Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. Oct 12
Please, I implore you, do not respond to this message to wish me bon
voyage, just say a prayer for me, instead, that every detail of my
trip be ordered according to the perfect will of God. If a bunch of
folks send me good wishes, my mailbox will fill up before I'm even
on the plane, and I will have severely limited ability to answer or
even check mail from Europe. I will be gone till Nov. 3.
I also ask your prayers for Arthur Platt, the man who left a trust
fund to grant wishes to folks with HIV. The foundation he created
has given me this trip of a lifetime, one which would never have
been possible for me without their generosity. So, please pray for
Arthur's happy death and eternal rest (he died of AIDS at 47,) and
for the foundation board which granted me the wish.
I am going to Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland first, then Somerset,
England for a few days with our Abbot's brother, then to Rome and
the foundation has also given me a rail pass for 8 days in Italy. I
am going to Turin, Padua and Subiaco, among other places, and
probably a day trip to Asissi. I PROMISE you that I shall carry you
all in my heart to all the holy places. You will be with me more
than you will ever know till heaven!
Prayers, too, for our wonderful Michael LoPiccolo, who will keep
things running for me. Please send prayer requests to him:
michael_oblate@... I so appreciate his kind and loving and
patient help!! He can also help you with Holy Rule list matters.
Love and prayer for you at all the holy places,
+Please pray that Divine Mercy will shine upon all those who have
taken their own lives.+
Please pray for all those whose prayer requests were not able to be
posted for whatever reason. God is outside of time and our prayers
are never, ever late. 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
Until the return of our good Brother Jerome please bless me with
your prayer requests at:
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, the verse and the
petition of the litany, that is "Lord, have mercy on us."
And so let the Night Office come to an end.
There is an unfortunate and perennial heresy among would-be
liturgists, even some Benedictines, which holds that if it's long,
its good. Not so, and quite evidently not so to St. Benedict,
either. The order he prescribes for Vigils is almost exactly half
of the Roman cathedral Office of his time.
St. Benedict was very serious about monasticism, but he also wanted
to shorten the Office, which was obviously of central importance to
him. Why? I think he aimed, once again, at balance, at moderation
and at gentleness. His monastics were farmers, not wealthy
cathedral prelates with servants and benefices. They would have
quickly from fatigue had he imposed the Roman Office of the time on
There is a great message of moderation here for Oblates. St.
Benedict knew perfectly well that if his monastics were too long at
Matins and Lauds, the cows would be bellowing in pain from
distended udders, waiting for the high church milkers to finally
arrive. See the
operative principle here? The Office is PART of one's life, a
terribly important part, but ALL of one's work and life is prayer.
Figuratively speaking, if your life and primary vocation has left
you with cows to milk, for heavens sake (literally!) go milk 'em!
Our Office, for every monastic, from Abbot Primate down to newest
Oblate novice, must be a harmonious part of our life. We are not
called to the excesses of Cluny, whose monks were in choir most of
the time, adding ever more and more gee-gaws and trinkets to the
Office. If one's children or spouse or work call one to do less,
answer that call. No one is called to be a choir athlete, at it all
the time. Do what you can and bless God for what you cannot! He
knows what He is about.
St. Vincent de Paul said that being called away from one's prayers
to serve the needs of the poor was like "leaving God for God."
Surely the demands of our families and primary vocations admit of
this application, too. Our spouses, family members and others in
our vocational milieu are part of our Work of God, sometimes even
the most important part and must not be neglected.
In long dealings with Oblates I have frequently heard this issue
raised: saying the whole Office. That is fine, and some lives,
notably single ones, might make it possible. Other lives, lives
founded on sacraments like marriage, might well not. To try to
amend one's primary, sacramental vocation to be a monastic in the
world misses the point. That primary vocation is part and parcel of
HOW one becomes a monastic in the world. Tamper with it and you mess
up the entire picture.
Love and prayers,