Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 10th - "Your cell will teach you everything."

If this saying of the Desert Fathers holds true, then I must be learning alot today. I have not left my room since 3:30 PM yesterday afternoon. Sister Veronica continues to feed me and smile at me, no matter how pathetic I must appear. Someone told me once that the angels are so busy with the big stuff, that GOD often sends regular people to take care of us. Sister Veronica is anything but "regular" but when it comes to works of love, she could give the angels some friendly competition.

My friend, Sister Mary Catherine, from St. Benedict's Monastery in MN, asked me to say more about coloring the RB. Sister Aquinata taught us to use colored pencils to mark various words in each chapter: the abbot, the monk, God, negative terms, strong or intense language. In doing so, we are left with patterns of emphasis from which can we draw some conclusions - where is the heart of the chapter? On whom does Benedict place the greatest responsibility? Do the negative words reflect the situations that Abbot Benedict encountered among his own brothers? And then, we look at sources - What's taken from RM and what is discarded? Do we see Cassian's wisdom in Benedict's writing? All in all, we are learning a particular methodology for studying the Holy Rule which, Sister Aquinata says, "is learned with the hands."

We have a good deal of homework today. Sister Veronica brought me up to speed as she delivered a lunch which I devoured. My appetite is returning...surely, a good sign. I think, though, I'm not quite ready to return to the larger group. Part of my hesitation comes from wanting the antibiotic to stake its ground and make me less of a danger to my classmates. (I considered a leper bell, but figured self-excommunication was the better path.) I'm also feeling weak yet. The trip from the bed to the desk is about right. I will study in bed and let sleep come whenever it wishes. Tomorrow, I will rise at 5 with my companions and get back to the normal structure of our life at the Casa. Hopefully, I will journey beyond my cell and have some interesting experiences to share with my sisters and friends. Love to you all... - Sister Vicki