Prayers, please, for Henk and his wife, Maria. Henk is bedridden with
paralysis and has Parkinsons, a pacemaker and many other health
problems. Thanks so much! NRN. JL
January 11, May 12, September 11
Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be
Therefore, when anyone receives the name of Abbess,
she ought to govern her disciples with a twofold teaching.
That is to say,
she should show them all that is good and holy
by her deeds even more than by her words,
expounding the Lord's commandments in words
to the intelligent among her disciples,
but demonstrating the divine precepts by her actions
for those of harder hearts and ruder minds.
And whatever she has taught her disciples
to be contrary to God's law,
let her indicate by her example that it is not to be done,
lest, while preaching to others, she herself be found reprobate (1
and lest God one day say to her in her sin,
"Why do you declare My statutes
and profess My covenant with your lips,
whereas you hate discipline
and have cast My words behind you" (Ps. 49:16-17)?
"You were looking at the speck in your brother's eye,
and did not see the beam in your own" (Matt. 7:3).
"Awwww RIIIIIGHT! Work out, St. Benedict!! See, the ABBOT can be
wrong, too! HOOOORAY!"
Wait a minute, hold it, folks. I have some terrible news for you.
This chapter is for everybody, not just Abbots. Now, read it again
calmly until that unseemly cheering subsides. It should not take more
than once or twice at the most. ALL of us have to be careful to
practice what we preach, to walk the talk, to avoid the trap of
hypocrisy or two-facedness. And it is a fair guess that all of us
fail most of those things, even all of them, at one time or another.
The trick here is to stop, or try to stop, to keep on keeping on in
the struggle to be better.
Beam in one's eye? Beloveds, let us squarely and bravely face facts.
Well beyond a beam or two, there are few of us, if any, who could not
comfortably host a full-scale Amish barn-raising in our eyes. If, in
fact, our barn-raising faced any lumber shortage at all, a brief trip
to our tongues could remedy that in nothing flat. An there's plenty
more stored in our minds and hearts. A tad depressing, right?
Wrong! Much, much more than a tad relieving, refreshing, glorious!
Our very nothingness that we all share is a tremendous gift. Our
weakness is a fantastic opportunity for God's strength in us to be
praised and glorified, for His Divine Mercy to effect marvels of
which we dare not dream. This distressing lumberyard that we all
harbor is exactly the human condition and it is as humans that Jesus
seeks us and loves us. No, we are not to ever stop trying to be
better, but the fact that we are locked in the coop with a whole
world of other also-rans is a GREAT solace. Nobody here but us
chickens! Nobody at all!
Cherish our nothingness. Start from nothing- we all have to anyway-
but REALIZE it. Then everything, absolutely everything that follows
is grace and mercy from God. That's what's happening, really. That's
ALL that's happening, ever. Putting ourselves in touch with that is
so freeing, because, as Jesus promised, the Truth will set us free.
There is much for a Dominican heart to love here- Truth, Veritas!
Jesus said "I AM the Truth." Acknowledging that Truth first in our
most native of native lands, our own souls, is a magnificent triumph!
But even that triumph is God's alone. We could not even breathe
without Him. All is gift, truly all.
Much of what burdens us is our own delusions or illusions about
ourselves. Dump as much of that weight of falsehood as you possibly
can and see how much lighter your steps become! Literally, beloveds,
for the love of God, get a grip! It makes for a much better journey!
Love and prayers,
jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA