Holy Rule for Feb. 23
Prayers, please, for me and the success of the retreat I will be giving next week at Valyermo, California, and for all those making the retreat. May I not get in God's way!
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Father George, who has Parkinson's disease, now newly diagnosed with prostate cancer, surgery after Easter.
Maggie, surgery to remove a spot on her lung
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 23, June 24, October 24
Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said
Vespers are to be sung with four Psalms every day.
These shall begin with Psalm 109 and go on to Psalm 147,
omitting those which are set apart for other Hours;
that is to say that
with the exception of Psalms 117 to 127 and Psalms 133 and 142,
all the rest of these are to be said at Vespers.
And since there are three Psalms too few,
let the longer ones of the above number be divided,
namely Psalms 138, 143 and 144.
But let Psalm 116 because of its brevity be joined to Psalm 115.
The order of the Vesper Psalms being thus settled,
let the rest of the Hour --
lesson, responsory, hymn, verse and canticle --
be carried out as we prescribed above.
At Compline the same Psalms are to be repeated every day,
namely Psalms 4, 90 and 133.
Maybe it's just me, but I find Vespers and Compline very different
and refreshing. They are evening hours, not followed by work, except
for the light clean up after supper, which is not a main meal here
anyway. Vespers makes me think of finally getting home and shutting
the door after a long day and a tough commute. It is a flavor no
other hour has for me. It ends the workday, leaving the evening for
family. Not shabby! A rite of passage from the job to the home hearth!
A brief glance at the Psalms for Vespers will show that they are yet
another example of consecutive, running psalmody. One right after
another, except for a few which get bumped elsewhere or thoughtfully
divided because of their length. Apparently by numerical
happenstance, Psalm 140 winds up in the Vespers grouping, and it is
most appropriate: "Let my prayer ascend to You like incense and the
lifting up of my hands like an evening sacrifice." Historically,
Psalm 140 has appeared in the Vespers or services of light
(Lucenaria) of many, many rites.
For active monasteries, or for busy Oblates in the world, evening and
early morning are often the only times we get of relative cloister
and focus. The morning hours are largely available to anyone willing
or able to get up while the rest of the world (including the kids!)
sleeps, the evening hours perhaps less so. Those evenings are family
times par excellence and our first vocations must always be respected.
If, as a working parent or spouse, getting home means just getting
started with dinner, don't despair! There is (or can be, if you
provide for it,) a lot of undistracted solitude in cooking, even if
it is rather harried cooking. The solitude of a cook in the kitchen,
at work feeding loved ones, is a rich one, indeed. That exercise of
care for your loved ones is truly prayer, a graced act of love!
If you are into CD's or tapes, get one of somebody else singing Vespers and
play it. Heaven knows, if you can put up with the kids' music, they
can put up with yours for half an hour a day. Even if you do not
listen to every word, the soothing chant will settle into your bones,
become a backdrop of peace on which you can position the rest of your
evening. Give it a shot for two weeks and I'll bet you find your
evening meals and later times very different, because YOU are
Love and prayers,
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