Sunday, March 02, 2008

Reading 03/02/08

March 2, July 2, November 1
Chapter 25: On Weightier Faults

Let the brother who is guilty of a weightier fault
be excluded both from the table and from the oratory.
Let none of the brethren join him
either for company or for conversation.
Let him be alone at the work assigned him,
abiding in penitential sorrow
and pondering that terrible sentence of the Apostle
where he says that a man of that kind is handed over
for the destruction of the flesh,
that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord (1 Cor. 5:5).
Let him take his meals alone
in the measure and at the hour
which the Abbot shall consider suitable for him.
He shall not be blessed by those who pass by,
nor shall the food that is given him be blessed.

Some thoughts:

This sounds very grim to me. I don't like it. I wouldn't want to be treated this way.

OTOH, I would have brought it upon myself by my choices, my actions. I suspect that is what Benedict would have us learn.

This treatment has another result, I would think. We see the punishment, we know the one who has done wrong is facing the logical consequences of the choices that were made. Therefore we have work to do ourselves. We have to learn to forgive.

We don't get to hold onto resentment for the faults of others. We don't get to seek revenge or recompense for ourselves because the sin, even if it was directed at us personally, was also against the community and it is the community that is more affected.

It may not seem fair, I daresay. We want fairness. Our mothers undoubtedly sought to teach us life is not fair when we were toddles, but if you are anything like I, you resisted that teaching and rebelled against it.

The thing about fairness, it seems to me or perhaps I should say that my own desire for fairness is a very egocentric one. "I, I, I. Me, me, me" I want some sort of recompense that is at least equal to what was done to me. The problem with that is that my view of what I deserve is usually an inflated one, my view of the harm done to me is usually skewed by my perceptions.

Benedict pays not attention to the concept of fairness. Not his concern at all. His concern, it seems to me is "hat the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord ." He removes individuism, both in the offence given and in the offence received. He makes it a community concern.

Hard work, would you agree? To cease to see the offence against me and instead see the offence against the community?


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