Holy Rule for June 19
Prayers, please, for a single mom suffering sexual harrassment from a co-worker and afraid she'll lose her job if she reports it. For courage and strength and grace for her to do the right thing.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of Betty, undergoing surgery for a compresed nerve.
A blessed Feast of Saint Romuald to all our Camaldolese Benedictine brothers and
sisters. May he bless his spiritual descendants with his intercession for many vocations,
graces and great holiness for them all!
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
February 18, June 19, October 19
Chapter 15: At What Times "Alleluia" Is to Be Said
From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption
let "Alleluia" be said
both in the Psalms and in the responsories.
From Pentecost to the beginning of Lent
let it be said every night
with the last six Psalms of the Night Office only.
On every Sunday, however, outside of Lent,
the canticles, the Morning Office, Prime, Terce, Sext and None
shall be said with "Alleluia,"
but Vespers with antiphons.
The responsories are never to be said with "Alleluia"
except from Easter to Pentecost.
When I lived in the Byzantine rite for a very happy while, one of the
things that surprised me was the fact that they still used Alleluia
in Lent. That sounded strange to my Western ears, but not for long.
In the West, Alleluia has become virtually nothing but a synonym
for "Hooray!" In the East, not so. Our Western connection of Alleluia
as primarily a word of rejoicing reserved for happy times is not
quite on the mark, with all due apologies to St. Benedict and the
rest of Western tradition.
When was the last time you stopped to think that "Amen" really
meant "So be it"? I do now and then, but usually just parrot the word
out without a thought. So it is with most people saying
Alleluia. "Oh, yeah, uh...alleluia...." Alleluia means "Praise the
Lord." Focus on this and one can readily see why the East still says
it during Lent.
Of course, St. Benedict's prescriptions here are a perfect blend of
change and variety for the Office. They "dress up" the most festive
times of the years and provide a break from the ordinary. Probably
what St. Benedict had in mind at the time was that our hearts should
be so full at Paschaltide that no other words would do: only the
ineffable stammering out of "Alleluia!!" would convey our joy. He
wasn't wrong about that, but saying Alleluia mindlessly misses the
So, forgive me, does saying Alleluia only at joyous times. The
charismatic movement in the 1970's made popular the English
equivalent of Alleluia: "Praise the Lord!" It was an expression of
joy and gratitude for whatever God had done for one. Ah, but then
the "whatever" part of that phrase soon came to be evident! A very
clever catch phrase evolved for those times when things WEREN'T so
great, when one had difficulty appreciating what sometimes seems like
God's decidedly strange sense of humor. On such occasions, they
said: "Praise the Lord Anyhow!" Now that one is probably closer to
the real sense of "Alleluia!"
Our Office and Mass may change in Lent in the Western tradition, but
our hearts must always and everywhere, in every circumstance,
say "Alleluia!" and really mean it, really know it.
Love and prayers and Alleluia!
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Prayers, please, for the happy death and eternal rest of Br. Tobias, OSB, for his monastic community, his family and for all who mourn him.
Please pray that the US Congress and the new administration will respect all human life, from conception till natural death.
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
January 20, May 21, September 20
Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works
To fear the Day of Judgment.
To be in dread of hell.
To desire eternal life with all the passion of the spirit.
To keep death daily before one's eyes.
To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life.
To know for certain that God sees one everywhere.
When evil thoughts come into one's heart, to dash them against Christ
And to manifest them to one's spiritual mother.
To guard one's tongue against evil and depraved speech.
Not to love much talking.
Not to speak useless words or words that move to laughter.
Not to love much or boisterous laughter.
To listen willingly to holy reading.
To devote oneself frequently to prayer.
Daily in one's prayers, with tears and sighs, to confess one's past
sins to God, and to amend them for the future.
Not to fulfil the desires of the flesh; to hate one's own will.
To obey in all things the commands of the Abbess, even though she
herself (which God forbid) should act otherwise, mindful of the
Lord's precept, "Do what they say, but not what they do."
Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy; but first to be
holy, that one may be truly so called.
The first four on today's list are not very palatable to many modern
ears, but, like all of the Instruments of Good Works, they are
important, they are interrelated and each one helps one fulfill the
others. Arguably, one could say that the focus of the first four is
the fifth: "To keep constant guard over the actions of one's life."
We have largely "gotten over" dreading Judgment. We went from a
paralyzing, Jansenistic, scrupulous fear of it right into a smug
assurance that everyone passes the test with honors. Well, there's got to
be truth hidden between those two false extremes somewhere!
I know, beyond any doubt that I shall be both delighted and very,
very embarrassed and ashamed to meet God face to face, to find that
my faith has been confirmed. Ah, joy at the confirmation, but oh,
crushing shame at the simultaneous confirmation of how very far short
of Him I have fallen, through choice, through laziness, through
negligence, through sin.
One can dread that realization without thinking that God is some
intrinsically mean sort, just waiting for one to trip up, hunting for the
slightest loophole to nail us. Quite the opposite is the truth! God's awesome
Divine Mercy seeks every possible way to bring us to Himself and
His rewards of bliss. Every possible way!!
Let us admit that we have been all too good at tripping
on our own: God has no need to duplicate services there! Fearing
judgment is part and parcel of knowing who we are. We have all
sinned. And I know I have failed faith, hope and love, again and again
and again, usually with no more excuse than selfishness.
We keep goals in sight while training. Forget the Olympic gold and
you will quite likely forget why you are training so hard. For us,
between now and the "Olympics" of death, it is only the training that
matters. It is also good to recall that, as Benedictines, our goal is
NOT simply to "pass", but to stand on the podium.
That's not because we are any better, it is only because
we ourselves have added great holiness to our goal. Why else embrace
the Rule? Keeping "death daily before our eyes," we are ALWAYS at
the Olympics, thanks to our vow of conversion of manner of life, we
are daily in training, every minute, in fact.
All of these four lead to the fifth, keeping guard over one's
actions, or mindfulness. Here is a great connection between the
Benedictine way and the Buddhist way.
The Buddhists have a saying that monastics can preach a sermon just
by the way they walk. That's what the care of mindfulness can do!
Just wait till we get to the 12th degree of humility, which says that
the monastics' humility will shine through their outward appearance,
whether walking or sitting or working or praying.
Love and prayers,
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