A most blessed Feast (for us, a Solemnity! She is our Sisters'
patroness,) of Saint Scholastica to all! JL
February 10, June 11, October 11
Chapter 8: On the Divine Office During the Night
In the winter time,
that is from the Calends of November until Easter,
the sisters shall rise
at what is calculated to be the eighth hour of the night,
so that they may sleep somewhat longer than half the night
and rise with their rest completed.
And the time that remains after the Night Office
should be spent in study
by those sisters who need a better knowledge of the Psalter
or the lessons.
From Easter to the aforesaid Calends of November,
the hour of rising should be so arranged that the Morning Office,
which is to be said at daybreak,
will follow the Night Office after a very short interval,
during which they may go out for the necessities of nature.
A very brief reflection on this, because I want to give more time to
writing an afterword to humility!
The tender concern of a loving parent comes through loud and clear
here. St. Benedict is well aware that he is not setting up a spa
resort, but he also wants the monastics living by his ascetic regime
to live in the reasonable comfort of moderation. "Reasonable," that
is, in accord with reason; and "comfort" that is, to strengthen,
literally, with strength.
Some monastic reforms have missed the boat on this one! Certain
accounts of the early monks of La Trappe seem like nothing more than
travelogues of grim, gloomy, resigned penitential excess. It's not
supposed to be easy, ( and it isn't!) but being a monastic isn't
supposed to be ALL gritted teeth, either. We Benedictines need, as
Hopkins put it: "room to let joy size."!
So, yeah, let them sleep enough, but not too much. And after they've
been chanting in Church for a good long while, give 'em all a
bathroom break. This is not the program of a heartless, joyless,
Love and prayers,
jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA