Hello again! So what do you think of it all so far???? After a night’s sleep – again – morning office was the first thing on the program ~~(and of course the time table doesn’t alter). So after Mass and breakfast Sr. Benedict provided a great display of items and talks about ‘OUR HISTORY’. Of how we were founded in Paris in 1651 (or so), our life during the French Revolution and how we came back over to England and eventually setting our feet upon this blessed land here at Colwich in 1836. I say blessed, because we are indeed very fourtunat to have such wonderful surroundings and the land to grow what we can in the circumstance that we live in. But for more info on our full history check out our main website on the blogroll….it is very interesting indeed!! Sr. Benedict also described how we could ‘change offices’ each year (as was st. benedict’s custom when he wrote his rule).
Then there was a period before midday office when all had the privilege to come and ‘clean and dust’ in the library and have a browse through the books – well after all this is a part of our life, we need to read various books both for spiritual growth and for relaxation. There is a great variety of books that we have here – both old and new!
After midday office and lunch various things were done and (Due to 3 of the visitors having the same initials i shall refer to them as S.K 1, 2, or 3,). So as i was saying after lunch S.K 3 came and helped me in the garden and we cleared round our little shrine area of our lady of walsingham and it was a good chance to answer any questions which i did gladly – and i think it was very helpful….just pretty basic stuff which all enquirers ask and that is how often do you see your parents/family? What made you choose this community? Other questions that i have come up against are like: what was the hardest thing that you encountered when you entered the monastery? What things do you miss? etc…etc…
In the afternoon the community gathered in the guest library to have recreation with our visitors so from 3.30pm till 4.30pm we were all chatting with each other (usually when we meet together in the workroom we do our needlework, knitting, embroidary etc….etc…. but this day we just chatted). Then at 4.30pm our chaplain came and gave a talk on Benedictine Spirituality and the 3 important areas of : PRAYER, WORK, READING! And how these all inter-act with each other. Unfortunately i got called away from Fr. Luke’s talk so i don’t know what he said, but i have got some ideas from him which have been passed on to me so here they are…….PRAYER: The celebration of the Divine Office in common provides a framework into which the rest of the day is fitted, St. Benedict devotes 13 chapters of his Rule to the times and the manner in which the Office is to be celebrated. Under the heading of Prayer, as well as prayer in common, we must include personal prayer – sometimes referred to as meditation or mental prayer. St. Benedict doesn’t lay down a set time for this but our constitutions lay down at least one half an hour a day …(we have 2 periods of half an hour each day)……….READING:By this we don’t mean any sort of reading or study, we meand rather a meditative, prayerful reading of the bible or some work on the spiritual life, either ancient or modern. It is not so much what we read but the way we read, slowly and conscious of God’s presence, open to the Holy Spirit.This manner of reading is conducive to personal prayer and flows naturally into it – the word we give to this is spiritual reading or LECTIO DIVINA. – WORK: Work is a human neccessity and St. Benedict does not allow for idleness less we fall into the ways of the devil. Daily manual labour deals also with the Horarium and the use of time and lectio, nowhere implies that manual labour is the only form of work for a monk. The nature of the work does not matter – it might be intellectual, artistic, educational, or purely manual work in house or the garden, or within the infirmary during sickness and infirmity. What is important is that it is done in the sprirt of service to one’s community and following Christ who came to serve and not to be served. To bring these points together there is the element of the community.
After supper our friend and organist Peter paid us a visit for a few days which meant that we had a full choir practice and lots of fun……there was great music lined up for the following day which was a great feast for ‘The Assumption of Our Lady’………….More of that in the next and possible final installment….
Sorry for the delay i hope its been worth it, so take care……god bless you all