If you haven't heard of St. Benedict yet, you should, cause he's a pretty important guy. He was named the patron saint of Europe, and he's even got his own coin in Austria! Around 500, when Benedict was alive, a main concern of the Christians was what kind
of Christian to be, and how life should be ordered. Benedict came along with The Rule o
f St. Benedict (Clever name, right?) which is what I read for this week. This reading, which he only intended to be used in his community in Italy, became the guideline for nearly of all Western monasticism.
Benedict wrote this piece as he was opening a Monastery. His intentions were to guide the monks along the toad to Heaven in which the path is "long and the entrance is narrow." Benedict's rules were so widely accepted in the West because of he was strict enough to keep rule, but still realistic. Two things that stuck out to me as surprisingly lenient, were that he wanted monks to carry out all tasks cheerfully, and the way that he wanted monks to rely on each other. If someone was too sick, their daily tasks were lessened. Also, the monk serving meals for the week, would get an extra portion of food so that they were able to carry out tasks without fatigue. The only thing that really bothered me about this reading was some of the language he used, especially in the opening section. Maybe it's just me, but I feel that no matter who you are or what you've done, no one is "worthless," should have to beg to become one of God's children, or be afraid of Him "disinheriting His children"(p.128). In the section on Private Ownership, he states that "Monks neither have free will nor free body" (p.130). In my mind, even if you have absolutely nothing left, you'll always have your free will and it's very degrading to say that one has absolutely no choice in the matter.
On to something more cheerful, my project. What's funny is that as I was writing this, one of my supervisors (Tessa) called me to thank me for all the work I'm doing there. I absolutely, downright, adore my project, the kids I'm getting to know and the adults I work with. I do everything from office work, tutoring sessions and after-school programs at Park Avenue
. There are most definitely rules in place there just like the monastery, these seem to be a little
less strict though :). The only rule I've actually seen enforced there is that while at Park Ave, the kids there must be doing something
. In fact, one of the girls I was tutoring (and her 6 sisters) almost got kicked out because of this. What I love about my organization though, is that they do nearly everything possible to make things work. Instead of immediately kicking the girls out, on my my supervisors personally went to their house to work everything out. The girls are all back in tutoring now, and everything's back to normal.