Monday, August 24, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for August 24, 2009

April 24, August 24, December 24

Chapter 66: On the Porters of the Monastery

At the gate of the monastery
let there be placed a wise old woman,
who knows how to receive and to give a message,
and whose maturity will prevent her from straying about.
This porter should have a room near the gate,
so that those who come may always find someone at hand
to attend to their business.
And as soon as anyone knocks or a poor person hails her,
let her answer "Thanks be to God" or "A blessing!"
Then let her attend to them promptly,
with all the meekness inspired by the fear of God
and with the warmth of charity.

Should the porter need help,
let her have one of the younger sisters.

If it can be done,
the monastery should be so established
that all the necessary things,
such as water, mill, garden and various workshops,
may be within the enclosure,
so that there is no necessity
for the sisters to go about outside of it,
since that is not at all profitable for their souls.

We desire that this Rule be read often in the community,
so that none of the sisters may excuse herself
on the ground of ignorance

Some thoughts

This is hospitality taken seriously. Something we all too often
forget is that hospitality is a sacred obligation. Here in San Diego,
most people I know regard hospitality as a nuisance. I cannot tell you
how many people I have invited to my home for a meal who have claimed
they are too busy to share a meal. I find it very strange and wonder
how I could reintroduce it as I really miss spending quiet times with guests.

Benedict obviously viewed the monastery as self-sufficient, an entity
unto itself with no need to go outside the community to meet any need.
I wish I could say this was the case today but it is not.

Is it coincidental, I wonder, that somewhere along the line this portion of the
Rule was assigned to be read on Christmas Eve?

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