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Nov 27

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please for Betty Coors on her 87th birthday and for her husband, Bill, who has Alzheimers, for a 1 year old girl with lead poisoning, and for
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 27, 2002
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please for Betty Coors on her 87th birthday and for her
      husband, Bill, who has Alzheimers, for a 1 year old girl with lead
      poisoning, and for Peter, Joe and Jenny, fallen away from the Church.
      Thanks so much! JL

      March 28, July 28, November 27
      Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

      Idleness is the enemy of the soul.
      Therefore the sisters should be occupied
      at certain times in manual labor,
      and again at fixed hours in sacred reading.
      To that end
      we think that the times for each may be prescribed as follows.

      From Easter until the Calends of October,
      when they come out from Prime in the morning
      let them labor at whatever is necessary
      until about the fourth hour,
      and from the fourth hour until about the sixth
      let them apply themselves to reading.
      After the sixth hour,
      having left the table,
      let them rest on their beds in perfect silence;
      or if anyone may perhaps want to read,
      let her read to herself
      in such a way as not to disturb anyone else.
      Let None be said rather early,
      at the middle of the eighth hour,
      and let them again do what work has to be done until Vespers.

      And if the circumstances of the place or their poverty
      should require that they themselves
      do the work of gathering the harvest,
      let them not be discontented;
      for then are they truly monastics
      when they live by the labor of their hands,
      as did our Fathers and the Apostles.
      Let all things be done with moderation, however,
      for the sake of the faint-hearted.

      REFLECTION

      Sr. Lany Jo, my dear friend in an active congregation (who is a lot
      more prayerful me, the stray and loser in a contemplative one,) was
      honestly shocked to learn that the Holy Rule made provision for a
      daily nap or siesta. In her novitiate, also in an Italian
      congregation, the name of the game was you didn't go near that bed in
      the daytime unless really sick. Funny, but I was so used to the
      Benedictine way that it hadn't occurred to me that it should be
      otherwise elsewhere.

      I offer this as further proof of St. Benedict's tenderness and
      gentleness. OK, say the siesta is Italian and cultural. Fine, but
      there were plenty of cultural elements he didn't let through the
      monastery gate. It was a LOT hotter in Egypt and one doesn't hear the
      Fathers telling people to lie down and rest, much less saying that
      those who cannot sleep dare not wake those who can with their
      noisiness! This is a gentle Father we have!

      Surely moderation is one of the key elements woven throughout the
      Holy Rule, but isn't it at least worthy of note that it is stressed
      here, in the chapter on work? St. Benedict may not have had all the
      handy psychobabble terms that we use today to name things, but he had
      a piercingly clear perception of human nature. He knew that some
      people were workaholics and that their contemplative focus would be
      shattered by that. He knew some people were obsessive about trivia
      that didn't matter. He knew that some people were very loving
      caregivers who would turn into flaming doormats, abused by their own
      kindness and inability to say "No," politely, by their doubt that
      anything is ever enough.

      So, he counters all that by saying: "Take a nap!" Hey, what a great
      reality check! Wake up, y'all, the world has an axis already and
      there is no need for you to duplicate services! St. Benedict
      certainly knows that many things are important, even essential and he
      is not at all shy about pointing them out. In the midst of all that,
      he says: "Take a nap!" If you can't nap, he doesn't even say "pray,"
      he tells the insomniac to read quietly!!

      Look, we are known for our motto of work and pray, ora et labora. One
      might well assume that if you couldn't be working, you ought to at
      least be praying. Not so. Take a nap. Balance it out. Try pulling
      your arm out of a bucket of water and see what happens. Water closes
      right in, no problem. Much depends on us, but usually much less than
      we are prone to pridefully think! Take a nap!

      Our world around us will gladly and readily tell us that we are worth
      nothing other than our productivity, our work, our profitability. St.
      Benedict wants to be sure that when we come to his monastery, we see
      those distorted values of human dignity for the load of crap they
      really are. He wants us to work, yes, but to see work in the deep
      humility of truth. A consumerist society has taught us the exact
      opposite of that and we all need to patiently spend lots of time
      peeling those scales from our eyes with the help of God and St.
      Benedict.

      Take a nap!



      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB

      jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA
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