In monasteries, why are there readings during meals?


#1

It looks fascinating that they do this but I do wonder why. I’m sure there’s a great reason for it. If it’s one that I might be able to use, maybe even I would listen to audiobooks of spiritual works while I eat meals alone.


#2

St Benedict specifically mentions to do this in his Rule. :slight_smile:


#3

In some monastries where there is silence. The readings will help the Monks to reflect on something when eating… Man shall not live on bread alone perhaps?


#4

I have no idea they do that in monasteries. But I can tell, from personal experience, when I went to a spiritual retreat for women, we had readings during lunch. They say it's so we won't be tempted to talk, nor think about anything else that will cut your continued communication with God. :shrug: I couldn't concentrate on talking to Him and thinking about Him because they were reading this religious biography...also the preocupation for taking the book from the girl and continue the reading, so the girl who was reading could eat her lunch...I, personally, don't like readings during meals. But it felt really good when you stand to take the book out of her hands so she can eat her lunch (while you're so hungry!), just a little "sacrifice" for the sake of the other. I don't know how it's done in monasteries. :hmmm:


#5

Re someone reading spiritual text during meals. To have the mind on the spiritual, rather than any sort of pleasure in eating or wandering off somewhere or other.


#6

[quote="TiggerS, post:5, topic:277741"]
Re someone reading spiritual text during meals. To have the mind on the spiritual, rather than any sort of pleasure in eating or wandering off somewhere or other.

[/quote]

Now that microphones and speaker systems exist, I wonder if they would start listening to readings while doing manual labour. Not a bad idea, I think.


#7

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:6, topic:277741"]
Now that microphones and speaker systems exist, I wonder if they would start listening to readings while doing manual labour. Not a bad idea, I think.

[/quote]

I believe that some monasteries anyway do play music at least for part of the time (not in the refectory however) - I dont know about music plus lyrics or spiritual readings. I have some monastic tapes here of addresses to novices, which I sometimes play as I go about housework. Even if not done in monasteries, no reason why it cannot be done outside of monastic life. And times of absolute silence is very important I think to both religious/monastic life as well as for lay people.


#8

The reason why there is reading during meals in Monastries & most Convents is so that the spiritual part of the religious is nourished while they partake of physical nourishment for the body.


#9

[quote="PazzoGrande, post:1, topic:277741"]
It looks fascinating that they do this but I do wonder why. I'm sure there's a great reason for it. If it's one that I might be able to use, maybe even I would listen to audiobooks of spiritual works while I eat meals alone.

[/quote]

Because they don't have a TV.


#10

They don’t have time anywhere else to sit down and listen to readings. They pray the liturgy of the hours during prayer time, they have Mass, and they work- which doesn’t typically allow for listening to a reading at the same time. It cuts down on idle talk, and encourages substantive reflection and discipline (particularly in southern European cultures- where many of the orders began- where meals tend to be very loud, social occasions).


#11

It keeps them from talking with their mouths full. :smiley:


#12

LOL - comment appreciated.


#13

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