Saturday, June 28, 2003

Clearing a few things up

I realized that I may have unintentionally misled you on a few things.

1) I slept in the student dorms, not the monastery. So the bed I was complaining about was not a bed that a monk would sleep in. From what I understand, they have regular, comfortable beds. The junior monks, however, are required to sleep on beds of nails.

Not really.

I don't know if I mentioned that the living space of the monks is not available to the public. So I never actually saw their beds or where they lived. There is a point past which only monks can pass. I forgot to ask about the origin of that custom, since it is not in the rule. If anyone knows (Brother Gregory or Father Theodore?), please email me and I'll post it.

2) While the rule of Benedict calls for all 150 Psalms to be recited in the course of a week, not all monasteries follow this strictly. St. Gregory's does all 150 Psalms over a two week period. There is a new monastery in Clear Creek, OK that does all 150 in a week -- they were recently settled by Benedictines from France. The term the monks use for this practice is "primitive". We might think of it as more like Protestant fundamentalism. Even within monasticism (or maybe, especially within monasticism) there is a constant tension between following the original rule and adjusting it to the situation. There have been plenty of monasteries founded with a more primitive approach as the result of some monks being dissatisfied with what they find to be unnecessary accomadations to the rule.

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edit: wrong post