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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Feast of St. Benedict, March 21

St. Benedict, Pray for Us
Today in the Tridentine Calendar, the Benedictines celebrate the Feast of St. Benedict. His gifts to Western Civilization are enormous, including the Rule, the monastic system we take for granted, and the European-wide establishment of schools. As a Benedictine at heart, I have nothing but admiration and praise for this man, who is one of the Patrons of Europe, along with SS. Cyril and Methodius. Pray to him for humility this Lent. He has in his rule a list of goals for those who aspire to that virtue. One is considering one's self inferior to all others. For some, this is not hard, as one may feel like a failure in life and see one's inadequacies. For others, this is a challenge, to see the worth of those around them. I highly suggest reading the Rule for Lenten reading.There is also a daily reading from the Rule on this website, for those who do not have the time to sit and read the entire book, although it is very short. Here is today's reading:

Chapter 42: That No One Speak After Compline

Monastics ought to be zealous for silence at all times,
but especially during the hours of the night.
For every season, therefore,
whether there be fasting or two meals,
let the program be as follows:
If it be a season when there are two meals,
then as soon as they have risen from supper
they shall all sit together,
and one of them shall read the Conferences
or the Lives of the Fathers
or something else that may edify the hearers;
not the Heptateuch or the Books of Kings, however,
because it will not be expedient for weak minds
to hear those parts of Scripture at that hour;
but they shall be read at other times.
If it be a day of fast,
then having allowed a short interval after Vespers
they shall proceed at once to the reading of the Conferences,
as prescribed above;
four or five pages being read, or as much as time permits,
so that during the delay provided by this reading
all may come together,
including those who may have been occupied
in some work assigned them.
When all, therefore, are gathered together,
let them say Compline;
and when they come out from Compline,
no one shall be allowed to say anything from that time on.
And if anyone should be found evading this rule of silence,
let her undergo severe punishment.
An exception shall be made
if the need of speaking to guests should arise
or if the Abbess should give someone an order.
But even this should be done with the utmost gravity
and the most becoming restraint.