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Holy Rule for June 14

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for baby Lily, her dialysis line was finally put in place, Deo gratias! Prayers for Bishop Basil, diagnosed with COPD, and so he spends a
    Message 1 of 5 , Jun 13, 2007
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      Prayers, please, for baby Lily, her dialysis line was finally put in place, Deo gratias! Prayers for Bishop Basil, diagnosed with COPD, and so he spends a lot of the day
      coughing. Also for Fr. Brendan Benedict, his pain med's are increased and he seems to be doing better.

      Prayers for the nuns of Stanbrook Abbey who are electing a new abbess on July 25th. Prayers for all teachers and students finishing their school year, Deo gratias and a restorative summer for them all. Prayers for ruce's mother, for resolution of an unjust situation at her workplace, also for Ted, head injury after pacemaker failure and unable to speak, hoping to recover before his daughter's wedding in two months.Prayers for Bob, heart condition, on leave from work, hopefully safe and sound, but whereabouts unknown. Prayers for John, Esther and Mary Frances and their family, some very tense times. Prayers for Robert, eye evaluation appointment, Hopefully the second opinion will help him find treatment. Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Mary, 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 13, June 14, October 14
      Chapter 11: How the Night Office Is to Be Said on Sundays

      On Sunday
      the hour of rising for the Night Office should be earlier.
      In that Office let the measure already prescribed be kept,
      namely the singing of six Psalms and a verse.
      Then let all be seated on the benches in their proper order
      while the lessons and their responsories are read from the book,
      as we said above.
      These shall be four in number,
      with the chanter saying the "Glory be to the Father"
      in the fourth responsory only,
      and all rising reverently as soon as he begins it.

      After these lessons
      let six more Psalms with antiphons follow in order, as before,
      and a verse;
      and then let four more lessons be read with their responsories
      in the same way as the former.

      After these let there be three canticles
      from the book of the Prophets,
      as the Abbot shall appoint,
      and let these canticles be chanted with "Alleluia."
      Then when the verse has been said
      and the Abbot has given the blessing,
      let four more lessons be read,
      from the New Testament,
      in the manner prescribed above.

      After the fourth responsory
      let the Abbot begin the hymn "We praise You, O God."
      When this is finished
      the Abbot shall read the lesson from the book of the Gospels,
      while all stand in reverence and awe.
      At the end let all answer "Amen,"
      and let the Abbot proceed at once
      to the hymn "To You be praise."
      After the blessing has been given,
      let them begin the Morning Office.

      This order for the Night Office on Sunday
      shall be observed the year around,
      both summer and winter;
      unless it should happen (which God forbid)
      that the brethren be late in rising,
      in which case the lessons or the responsories
      will have to be shortened somewhat.
      Let every precaution be taken, however,
      against such an occurrence;
      but if it does happen,
      then the one through whose neglect it has come about
      should make due satisfaction to God in the oratory.


      The idea of Vigils has very ancient Christian roots: watching all
      night in prayer, particularly before Sunday, in anticipation of the
      Second Coming (that they be found waiting, with lamps trimmed,) and
      from the tradition that Jesus rose from the dead at dawn. The
      connections of light/darkness and Son/sun are rich. Anyone who has
      ever done an all-night Vigil can tell you it is a memorable
      experience. They are frequently done, even in our own day, on Mount
      Athos, lasting literally all night and including the chanting of the
      ENTIRE Psalter.

      With all this, it's no surprise that St. Benedict adds some extra
      high church length to Vigils of Sunday. He still, however, makes a
      lot of allowances for the monastics, even those who (God forbid!)
      oversleep!! His Vigils are long, but they are quite pointedly NOT all
      night! Doing an all night vigil for Sunday and every big feast would
      do in a community of farmers in short order.

      Many people who cut their teeth on pre-1964 Merton works, like "The
      Silent Life" or "The Waters of Siloe", might think that the
      Benedictines were a rather mitigated lot and the Cistercians were the
      only ones who REALLY got the Holy Rule right. Well, yes and no... We
      ARE a mitigated lot, we started out that way and have continued on
      that middle road. St. Benedict designed his Rule as an adaptation and
      yes, mitigation, of Egyptian monastic life, suitable for European
      types. And no, the Cistercians are not at all necessarily the ones
      who "got it right," as their own adaptations after 1964 clearly

      Our long history is one of decline and repeated reform. The reforms,
      understandably enough have always been aimed at sweeping away
      mitigations and laxity. Predictably, they have often swept away a
      good deal of moderation in the bargain, as well! Also, predictably,
      the reforms themselves decay and have to be reformed: why do you
      think there are Common Observance Cistercians and Trappists- two
      separate Orders?

      Merton, like any of us, changed and grew. In his later years,
      questions of observance and mitigation were at least less prominent
      and sometimes totally absent. Right now it is probable that BOTH
      Benedictines and Cistercians are living in their most relaxed and
      mitigated conditions ever. That's not all bad. History might tell us
      some of it will need tinkering, tightening up, but God will send the
      men and women to do that in His time.

