I would like to join the Feline Cloister because my human is a Benedictine Oblate and I want to do everything she does. I really look up to her and want to follow her in her journey with God and Christ. As a 10-year-old feline, 56 in human years, at this mid-point of life, I know it is important to honor the spiritual aspect of my being.
On our Zoom call Br. Ricky, the Novice Master, asked me what kind of feline I am. I mewed that I am affectionate. Br. Ricky purred when he heard this and quoted a verse from Chapter 72 – The Good Zeal of the Members.
“Among themselves [the members] show the pure love of sisters and brothers; to God, reverent love; to their prioress or abbot [or abbess], unfeigned and humble love.”
This made me purr, too, because at least I am on the right track. I also am cuddly. Br. Ricky said a gentle spirit is part of being a good Benedictine. I purred again.
One of the favorite things I like to do is to lay in the dining room window and hope that I can continue to do this. I like sleeping on my human’s lap, too. Even though The Rule of St. Benedict says that monastics are to sleep on separate beds (RB 22.1), Br. Ricky saw no problem in my resting on my human’s lap. This is pleasant for her, too, he explained. Hurray!
There are a few things that I don’t like and hope that these will be on the novice “Not Required List” – getting wet and having my human rub my tummy. Br. Ricky mewed that perhaps my human enjoys rubbing my tummy even though I don’t enjoy it. “This is one of the big challenges as we seek to follow Jesus through the Rule of St. Benedict,” Br. Ricky explained. “We are asked to care for others even though it may not be what we would really want to do.” He then mewed this verse from the Rule.
“No monastics are to pursue what they judge better for themselves, but instead, what they judge better for someone else.” RB 72.7
My ears flattened at this instruction. Br. Ricky gave me a concerned look upon hearing a small hiss that involuntarily escaped. This instruction can be tough for us felines, even ones wanting to join the Feline Cloister. I will discuss this verse with my feline housemate Trouble. I cannot imagine that humans readily follow what the Rule says here either.
I love my human and know that she tries to be a good Benedictine oblate. I shared with Br. Ricky that she needs to learn patience. Br. Ricky nodded and mewed that this is something we all need to learn.
I can’t wait to start learning all about the Rule and being a novice! And I am not alone because Trouble is also applying to be a novice!
My Favorite verse from the Rule:
“Are you hastening toward your heavenly home? Then with Christ’s help, keep this little rule that we have written for beginners. After that, you can set out for the loftier summits of the teaching and virtues we mentioned above, and under God’s protection you will reach them. Amen.” RB 73.8-9