Please pray for a clergyman with a very troubled marriage. Whole
family is in crisis now and the daughter, at 19, is severely
affected. God's will is best! Thanks so much! JL
March 10, July 10, November 9
Chapter 32: On the Tools and Property of the Monastery
For the care of the monastery's property
in tools, clothing and other articles
let the Abbess appoint sisters
on whose manner of life and character she can rely;
and let her, as she shall judge to be expedient,
consign the various articles to them,
to be looked after and to be collected again.
The Abbess shall keep a list of these articles,
as the sisters succeed one another in their assignments
she may know what she gives and what she receives back.
If anyone treats the monastery's property
in a slovenly or careless way,
let her be corrected.
If she fails to amend,
let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.
Last Spring, Massachusetts was threatened with a severe drought. A
dry autumn and a below average snowfall in winter left many of our
populous areas with terribly depleted reservoirs. Thankfully, a moist
summer got us out of the mess.
The guesthouse and monasteries here depend on wells, however. That
was not much consolation. If all the ground water was depleted, we
would really be in trouble. In the case of the guesthouse, our rather
venerable well cannot be deepened again. Next time, it will mean dig
a new one. So, Mary and I began to really conserve. Mary was watering
such few plants as direly needed it with milk jugs. I began the
practice of dumping water used only for rinsing dishes or stuff to
recycled onto the herbs outside. Guests were cautioned to resist
flushing toilets unnecessarily.
All of this precaution was very similar to the effect an HIV+
diagnosis has on one: it makes one clearly aware of death, something
that was there all the time for us all, but easily forgotten or
denied. Alas, also similar to HIV, one can become a little less
vigilant when it becomes apparent that neither death nor drought will
arrive by next weekend!
As I watched myself become more careful of water, I began to reflect
on the wastefulness of modern life in many areas. Actually, we didn't
do that much to conserve. Most of what we did was simply trying to
avoid the levels of waste to which we had become accustomed. Well,
that's something we should be doing with everything, not just water,
and it should be done because we do not own things that all people
need outright. How different we would have been in the first place,
if we, like so many in the world, had to walk to a single shared
water tap a couple of miles away twice a day- or maybe even just
once! Or maybe- as for millions- there is no tap at all.
Americans in particular can equate lack of waste with stinginess.
It's a terrible view of things, but deeply rooted. Consumerist
society encourages waste because it fuels profits for the few at the
top. Sad that many below cannot be made to see that when we waste, we
are shafting ourselves, in more ways than one: ecologically,
economically AND spiritually. Waste is a lack of mindfulness for
I confess that, out of immediate danger for drought, I have become a
little less careful. Actually, only a little though, because I have
been changed by some awareness, some mindfulness. The reasons we have
been subtly taught to live with criminal waste as if it were nothing
are false, totally false. They are not luxury, they deny others. Why
live a lie? We do not live on a planet of infinite resources.
Monasteries and homes are microcosms of the universe. We must never
look at conservation as if our actions alone will advance the rise or
prevent the fall. They may very well do neither. What our actions CAN
do is limit our complicity. That is the only safe rationale for
Every drop of fresh water makes the ocean less salty, though its a
fair bet that the Atlantic will remain saline, indeed, in spite of
our efforts! That's not the point. All God will ever ask us is what
we added to the problems around us. He knows we cannot change things
single-handedly. Nobody could have stopped the Holocaust in Nazi
Germany, but some chose not to be in any way part of it, often at the
cost of their lives. See what I mean? A wealth of opportunity in
choice awaits all of us.
Love and prayers,