Thursday, November 15, 2007

Reading for March 16, July 16, November 15

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

March 16, July 16, November 15
Chapter 37: On the Old and Children

Although human nature itself is drawn to special kindness
towards these times of life,
that is towards the old and children,
still the authority of the Rule should also provide for them.

Let their weakness be always taken into account,
and let them by no means be held to the rigor of the Rule
with regard to food.
On the contrary,
let a kind consideration be shown to them,
and let them eat before the regular hours.

Some Thoughts

These 2 populations are all too often disenfranchised. We all heard how in the wake of the tsunami, the procurers swept in and hauled off who knows how many children into prostitution. Benedict tells us what we must be doing. And sooner rather than later.

Insight for the Ages: A Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

There are two ages of life that lack the energy of the prime: youth and old age. Both, Benedict implies, have something to give us provided that we give them something as well. It is a vital lesson. People do not become useless simply because they do not have the strength or stamina of middle age. Life is a series of phases, each of them important, all of them worthwhile. Nothing must ever deter that, not even religious rigor or pious fervor. Fasting is good for the soul but if it takes too much from the body of the old or the young, it ceases to be an expectation or a virtue. Prayer at the proper hours is good for the spiritual memory of life but if it taxes the physical energy beyond the bearable, then those times are to be "anticipated," adjusted, changed for the person rather than destroy the person for the sake of the prayer. Exceptions are the way of life and when they are not, something is wrong with life itself, Benedict reasons. Benedict builds compassion right into the Rule so that oppression in the name of God will not become a monastic sin. It is a sobering thought, this commitment to moderation and good sense, for people who set out to make the spiritual life central to their own.

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