Rules

It is to me, however, that you have come for a rule of life in keeping with your avowed purpose, a rule you may hold fast so henceforward; and therefore:

Rule of St. Albert, No. 3


When Pope St. John XXIII convened the Bishops of the world to make the church more responsive to the needs of the times through Vatican Council II, the changes were drastic and many opposed.

It was unimaginable for many that lay persons and brothers were now able to take the Holy Communion under both species – bread and wine – on a regular basis. Some priests would even refuse to drink from the same cup with the lay and brothers.

For Br. Gesuino Carbone, OCarm, however, he believed in the wisdom of the church fathers at the time, and as such, he said, “If that’s what the church allows, that’s what is good for me.”

But he was also respectful to the sensitivities of his brothers, and so when a brother seemed reluctant to drink from the same cup, he uses a silver spoon to receive the wine.

Sometimes we are not as accepting when it comes to rules and policies that would break the norm and take us out of our comfort zones. Reasons would not be of lack. There will be plenty of those.

When the hermits of Mt. Carmel decided to ask St. Albert of Jerusalem to craft a rule for them, they were anticipating a total change of their lifestyle, realizing that eventually they would need to leave Mt. Carmel.

They knew that they would have to give up something, but they also knew that if they wanted to recreate the Mt. Carmel that they loved, they would need each other, for each possesses a piece of that sacred mountain, and each piece is precious. But for them to be able to live a life in community, order must be established, and each one must learn to express his freedom in relation to each other.

That was the role of the rule, to keep these pilgrims and hermits together at a time when their way of life was being threatened, and the rule has helped them define themselves and mark their role in the Church as a whole.

When a rule seems to challenge your beliefs, what do you do?

Matthew 23:1-12
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear,[a] and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

Prayer
Lord grant me a heart that is ready to listen to the wisdom of the rules that you have set before me, not blindly accepting, but critically imbibing, looking for your hand in each event. Amen.

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2 comments

  1. fauquetmichel · March 21, 2016

    Yes the VATICAN ii COUNCIL organized by Pope St John XXIII has changed the perspectives of the Church . The focus has been made on people, all brothers and sisters, and members of Christ ‘ s body . This provoked much enthusiasm for many Christians but sotimes the changes have been too brusque , without transitions .
    In friendship
    Michel.

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