March 5, 2017
"They shall each receive a book from the library, which they shall read straight through from the beginning.
These books are to be given out at the beginning of Lent."
- Rule of St Benedict, 48
Our practice is for the books to be given in Chapter on the first Sunday of Lent. The chantresses distribute them, beginning with the abbess, prioress and sub-prioress, and the seniors. Books are given and received reverently with two hands and a bow of the head.
From now until the Wednesday of Holy Week, we will gather as a community in the scriptorium each morning for 30 minutes of reading in common. Mother's chapter talk for the day emphasized the crucial role of the Word of God in our struggle with spiritual evil, as in Jesus' tempation in the desert. Furthermore, the mutual support of our common life offers us training and strength for such spiritual struggle.
Our librarian makes covers for our Lenten books and decorates them with a specially chosen image. This year's is the encounter of Mary Magdalen with the Risen Christ from the St John's Bible. Pondering this each morning will surely help us to look forward to Easter with joy and holy longing, as St Benedict recommends.