Moderation: Work/Life Balance


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Presentation on the Benedictine perspective on work but also on moderation and balance. St Benedict was in favor of work over idleness and passivity, but included "holy leisure" among the "work" that his monks should undertake.

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Moderation: Work/Life Balance

  1. 1. Consider the Structure of the Rule • Define monastics • Basic elements • Abbot, Rule, Community • Basic spiritual traits • Silence, Obedience, Humility • Schedule • Grounded in prayer horarium • Organized by season • Mindful of human nature
  2. 2. A modern view of a medieval monastic schedule For most monks and nuns the basis of their daily life was the Rule of Saint Benedict. In his rule, Benedict devised a rigid, monotonous routine of work, prayer, study and sleep designed to make the mind and the will submissive to God.The pattern of the day varied only according to the seasons of the year and the liturgical calendar. “Daily Life in a Medieval Monastery at Mostly Medieval - Exploring the MiddleAges”
  3. 3. LINEAR TIME, HISTORICAL TIME Birth Child Youth Adult Death • We enter at conception • We live each moment • Circumstances form us (family, schools, jobs, events) • We exit at death • The secular perspective sees time as motion, progress, a single direction. • Culture defines the purpose or goal of time
  4. 4. Time as Cycle of God'sYear
  5. 5. 1:30AM: Preparation for night office. 2:00:AM: Nocturns 3:30AM: Matins (Lauds) at daybreak. 4:00AM:Change and wash. 5:00AM:Trina Oratorio, Reading 6:00AM:Prime, Morrow Mass,Chapter 7:30AM: Reading 8:00AM:Terce, Sung Mass 9:30AM:Work 11:30AM: Sext 12:00PM: Dinner 1:00PM: Siesta 2:30PM: None, Drink 3:00PM Work 5:30PM Supper 6:00PM Vespers 7:30PM: Change into night shoes, Collatio 8:00PM:Compline 8:15PM: Bed 2:30AM Preparation for night office. 3:00AM Nocturns (aka Matins. 5:00AM Reading 6:00AM Matins (Lauds) at daybreak, Prime 7:30AM Reading 8:00AM Terce, Morrow mass, Chapter 9:45AM Work 12:00PM Sext, Sung Mass 1:30PM None 2:00PM Dinner 2:45PM Work 4:15PM Vespers 5:30PM Change into night shoes 6:00PM Collatio 6:15PM Compline 6:30PM Bed
  6. 6. “The external practices of monastic life are directly connected with our search for God. In and through these practices we express our spiritual values and ideals, and daily live out our commitment to God.” Cummings, Monastic Practices
  7. 7. What features guide Benedict? • The forces of nature • Ch 10 v2 • The needs of human body • Ch 8 – v2, v 4 • The size of the community • Ch 17 v6, Ch 31 • Available technology • Ch 11 12; ways of measuring time.
  8. 8. What makes balance hard?
  9. 9. Distractions
  10. 10. Overwork
  11. 11. Internet ImpactsOur Lives •FOMO •ICYMI •YOLO •Meme
  12. 12. This culture leads to • Constant sense of dissatisfaction with life. • Constant anxiety that one should be better • Constant attempt to make the right choice • Constant sense that change is needed
  13. 13. What Benedict keeps out • Sends away fussy or complaining visiting monks • Separates people who are having problems from the rest of the community – for their own good but also for others • Guests are welcomed by not spoken to by all • Monks who go out do not talk about what they see (Ch 67)
  14. 14. How Benedict arranges things • Decisions are not made at the moment • Food is alloted ahead of time (Ch 39, 40) • The time for asking is set ahead of time (Ch 31) • Adjustments are made for identified needs • Job descriptions • People get what they expect • They give back in good order (Ch 35) • Their work is recognized by all • All is done with intentionality • Ch 38 v1 “not casually”
  15. 15. ponder or write about what makes balance hard in your life.
  16. 16. “Our life in its outward practices as well as its inward spirit becomes totally oriented towards seeking and finding God.” Cummings, Monastic Practices
  17. 17. Rocks in a Jar
  18. 18. AlwaysWe Begin Again • We do make progress on this journey. • Yet each day offers both challenge and opportunity. • Balance is not ever finished. It is an active practice each day of our lives.