Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Readings of the day: RB 3:1-6 Calling the Community for CounselMass: Ac 22:30; 23:6-11; Resp Ps 16; Jn 17:20-26
In the monastery no one is to follow her own heart’s desire, nor shall anyone presume to contend with her abbess defiantly, or outside the monastery.
It is thought-provoking to read today’s passage from the Acts of the Apostles along with Chapter 3 of the Holy Rule, ‘Calling the Community for Counsel’. St Benedict begins, ‘As often as anything is important to be done in the monastery, the abbess or abbot shall call the whole community together and herself explain what the business is, and after hearing the advice of the sisters, let her ponder it and follow what she judges the wiser course.’ The community has a role too: ‘The sisters, for their part, are to express their opinions with all humility, and not to presume to defend their own views obstinately.’ In the passage from Acts, the commander convenes the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin, a dispute breaks out between the gathered Sadducees and Pharisees, the group becomes divided and arguments ensue. The situation becomes so heated that Paul is removed from the midst of the crowd for fear he will be torn to pieces! I see sanity and civility coming from St Benedict’s ways of conducting business in a group. I see an example not to emulate in the situation between Paul and his adversaries. We recall Pope Francis’s words for the 50th World Communications Day, 2016: What we say and how we say it, our every word and gesture, ought to express God’s compassion, tenderness and forgiveness for all. Love, by its nature, is communication; it leads to openness and sharing. If our hearts and actions are inspired by charity, by divine love, then our communication will be touched by God’s own power…
I would like to encourage everyone to see society not as a forum where strangers compete and try to come out on top, but above all as a home or a family, where the door is always open and where everyone feels welcome.Pour into our hearts your Holy Spirit,that You may keep us in unity of spirit and the bond of peace.
(Aelred of Rievaulx)