Holy Rule for Feb. 12
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following , for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Sandra, terribly difficult work situation and for Laurel, her boss.
Eva, ovarian cyst surgery today.
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 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 no 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 what
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! The key to our struggle is obedience and
humility, not control of others.
There is a tremendous (and very beneficial!) humility in truthfully admitting
that an Oblate's life often doesn't allow saying the whole Office. I have no
doubt at all that, in some cases, there is vastly more merit in that humbling
truth than there would be in psalmody without end. In fact, if our primary
vocation, like marriage or parenthood demands otherwise, I can easily see
where it could sometimes be quite wrong, indeed, to try to say the whole
Office. St. Benedict foresaw just such situations in chapters like this one,
where the inescapable changes in season moderated things.
In an Oblate's life, there are many things other than merely seasonal which
may often be every bit as compelling.
Love and prayers,
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