Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chapter 45: Mistakes in the oratory


Anyone who makes a mistake in a psalm, responsory, antiphon or reading must have the humility to make immediate reparation there before all the community in the oratory. A failure to do that so clearly shows lack of the humility to put right a fault which was due to carelessness that it must incur a more severe punishment. (From Ch. 45 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

I'm sorry for my failures of inattention, for my failures of humility and love. Thank God I'm not expected to be perfect, but to be open to being full of faith.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chapter 44: The reconciliation of those excommunicated


Anyone who is excommunicated from the refectory only for a less serious fault should perform the same act of reparation in the oratory until permitted to cease; the superior brings this penance to an end by giving a blessing and saying 'that is enough'. (From para. 2 of Ch. 44 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

I think the power behind the words "that is enough" is that of forgiveness and personal growth, when a time of sorrow must become a time of new life.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chapter 43: Late-comers for the work of God or in the refectory (paragraphs 4-5)


In the refectory all must come to table together so as to offer their grace together as one community. (From para. 4 of Ch. 43 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

Saint Benedict relates gratitude and oneness -- it seems to me that gratefulness is best experienced through the relationship of love.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Chapter 43: Late-comers for the work of God or in the refectory (paragraphs 1-3)


When the time comes for one of the divine offices to begin, as soon as the signal is heard, everyone must set aside whatever they may have in hand and hurry as fast as possible to the oratory, but of course they should do so in a dignified way which avoids giving rise to any boisterous behaviour. The essential point is that nothing should be accounted more important than the work of God. (Para. 1 of Ch. 43 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

Soundlessly and selflessly I turn to God. The more I do so, the more rediscover peace.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Chapter 42: The great silence after Compline


Silence should be sought at all times by monks and nuns and this is especially important for them at night time. (From para. 1 of Ch. 42 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

"Lead us into that mysterious silence where Your love is revealed to all who call." These words of the opening prayer call me to attention and call me to heart-centeredness. The practice of meditation moves me gradually toward experiencing life from the silent place in my heart.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chapter 41: The times for community meals


The principle is that the superior should manage everything so prudently that the saving work of grace may be accomplished in the community and whatever duties the community undertakes they may be carried out without murmuring. (From para. 1 of Ch. 40 of St. Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

Benedict feeds me with more than a meal: He gives meaning and substance to my days, urging me to co-create with God in blessing the world with opportunities for grace.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chapter 40: The proper amount of drink to be provided


St Paul says that each of us has a special gift from God, one kind for one of us and quite a different one for another. That reflection makes me reluctant to decide on the measure of food and drink for others. (From para. 1 of Ch. 40 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

Benedict's discussion of gifts from God, in relation to the proper amount of drink, surprises me. I understand self-control to be a fruit of the Spirit. But whether gift or fruit, perhaps the discernment of how to live my life in a way which makes me most consistently open to the selfless praise of God, is what he's talking about.