Holy Rule for June 13
Prayers for all our Anthonys on the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, and for all his special friends. May he help find many of our lost ones. Deo gratias and thanks, Evalyn, for whom we prayed, is back at home again.
Prayers, please, for the new parents of preemie sextuplets. They refused to abort some of them as advised, trusting in God in spite of the risks. Prayers for those tiny children and for their brave parents, and for all who care for them. Prayers, too, for all who care for any of our prayer folks in any capacity. May God guide and reward them abundantly! Prayers for Colin, 21, Crohn's disease and now serious kidney problems, also for his grandmother, with whom he lives.
Prayers for Thomas, 23 and struggling with depression. He is reluctant to get help but is attempting to self medicate with alcohol. Prayers, too, for his worried parents, Charlene and Dennis. Prayers for Nick and his wife, Jocelyn. He was due home from Iraq this week and his duty there has been extended till September. This is so crushingly hard on families, fraught with worry. Prayers for all military families going through the same stresses. May God protect them all! Prayers for C., a very complex and serious marital situation, harming everyone, parents and kids. 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
Chapter 10: How the Night Office Is to Be Said in Summer Time
From Easter until the Calends of November
let the same number of Psalms be kept as prescribed above;
but no lessons are to be read from the book,
on account of the shortness of the nights.
Instead of those three lessons
let one lesson from the Old Testament be said by heart
and followed by a short responsory.
But all the rest should be done as has been said;
that is to say that never fewer than twelve Psalms
should be said at the Night Office,
not counting Psalm 3 and Psalm 94.
The gentleness of St. Benedict, his considerate thoughtfulness is
again apparent here. Another principle comes to mind, as well. The
Office is important, but it revolves WITH us to a certain extent. It
is the axis our day turns on, but that axis may be shortened by the
season. There are circumstances under which even the Work of God
itself changes for us. Was humanity made for the Sabbath, or the
Sabbath for humanity?
The message here is very clear. To all prima donnas and divas, of
either sex, who think the Office revolves around their own choral
fantasies, get a life! The Office revolves around the Son and the
sun, and your identity with either remains seriously in doubt. To all
amateur musicians (or even pros with bad manners,) who terrorize
their brothers or sisters in the name of perfectionism, lighten up!
To any of said groups who claim that Benedictinism justifies their
antics, you're dead wrong. It doesn't.
Two quotes I love come to mind. One was from the late Abbot Alfred of
Pluscarden, who said: "The monastery is no place for an amateur
musician." The other is from G. K. Chesterton: "The artistic
temperament is a disease which afflicts amateurs."
The rhythm here is pure agriculture, not liturgy: when the sun rises
sooner, so do the farm chores, which have no human seasonal clocks to
tell them otherwise! Critters have to be cared for, milked and
pastured according to their clocks, not ours. The upshot of this is
that, for nearly 1,500 years, until the late 1960's, Benedictines
followed the Holy Rule's advice and said Matins differently in the
summer and winter, even in the cities. (It is worthy of note that, at
least in the U.S., agricultural enterprises were being abandoned at
about the same time as no longer economically feasible in many
Put another spin on this and you will find, especially if you are an
Oblate, that St. Benedict intends at least some aspects of his
monastic program to adapt themselves to the environment in which the
monastic lives. Do not wear yourself out trying to make the very
square peg of a relentless monastic life fit into the intractably
round hole of a life in the world.
Don't try to make your kids (or spouse!) understand that you are
going to be monastic, no matter whether they are or aren't. For one
thing, if you in any way diminish your primary vocation, like
marriage or parenthood, you are not going to be monastic at all!
For another thing, such tactics might drive them even farther from
the faith you hope to share and instill in them.
The key to our struggle is obedience and humility, not control of others.
Our oblation must be done in addition to our sacramental and primary
vocations, never instead of them.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]