Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

4236Holy Rule for June 25

Expand Messages
  • Br. Jerome Leo
    Jun 24, 2013
    • 0 Attachment

      Prayers for the eternal rest of Pat, and for all her family and all who mourn her.

      Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All
      is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

      February 24, June 25, October 25
      Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said

      The order of psalmody for the day Hours being thus arranged,
      let all the remaining Psalms be equally distributed
      among the seven Night Offices
      by dividing the longer Psalms among them
      and assigning twelve Psalms to each night.

      We strongly recommend, however,
      that if this distribution of the Psalms is displeasing to anyone,
      she should arrange them otherwise,
      in whatever way she considers better,
      but taking care in any case
      that the Psalter with its full number of 150 Psalms
      be chanted every week
      and begun again every Sunday at the Night Office.
      For those monastics show themselves too lazy
      in the service to which they are vowed,
      who chant less than the Psalter with the customary canticles
      in the course of a week,
      whereas we read that our holy Fathers
      strenuously fulfilled that task in a single day.
      May we, lukewarm that we are, perform it at least in a whole week!


      In his book, "The Benedictine Way", Father Wulstan Mork, OSB referred
      to this chapter. I was a bit surprised, because the chapter is often
      eclectically cited, stressing the ability to rearrange psalmody, but
      not the requirement to do all 150 in one week. Father Wulstan wrote
      that, whatever else we had done in reform of the Work of God, we had
      often failed this one-week principle entirely and he found it strange
      that something so insistent could be ignored. Given the centrality of
      the Work of God in Benedictine life and the language employed, this
      would seem to be a matter of greater import than just removing knives
      before sleep.

      I hasten to add a word of caution to Oblates here: the Holy Rule is
      referring to choral Office in monasteries. To undertake for oneself
      such an Office could well be unwise. The
      conditions of one's state in life come first. Oblates who are parents
      or married have kept Vigils and Nocturns with sick children or
      spouses of which professed monastics would never dream.

      Don't get hung up on this one. Treasure the Office all you can, but tend first
      to the responsibilities of your state in life. Remember that your Community
      is saying the whole Office, even when you cannot, and that you are
      always a part of that Community and its prayer!

      OK, having said that, let's talk a little about monasteries and the
      Office. In the Holy Rule, many things do support the idea of a task, a service,
      even, to some extent, a burden of the Office that monasteries assume.

      Put another way, balance, as always, is put forward here. The Office
      should be neither too hard nor too easy. It ought to chafe a bit, but
      not overwhelm, just like the Rule's injunction that both the weak and
      the strong may have something to strive for and be not discouraged.
      If we make the Office TOO easy, it becomes merely a dash of
      devotional side-dressing to a busy, but otherwise only faintly pious

      The busyness of modern life is nothing compared to the amount of
      labor required to maintain life in the first centuries of the Order's
      existence. Neither were there lay brothers to do all that work in
      those days, since they were a much later development. No electricity,
      no indoor plumbing, no running water, no phones, no cars. In the
      midst of a life that we would find crushingly different, St. Benedict
      insisted on the weekly 150. Hmmmm......

      We live in a world where countless labor-saving devices and perks
      give us far more time than anyone in history has ever had. Are we
      always good stewards of that largesse? Heaven knows, I don't want to
      give up those modern advantages, look at how hooked on computers I
      am. But what do we do with all that time?

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Show all 102 messages in this topic