That the foregoing sketch reveals a life of moderate austerity, but perfectly reasonable in every detail, no one will question. It might be fairly claimed that it is just as far removed from life in the world today as the mode of living which St. Benedict enjoined upon his own immediate disciples differed from Roman life in the sixth century. Not that relaxations, other than those already mentioned, do exist.
The great feast days of the Church are occasions for relief from much ordinary work, and also for longer periods of recreation. At the same time, these days are marked by very much longer services in the church, and it is, and always has been, a distinguishing mark of a great monastery that the ceremonies are carried out with all that grandeur and splendid ritual of which the Church so ardently approves.
The direct service of God is, in the mind of the Benedictine monk "an opportunity for giving to Him the very best." To aim at perfection in solemn ceremonial, in art, in music, and in architecture is deemed a duty owed to God, for whom alone exists all that is glorious and beautiful in creation.
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