Mr. Biggs – Woodland, California

Greetings in the Lord!  My name is Mr. Biggs.  I have been in the Feline Cloister for several years as a Resident Novice.  I asked Br. Ricky if I could become a Worldwide Novice.  I wanted to join my friend, Miss Sassafras, who recently moved to the Worldwide community.

Br. Ricky and I had a Zoom conversation.  I shared that I joined the Feline Cloister earlier because I wanted to be in Kittyhood with like-minded brothers and sisters who believe there is only one God for all of us.  I am here to do my part.  Br. Ricky mewed that I have done many things towards doing this.  One of these is introducing the website section, “Mewsings on the Rule of St. Benedict.”  Cloister members have written wonderful and thoughtful articles on many aspects of the Rule that you can paw through.

What kind of feline am I?  I shared with Br. Ricky that I am a peace-loving feline who doesn’t like to fight with other cats.  I believe in Peace for all creatures on earth.  Hearing this desire, Br. Ricky purred.  He looked down and jotted something in his little notebook with his tiny green pencil.  Then he opened his well-worn copy of The Rule of St. Benedict in Mew and read with tender mewing these verses that I love.

“Seeking workers in a multitude of [felines], God calls out and says again: 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 14-17

Upon hearing these words, I meowed a big “Amen!!”  “And, Mr. Biggs, your concern that others find peace is right in line with the Feline Cloister mission.”

Mission Statement of the Feline Cloister

Through non-judgmental observation and gentle sharing of feline Benedictine wisdom, members of the Feline Cloister strive to teach humans
about The Rule of St. Benedict and how this Rule can help humans find peace and joy in daily life.
Members also strive to live The Rule of St. Benedict to the very best of their feline abilities.

Forbdden behavior in the Feline Cloister
RB 70.2

Br. Ricky reminded me of another place in the Rule where Benedict sets a prohibition against striking other monastics. I follow such instruction diligently.  Here’s the word from Chapter 70 – The Presumption of Striking Another Monastic At Will.

“In the monastery every occasion for presumption is to be avoided, and so we decree that no one has the authority to excommunicate or strike any member of the community unless given this power by the prioress or abbot.”                                                                                                 RB 70.1-2

Of course, Amma Jane would never ask any feline to strike another.  Nor does she ever permit such unseemingly and un-Benedictine behavior.


                                                        Cloister Approved Behavior shown at right.

As our conversation continued, I was delighted to share that I like to clean my beautiful fur.  I concentrate on making it fluffy and shiny, much admired by my human.  Br. Ricky cautioned me.  “Be sure that you don’t spend so much time cleaning your fur that you miss opportunities to serve others, Novice Mr. Biggs.  It’s so easy to focus more than we need to on ourselves.  We can miss opportunities that God places in our path.”  He read these verses to me.

“The second step of humility is that we love not our own will nor take pleasure in the satisfaction of our desires; rather we shall imitate by our actions that saying of Christ’s: I have come not to do my own will, but the will of the One who sent me” (John 6:38).  RB 7.31-32

I mewed in great sincerity that I would be most vigilant about my grooming habits.  As I mewed earlier, I want to do my part.

Mr. Biggs meows, “Only a dog would like
a tummy pet!”

One thing I don’t like is when my human pets my tummy.  She doesn’t realize that I am ticklish and it isn’t dignified to laugh.  “Absolutely on the paw and purrfect, Mr. Biggs,” exclaimed my wonderful Novice Master.  “Benedict cautions us against laughter.  Too often such laughter is directed unkindly towards other.”  “Right, Br. Ricky,” I meowed and solemnly quoted the 10th step of humility.

“The tenth step of humility is that we are not given to ready laughter, for it is written: Only fools raise their voices in laughter” (Sir 21:23).

I certainly don’t want to be a fool!  Hiss!!

I am concerned about my human, too.  my human needs to learn how to slow down, listen, and act upon the whispers she hears from God.  She needs to trust that those whispers are coming from Spirit.  I think ALL of us need to do that.  Br. Ricky gave a huge feline smile.  “Absolutely, Mr. Biggs.  Moderation and balance are key practices in Benedictine living.”

I am looking forward to being with the other Worldwide Novices on our Zoom calls.  I know that ALL OF US want to do our part in making this world a better place.  Purr….

My favorite verses from the Rule:

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, who said:
I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).
Once guests have been announced, the prioress or abbot and the community are to meet them
with all the courtesy of love.”  RB 53.1,3