Novice Benjamin – Las Vegas, Nevada

My given name is Benjamin, but my humans affectionately call me Bennie. I am 1 ½ years old.  I would like to join the Feline Cloister because I offer a different perspective as a one-eyed feline.

In our Zoom interview Novice Master Br. Ricky asked me to share what that one-eyed perspective might be.  I mewed that it allows me to be more attentive to those around me.

With one eye I am not able to clearly see another feline or a human by just looking sideways.  This is especially true for anyone on my right side.  I must turn my full face to them.  This helps me to be more attentive to what they are saying or mewing.  I can’t do two things at once, like half-listening to them while consuming cat treats.   I think that my attentiveness helps each one feel appreciated and heard.

Br. Ricky purred that I’m already following an important part of the Rule of Benedict.  My ears really pricked up at that!  He explained that one of the vows or promises taken as a Benedictine is “Obedience.”  (My fur stood up a bit at that word.  Felines aren’t noted for being obedient.)  Noting my upright fur, Br. Ricky assured me that this vow was all about listening with an open and loving heart.  We then acting on how we believe that God is calling us.  By giving your full attention to another, Br. Ricky said, you are practicing obedience to them.  He mewed a verse from The Rule of St. Benedict.

“Obedience is a blessing to be shown by all, not only to the prioress and abbot but also to one another, since we know that it is by this way of obedience that we go to God.”  RB 71.1-2

This was so encouraging to hear that I immediately began to purr with joy.  I’m well-known for being a very loving feline and I want to go to God.

Br. Ricky then asked me what I felt my outstanding personality traits are.  That’s easy.  I’m incredibly curious and like to check everything out, especially anything new and different.  Another trait which makes it easy to be curious is that I am fearless. I will move, jump or pounce in any direction, at anything, even if I am not sure what will happen.

Br. Ricky chuckled and said that he hoped I would be curious and fearless in approaching the Rule and my life as a novice.  He said that Benedict encourages us to make haste and run, which does take courage.  Br Ricky shared a verse from the Rule.

Run while you have the light of life, that the darkness of death may not overtake you” (John 12:35).  Prologue 13

There’s one cause for running that I DON’T like.  I confess that I don’t like to be chased and get really annoyed when this happens.  Br Ricky said that he understands that being chased can be stressful.  He cautioned me with these wise words.

“Do not grumble or mew ill of others.”  RB 4.39-40

This got me to thinking…maybe I bring it on myself; I like to see how close I can get to the dog!

I’m hoping that what I learn as a novice will help my human to ease up on her frantic pace of life and slow down.  Slowing down would also give her more time to appreciate us felines in the household. 

My favorite verse from the Rule:

“…while there is still time, while we are in this body and have time to accomplish all these things by the light of life – we must run and do now what will profit us forever.”  Prologue 43-44