Holy Rule for June 29
A blessed Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul to all, blessings on all celebrating their name day today!
Prayers for Nikki and her husband, Bobby, as they go to court next week to finalize his adoption of her two daughters from a previous marriage. The floods in England may subside and further rains not worsen matters.
Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of the following, for their families and all who mourn them:
Br. Linus, OSB, 59, of St. John's, Collegeville.
Jerry, killed in a car accident, leaves a wife and two sons, 10 and 13.
A clergyperson who tragically committed suicide.
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, physical and mental health of the following, for their families and all those who care for or treat them:
Charles, triple bypass surgery today, very sick.
A baby who has had a heart transplant, especially for her worried parents.
Jan, stressed out worrying, fear of failure, troubled perhaps by perfectionism.
Ann, very overwrought and stressed at her workplace.
Dot, whose mastectomy we prayed for, serious nausea and a very fitful night are keeping her in the hospital longer.
Carol, terribly stressed by having to organize a family move alone to another country, and for her military husband who can't be there to help and for their kids. May they all pitch in as best they can! And may God supply all!
Fr. Kevin, diagnosed with breast cancer. (Yes, men can have it, too.) Hopefully treatment will be successful without surgery.
A son, possibly on drugs, and his worried parents, who have many health and life issues of their own, and now this.
Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL
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.
Hastening "yet will all gravity and decorum" has prompted many a
community joke, many a wry comment as one ran most ungracefully,
parts of the habit flapping wildly in the breeze, to whatever the
bell was about to make one late for! St. Benedict far antedates the
Three Stooges, but he still took precautions to ensure that we would
not look EXACTLY like Moe, Larry and Curly when we went to choir or
dinner! Admittedly, some of our human tendency still arises to give a
partial glimpse of that comedic trio, but, as always, the picture is
The idea of sexual temptations being thwarted by a lamp burning and
fully clothed juniors interspersed among seniors has been mentioned,
but there are also another very pragmatic rationales. First off, the
young, even in monasteries, tend to giggle. No point in turning grand
silence into a noisy slumber party! An even more practical reason for
the lamp may be found in preventing those whom nature calls from sleep
from tripping all over other beds on their way to answer the call.
Even more importantly, the elderly may have problems during the
night if their health is declining. Hale and hearty (and hopefully easily
awakened!) juniors nearby promise them assistance, if needed. However,
if you want a humorous take on the knives issue, it may have been to
prevent mayhem and murder of snorers, an idea which has occurred
to many light sleepers!
Of course, dormitory sleeping is a thing of the past in our Order
today, but its nice to see that thoughtfulness behind its original
expression in the Holy Rule. There's a bit of the mother in St.
Benedict, going out of his way to mention a small detail like not
sleeping with knives. It is worthy of note, however, that St.
Benedict, as always is MODERATELY maternal, not neurotically so! He
doesn't get all bent out of shape, but he cares greatly and deeply.
One of the most beautiful images in this passage is the exhortation
to "gently encourage one another" at the hour of rising. Remember
that the strictest silence of all prevailed at this time. Now picture
the monastics gently encouraging one another! With no words, there
had to be a lot of touch, a lot of gentle smiles, a lot of warmth and
care expressed NON-verbally.
A very good idea of how loving a monastic is can be had by disturbing
their silence (or sleep, I imagine!!) Is the reaction cross and
withering? Watch out for that one! Is there a smile, even a warm one,
a reaction of sweetness? Well, when silence is over, that is a
monastic to whose words you may want to listen carefully.
Love and prayers,
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