Holy Rule for June 14
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
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
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
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,
St. Mary's Monastery
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]