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Br. Jerome: Reflection on the Holy Rule. Oct 14

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  • Michael LoPiccolo
    +PAX Please pray for a brother-in-law of Sister Mary Joseph. He was just diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, it s not a terribly aggressive type and the Drs.
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 13, 2007

      Please pray for a brother-in-law of Sister Mary Joseph. He was just
      diagnosed with cancer. Fortunately, it's not a terribly aggressive
      type and the Drs. are certain they can treat him for it, but it will
      mean radiation and chemotherapy. He just started a new job about a
      year ago, so this is difficult for him at this time. We pray for a
      quick healing.

      Please pray for Bernice suffering from cancer of the throat. Marie
      is in her 80s and having lung and heart problems. Jan suffering from
      depression and alcohol addiction. Carmen moved to a long care health
      facility and having problems adjusting. Mark suffering from

      +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 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. Remember what I said a few days ago about if
      liturgy is long, it's good?

      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

      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 indicate.

      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,
      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-possible-shape and so
      forth, why not bask a bit in the fact that we were born mitigated
      monastics and are meant to be so?

      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!

      St. Ignatius Brianchaninov of Russia said that the monks of the
      latter times would NOT do the great feats of monastic asceticism
      and prayer that the ancients did, but that they would have a whole
      panoply of new problems all their own to wrestle with differently.
      He said that in the mid to late 19th century, but it looks like he
      was right on the mark!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
      Petersham, MA
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