Friday, December 28, 2007

Reading for Dec 28, 2007

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

April 28, August 28, December 28
Chapter 70: That No One Venture to Punish at Random

Every occasion of presumption
shall be avoided in the monastery,
and we decree that no one be allowed
to excommunicate or to strike any of her sisters
unless the Abbess has given her the authority.
Those who offend in this matter
shall be rebuked in the presence of all,
that the rest may have fear.

But children up to 15 years of age
shall be carefully controlled and watched by all,
yet this too with all moderation and discretion.
All, therefore, who presume
without the Abbess' instructions
to punish those above that age
or who lose their temper with them,
shall undergo the discipline of the Rule;
for it is written,
"Do not to another what you would not want done to yourself" (Tobias 4:16).

Some thoughts

Must admit, my mind reels with all that I could say. Hard to distil out just one or 2. It is so very easy, all too easy, to think of entirely too many examples when a person or a group of people have taken upon themselves to right what they perceive as wrongs: vigilantes; those who commit hate crimes; people we run into every single day who are unable to mind their own business and go around correcting people.

Something else that comes to mind is appropriate boundaries and limits. Of course, that is also part of minding one's own business. Seems to me the use of the "should/would/could" language is a very clear indication of when we have exceeded appropriate boundaries and limits and have started to mind someone else's business. "So and so should..." "If only X would" "You could..."

Of course, we are not always intrusive buttinskis when we use these words. But all too often we are. All we have to do is reflect on how we feel when we are on the receiving end to know how someone else feels when we say this stuff to them.

End of Sr. Gloriamarie's thoughts

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

This chapter of the rule is not about fist fighting. This chapter is about the arrogant usurpation of authority and the legitimization of violence. Even in a culture that routinely disciplined its young or unlettered with physical whippings, Benedict simply does not allow a culture of violence. Benedictine spirituality depended on personal commitment and community support, not on intimidation and brutality. Benedict makes it clear that the desire for good is no excuse for the exercise of evil in its behalf. This is an important chapter, then, for people whose high ideals lead them to the basest of means in the name of the achievement of good. To become what we hate-- as mean as the killers, as obsessed as the haters--is neither the goal nor the greatness of the spiritual life.

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