is always merciful and generous, would never have
            allowed the opportunity to come to us. What we make of its potential
            boon is our own affair and, sometimes, our own maturity, as well.

            Love and prayers,
            Jerome, OSB
            _brjeromeleo@..._ (mailto:brjeromeleo@...)
            Petersham, MA








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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Br. Jerome Leo
            +PAX Prayers for Roger, who has cancer and is failing, and for his son Brian and family. Should God call him now, prayers for his happy death and for all who
            Message 5 of 6 , Apr 4, 2016

              +PAX

               

              Prayers for Roger, who has cancer and is failing, and for his son Brian and family. Should God call him now, prayers for his happy death and for all who will mourn him.

               

              Prayers for Br. Paul Ortega, OSB, who made  his first profession of vows on the Solemnity of the Annunciation at St. Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California.

               

              Prayers for Bert, terminal lung cancer, prayers for his happy death and for all his family and all who will mourn him.

               

              Lord,
              help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and
              grace. God is never absent, praise Him ! Thanks so much. JL

              April 5, August 5, December 5
              Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests

              Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
              that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
              who are never lacking in a monastery,
              arrive at irregular hours.
              Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
              be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
              Let them be given such help as they need,
              that they may serve without murmuring.
              And on the other hand,
              when they have less to occupy them,
              let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.
              And not only in their case
              but in all the offices of the monastery
              let this arrangement be observed,
              that when help is needed it be supplied,
              and again when the workers are unoccupied
              they do whatever they are bidden.
              The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
              whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
              Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
              and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
              and in a prudent manner.
              On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
              associate or converse with guests.
              But if he should meet them or see them,
              let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
              ask their blessing and pass on,
              saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.

              REFLECTION

              It is the last part which strikes me. Many monasteries no longer
              enforce it strictly. However, it brings to mind a rule of
              thumb that may be applied in other situations.
              Like any rule of thumb, there may be exceptions, but watch the
              reactions of monastics whose silence or enclosure is intruded upon
              very carefully. You can learn a lot about the monastic in question
              from them.

              When the reaction makes the guest (who, after all, probably didn't
              know any better,) feel dirty or small or terribly wrong, you can
              safely guess that the monastic in question has a lot of growing up to
              do. I have never seen a truly holy and wise monastic react in such
              a way, never.

              Silence and enclosure are very effective tools, but they are means to an
              end. They can never be ends in themselves. The holy use of these
              tools is quite likely to produce wonderful results, but their unholy
              use can be just as likely to stall progress and growth outright.

              Look at the many Desert Father accounts of guests arriving
              unexpectedly. The elder dropped fast, silence and everything,
              entertaining with gratitude. Now and then one sees
              a different response, a very cold response, when the elder KNOWS the
              intentions of the guest are flawed, but we rarely know such things
              about guests.

              We are called to bear all things, ALL things sweetly and without a lot
              of fuss. That does not mean we have to like them, merely that we have
              to be cheerful about them and hide our displeasure. We must accept,
              rather than undergo, a wonderful principle from Dom Jean-Marie Dechanet, OSB.

              There is probably a good deal more grace in the smiling acceptance
              of an annoyance than there would be in lofty, untrammeled, silent prayer.
              If there were not, God, Who is always merciful and generous, would never have
              allowed the opportunity to come to us. What we make of its potential
              boon is our own affair and, sometimes, our own maturity, as well.

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

               

               

            • russophile2002
              +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of the nine killed and for the recovery of dozens injured in the St. Petersburg, Russia, terror attack. Prayers for the
              Message 6 of 6 , Apr 4

                +PAX

                 

                Prayers for the eternal rest of the nine killed and for the recovery of dozens injured in the St. Petersburg, Russia, terror attack. Prayers for the families of all and for the repentance and conversion of those responsible for the bombing.

                 

                Deo gratias, Michael M., 35, the man we prayed for who is in lifelong care of his mother, has improved so much that he will soon be discharged to his home.

                 

                Prayers for John, 45, on his birthday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!

                 

                Prayers for S, job eliminated today without any warning. Prayers for him as he is shocked, but also prayers that he finds God’s will for him and that God has something better waiting for him. May all this be a blessing for him.

                 

                Prayers for Gerald, very ill with brain cancer; his prognosis is 4-6 weeks. It is hoped he can go to a hospice, but he is agitated and aggressive from his disease, so it is hard to find a place that will accept him. Many prayers for all here. Prayers that he gets all the Sacraments and blessings he can.

                 

                Prayers for the eternal rest of Jane’s grandmother, Elizabeth, who went to God 49 years ago today. Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of her Dad, Randall, whose first anniversary is April 13. Prayers for Jane and for all their family and all who mourn them.

                 

                Lord,
                help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and
                grace. God is never absent, praise Him ! Thanks so much. JL

                April 5, August 5, December 5
                Chapter 53: On the Reception of Guests

                Let there be a separate kitchen for the Abbot and guests,
                that the brethren may not be disturbed when guests,
                who are never lacking in a monastery,
                arrive at irregular hours.
                Let two brethren capable of filling the office well
                be appointed for a year to have charge of this kitchen.
                Let them be given such help as they need,
                that they may serve without murmuring.
                And on the other hand,
                when they have less to occupy them,
                let them go out to whatever work is assigned them.
                And not only in their case
                but in all the offices of the monastery
                let this arrangement be observed,
                that when help is needed it be supplied,
                and again when the workers are unoccupied
                they do whatever they are bidden.
                The guest house also shall be assigned to a brother
                whose soul is possessed by the fear of God.
                Let there be a sufficient number of beds made up in it;
                and let the house of God be managed by prudent men
                and in a prudent manner.
                On no account shall anyone who is not so ordered
                associate or converse with guests.
                But if he should meet them or see them,
                let him greet them humbly, as we have said,
                ask their blessing and pass on,
                saying that he is not allowed to converse with a guest.

                REFLECTION

                It is the last part which strikes me. Many monasteries no longer
                enforce it strictly. However, it brings to mind a rule of
                thumb that may be applied in other situations.
                Like any rule of thumb, there may be exceptions, but watch the
                reactions of monastics whose silence or enclosure is intruded upon
                very carefully. You can learn a lot about the monastic in question
                from them.

                When the reaction makes the guest (who, after all, probably didn't
                know any better,) feel dirty or small or terribly wrong, you can
                safely guess that the monastic in question has some growing up to
                do. I have never seen a truly holy and wise monastic react in such
                a way, never.

                Silence and enclosure are very effective tools, but they are means to an
                end. They can never be ends in themselves. The holy use of these
                tools is quite likely to produce wonderful results, but their unholy
                use can be just as likely to stall progress and growth outright.

                Look at the many Desert Father accounts of guests arriving
                unexpectedly. The elder dropped fast, silence and everything,
                entertaining with gratitude. Now and then one sees
                a different response, a very cold response, when the elder KNOWS the
                intentions of the guest are flawed, but we rarely know such things
                about guests.

                We are called to bear all things, ALL things sweetly and without a lot
                of fuss. That does not mean we have to like them, merely that we have
                to be cheerful about them and hide our displeasure. We must accept,
                rather than undergo, a wonderful principle from Dom Jean-Marie Dechanet, OSB.

                There is possibly a good deal more grace in the smiling acceptance
                of an annoyance than there would be in lofty, untrammeled, silent prayer.
                God permitted that disturbance to come to us. What we make of its potential
                boon is our own affair and, sometimes, our own maturity, as well.

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

                 


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