      Rather than adopt an attitude of ALL-NIGHT, ALL the time,
      get-every-boot-camp-in-toughest--shape and so forth, why not bask a
      bit in the fact that we were born mitigated monastics and are meant to be so?
      Nothing wrong with that, so long as we don't carry it too far. In the 19th
      century, Russian Orthodox Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov said that the monks
      of the latter days would NOT be doing many of the great works of old, but
      that the peculiar conditions of the world in which they had to live would
      balance things out. The modern and post-modern monastic faces many new obstacles of which the Fathers and Mothers of old could have at best only dimly imagined.

      When I first read Merton, he had some growing ahead of him and I was
      14...didn't make for a very complete grasp on my part! Now, instead
      of scorning relaxed observance in horror, I welcome it. Both Merton
      and I learned something on different schedules: God gives certain
      monasteries their particular observances because they are the only
      place in the world some people could ever become monks. And this is
      as true of relaxed observance as it is of strict!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      St. Mary's Monastery
      Petersham, MA

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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for Sister Lany Jo and all the Apostles of the Sacred Heart, on their patronal feast. A blessed Solemnity of the Sacred Heart to all! Prayers,
      Message 2 of 5 , Jun 14, 2007
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        Prayers for Sister Lany Jo and all the Apostles of the Sacred Heart, on their patronal feast. A blessed Solemnity of the Sacred Heart to all!

        Prayers, please, for the eternal rest and happy death of Angela, 85, who has gone to God, also for her son, Pat, dying from liver cancer, for Paul and all her family, all who mourn her. Prayers for Dennis, severe alcoholism and resiting treatment, also COPD and still smoking, and for his elderly Mother, a shut-in who relies on him and for a friend, C., who must discern whether to let him hit bottom or not.

        Prayers for Cheryl, her son, 16, and all her family. Neighbors are harassing them over the son's efforts to make money at home with a small business. Bullied at school, low self-esteem, this cottage industry is something that has given him a sense of worth. Prayers for Christina and for her doctors, that they may find what is causing her problem, also for Paul & Shirley, her worried parents and all their family. Bill, whom we prayed for after his mesothelioma diagnosis, had surgery for a bowel obstruction yesterday. Continued prayers for him and for his worried wife, Peggy, as the future holds a decision whether or not to have surgery for the mesothelioma, which would only be a palliative measure. Prayers for the grace of final perseverance for Robert and all his family.

        Prayers for the 23 military personnel burned in Iraq and now in a hospital where their families can visit them, especially for Jerral, still in ICU. Prayers for Linda and Jim, expecting their first grandchild, and for Bill and Karen, brand new grandparents. Bill just has a cancer scare, but his prognosis has gone from 0 to 10 years, and all went well! Deo gratias and prayers for his continued healing. Prayers for Blase, financial difficulties and badly needing help.

        Prayers for Bob, our liver transplant from last year, another crisis and he has to go back ton the hospital, prayers, too, for his wife, as their adult sons are withdrawing and leaving her to handle matters alone. The family is agnostic, so extra prayers that they somehow come to faith. Prayers for Tania, suspicious CT scan, possible cancer on her kidney and she is already on long-term dialysis. Prayers, too, for her husband, Jose, and all their family. Prayers for me, please, on the 15th anniversary of my vows, that I may be faithful and serve the Lord as He wills.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 14, June 15, October 15
        Chapter 12: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said

        The Morning Office on Sunday shall begin with Psalm 66
        recited straight through without an antiphon.
        After that let Psalm 50 be said with "Alleluia,"
        then Psalms 117 and 62,
        the Canticle of Blessing (Benedicite) and the Psalms of praise (Ps.
        then a lesson from the Apocalypse to be recited by heart,
        the responsory, the verse,
        the canticle from the Gospel book,
        the litany and so the end.


        Ever notice how a loving parent makes allowances to the kids WON'T
        slip up or be discouraged? Good teachers do the same thing. Some
        things are made so deliberately easy that all of the students can
        generally make it through the hoop!

        St. Benedict does this with both morning Offices, beginning Vigils
        and Lauds with 2 psalms that are said every day. He even stresses
        that, at Lauds, the 66th Psalm is to be said slowly, so that the
        monastics may have time to gather.

        Those two Offices are the time people are most likely to be running
        late, either because they had to bound out of bed at the last minute,
        or because the "necessities of nature" break between Vigils and Lauds
        delayed them unexpectedly. It is worth noting that only with these
        two Offices, when tardiness can so easily occur, does the Holy Rule
        make such allowance. For a further bit of trivia, these four Psalms
        are repeated every day: one could miss them several times in a week
        and still have said all 150 Psalms in that week.

        Sometimes people (including, alas, ourselves!) can make unrealistic
        conditions and demand that others meet them. The concept of failure
        is built into those demands. We fence people about with our own
        standards that they could not possibly meet, then condemn them for
        failing to meet them! What a sad and tragic game.

        Take a self-inventory and check to see if there is anyone you dislike so
        intensely that they cannot be right, no matter what they do. If there are any
        such folks, it's time for you to change, not them! I recall, alas, one pastor
        annoyed me so much that even when he used incense (something I ordinarily
        love,) I carped to myself that he didn't do it right. With me, he just could NOT
        win. Sigh... When things get that bad, it's ourselves who need the overhaul,
        not the presumed "offender."

        St. Benedict, by his example, teaches us to be the exact opposite. He
        shows us that we should be gentle and loving, that we should not be
        about setting burdens on others that are guaranteed to make them fail
        or quit or be discouraged. If we have received such kindness, we
        should pass it on!

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA

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