Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chapter 62: The priests of the monastery


When ordained a monk must be careful to avoid a spirit of self-importance or pride and he must avoid taking on himself any duties to which the abbot has not assigned him. (From para.1 of Ch. 62 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

The shadow side of having spiritual gifts is my taking pride in them and manufacturing a sense of feeling special. The beauty of the gifts comes in using them as God leads me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chapter 61: Monastic pilgrims from far away (paragraphs 2-3)


But if no such negative signs are apparent it may be right to go further and not wait for a request to be accepted into the community. It may even be right to persuade such a one to stay so that others may benefit and learn from such example. (From paragraph 2 of Ch. 61 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry,OSB.)

My life is silently clamoring to expand into more and more relationships, in order to find the best in others.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Chapter 61: Monastic pilgrims from far away (paragraphs 1-2)


If, on the other hand, such a pilgrim monk or nun has been revealed as a guest to be overbearing and full of bad habits then not only should all further association with the community be refused but such a guest should quite openly be requested to depart for fear that such a wretched example might lead others to go astray. (From para. 2 of Ch. 61 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

Even in personal situations of necessary separation, I still ask to grace to discern why such persons were sent to me by the Lord.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chapter 60: The admission of priests into the monastery


An ordained priest who asks to be received into the monastery should not be accepted too quickly. (From  para. 1 of Ch. 60 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB.)

If I head into a community thinking I have superior gifts and no need for humility, I become a threat to the community. I think that transformative relationships abolish hierarchy for hierarchy's sake.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chapter 59: Children offered by nobles or poor


If parents who are from the nobility want to offer to God in the monastery one of their children, who is too young to take personal responsibility, they should draw up a document like that described above and, as they make the offering, wrap the document with the child's hand in the altar cloth. (From para. 1 of Ch. 59 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

It's hard for me to identify offering a child of mine to the monastery, but the mystery is that everything in my life is to be offered to God. There's something achingly tender for me in the image of wrapping the document with the child's hand in the altar cloth. I see in it an image of selflessness, purity, and wholeness.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chapter 58: The reception of candidates for the community (paragraphs 4-5)


When the decision is made that novices are to be accepted, then they come before the whole community in the oratory to make solemn promise of stability, fidelity to monastic life and obedience.  (From para. 4 of Ch. 58 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

These precepts, as they apply to my life, are tools of self-knowledge. They remind me that I'm not called to be perfect, but that I am called to be faithful.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Chapter 58: The reception of candidates for the community (paragraphs 1-3)


The entry of postulants into the monastic life should not be made too easy, but we should follow St John's precept to make trial of the spirits to see if they are from God. (From para. 1 of Ch. 58 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

For me, life's "trial of the spirits" involve more than a test to my patience and humility -- unless the true self-knowledge of humility never loses hope. Loss of hope is, for me, a suffering and a sign that I'm forgetting to place my attention selflessly in the inner chamber of my heart.