By a Benedictine with a sense of humor.
Benedictines — at least the “old school” ones — are bound by their vow of poverty to waste nothing, even unto making a little pile of their breadcrumbs and such from each meal and consuming it. So, for them every crumb does count…especially in Lent, when the fasting is (again, for “old school” Benedictines and more traditionally-minded monastics) fairly regimented.
In his Holy Rule, Benedict writes:
The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent. Since few, however, have the strength for this, we urge the entire community during these days of Lent to keep it’s manner of life most pure and to wash away in this holy season, the negligences of other times. This we can do in a fitting manner, by refusing to indulge evil habits and by devoting ourselves to prayer with tears, to reading, to compunction of heart and self denial. During these days, therefore, we will add to the usual measure of our service something by way of private prayer and abstinence from food or drink, so that each of us will have something above the assigned measure to offer God of his own will with the joy of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:6) In other words, let each one deny himself some food, drink, sleep, needless talking and idol jesting, and look forward to Holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing. —Chapter 49 Rule of St Benedict, 1-8
Because fasting is always difficult for me, I am printing that out for this Lent, to remind me that of my oblate promise to try to live my life, insofar as possible, in accordance with the Rule of St. Benedict.
Speaking of “old-school Benedictines,” we haven’t checked in with the Benedictines of Mary in a while, and they have news! (pdf): they’ve moved into their new priory in Gower, Missouri (Kansas Catholic has pictures) and they have just clothed two new novices and received the first profession of vows from three sisters.
Their community — which is very traditional, and centered around the Latin mass and yeah, that “old-school-style Benedictine monasticism” — is growing very quickly. As they are growing and building enclosure is not practical, but they (like the “Mystic Monk” Carmelites out of Cody, Wyoming) have ambitious plans.
In other Benedictine news, the nuns at the Abbey of St. Walburga in Virginia Dale, CO have received the First Profession Vows of Sr. Maria Petra
Also, Sr. Rosalind Moss, who has had a fascinating life’s journey, has spent the last year cloistered with the Tyringham Visitation Nuns, learning the way of religious life as she continues in founding her new order of sisters. She talks here to the St. Louis Catholic, and says “hold nothing back from God!”
She’s right. If we start our Lent with that in mind, and are not afraid, these 40 days are sure to be fruitful!
Pat Gohn helps with that “not afraid” part
UPDATE: It’s a Benedictine-world after all! Tony Rossi talks with Mother Dolores Hart about how after 40 years at the Abbey of Regina she is — like all of us — still learning new things about God. Ancora Imparo; I am still learning.
You can listen to Tony and Mother Dolores at this podcast