Thanks from all of us for your prayers for Brother Bernard. Please
keep them up. He is in the burn unit ICU at UMass Hospital in
Worcester. Brother has mostly severe 2nd degree burns, with some 3rd
degree burns over 20% of his body. He will be in surgery for a skin
graft tomorrow morning.
He is in remarkable spirits, having to be chided to take his pain
medication and not be stoic! There is no word for him that fits
better than edifying. This is a man of tremendous grace and strength.
In spite of burned upper arms and IV's in both hands (and a
dispensation from Office by our Abbot!) he called the monastery last
night while we were all asleep and left a message on the tape that we
be SURE to bring his breviary, Bible and rosary today!
Thanks for helping him!
April 30, August 30, December 30
Chapter 72: On the Good Zeal Which They Ought to Have
Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness
which separates from God and leads to hell,
so there is a good zeal
which separates from vices and leads to God
and to life everlasting.
This zeal, therefore, the sisters should practice
with the most fervent love.
Thus they should anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10);
most patiently endure one another's infirmities,
whether of body or of character;
vie in paying obedience one to another --
no one following what she considers useful for herself,
but rather what benefits another;
tender the charity of sisterhood chastely;
fear God in love;
love their Abbess with a sincere and humble charity;
prefer nothing whatever to Christ.
And may He bring us all together to life everlasting!
"Endure one another's infirmities..." It is wonderful to see my
brothers pulling together for Brother Bernard. There are only 7 of us
and illness strikes a small community much more immediately than a
large one, where some are directly involved, others may perhaps just
read the bulletin board. All of us are involved. We have to be. That
is a grace of smallness I had not thought of before.
I love particularly to see the strengthening of communal bonds going
on in our younger monks. We are somewhat unusual in that we have no
elderly, so a critical illness and how we deal with it is a new
experience for them. Our youngest will turn 40 next year. I am oldest
at 53. Without the multigenerational character of larger, older
communities, no one but the two Pluscarden monks and myself have
lived in houses where there were older people or terribly sick people
all the time, as part of life.
So, everyone pitches in. There is a lot of coordinating to make sure
that two runs a day with different monks in each get to Worcester, 45
minutes away, to visit. There's been a lot of hustling going on to
provide for Brother, as well as to compensate for the loss of 1/7 of
our work force. Our Sisters have pitched in and offered to cook for
us this first week. What a blessing that is!
You see, in a small house, our kitchenmaster, Father Gregory, is also
our infirmarian, who in his "spare" time commutes back and forth to
Weston School of Theology in Boston where he is completing a
licentiate in theology! The Sisters' help is wonderful indeed! And we
have to be VERY thankful that this crisis occurred at a time when
school was not in session. Mary Kenny, our resident Oblate in the
guesthouse offered to take the monks' 3 mail runs this week, one
less thing for us to think about, when so many extra things to think
about are added.
So this may not seem to be fleshing up as much of a reflection. It
feels like it is all tumbling out somewhat inarticulately. However,
this week and its events are very clear to me: I am watching my
brothers and sisters live this chapter and it is awesome, indeed, and
very holy and loving!
Love and prayers,
jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA