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4352Holy Rule for Oct. 18

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    Oct 17, 2013
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      Prayers, please, for Linda Ann, broke a dsital bone in her ankle and in a cast for 8 weeks.
      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 17, June 18, October 18
      Chapter 14: How the Night Office Is to Be Said on the Feasts of the

      On the feasts of Saints and on all festivals let the Office be
      performed as we have prescribed for Sundays, except that the
      Psalms, the antiphons and the lessons belonging to that particular
      day are to be said. Their number, however, shall remain as we have
      specified above.


      Every love life needs a bit of variety now and then, even the
      monogamous ones, even the celibate ones, and, let us face it, our
      prayer is (or ought to be!) a love life. Without marking certain
      days as special, our Office would quickly become a bland and tedious

      On the other hand, mark too much as special and people soon get
      worn out. Variety itself becomes boring and a chore. One would quickly tire
      of that and it would destroy the very freshness and unity it was aiming
      to protect.

      Having lived in a monastery for part of the 1960's and 70's where
      the liturgy became the sad equivalent of a revolving door, changing
      often and not often well, I can speak from experience. It became
      dreadful to wonder what would happen next. It pulled out the
      necessary underpinnings of a certain stability and changelessness
      that a Benedictine life of prayer requires.

      Ah, but in the quest for simplicity carried to unfortunate
      extremes, it did, at times, become UTTERLY changeless. Same old
      same old, every single day with nothing different but the prayer at
      the end, if that. ("Oh boy, it must be Tuesday again....!") Only one antiphon,
      or no antiphon, just psalms and canticles. No music other than the hymn,
      same seven each week for each hour, a few good, many bad.... No
      Glory be between Psalms, just one at the end. It was dull and gave
      even more of an impression of "let's just get this over with" than
      the old Office did at its very worst. One often wondered why we
      still bothered to go to choir.

      A balance between variety and stability is where the virtue truly
      lies. I have never heard anyone complain about singing or saying
      the same unchanging parts of the Mass every day, because they are
      set in the midst of elements that DO change. The same
      must be true of the Office to a certain extent. When SO much changes
      at feasts that one longs and pines for a weekday with one book and
      NOTHING special, that balance has been missed. On the other hand,
      the changeless mundane misses the balance as well. One should never
      have to come out of a "simple" Office and think quietly: "Wow, that
      was dumb...." (But I sometimes have.)

      St. Benedict built the necessary change right into his Office for
      monasteries. Ignore his bottom line or extend it unduly and you get
      into trouble. In this instance, as in so many, he was far wiser
      than we are, than people of any age are.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

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