I attended the Saint Leo Abbey's oblate meeting on Sunday. St. Leo Abbey is in Florida, USA.
During the novice class we began a study of the Rule of St. Benedict.
In the oblate class we discussed the liturgical year. I learned something in each class, but most importantly, my mind and heart finally got reset to Lent.
I had difficulty in fully entering into what I believe is the proper attitude for Lent. I had accomplished the tasks for Lent (picked a book, decided on extra prayer, fasting and charity), but task-doing does not necessarily direct my inner spirit to the “character of a Lenten observance” spoken of by St. Benedict in the Rule.(1)
The key thought for me in St. Benedict’s urgings for Lent are these very monastic words at the end of Chapter 49 of the Rule:
“...give ourselves up to prayer with tears,
to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.”
After Oblate Sunday ends, one of my favorite times is to sit alone in the light and saint-filled abbey church in the late afternoon before vespers. This past Oblate Sunday was no different except it is Lent and I returned home with a bit more of a Lenten character.
Picture is of "Jesus, Stained Glass Detail Of The Church St Etienne Fecamp, Normandy, France" by Photographer mamjodh
(1) Chapter 49 of the Rule of St. Benedict.
On the Observance of Lent:
Although the life of a monk
ought to have about it at all times
the character of a Lenten observance,
yet since few have the virtue for that,
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 this will be worthily done
if we restrain ourselves from all vices
and give ourselves up to prayer with tears,
to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.
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