A few months ago, we prayed for Denise, who had thus far had only
miscarriages. Delightful thanksgiving: Denise has delivered a healthy
baby boy, her first child carried to term. Prayers for the little one
and his parents!!
Monica is facing a bureaucratic mess to save her job. Please pray for
My Dad, Jerome Hughes, died on leap year day, 1960, so he has no
calendar anniversary most years. Please say a prayer for him. I owe
him so much!Not least of those debts are my Catholicism and my
introduction to Benedictines!
God's will be done! NRN JEROME Leo
February 28, June 29, October 29
Chapter 22: How the Sisters Are to Sleep
Let each one sleep in a separate bed.
Let them receive bedding suitable to their manner of life,
according to the Abbess's directions.
If possible let all sleep in one place;
but if the number does not allow this,
let them take their rest by tens or twenties
with the seniors who have charge of them.
A candle shall be kept burning in the room until morning.
Let them sleep clothed and girded with belts or cords --
but not with their knives at their sides,
lest they cut themselves in their sleep --
and thus be always ready to rise without delay
when the signal is given
and hasten to be before one another at the Work of God,
yet with all gravity and decorum.
The younger shall not have beds next to one another,
but among those of the older ones.
When they rise for the Work of God
let them gently encourage one another,
that the drowsy may have no excuse.
It is arguable that many, even most of the provisions in this chapter
have pragmatic rationales to maintain order in community, the grand
silence, and chastity, not necessarily in that ranking! They are
designed to reduce one's vulnerability when stressed to everything
from oversleeping to sexual congress. Reduce is all they can do, but
that is not an altogether bad idea! They can, of course be thwarted,
and have been. Determined individuals can overcome any obstacle, but
at least these practical means can make that less easy!
Sometimes a bit of reduced vulnerability (we used to call
that "avoiding occasions of sin,") can make all the difference
between success and failure. At least under this system, someone
already near the end of his endurance is not going to be treated to a
naked, chiseled Adonis getting up to go to the john by the light of
that candle! Nor will he have to cope to sleeping next to or with
Adonis. Nope, his neighbor will be the grizzled old monk who drools
by day, snores loudly at night. The young who could go for a night of
hushed whispers and giggling are placed among those who are older,
dead tired, observant and merely want to sleep! And all arise fully
dressed like firemen, ready to go at the first bell.
The message for all of us here is what Peter Maurin, co-founder of
Catholic Worker, used to say was ALL societies' job: to create a
place where it is easier for people to be good. How do we do that in
our own lives and choices, in the jobs we choose or the people we
surround ourselves with? Are we making it easier for ourselves (and
others!) to be good, or are we recklessly tempting fate?
Avoiding occasions of sin may have been overworked at times in the
past, but it can be just as easily underworked today. We have to be
careful, be mindful that we don't leave treacherous snares on our own
paths, or on those of others. While we may know when we are close to
falling ourselves, we do not ordinarily have that iformation about
others. If we are not very observant, we can often be precisely the
straw that breaks the camel's back for someone else, or for ourselves!
Love and prayers,
jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA