Excommunication

22 August 2007

I’m not always too hot on Joan Chittister’s takes on the Rule of Benedict.  I think she is sometimes a little loosey-goosey with the rule, bending the rule to say something it does not or softening the often challenging princples and statements rife within the rule.

I am beginning to understand, however, a point she makes about excommunication that I did not before.  She says, in one of her commentaries on the rule, that excommunication is as much about healing and reconciliation as it is about punishment.  For some reason, I was unsatisfied by this until now.  No, I thought, excommunication is punishment in the Rule: not only are you limited in what you can do in the oratory, but you eat alone, work alone, and are almost totally excluded from the community.

I am a Benedictine but not one in a Benedictine community; my main link to the Benedictine community is my breviary.  Lately, I have felt exommunicated from my Breviary.  Since returning from Florida, I have barely picked it up.  I am not sure why.  Perhaps I am home so much these days that my days become too full, and I forget to pray.

In the mornings, I feel too tired to get out of bed early, too cozy on these warm mornings, and don’t get up in time.  Evenings have been filled with all kinds of things, and Vespers has been neglected.

I have not neglected prayer, though: I say the Rosary every day, and I have said the occasional Hour.  I am glad I’ll be going to see my Spiritual Director on Friday.

The odd thing of all this is that I don’t feel particularly bad about missing all these Offices.  This may be a natural, organic, even necessary thing.  It doesn’t feel “Dark Night”ish, just kind of a dry, non LotH time.

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One Response to “Excommunication”

  1. Scott Says:

    I’m in a dry time much like yours with the Office. And yes, I think it may be necessary sometimes.

    And here I am working on a complete psalter in a Word document that’s formatted so I can move the psalms around easily in Outline view to create my dream breviary, which of course will have me praying all 150 psalms weekly according to St Benedict’s schedule.

    I’m thinking if I put them all in order from Sunday I Vespers through Saturday None, it’ll be a piece of cake. Right. 🙂

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