Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for July 15, 2009

March 15, July 15, November 14

Chapter 36: On the Sick

Before all things and above all things,
care must be taken of the sick,
so that they will be served as if they were Christ in person;
for He Himself said, "I was sick, and you visited Me" (Matt 25:36),
and, "What you did for one of these least ones, you did for Me" (Matt.25:40).
But let the sick on their part consider
that they are being served for the honor of God,
and let them not annoy their sisters who are serving them
by their unnecessary demands.
Yet they should be patiently borne with,
because from such as these is gained a more abundant reward.
Therefore the Abbess shall take the greatest care
that they suffer no neglect.

For these sick let there be assigned a special room
and an attendant who is God-fearing, diligent and solicitous.
Let the use of baths be afforded the sick
as often as may be expedient;
but to the healthy, and especially to the young,
let them be granted more rarely.
let the use of meat be granted to the sick who are very weak,
for the restoration of their strength;
but when they are convalescent,
let all abstain from meat as usual.

The Abbess shall take the greatest care
that the sick be not neglected by the cellarers or the attendants;
for she also is responsible for what is done wrongly by her disciples.

Some thoughts:

While the Houses of Congress debate what to do about a universal health care system here in the US, I would love them to be reading and reflecting on this passage. Every once in a while someone here in CA tries to get a proposition on the ballot to deny any health care treatment at for illegal immigrants. In 1994 we actually did have such a prop and it was so solidly defeated that I am surprised anyone still tries. I am sure this is the case in all the states that border Mexico and any other state that has a high influx of undocumented immigrants. I've never understood the motivation for such legislation. Is money really worth more than a human life? Is money really more important than seeing "Christ in person?" And if such altruistic thoughts do not prevail, how about some plain old self-serving interests? What is the effect of untreated disease in the human population? What about contagion? What about epidemics? Pandemics? The deaths of those who would withhold the money?

Such is how I apply this teaching of the RB to life today. I would be very interested in your thoughts.

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