Holy Rule for June 12
Prayers for happy death and eternal rest of the following, and for all who mourn them:
Candace's mother, Doris, who just died. Her father died about 6 months ago, so this is especially hard for this family.
Fr. Joe Daly, Fr. James Larkin, Fr. Jose Ruiz
Prayers, please, for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Marlene, cancer is now in the liver and Hospice has
been called in.She has not given up her HOPE & Faith are deep but the family needs
prayers also for the journey they are on.
Julia , a 16 year old being influenced by the world and some of her
Also for Friday, a "Day of Reflection " for the 3rd
Orders members in a Florida community.
Pam and her cat, Sophocles. Exploratory surgery could not find his problem, no cancer, but he needs badly to eat and must be force fed, very hard on both Pam and him.
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 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,
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 the length
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 dropped rather
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 calls one to do less,
answer that call. No one is called to be a choir athlete, at it all
If illness or disability limit what you can do, do what you can and bless God
for what you cannot! He knows what He is about. The Fathers taught that
illness or other physical challenges, even just aging, took the place
of stringent penances performed by the healthy and well. Whatever the
limits imposed by bodily problems, they themselves became penance
and asceticism for the monastic.
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. Trying 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
Love and prayers,
St. Mary's Monastery
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for Nina, admitted to hospice, and for her husband, Larry, who also has health concerns, and for their children and family and all who will mourn Nina.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Abbot Benno Malfer, OSB, of Muri-Gries Abbey, 70, and for his family, Community and all who mourn him.
Prayers for safe travels for Peter D., going to Europe. For a safe, happy and holy trip.
Prayers for the eternal rest of my parents, Jerome and Louise, on what would have been the 76th anniversary of their wedding.
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
May 1, August 31, December 31
Chapter 73: On the Fact That the Full Observance of Justice Is Not
Established in This Rule
Now we have written this Rule
in order that by its observance in monasteries
we may show that we have attained some degree of virtue
and the rudiments of the religious life.
But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life
there are the teaching of the holy Fathers,
the observance of which leads to the height of perfection.
For what page or what utterance
of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
is not a most unerring rule for human life?
Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers
does not loudly proclaim
how we may come by a straight course to our Creator?
Then the Conferences and the Institutes
and the Lives of the Fathers,
as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil --
what else are they but tools of virtue
for right-living and obedient monks?
But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent
they are a source of shame and confusion.
Whoever you are, therefore,
who are hastening to the heavenly homeland,
fulfill with the help of Christ
this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners;
and then at length under God's protection
you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue
which we have mentioned above.
I used to love to teach 8th graders. At the top of a kindergarten
through 8th grade school, they thought they had REALLY arrived, they
were very pleased with themselves! My 8th graders knew that I loved
them, so I could afford to tease them a bit. I used to narrow my
eyes into a fake menacing gaze and say: "Ah, now you're the top, but next
year? Next year you will be FRESHMEN! The lowest of the low! Just
wait till high school." And they would laugh, secure in the fact
that I MUST be joking....
Well, folks, the beauty of this last chapter is that is tells us we
are ALL eighth graders, if even that. We'd do well to take St.
Benedict seriously on this one, but I'll bet he smiled with the same
affection I used to show to my kids. Three times a year we read the
Holy Rule entirely and three times a year he lovingly shakes us
awake to the reality that we will for all of our lives, always be
freshmen next year!
That's the Benedictine surprise that's wrapped in conversion of
manners: we never "arrive", we're not so hot as we thought ourselves
to be, we are just barely ready for the next step.
This is VERY different from the self-loathing we spoke about
yesterday with the bitter zeal. This is the true self-knowledge, the
smiling, even shrugging acceptance of the fact that we are just on
the way, nothing special there!
God is so vast and beyond us, we are always taking the tumbling
first steps of toddlers towards Him, but He is always holding on and
beaming with the pride and love of a parent guiding those steps. Our
Holy Rule is filled with awesome things, yet it is only
the "rudiments" of the spiritual life!
Eighth graders, eighth graders all, but ah, what a high school
Love and prayers,