Is Novice Joey in the doll house?
I would like to join the Feline Cloister because: I would like to see what other cats are doing. Maybe I could learn something new. Just so you know, I am 14 years old and am a charming female cat.
On the Zoom call with Br. Ricky, Novice Master, I explained that I am a very one-person cat. Of course most of the cloister members are feline, he reassured, but I do need to know that I am to be obedient to the superior of the cloister, Amma Jane. He pulled out his copy of The Rule of St. Benedict in Mew and mewed this to me.
“Obey the orders of the superior [i.e., Amma Jane] unreservedly, even if their own conduct–which God forbid–be at odds with what they say. Remember the teachings of the Holy One: Do what they say, not what they do” (Matt 23:3). RB 4.61
My ears flattened a bit at this. Does Amma Jane not follow the Rule? I mewed that I was willing to open my heart a bit to another human. Br. Ricky purred and shared this encouraging Rule verse:
“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.” Prologue 41
I know that the Rule asks us to limit creature comforts but also makes sure that we have everything that we need.
“It is written, Distribution was made to each one as she or he had need” (Acts 4:35). RB 34.1
Benedict knew that when basic things like enough food and clothing are scarce it’s hard to concentrate on our relationship with God. Benedict wants everyone to have what they need, Br. Ricky stressed. And everyone is different here.
“Whoever needs less should thank God and not be distressed, but whoever needs more should feel humbled because of their weakness, not self-important because of the kindness shown him or her.” RB 34.4
I need thick quilts. I like to sleep under them where it’s nice and warm. I am hoping that I can continue to do this as a novice. And to have my belly rubbed. I would hate to give that up!
I will confess that I don’t like seeing dogs. I know that they are creatures God has made and cares for. I told Br. Ricky I will make a special prayer intention that God prevents dogs from roaming into my field of vision. Br. Ricky looked concerned. “I’m not keen on dogs either,” he shared, “but the Rule asks us to welcome others as if we were welcoming Christ himself. This includes those who are much different from us, like dogs. Listen.” Here Br. Ricky quoted from the Rule.
“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me“(Matt 25:35). RB 53.1
Finally, my human has something to learn, too. She needs to learn to be a little more social, to get out and to be with other people. With COVID, it’s been difficult to do this. But I will mew encouragement for her to be with others a bit more. And I will try to be obedient to Amma.
Verses from the Rule for me to ponder, as suggested by Br. Ricky:
“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 am going to also ponder Prologue 41 as quoted above!