Holy Rule for Oct. 26
Prayers, please, for Maura, cancer of the salivary glands, said to be the
fast-moving kind. She had surgery is undergoing chemo again tomorrow.
Continued prayers for Ted (I didn't have his name yesterday, just an e mail
address,) and his cataract surgeries. Prayers for Amy on her 29th birthday:
ad multos annos, many years and good health! 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 25, June 26, October 26
Chapter 19: On the Manner of Saying the Divine Office
We believe that the divine presence is everywhere
and that "the eyes of the Lord
are looking on the good and the evil in every place" (Prov. 15:3).
But we should believe this especially without any doubt
when we are assisting at the Work of God.
To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet's words,
"Serve the Lord in fear" (Ps. 2:11)
and again "Sing praises wisely" (Ps. 46:8)
and "In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to You" (Ps.
Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves
in sight of the Godhead and of His Angels,
and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way
that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.
If there were any phrase I could carve on the walls of every choir in
the Order, it would be: "In the sight of the Angels I will sing
praise to You." It stresses not only the lofty character (and cast!)
of our sacrifices of praise, but also the demeanor we should have in
This applies to parishes as well as to monasteries. In either milieu
there can arise a certain foolish and unfortunate terrorism
in "ministers" of rubric or music. The foregoing italics were not
unintentional: when one terrorizes the flock over trivia, ministry
has stopped. We are in the presence of the Angels, yet we sometimes
easily forget that our brothers and sisters are each worth infinitely
more than aesthetics, than music, than rubric. We must love people
more than those!
Dump on your sister or brother in the name of such things and you
have missed the Bridegroom and married the Wedding March. Don't be
too surprised if you find the Wedding March to be a less than
thrilling spouse, a source of frustration rather than peace and joy!
Whenever we use the constructs of rubric or music to hurt or demean one
those Angels whose presence we ignore at our peril weep, and I think God
does as well.
The Presence of God that we miss so often should change our
demeanour. Father Bede and I know we can say just about anything to
each other. However, when Father Giles of Pluscarden took us to
lunch with his friend, Countess Cawdor, you can bet that Father Bede
and I were VERY well-behaved, subdued and deferential to the max!!!
We behaved differently because of the woman the Countess is, and
because we were in her home, a 13th century castle, not a sports bar
with soccer on big screens and face-painted patrons awash in Guinness.
Students act differently (usually worse, alas...) for a substitute
teacher. Employees are different when the boss is off for the day.
These assortments of different behavior are pretty much shot through
the human condition, though not necessarily always a good idea.
The message here is no masks. Know Him in Whose presence and House
you are. But really KNOW Him. That can take a lifetime of trying on
and shedding as false different modes of conduct.
God, like so many things, is very Benedictine in His perfection,
which stands between the extremes in which we are prone to think
of Him. If you think God is pretty much like the strictest teacher you
ever had, who ran a real death camp of a classroom, guess again.
You're dead wrong. On the other hand, neither is God some raunchy
night club comedian, though I feel hopeful He has chuckled at some
of my earthier moments more than once!
God is Parent and Creator and we are always creatures, but we are not
always children. We have to grow to the adult relationship with God
that fortunate children eventually share with their parents. (If we
never got to do this, and many haven't, establishing such honesty
with God is going to be a bit of a chore... Keep trying!)
As we grow in our knowledge of God, our behavior around Him (and we are
ALWAYS "around Him", that's another clear message of the Holy Rule!)
changes. It becomes more real and more natural. It changes with a
very clear eye to Whom God is and who we are. It changes from
knowledge born of love and security.
We often panic and are less comfortable than God or the people we
think we are pleasing would ever wish. During my visit to Cawdor
Castle, I was so busy being more polite than I'd ever been for that
long in my life that I ALMOST forgot how badly I wanted a cigarette.
I was the only smoker in our group.
The Countess, who had never met me before, must have asked or noted
somehow. At dessert, with no fanfare, an ashtray appeared at my place
at table, no fuss, no ceremony, no problem. I was so stunned I had to
ask to make sure it really WAS an ashtray. The message was: "Be who
you are, you're my guest!" I wonder if the Countess knew how very
much like God she was at that moment: real grace and class. Yeah, and
Love and prayers,
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