Not a Pious Pastime
Saint Benedict treats of the daily Lenten reading in Chapter 48 of the Holy Rule, “On the Daily Manual Labour.” For Saint Benedict, reading is a labour, not a pious pastime. It requires a resolute application of the mind and engagement of the heart. The word received in reading becomes the word repeated and savoured. The word repeated and savoured becomes the word sent back to God as the expression of one’s prayer. God responds to that prayer, born of hearing and repetition, with the grace of a quiet and loving adhesion to His indwelling presence.
From Chapter 48 of the Holy Rule
During Lent, let them apply themselves to reading from morning until the end of the third hour, and then, until the end of the tenth, labour at whatever is enjoined them. And in these days of Lent let each one receive a book from the library, and read it all through in order. These books are to be given out at the beginning of Lent.
Above all, let one or two seniors be appointed to go round the Monastery, at the hours when the brethren are engaged in reading, and see that there be no slothful brother giving himself to idleness or to foolish talk, and not applying himself to his reading, so that he is thus not only useless to himself, but a distraction to others.
Lenten Book Recommendation for 2012
Given that we are in the midst of moving, and that I am writing quickly, and in a less than optimal environment –see packing boxes and stacks of unsorted things all about me — I will recommend but a single book this year to our Oblates and the men in vocational discernment with our monastery. Oblates and men in discernment with us, this is my Lenten recommendation for 2012. It is available either from the publisher, New City Press, or from Amazon.
15 Days of Prayer with Saint Benedict
by Dom André Gozier
New City Press, Hyde Park, New York, 2008
I should be very happy to receive from you echoes of your response to this excellent introduction to Saint Benedict and to his “school of the service of the Lord.” I bless each one of you as you set about your Lenten reading, asking Our Lord to illumine your minds and warm your hearts with the light of His Face.