I would like to join the Feline Cloister because my human mom has all these medals, statues and prayer books about this St. Benedict and I think I need to know more about him. Also she goes away for a long time to a Monastery and I think she needs to take us with her.
Br. Ricky looked so pleased when I shared this on our Zoom call. He said that becoming a novice is definitely the first step towards realizing both my desires. I purred when I heard this and explained that both my daughter Esther, who is also a Worldwide Novice, and I would make excellent roommates for our human when she is at the monastery.
Before I continue, I am a four-year-old female. Like Esther, I know my birthday. It’s June 29, so say a prayer for me on that day. Thank you. When my human adopted me I was a little over 2. My little Esther was four months old. We both love our human and enjoy living with her. Br. Ricky purred at this and quoted from the chapter on The Good Zeal of Monastics in The Rule of Saint Benedict.
“Among themselves they show the pure love of sisters and brothers; to God, reverent love.” RB 72.8-9
I like to eat, especially treats! One of my jobs is to make sure they are always in my dish! I really enjoy sleeping and do this a lot. I noticed that Br. Ricky’s ears had flattened a bit. He mewed that the Rule encourages moderation in both eating and sleeping, quoting from the chapter, The Tools for Good Works.
”Refrain from too much eating or sleeping, and from laziness” (Rom 12:11). RB 4.36-38
“My human has a bunch of these St. Benedict medals,” mews Novice Sasha. “Click here to learn about them.”
To clarify, I meowed that I am definitely not lazy. I am an excellent mother. I do my best to keep Esther in line (not always easy) and to make sure she is clean. I love “cat TV” – sitting in the window watching the world go by! That takes being alert.
I like to play just like Esther, and will start playing on the spur of the moment. One of my favorite playtime activities is to chase her around the house! Like Esther, I’m wondering if what I like to do will be approved by the Rule and Amma. Br. Ricky mewed that we will have a one-on-one meow about this and will cull the Rule for advice.
Sasha and Esther
Resting after the chase
Is there anything that I don’t like? A definite ‘Yes.’ I do not like to cuddle with my human. I’m still nervous around her and around other humans as well. Br. Ricky gave me a sympathetic and understanding nod, sharing that he is not comfortable with all who visit Amma. But we do want to meet the needs of our humans, he explained, like being willing to cuddle. Br. Ricky mewed this 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
I think he noticed my sudden wide eyes, look of fear, and quick wince. Quickly he explained that in the Rule there is a chapter titled “Assignment of Impossible Tasks.” If a task seems too much for you, like being cuddled, please come and see me, he encouraged. Explain why being cuddled is difficult. Perhaps we can ease up on that expression of love, and find another way to show the love you have for your human. I relaxed. Truth is, I’m getting better at being more sociable, but this is taking too long for my human. Br. Ricky nodded in understanding again.
Novice Sasha upon hearing her human
is to have visitors
What’s frustrating, I mewed, is when my human is gone for a long time. Even though I don’t cuddle I want her here!!! I am also not happy when people come to visit. I wait and wait for them to leave so that I can come out of hiding. My daughter does the very same thing.
I try to get people to take a hint so that we can both resume being out in the open. I will look out at whoever is there with an expression that says, “you still here?” and then go back into hiding! These hints fall on blind eyes
Finally, I mewed to Br. Ricky that with what I learn as I novice I hope to help my human mom learn how to balance her time. She is out of the house way to too often. She is not here to fill my bowl fast enough! And when she is home, she is always busy on that machine on her desk. She needs to spend time with me!
I noticed that Br. Ricky was busy pawing notes in his little notebook as I shared all that. He suggested that I check out RB 72.4-6 as I continue my study of the Rule.
“They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10). supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience to one another.” RB 72.4-6
I will do that checking out. I can’t wait to mew all about what I learn to my human…from a distance…
My favorite verses from the Rule of St. Benedict:
“For the daily meals, whether at noon or in midafternoon, it is enough, we believe, to provide all the tables with two kinds of cooked food because of individual weaknesses.* In this way, the person [or feline] who may not be able to eat one kind of food may partake of the other.
Two kinds of cooked food, therefore, should suffice for all, and if fruit or fresh vegetables are available,** a third dish may also be added.” RB 39.1-3
* Sasha changes this to “individual preferences.”
** Sasha mews, “Hold the fruits and veggies. Make the third dish another flavor of cat treats!”
Novice Sasha, resting up after a chase game with daughter Esther