Monday, January 21, 2008

RB 21-30: The Correction Code

It's another rainy day here. I'm wondering what 10 degrees feels like in Bristow. (I watch the weather in VA and MN, on the internet, just to see how my sisters and friends are doing.) Has there been snow? Maybe, later this week? Are the students at Linton Hall School wearing their pajamas inside out for good luck? Have we missed the first "snow day" of the school year? Maybe, Sister Patricia Anne will drop us an e-mail if that happy day comes. And if it really snows, I'll expect news of Sister Mary Patricia on her sled with Dosie on her lap. I'm missing home quite a bit today...even with the arctic temps!

I'm always cold here and it's a tropical 40 degrees. It just feels so raw...and this big building is often colder than the outside air. I just had a cup of tea to warm my hands and heart. Can you believe it is made from fennel? Tastes a little like licorice. I like it...

This morning, Sister Aquinata informed us that we are one third into The Rule. Wow! We're now into a section that deals with disciplinary matters in the community. Some scholars call it the "penal code" as it specifies punishments for various infractions. Other scholars like to call it the "healing code" to emphasis the medicinal images Saint Benedict often uses. The former sounds positively mercilous and the latter, far too generous. Sister Aquinata prefers the middle road - "correction." Semantic debate aside, I do like the term, "correction". If I think about a ship that's gone off course or a pilot receiving new coordinates to get around a storm, that term makes alot of sense to me. It's very easy to wander from the way that leads to GOD - so easy, in fact, that Benedict spends 9 chapters dealing with the sins against community. But if we look at the disciplina regularis as a necessary means of "safeguarding love" (Prol. 47), it's not an unwelcome burden but a kind of monastic MAPQUEST - a means of getting back on the right road when we find ourselves lost. We may be lost in community, but we are never alone. And, thanks to our Holy Father Benedict, the directions are always within our reach.

Love to you all...and stay warm! - Sister Vicki