Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Lenten Tour...


The Lenten season isn't known for its decorations, but here at the monastery Lent finds its way into many places.

Rule of Benedict:  chapter 49
On the Observance of Lent

Although the life of a monk out to have about it at all times the character of a Lenten observance...we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent the brethren keep their lives most pure and at the same time wash away during these holy days all the negligences of other times...and give ourselves up to prayer with tears, to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.

The sisters have set a reminder at the entrance to Bishop Marty Chapel, "Grow in the Understanding of the Riches Hidden in Christ!"

Rule of Benedict:  chapter 49
On the Observance of Lent (cont'd)

During these days, therefore, let us increase somewhat the usual burden of our service, as by private prayers and by abstinence in food and drink.  Thus everyone of his own will may offer God "with joy of the Holy Spirit" something above the measure required of him.  From his body, that is he may withhold some food, drink, sleep, talking, and jesting; and with the joy of spiritual desire he may look forward to holy Easter.

The monastic dinning room and even the hall leading to its doorway have reminders of Benedict's call to sisters' personal offerings and sacrifices for Lent.

Rule of Benedict: chapter 52
On The Oratory of the Monastery

Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer; and let nothing else be done there or kept there.  When the work of God is ended, let all go out in perfect silence, and let reverence for God be observed, so that any sister who may wish to pray privately will not be hindered by another's misconduct.

Lenten purple in St. Joseph's Chapel for our sisters in the Care Center.  The bulletin board outside the chapel reminds our sisters, old and young, to continue the Lenten work of conversion of heart .

Rule of Benedict: chapter 58
On the Manner of Receiving Sisters

After that let her live in the novitiate, where the novices study, eat and sleep. A senior shall be assigned to them who is skilled at winning souls, to watch over them with the utmost care. Let her examine whether the novice is truly seeking God, and whether she is zealous for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials. Let the novice be told all the hard and rugged ways by which the journey to God is made.

The sisters in formation shared a variety of symbols that reminded them of Lent for their reflection table and prayer.

A group of professed sisters also set a table for reflection and prayer with simple purple, rough burlap, and the call to the cross.

Rule of Benedict:  chapter 52
On The Oratory of the Monastery (cont'd)

And at other times also, if anyone should want to pray by herself, let her go in simply and pray, not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart.  She who does not say her prayers in this way, therefore, shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory when the Work of God is ended, lest another be hindered, as we have said. 

The hallway to our Peace Chapel is dominated by our Good Friday Cross announcing the message, "By His Holy Cross He has redeemed the world!"  Each day of Lent new groups of the "Heavily Burdened" are added to the Cross calling us to loving prayer for those in need.

Our daily Mass and Liturgy of the Hours are celebrated in the Peace Chapel amid the simple stone and purple banners of Lent.

Rule of Benedict:  chapter 49
On The Observance of Lent (cont'd)

Let each monk, however, suggest to his Abbot what it is that he wants to offer, and let it be done with his blessing and approval.  For anything done without the permission of the spiritual father will be imputed to presumption and vainglory and will merit no reward.  Therefore let everything be done with the Abbot's approval.

Our Lenten resolutions, received and blessed by the Prioress on Ash Wednesday, remain before the altar throughout the Lenten season as a reminder to us and a continuous offering and sacrifice to the Lord.


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