We have a monthly meeting to support those who are involved in the Benedictine life, including oblates from  the two Anglican Benedictine Communities in Australia. the meetings are usually held at St George’s. We try and meet once a month to provide a support for those who are called to follow the Benedictine way whilst living in the world.

Our next meeting will be on 12 November at St George’s – commencing with mass at 11 am. this will be the last meeting for the year.

Our meetings for next year have not yet been set, but it is usually the second Saturday of the month.
 

This is a good little clip about oblates from PBS in the USA.

St Benedict’s Day

We will keep this the Saturday near the feast of St Benedict on 11 July. This year it was on 9 July, 2022. Mother Lesley McLean was our guest preacher.

St Benedict is considered by many to be the founding father of religious orders in the Western Church. The Rule that he wrote for his community of monks in the 5th century is still relevant in today’s world for monastics and lay people alike.

Throughout the year St George’s offers hospitality to a group of oblates – lay people associated with a religious order – for whom the Rule of St Benedict provides a guide for daily living in ordinary life.Each year we invite members of religious orders, together with oblates and associates, to join us for a Mass in honour of St Benedict. This is followed by a shared lunch in the Parish Hall.

See the source image

The BENEDICTINE GROUP

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Daily Rule, Daily Office, Sacramental Life

In so far as our state of life allows

In the Octave of St Francis and the Virgin of the Rosary

8 October, 2022

It was good to meet again after two months, with six in attendance. We had several apologies from different members. Our prayers are especially for Carrie as she has further treatment this week and for Claudia Lucy as she settles into St Basil’s. We also received a card from Joan Durden, thanking us for the gift for her birthday.

The CCK members in Victoria will hold a general chapter meeting there at a time to be organised, for all CCK oblates. Emily Harding has been in contact with Sr Raphael, but we have no special news from Camperdown. Bev Armstrong gave an update on the World Community of Christian Meditation. They have been meeting on zoom and have found difficulty in meeting in person since the Covid outbreak. They have a national retreat day on 22 October by zoom. The Franciscans were holding a retreat day today with Bishop Garry Weatherall.

The reading today was from chapter seven on the degrees of humility. Today was the tenth degree, about not being too ready and quick to laugh. The rule is organised so that there are twelve steps, and Benedict compares it to the ladder of Jacob. The other great image of ladders is also in 1 John, when Our Lord tells Nathaniel that he will sees the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. 

Twelve is important, as it is a mystic number, the number of the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles. As such Benedict has stretched out the steps of humility to fit the number, as the ninth, tenth and eleventh are all about the same topic of silence and talking. But the significance of twelve is important – our steps for humility are part of a completeness. We are not to take the steps separately, like a smorgasbord, that we can take or leave: instead, they are part of a unified teaching.

Also, it is a ladder: and ladders are easy to fall off (a situation I know all too well as I age!) If we fall off a ladder, we start at the bottom again and go up, and so with the steps of humility, we start again and again from the bottom and work our way through, as we fail time and time again with our humility.

In John 1 we learn that the Word was God, and the nature of the word, communication, is part of the divine gift. Therefore, how we use communication is part of God’s image, and hence Benedict’s examination of this as part of humility. Remember also from John 1 that Our Lord himself is also the ladder, and we have no better image of humility that that, the Lord who humbled himself to become human, and even die for our sakes. Furthermore, he then takes our humanity into heaven by his ascension, so our own steps of humility follow the Son of Man himself in our struggles. 

So, when we look at the tenth degree, about laughter, we see it in a wider context. Benedict is not condemning laughter as such, but the fool’s laughter, the laughter that fills the moment when the peace of God should reign. We all remember the Sisters, they could laugh and enjoy the moment, but they also could sit for a holy hour in silence on God. Laughter can also be used as a weapon on people as well, but that is not the way of humility. What is important is the Word, the ability to listen and hear it in our lives, and that needs the humility of silence.

Silence is not only from people, but also by the witness of communities and buildings. The peace of a church saturated by prayer is important. I came across this lovely reflection about the monastery of Le Barroux in France:

“The monks built Europe, but they did not do it intentionally. Their adventure is first of all, if not exclusively, an inner adventure, whose only motive is thirst.  Thirst for the absolute.  Thirst for another world, for truth and for beauty.  Thirst that the liturgy sharpens in order to guide the eye toward eternal things; to make the monk a man who aims with all his being towards the reality which never dies.  Before being academies of learning and centres of civilization, monasteries are principally silent signs pointing towards heaven, the obstinate uncompromising reminder that another world exists, of which this world is only the image, the indication, the foreshadowing.”

A reminder to those attending here at St George’s that we have copies of various newssheets from different communities at the back of the church, including the one from the Priory of Notre Dame in Colebrook Tasmania.

Our next meeting will be at St Georges on Saturday 12 November at 11 am. We discussed going to Burra but transport was a problem for some members. We very much appreciate Jane Lee Barker’s offer though. Our meeting next time will be our Christmas Party, here in the café.

It has been suggested that we try next year to meet occasionally on a Thursday instead of a Saturday, possibly the third Thursday of the month, with mass here at St George’s at 12. Would members please reflect on this for our next meeting, the last of the year.

God bless,

Fr Scott