Saturday, July 04, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for July 4, 2009

Chapter 27: How Solicitous the Abbot Should Be for the Excommunicated

Let the Abbot be most solicitous
in his concern for delinquent brethren,
for "it is not the healthy but the sick who need a physician" (Matt 9:12)
And therefore he ought to use every means
that a wise physician would use.
Let him send senpectae,
that is, brethren of mature years and wisdom,
who may as it were secretly console the wavering brother
and induce him to make humble satisfaction;
comforting him
that he may not "be overwhelmed by excessive grief" (2 Cor. 2:7),
but that, as the Apostle says,
charity may be strengthened in him (2 Cor. 2:8).
And let everyone pray for him.

For the Abbot must have the utmost solicitude
and exercise all prudence and diligence
lest he lose any of the sheep entrusted to him.
Let him know
that what he has undertaken is the care of weak souls
and not a tyranny over strong ones;
and let him fear the Prophet's warning
through which God says,
"What you saw to be fat you took to yourselves,
and what was feeble you cast away" (Ezec. 34:3,4).
Let him rather imitate the loving example of the Good Shepherd
who left the ninety-nine sheep in the mountains
and went to look for the one sheep that had gone astray,
on whose weakness He had such compassion
that He deigned to place it on His own sacred shoulders
and thus carry it back to the flock (Luke 15:4-5).

Some thoughts:

One of the reasons, I personally would prefer people to look for what they see to be right with the RB rather than what they perceive to be wrong with it, is because the RB is self-balancing, as we see today. Could there be more tenderness? We see that even in the most extreme cases, the monastic is not left to their own devices, but is sought out not only by the monastic superior but also by others the monastic superior thinks best suit to console and encourage.

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