Continued prayers, please, for Byrony, the infant with a malignant
kidney tumor and for her parents and loving great aunt, who
recommended her to our prayers. Her blood pressure is unstable, but
physicians will have to operate anyway. Thanks! NRN JL
February 11, June 12, October 12
Chapter 9: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at the Night Office
In winter time as defined above,
there is first this verse to be said three times:
"O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall declare Your praise."
To it is added Psalm 3 and the "Glory be to the Father,"
and after that Psalm 94 to be chanted with an antiphon
or even chanted simply.
Let the Ambrosian hymn follow next,
and then six Psalms with antiphons.
When these are finished and the verse said,
let the Abbot give a blessing;
then, all being seated on the benches,
let three lessons be read from the book on the lectern
by the brethren in their turns,
and after each lesson let a responsory be chanted.
Two of the responsories are to be said
without a "Glory be to the Father"
but after the third lesson
let the chanter say the "Glory be to the Father,"
and as soon as he begins it let all rise from their seats
out of honor and reverence to the Holy Trinity.
The books to be read at the Night Office
shall be those of divine authorship,
of both the Old and the New Testament,
and also the explanations of them which have been made
by well known and orthodox Catholic Fathers.
After these three lessons with their responsories
let the remaining six Psalms follow,
to be chanted with "Alleluia."
After these shall follow the lesson from the Apostle,
to be recited by heart,
and the petition of the litany, that is "Lord, have mercy on us."
And so let the Night Office come to an end.
Keeping Vigils is one of the things monastics do and have done from
time immemorial. Monasteries are structured to make that possible.
Things that are never easy are at least possible in monasteries
because everything has been geared toward that end.
Oblates in the world may sometimes express regret that they cannot
keep the whole monastic Office, but let me assure you, there are
Vigils kept by Oblates of which monastics have no clue. Sure, it's
hard to get up in the dark and say 14 psalms, but monastics need
never face the harder, lonelier Vigils spent beside a desperately ill
spouse or child. They need not face the terror of long insomniac
nights of financial dread and worry, which compounds when one
realizes that oversleeping might cost one one's job. The vocations in
which Oblates find themselves often more than compensate for whatever
ascesis one might find in a cloister!
But, you see, that is how it ought to be: all the graces we need for
holiness, for sainthood, are built right into our situations. The
monk need not long for parenthood, nor the parent for the cloister.
Each vocation is different and appropriately varied, but every
vocation carries within it exactly the means of grace which God knew
from all eternity would be most perfect for us.
Never, ever think that a night spent sleepless for a sick child
doesn't count as many, many, MANY Vigils! Benedictines live and
thrive in all manner of environments today, and some of the best of
them are not in choir in the wee hours, but that matters absolutely
not at all!
Love and prayers,
St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA