Holy Rule for June 21
For the happy death and eternal rest of the folloiwng and fo all who mourn them:
Dan, who we prayed for recently has passed from this life to be
with our Lord. Prayers please for him and for his family
Marlene, who went home to Our Father
during the night. For her husband Joe and family
Prayers, please, for the spiitual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Rev. Mother Maureen McCabe, newly elected Abbess of Mt St. Mary's Abbey, Wrentham MA., receiving her Abbatial Blessing today.
Nancy, in last stages of Alzeimers that God will be with her and her family.
Terri, that she, her co-workers, and her boss be given more understanding of each other?
Brittany and her classmates, graduating from high school. Also for safe travel to World Youth Day for her.
Chris, who is having cancer surgery. She has a rare form of cancer - it was thought to be inoperable, but the tumors have shrunk and apparently can be removed.
Jahi, 7, was injured while playing football at summer camp - he was hit directly in the eye by a football, which resulted in a complete loss of vision in both of his eyes. After days of being hospitalized, his doctors concluded that his injury was so severe that it has triggered a form of MS. His vision has been coming and going - and when he can see, his vision is in black and white. He has also begun to lose the feeling in his legs. Jahi remains in the hospital and Patricia, his Mom, has been by her son's side 24 hours a day. Prayers for all the family.
Tom, shot in the stomach. He was a customer trying to intervene in an armed robbery attempt and take the gun away. The bullet lodged in his spinal cord. It cannot be removed because operating would cause even more damage. He is (probably permanently) paralyzed from the chest down. He can move his arms and head, but that's 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 much. JL
February 20, June 21, October 21
Chapter 17: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at These Hours
We have already arranged the order of the psalmody
for the Night and Morning Offices;
let us now provide for the remaining Hours.
At Prime let three Psalms be said,
separately and not under one "Glory be to the Father."
The hymn of that Hour
is to follow the verse "Incline unto my aid, O God,"
before the Psalms begin.
Upon completion of the three Psalms
let one lesson be recited,
then a verse,
the "Lord, have mercy on us" and the concluding prayers.
The Offices of Terce, Sext and None
are to be celebrated in the same order,
the "Incline unto my aid, O God," the hymn proper to each Hour,
three Psalms, lesson and verse,
"Lord, have mercy on us" and concluding prayers.
If the community is a large one,
let the Psalms be sung with antiphons;
but if small,
let them be sung straight through.
Let the Psalms of the Vesper Office be limited to four,
After these Psalms the lesson is to be recited,
then the responsory, the hymn, the verse,
the canticle from the Gospel book,
the litany, the Lord's Prayer and the concluding prayers.
Let Compline be limited to the saying of three Psalms,
which are to be said straight through without antiphon,
and after them the hymn of that Hour,
one lesson, a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on us,"
the blessing and the concluding prayers.
Just as Lauds and Vespers are fraternal twins, at dawn and sunset, so
are Prime and Compline, before work and before bed. Both are somewhat
different from the other minor hours, but, like Lauds and Vespers,
they share a similarity and complementarity of sorts. Prime was
suppressed in the Roman rite, but not in the monastic usage. Still,
in the reshuffling of things, Prime got lost in many, if not most
houses. I was delighted to find it still in use at some UK houses.
It's too bad many places lost Prime. Just as Compline features many
things that prepare one for sleep or for the death it prefigures, always a
possibility, so Prime prepares one for the day at hand, for its work
and for life. The traditional time given for the celebration of Prime
was "before work."
Some older Oblate manuals used to offer the full text of Prime for
every day, with the other hour being the changeless Compline. That
made a great deal of sense. Many Oblates who could only dream
spending morning hours before work or school celebrating Matins and
Lauds could easily fit Prime into their schedule and its whole
liturgical slant was to prepare them for and bless their work day
One reason Prime became such a prayer for one's workday is that, over
centuries, the minor hour got merged with a lot of stuff that
ordinarily happened in the Chapter room daily: reading the Rule and
assigning work. Hence, some of its additions may not have been of the
purest type, but let us face facts, we are an age that rarely insists on
purism, and chiefly only when it agrees with agendas we already are
bent on anyway.
Since these are easily added to any scheme of morning prayer you
might be using,let me give you the two prayers offered at the end of
Prime. Either or both are a great way to begin the day and quickly
memorized. Just remember, as you say them, to join your heart to the
thousands and thousands of monastics who said them every day before
you. They are a very neat connection to our past and to the saints of
our Order who have gone before us.
"Lord God Almighty, You have brought us to the beginning of this day.
Preserve us now by Your power so that in this day we may not fall
into any sin; rather, that all our words, thoughts and acts may be
always directed to doing Your justice. We ask this through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen."
"Lord God, King of heaven and earth, be pleased this day to direct
and sanctify, to rule and govern our hearts and bodies, our thoughts,
words and deeds according to Your law and in obedience to Your
commandments. Now and forever may we attain salvation and freedom by
Your help, O Savior of the world, Who lives and reigns forever and
Enjoy them and use them!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]