Randy’s Corner May/June 2011

Hello! I’m Randy, one of Jane’s cats. Last month was my first article on the Rule of St. Benedict, highlighting my observations about how Jane does or doesn’t keep the Rule. For all of you who enjoyed that article, here I am again with more enlightening observations and Benedictine wisdom from the feline perspective!

In Chapter 66 – The Porter of the Monastery, Benedict points out that the monastery is to be constructed so that everything needed is within the walls of the enclosure, explaining that for the monastics to roam outside is “not at all good for their souls.” He fears that they might see something to cause them distress or a backwards step in their journey to God.

I can offer a great example why no one should leave the enclosure. A month ago Jane’s husband John took Rudy out for surgery on his teeth. When they returned I heard John tell Jane that he saw a picture of an obese cat at the Vet’s and that I looked just like that cat! John should have prostrated himself in front of me and the others. I found it in the Rule. On the day that monastics come back to the enclosure…

  1. after every prayer service that day, they are to lie face down on the floor of the chapel , and
  2. ask for prayers in case they saw something evil , and
  3. not tell anyone what they saw or heard while they were outside, or
  4. be “subjected to the punishment of the rule” if they tell what they saw. (RB 67.3-6)

Was John subjected to the punishment of the Rule? No. What happened instead? Since several of us in this enclosure are on the “fluffy” side, our normal evening Friskies treats now come with painful irregularity. Jane says it’s to “cut their calories.” Grrrrr! This is a clear violation of the Rule. With kindness and consideration Benedict notes that all tables should be provided with two kinds of cooked food so that anyone who can’t eat one kind will be able to eat the other kind. (RB 39.1-2) Now, a number of us really don’t like the wet food but eat it just to keep from starving. The dry Friskies treats dispensed in the evening sustain us. Now most days we have only one kind of cooked food. It’s not Benedictine!

The problem is that sometimes people can decide for others what they think is best and maybe it isn’t. Do you ever do this, think that you know what’s best for everyone else? If you do, take care. You might be wrong. And when you leave your enclosure, be on guard, as Benedict says. You may see something that will cause harm to you or to someone else just like what happened here.

When John or Jane turn out the lights at night I mew loudly about the missing Friskies, quoting Benedict’s words in RB 39.1-2 about the two kinds of cooked food requirement, but to no avail. I thought the abbess was to create conditions where grumbling wasn’t necessary? And, to add insult to injury, while Benedict says that there’s to be no eating in between meals (RB 43.18), I have it from a good source that Jane nibbles while she’s cooking dinner!

Your feline friend,

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