Prioress Sister Judith Murphy, OSB reflects on the Feast of St. Scholastica-February 10, 2020:
In the daily prayer book Give Us This Day for February 10th, Robert Elsberg tells the story from the Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great, about Benedict and Scholastica. It is the story illustrated in the mural on the north wall of our St. Scholastica chapel.
St. Gregory tells that Benedict and Scholastica were accustomed to meeting each year at a place between their two monasteries for a conversation about spiritual things. On one such occasion, it was growing dark and Benedict cited monastic rules to bring their conversation to a close. Scholastica begged instead to continue talking. No, he said, it was time for the two of them to be heading back to their monasteries.
Scholastica began to pray and a storm erupted that prevented them from leaving the place where they had come to meet. You know the rest: Benedict asked, “What have you done?” His sister answered: “I asked you and you refused me. I asked my Lord and he listened to me.” And so, they passed the night and had their fill of spiritual talk. Elsberg says this story provides a monastic parable about the power and virtue of love versus a rigid devotion to rules.
This parable and today’s readings prompt some thought about our roles as women in the church, women of the church, and as women of faith:
This love prompts both Mary and Martha in today’s gospel selection to want to give attention and listen to the teachings of Jesus;
Is it this love that Benedict has in mind when he teaches that we are to listen with the ear of our heart? Is this the same heart on which our God writes the covenant of love with his people, saying: You shall be my people, and I will be your God?
Did this lesson about the power and virtue of love vs. rigid devotion to rules influence Benedict in his writing in Chapter 64 of the Rule where he says that the Abbot should always let mercy triumph over judgment? And, is that injunction also addressed to each of us?
Does our being people of the covenant mean that all of us are to learn to let mercy triumph over judgment?
These are some of the lessons we might ponder and learn in this monastic school of the Lord’s service, in our life together in community.
Let us ask Scholastica to intercede for each of us, and for this praying community, that our hearts may grow in fidelity and commitment to our God: Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. May we be people of the covenant with hearts filled with mercy.
I wish you all a happy Feast of St. Scholastica.
-Prioress Sister Judith Murphy, OSB
Close up of the mural of the final meeting of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica-St. Scholastica Chapel, Chicago, IL.
Mural of final meeting of Sts. Benedict and Scholastica-St. Scholastica Chapel, Chicago, IL.
Close up of the mural of the death of St. Scholastica-St. Scholastica Chapel, Chicago, IL.