Fridays with Benedict: Chapter 22, The Sleepy Like to Make Excuses

Chapter 22 of The Rule of St. Benedict is about "The Sleeping Arrangements of the Monks." Here Benedict instructs that the monks are to "sleep in separate beds" but "all are to sleep in one place," if at all possible. The monks are also to have a night light, which I think is nice: "a lamp must be kept burning in the room until morning."

Given that the monks rise at night for prayers, they are to sleep with their clothes on: "They sleep clothed, and girded with belts or cords." But there is one important caveat to this instruction: "they should remove their knives, lest they accidentally cut themselves in their sleep."

Excellent point. And you shouldn't bathe with a toaster oven. 

When the signal is given to wake up the monks should get up "without delay" and "hasten to arrive at the Work of God before the others, yet with all dignity and decorum."

Because, really people, it's not a race.

All that sounds delicious to morning people. But what to do with those struggling to get out of bed? Benedict instructs:
8On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.
Tell me about it. The sleepy also like to make excuses in my eight o'clock classes.

Incidentally, I like how Benedict instructs us to quietly encourage the sleepy to rise. As Proverbs instructs us:
Proverbs 27:14
If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.
Morning people, take heed.

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10 thoughts on “Fridays with Benedict: Chapter 22, The Sleepy Like to Make Excuses”

  1. My (morning person) husband has learned to quietly encourage me (not morning person) to rise. It usually involves a cup of coffee. It's definitely a blessing.

  2. I consistently forget to remove my knife before sleep. Thanks for the reminder!
    I recently discovered your blog and absolutely love it. 
    Thank you for the thoughtful, provocative and entertaining posts. 
    Cheers. 

  3. This affirms my belief: I was meant to be a Monkette in These Days because when Benny was coming up with his Rules there WAS NO COFFEE IN ITALY!! How would The Rules read if he had devised and written them with a double espresso nearby? Brave and dedicated souls they were...

  4. Well, I actually write them during the day but I time-stamp them to appear at 5:00 every morning, for the sake of consistency.

  5. This is not about your post, but in regard to your quote by Merton...I love it, I love him.   I became turned on to Merton by an Episcopal priest twenty five years a go, just a few years after leaving Harding.  I now have nearly all his books, and not a year goes by without ready a couple of them.  Most of the time I simply take one down and feast on a chapter or two, depending on how I am feeling, and what I am hungry for. 

    By the way, I am a morning person.  I have my rituals.  My first sentence in my first prayer to God is "I thank you for your presence, I thank you for your children.  Help me see you and them and them in you".   That is not a boast.  Needing to God and human beings in the same thought saves my life, one day, one hour, one moment at a time.   

  6. I have coffee ready for my wife, also.  But as far as waking her, all I have to do is whisper her name...then our five yorkies do the rest.

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