I would like to join the Feline Cloister because I want to live a quiet, peaceful life undisturbed by noise and bullying. On our Zoom call Br. Ricky nodded in understanding. He explained that one of St. Benedict’s goals is to provide a peaceful environment where members could seek God and be in harmony with each other. Several times in the Rule Benedict states ways to be at a peacemaker.
Here’s a very important one that Br. Ricky pointed out.
“Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days? (Ps 34:13) If you hear this and your answer is ‘I do,’ God then directs these words to you: If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim” (Ps 34: 14-15). Prologue 15-17
I gave a happy purr. I can do that because I am searching for a peaceful life. But the challenge is that those around me may not be doing the same search. The problem, I mewed, is that my sister Pearl bullies me. At that Br. Ricky picked up his little green pencil, looked down and made a note in a little notebook.
I put up with the bullying because I love my sister and we have been together over 13 years. Many humans have to deal with bullying, too, Br, Ricky explained. Jesus certainly was bullied, and worse. He stayed the course and kept his eyes on God.
Br. Ricky promised that he and I could have a meow about some strategies from the Rule to help me endure this unfortunate cross that I bear. Br. Ricky offered these verses from The Rule of St. Benedict as encouragement for me.
“Do not repay one bad turn with another (1 Thes 5:15; 1 Pet 3:9). Do not injure anyone, but bear injuries patiently.” RB 4.29-30
I shared that I dislike loud noises and feline and human strangers. And I REALLY get annoyed when Pearl hits me and when she takes my food.
Br. Ricky nodded again and explained that Sr. Espy chases him before meals. That certainly surprised me. Espy also had an experience of being deprived of food until she came to the Cloister. Read about Sr. Espy here.
Diamond (in back) and Pearl
in a cozy moment
Novice Diamond – No longer afraid.
Instead, eager for pets.
Our human has been so kind to me and to Pearl. We went through a tough time before she adopted us. We were treated badly. When I came here I was scared for quite a while, not knowing what to expect. The truth is, I was a world-class recluse!
But our loving human did what Benedict asked of the abbott and prioress – to take our infirmities into account. RB 48.25 We weren’t physically sick, but fearful. She let usguide the developing relationship.
Now I meow appreciatively when my human pets me. I’m sure for my human it’s like, night and day.
I’m so glad I came out of that lonely night.
I am hoping that by being a novice I can help my human. I think she needs to learn how to care for herself lovingly. I have trouble doing that myself. My fur is so full of mats that it cannot be brushed any more. My human’s friend who is an expert on cats says that I was too scared of everything even to remember to groom.
So, speaking from experience, I know what it’s like to neglect self-care. My human needs to slow down, take time to recover from her illness, and take firm but gentle care of herself.
My favorite verse from the Rule:
‘Place your hope in God alone.” RB 4.41