Monday, March 14, 2011
The Observance of Lent
In our monastery, we follow the practice St. Benedict puts forth in Chapter 49 of his Holy Rule. He tells the monk that whatever he desires to "add to the usual manner of service" during the season of Lent should only be undertaken with the permission and approval of the abbot. On Ash Wednesday, each nun individually submits her Lenten resolutions to our Prioress, Mother Mary Anne for her blessing and approval. Our Lenten resolutions include prayer, renunciation, and reading.
Our resolutions are not common knowledge, but rather kept private following Christ's teaching in Matthew 6:16-18 (your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.)
The reading that are part of our resolutions comes from the Chapter 48 of the Holy Rule where St. Benedict states "During this time of Lent each one is to receive a book from the library, and is to read the whole of it straight through." While for St. Benedict's monks, this often was a book of scripture, today it encompasses a wide range of books on monasticism and spirituality.
Yes, there are things that we do for Lent as a community, probably the one that we all gain the most from is our weekly sharing on scripture. Not only does it allow for sharing but also many times gives us a different insight both of the Sister and of the scripture itself.