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April 22, August 22, December 22
Chapter 65: On the Prior of the Monastery
It happens all too often that the constituting of a Prior
gives rise to grave scandals in monasteries.
For there are some who become inflated with the evil spirit of pride
and consider themselves second Abbots.
By usurping power
they foster scandals and cause dissensions in the community.
Especially does this happen
in those places where the Prior is constituted
by the same Bishop or the same Abbots
who constitute the Abbot himself.
What an absurd procedure this is
can easily be seen;
for it gives the Prior an occasion for becoming proud
from the very time of his constitution,
by putting the thought into his mind
that he is freed from the authority of his Abbot:
"For," he will say to himself, "you were constituted
by the same persons who constitute the Abbot."
From this source are stirred up envy, quarrels, detraction,
rivalry, dissensions and disorders.
For while the Abbot and the Prior are at variance,
their souls cannot but be endangered by this dissension;
and those who are under them,
currying favor with one side or the other,
go to ruin.
The guilt for this dangerous state of affairs
rests on the heads of those
whose action brought about such disorder.
Given the holiness of this season, I hope I will be forgiven for
beginning with this dreadful pun as an aside. When Brother Bernard
cooks, as he often does, Curried Tuna on Rice, he is almost as often
accused of "currying favor..." Sigh...
Having said that, how important unity is in any family, monastic or
otherwise. Yes, parents, even monastics can sometimes play a TAD of
good cop/bad cop games, but it must never go to the extreme of
opposing parties or camps running to one superior or the other.
In monastery or family, peace and serenity are the necessary soil in
which God's mercy plants the seeds of growth. Those graces and seeds
need a relative amount of peace to grow: if they are distressed
continually, they will wither and die before maturing.
Unity and peace and serenity go hand in hand. How can that be, when
we are all so different? It can't, unless we cling to the all-perfect
Will of God. Unity founded on that will bring the greatest possible
growth for all concerned.
Love and prayers,
jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA