Lenten Reflection Chapter 49 of the Rule of St. Benedict on Lenten Observance:

The life of a monastic 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 its 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 our own will with the joy of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:6). In other words, let each one deny themselves some food, drink, sleep, needless talking, and idle jesting, and look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing. 

St. Benedict is such a gentle and sensitive teacher.  Lent has always been a difficult time for me – trying to decide what to give up and not having the strength or grace to carry a discipline out for a mere 40 days!  And so here is St Benedict giving me a clearer picture of what Lent was for him and his hope for us – to begin to experience Lent with JOY, during Lent and continuously through all our lives.

I see, for Benedict, that Lent was one of Joy & Celebration, his disciplines came freely from his heart, he was authentic and willing to be, awakened by God, to his inner motives and his interior attachments.  For me, it says, my decisions on how to practice Lenten observances should come freely from my heart; have the willingness to let God awaken me to my inner motives and attachments, and to be JOYFUL & CELEBRATE.  What a gift we have been given – God’s Precious Love.

Pope Frances suggested we give up our indifference this Lent.  I am ready to try, are you?

Cathy Lumbard –Oblate

Lenten Reflection Chapter 49 of the Rule of St. Benedict on Lenten Observance:

When I was a child, I would occasionally make the mistake of saying that I was bored. My mother’s solution to boredom usually involved mopping, weeding or ironing. Ironing was quite the involved process. The clothes had to be sprinkled with water from a Coca-Cola bottle with a sprinkler head on it. The clothes were then rolled up to sit for a while for the water to soak in and make them nice and damp. I would spend several hours ironing the family’s clothing. If a button was missing, I’d stop and rummage through the button tin, find a match and sew a new one on. If there was a small tear, I would darn it and then continue on with the ironing. Each garment would be crisp and clean and just like new, ready to be put on and shown to the world with pride. Then, hello permanent press, goodbye iron. Just throw the clothes in the dryer, hang them up and wear them. They never look as good, but good enough.

My prayer life can become permanent press. I go through the daily motions, I get it done and it’s good enough. But each Advent and Lent, I get out the iron. I re-examine my life and my conscience. Are there buttons missing? Are there small tears? Do I just go through the motions? Do I let myself slack off again and again until it’s a habit, a pattern of laziness? Do I make excuses or promises that I don’t keep? I start to darn and sew back on the buttons. I repair the rents in my relationship with God. I iron my soul and don again the blazing white garment of baptism that is crisp and clean and face Easter with joy.

Suzanne Bernhardt – Oblate


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