June 23, 2012
Welcome to Sabbath Moments, the Saturday meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. We all need times to “rest in the Lord.”
Veggie garden tales
This week I harvested more than six huge cucumbers from the vines I planted and last week it was three or four. This is my first year growing them and by luck found the perfect site where they are happy. One of the volunteer asparagus (Asian long beans) bean plants has also been prolific in production while the seedlings I started are catching up. Two others are not far behind. I’ll have lots to share! And the two cherry tomato plants are also pouring out fruit as well as the pepper plants. Finally, the zucchini seems to have gotten over its sulk and it looks like it may produce at least half way well. All of this bodes well for a great pickling season.
Speaking of pickling, I now have the Korean cookbook I wanted and it has several recipes for pickling Korean style. Last Saturday I put up four quarts of a mix of daikon radish, carrot slices, cucumbers, mushrooms and green peppers in a wonderful soy sauce, rice vinegar, water and sugar mix. In two weeks they’ll be ready to eat. The Lord is being very generous to us this year in giving us a good harvest, but things may slow down as we again have unseasonably hot weather.
It turns out that my mania to learn Korean cooking is also a blessing because it is a very healthy way to eat. Considering that an MRI on my husband’s heart revealed a small aortic aneurysm, and considering that diet can keep blood pressure down which is a must with this condition, eating Korean will be a huge help. Thank you Lord!
I also got my two special jars for making kimchee and sauerkraut which I will do when we have cooler weather in August or September. Some of the recipes sound so good it will be a penance to have to hold myself back from getting started. Meanwhile, I plan to make some killer kimbap (sometimes called Korean sushi) for us to enjoy this hot summer.
The eleventh degree of humility
We’re almost to the finish line with St. Benedict’s degrees of humility from his Rule. When I think about the fact that he wrote his Rule in the late 400s – early 500s and that monastic practice which he codified in his Rule had already been well established for hundreds of years, I really appreciate how up-to-date it is for all of us trying to tame our unruly inclinations. It shows us that human nature hasn’t changed one iota.
From chapter 7 of his Rule:
The eleventh step of humility is that a monk speaks gently and without laughter, seriously and with becoming modesty, briefly and reasonably, but without raising his voice, as it is written: “a wise man is known by his few words” (Proverbs 10:19).
Father Gerard Ellspermann, O.S.B. comments:
He ought to speak gently. Calmness in language is the index of interior peace. Violence in speech is, in general, the mark of some disorder. [Like a pattern of sin or mental/emotional problems that show up in behavior habits.]
He will speak “without laughter”, that is to say, without manifesting at every excuse that giddiness and self-satisfaction which was treated of in the preceding degree.
His language will be humble and quite the opposite of that peremptory and arrogant tone taken by the proud and vain.
It will be serious, as the language of a man for whom life is something serious, since it prepares for eternity.
He will avoid vain, babbling, pretentious phrases, and posing: but will express himself readily “in few words,” as someone who knows the value of silence. He will watch over his words, that they may always be the expression, not of passion, or of levity, but of reason. He will avoid the loudness which so little befits humility.
Are these simply the precepts of good manners and politeness? Should not good manners be also Christian and not merely a veneer? Should not the most refined sense of manners be manifest in the exterior life of every oblate of St. Benedict? Should not every oblate imitate Jesus Christ in His speech by the gentleness, seriousness, quietness of his own speech, seasoning it with the salt of wisdom? The perfect oblate yields in nothing to the perfect gentleman and the perfect lady of the world.
Some personality types such as the choleric have to discipline their impulses to respond quickly and heatedly, shouting down opposition. I’ve had to learn that lesson myself and I must say that the people I most want to listen to are those who seldom speak, but when they do it is always something worth hearing and very concise.
If we are to get along in relationships, which St. Benedict knew was important for living in community or else the monks would degenerate into fisticuffs, this degree of humility is one we must cultivate in our families, neighborhoods, at work, and in our parishes. I especially liked what he said about speaking reasonably. We don’t hear much of this in public discourse today nor in what passes for entertainment, and I think it is a really horrid example for young people to see.
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R. Now and forever!
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