Wednesday, April 8, 2009

(1) Winter

Chapter Four: WINTER

Life continued to be busy at the abbey. Being near the
confluence of two rivers, the whole Tewkesbury area
was prone to flooding. There were a couple of times
that flood waters actually encroached the abbey, but
somehow miraculously stopped short of doing any
damage. Nonetheless we monks sweated it out.

Slowly I continued the education process at the abbey.
However--no matter how I might have wished, there
was no way that I could convert Tewkesbury into a
Canterbury. I came around that no matter how I might
try, Tewkesbury Abbey would definitely remain a country

Part of me remained somewhat forlorn, because by
nature I was a scholar--and I definitely missed that
aspect of being a Benedictine. But scholarship was for
the few, for the more urbane I guess. I would have to
accept the hand that had been dealt to me!

I did fill in hastening my effort towards putting together
a biographical book about Thomas a Becket. I still was
inclined towards keeping this work personal and private.
But the project was coming to an end, so I knew that I
would have to begin making some arrangements if the
book was ever to see the light of day.

Consequently I started making arrangements to send
my book to Gervaise, one of my promising scholar-monks
at Christ Church Priory. We were close friends, and I
knew that I could trust him. I arranged for one of our
monks here in Tewkesbury to study for a year at the
priory at Canterbury, and I gave him my packaged book
to give Gervaise. There were instructions to keep the
book a closely held secret, and it was not to be released
to anyone until several years after my death. Also, I knew
that Gervaise would be smart and do all this quietly, so
as to protect himself in case there were ramifications.

Other than the book, much of my time was now spent in
a near rhythmic ritual. Of course the Benedictine lifestyle
lent to this, in that we followed the hours of prayer throughout
the day until evening. Nearly all our monastic activities
were mainly prescribed by Tradition. But as the abbot, I
did have those other duties that encroached upon attending
to business rather than the spiritual life.

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