Monday, May 09, 2005

The Rule of St. Benedict

The phone rang at 5 tonight, dragging me back to "real time". I'd spent much of the afternoon working on a draft of a paper and was finally making major progress with a sticky section. The call was for my husband, the person on the other end felt compelled to advise me to write the message down. I would say that I felt like a secretary, except that secretaries are professionals, and I would never presume to advise one on how to record the message being left. I felt like a child.

And it was 5 and since my other half had to be out of the house by 6 with our youngest for an event, and was not yet home, I needed to turn off academic mom and enable the housekeeper mode. I managed to get kids fetched from school and dinner on the table before the witching hour. Witching described my attitude as well as the hour. The writing had been going well, and I needed about an hour to pull the section together. At times like this I fantasize having a stay at home spouse, allowing me to emerge from my study to scrubbed children and a prepared meal, and return to the cocoon at meal's end.

Instead I'm trying to cultivate a Benedictine attitude. The rule of Benedict recommends work, prayer and study in measured proportions. The work is itself is meant to be prayer, the study to fold into prayer.

"Idleness is the enemy of the soul.
Therefore the sisters should be occupied
at certain times in manual labor,
and again at fixed hours in sacred reading."

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