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Dec 18

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  • russophile2002 <jeromeleo@earthlink.net>
    +PAX My apologies to all for missing days lately. My cat, Dame Maggie, 17 years old, seems to be dying. There has been a lot of back and forth to the vet and
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 18, 2002
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      My apologies to all for missing days lately. My cat, Dame Maggie, 17
      years old, seems to be dying. There has been a lot of back and forth
      to the vet and that has been very hard on both of us. My community
      has been wonderful, I am so proud to be theirs! I ask your prayers
      for God's will for me and for Maggie. Please pray that He allows her
      to die at home and naturally, too.

      Thanks so much! Jerome

      April 18, August 18, December 18
      Chapter 63: On the Order of the Community
      Let all keep their places in the monastery
      established by the time of their entrance,
      the merit of their lives and the decision of the Abbot.
      Yet the Abbot must not disturb the flock committed to him,
      nor by an arbitrary use of his power ordain anything unjustly;
      but let him always think
      of the account he will have to render to God
      for all his decisions and his deeds.

      Therefore in that order which he has established
      or which they already had,
      let the brethren approach to receive the kiss of peace and Communion,
      intone the Psalms and stand in choir.
      And in no place whatever should age decide the order
      or be prejudicial to it;
      for Samuel and Daniel as mere boys judged priests.

      Except for those already mentioned, therefore,
      whom the Abbot has promoted by a special decision
      or demoted for definite reasons,
      all the rest shall take their order
      according to the time of their entrance.
      Thus, for example,
      he who came to the monastery at the second hour of the day,
      whatever be his age or his dignity,
      must know that he is junior
      to one who came at the first hour of the day.
      Boys, however, are to be kept under discipline
      in all matters and by everyone.


      I have known one monk of St. Leo who may perhaps have been delighted
      to be the most senior monk by age and entrance, but he is long gone
      now. The others I have known, who either held the first place or
      hovered near it, could not have cared less, might even chuckle about
      it if reminded. I like their way better.

      Rank is a handy way to organize people in line, but after that, its
      usefulness quickly diminishes. Rank that one desires or seeks can be
      downright pernicious and fatal to a monastic life. If you look at
      this chapter closely, it is not hard to see that St. Benedict wanted
      his monastics to pretty much take their place and forget about it-
      going any higher or lower had nothing to do with their own decision
      anyhow and they should be at peace.

      There's the rub: to be at peace! We need peace, we need inner
      serenity. It is no accident that it became our motto, PAX. That peace
      of soul is fertile earth in which God tills His bountiful fields of
      graces. It is the foundation we need to build houses firm.

      Ever notice the readily apparent peace in a famous politician who has
      decided not to run anymore? Whether you like the man or not, a great
      freedom and relief is soon noticeable. It was so in Jimmy Carter,
      who, when free to be just Jimmy Carter, went on to do wonderful
      things. I think it may well be true of Al Gore already. This
      renunciation is different, far different from quitting. Mere quitting
      shows up in a very bad light. What I think we are seeing is the light
      of a heart that has learned what NOT to desire, even if only

      By the way, there's no need for any of us reading this to think we
      need to take inventory of WHAT we desire and perhaps should not. The
      Holy Rule has already done that for us, 1,500 years ago: "Let them
      prefer nothing whatever to the love of Christ."

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB

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