Monday, September 2, 2013

Chapter 4, Part 4: : Tools, continued...

The tools of good works are these...

(34) Not to be arrogant...
(35) Not to be given to wine.
(36) Not to be a great eater.
(37) Not to be drowsy.


      Here again, Saint Benedict argues for moderation.  Eating and drinking are necessary, pleasurable, and good.  But being given to wine or to be a great eater is not ideal.  And it is especially inappropriate for monk, whose life is a living witness to the kingdom of heaven.  Drowsiness, though?  Is there really anything wrong with that?  In college, I used to say that life was what happened between naps, and that is still fairly true for me today.  If you keep active, rise early, work hard and exercise, you might well be drowsy from time to time.  What Benedict is referring to, however, is a sort of spiritual drowsiness.  Saint John Cassian called it “acedia” or lethargy.  It’s the kind of drowsiness that makes us comfortable with mediocrity.  For this reason, Monks read the following prayer every night before they go to bed.  It’s from the First Letter of Saint Peter:  “Brothers, be sober.  Be vigilant. For your enemy the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat.”
and good.  But to be