Prayers, please, for Ann, on her birthday, and for Andrea, a grown
daughter estranged from her parents. Prayers, too, for Marie of Oz,
heart surgery on Monday. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace.
Thanks so much! JL
March 13, July 13, November 12
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
Let the brethren serve one another,
and let no one be excused from the kitchen service
except by reason of sickness
or occupation in some important work.
For this service brings increase of reward and of charity.
But let helpers be provided for the weak ones,
that they may not be distressed by this work;
and indeed let everyone have help,
as required by the size of the community
or the circumstances of the locality.
If the community is a large one,
the cellarer shall be excused from the kitchen service;
and so also those whose occupations are of greater utility,
as we said above.
Let the rest serve one another in charity.
The one who is ending his week of service
shall do the cleaning on Saturday.
He shall wash the towels
with which the brethren wipe their hands and feet;
and this server who is ending his week,
aided by the one who is about to begin,
shall wash the feet of all the brethren.
He shall return the utensils of his office to the cellarer
clean and in good condition,
and the cellarer in turn shall consign them to the incoming server,
in order that he may know
what he gives out and what he receives back.
I know some houses have moved away from having table waiters, but
something is lost in that. We have cafeteria style first portions
here, than the waiter goes around to offer seconds and clears the
dishes. It isn't a really big deal, but it does have a great reward,
as the Holy Rule points out. Because we are a small community, only
7, everyone, even the Superior takes a turn at waiting.
Formerly, in some houses (maybe in all, but I am not sure,) the Abbot
would wait tables on Holy Thursday. There was a nice connection
there: he who held the place of Christ waited on all on the feast of
the Last Supper, and washed the feet of twelve in Church that day.
The connection here is personalist. Waiting on people connects you
very much to them, as any waiter could tell you. Restaurants may not
pursue that connection to any depth, but a home situation, like a
monastery, surely does. There's a great notion here for Oblates who
do not live alone: take turns waiting. We can get slumped into Dad or
Mom or husband or wife always being waiter or waited upon. Switch
off, care for each other, in this and many, many other ways!
Serving our families makes us feel very special, a kind of special
that I think humility completely allows. If you have children, for
heaven's sake, teach them to cook. As they grow older, it might well
result in a night off for you and the child will benefit. Our
relationship with any group is hampered when we are only in a
position of taking or receiving. To know the full breadth of love, we
must be able to give back, in ways no matter how small.
It is a very priestly and sacramental task to feed people. Not for
nothing did Jesus leave us with a Meal to remember Him by, to remain
among us as well! Not for nothing is the image of heaven a banquet.
When we cook for (or clean up after!) our family and friends we are
partaking in one of the fullest possible representations of the
Love and prayers,