March 14, July 14, November 13
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
An hour before the meal
let the weekly servers each receive a drink and some bread
over and above the appointed allowance,
in order that at the meal time they may serve their brethren
without murmuring and without excessive fatigue.
On solemn days, however, let them wait until after Mass.
Immediately after the Morning Office on Sunday,
the incoming and outgoing servers
shall prostrate themselves before all the brethren in the oratory
and ask their prayers.
Let the server who is ending his week say this verse:
“Blessed are You, O Lord God,
who have helped me and consoled me.”
When this has been said three times
and the outgoing server has received his blessing,
then let the incoming server follow and say,
“Incline unto my aid, O God;
O Lord, make haste to help me.”
Let this also be repeated three times by all,
and having received his blessing
let him enter his service.
Seems to me Benedict regards kitchen duty as holy work. Maybe this is obvious, but it has taken me a long time to even begin to think of housework as holy because I dislike it so much. Probably because one is never finished with it and it goes on and on. In the Benedictine world, this work and the workers are consecrated before and after the time of service.
I also note that Benedict takes care of his servers… making sure they get a snack ahead of time to ward off hunger pangs and to keep them refreshed, preventing that murmuring and fatigue. B. knows full well that if we human beings can find an opportunity to complain, we will take advantage of it.