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Dec 14

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  • russophile2002 <jeromeleo@earthlink.net>
    +PAX 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 14, 2002
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      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.


      There really IS a message here for all of us. Trust me! The image put
      forth by the Holy Rule is one of bottom line equality, not at all the
      image that those of us 50 or so grew up with. Neither, frankly, is it
      the image still maintained by Roman Catholic canon law, wherein only
      priests may be major superiors in Orders that have both ordained and
      non-ordained members.

      Many of us were raised in the notion that it was "priests-first,
      laity second." That's not at all what St. Benedict says. It is
      Christian first, Benedictine second, then, and only then, comes
      whatever else one might add to that equation. How different our
      Church and world would be if we all realized that bottom line. How
      many "career" minds in the clergy can all but forget their

      Ah, as Ella Fitzgerald would intone about now: "It don't mean a thing
      if it ain't got that swing..." Perhaps a flawed sacramental theology
      there- the priesthood is valid even when the priest is a loser- but
      the concept would have made St. Benedict's heart sing right along
      with her. The "swing" in this case is the Gospel and Holy Rule for
      us. Without these principal ingredients, we should never find
      ourselves working on the rest of any recipe!

      That goes not only for priesthood, but for any endeavor. We are
      Christians first or we are nothing. We have chosen the Benedictine
      way, chosen to become Benedictine Christians. Those two realities
      must color every other subsequent choice!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB

      jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA
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