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Dec 19

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  • russophile2002 <jeromeleo@earthlink.net>
    +PAX Thanks for all who are praying for Maggie, my cat, and me. Please keep the prayers coming. Also, please pray for Nick and his wife, Eleanor. Eleanor, a
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 19, 2002
      +PAX

      Thanks for all who are praying for Maggie, my cat, and me. Please
      keep the prayers coming. Also, please pray for Nick and his wife,
      Eleanor. Eleanor, a young mother, must have a double mastectomy
      after Christmas. 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.

      So, yes, my dear Abbot Fidelis, 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

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