11/August/2009 Filed in: Jottings
Benedictines don't go in for poverty as such. The Rule exhorts us to frugality and austerity of life, which is not inconsistent with institutional splendour (think solemn liturgy, fine libraries, works of art); so not for us the glorious freedom of St Clare, whose memoria we keep today. There is something very appealing about her espousal of poverty in its strictest form. Easier to achieve in Italy than in England, perhaps, although many Poor Clares have lived out her ideals in our greyer climate and brought some southern warmth and sunshine to Church life. Our thanks to all who emailed after last night’s TV programme. We haven’t seen it yet although the producer is sending us a DVD to look at on the computer (if we get round to it). It is slightly mystifying to us why food programmes are so avidly watched. Far better, surely, to go into the kitchen and make something oneself or hoe a row of onions in the garden. Could it be that Benedictines not only lack Franciscan poverty but also something of their joie de vivre? And before anyone answers in the affirmative, please remember that a sense of humour is as important in monastic life as it is in marriage. We are to become saints ourselves, not make saints of others.