Post #30.15, Thursday, March 31, 2022

Historical setting: 589 C.E. The cottage in the mountains

         “The Rule of Columbanus is a shorter document than the Rule of Benedict,” she tells me clearly intending to change the subject.

         “So these are easier rules?”

         She smiles at that silly question.

         She explains, “It takes fewer words because all that obedience and fidelity is to God and not the bishop or the abbot. There is much less detail about wayward varieties of monks and proper outward appearance.”

         I see from the copy we are given it begins right off in the place where The Rule of St. Benedict puts off until “IV. The tools for good works.” mentioning the biblical commands for love of neighbor. [Footnote1]

         This Rule of St. Columbanus begins, “…First of all we are taught to love God with our whole heart and with our whole mind and with all our strength, and our neighbor as ourselves; then {come} works.” [Footnote2]

         Ana adds, “I imagine you and the old monk Nic would have preferred this Celtic Rule.”

         “Ana, you have such a gift of memory, even for these tiny details of our opinions.”

         She explains, “It was so important to me then to know the things that linked people together, things that mattered to people… So of course I remember our reading lessons with Nic’s pages.”

         I still have my question, “Let me ask again because you seem to be evading my questions about your isolation here, giving me only theoretical answers about managing groups of monks. But your loneliness seems so important to you that it is unspeakable to anyone but God. Is that true?”

         Tears well in her eyes. “It is true that I care not to speak about my circumstance here. It’s my own fears that isolate me here forever and ever. You can’t blame it on the monks. They would only help me if they could.”

         “I’m asking this not to make any accusations but to learn if I’m actually welcome here as you allow me to believe I am; or maybe I’m an intrusion into your longing for solitude.”

         “You are welcome here.” She goes quickly into her private room said to have a roof, where she can shield from me her deep sobbing.

         “I didn’t mean to quake the dam.” I apologize as Ana returns to our worktable drying her eyes.

         She has completely regained her composure as the Servant monk arrives at her door.

[Footnote1] The Rule of St. Benedict, Translated by Carolinne White, Penguin books, p. 17.

[Footnote2] The Rule of St. Columbanus (Regula Monachorum), Translated by Terrence G. Kardong, “St. Columban: His life, rule, and legacy” p.1retrieved as a pdf  8-20-21

http://www.companyofjesus.org › Rule-of-Colum…

(Continues Tuesday, April 5)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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