Holy Rule for June 25
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Freddy and for all who mourn him.
Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for two for whom we prayed: Wendy's son has come out of his coma, but still has a long road ahead of him, so continued prayers for him and his family. Also, Ali, whom we prayed for, had a great retreat.
Prayers for the spiritual, metnal and phsyical well-being of the following and for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Bonnie, brain tumor growing worse.
Fr. Benet, OSB, open heart surgery.
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 24, June 25, October 25
Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said
The order of psalmody for the day Hours being thus arranged,
let all the remaining Psalms be equally distributed
among the seven Night Offices
by dividing the longer Psalms among them
and assigning twelve Psalms to each night.
We strongly recommend, however,
that if this distribution of the Psalms is displeasing to anyone,
she should arrange them otherwise,
in whatever way she considers better,
but taking care in any case
that the Psalter with its full number of 150 Psalms
be chanted every week
and begun again every Sunday at the Night Office.
For those monastics show themselves too lazy
in the service to which they are vowed,
who chant less than the Psalter with the customary canticles
in the course of a week,
whereas we read that our holy Fathers
strenuously fulfilled that task in a single day.
May we, lukewarm that we are, perform it at least in a whole week!
In his book, "The Benedictine Way", Father Wulstan Mork, OSB referred
to this chapter. I was a bit surprised, because the chapter is often
eclectically cited, stressing the ability to rearrange psalmody, but
not the requirement to do all 150 in one week. Father Wulstan wrote
that, whatever else we had done in reform of the Work of God, we had
often failed this one-week principle entirely and he found it strange
that something so insistent could be ignored. Given the centrality of
the Work of God in Benedictine life and the language employed, this
would seem to be a matter of greater import than just removing knives
I hasten to add a word of caution to Oblates here: the Holy Rule is
referring to choral Office in monasteries. To undertake for oneself
such an Office could well be unwise, and sometimes, even wrong. The
conditions of one's state in life come first. Oblates who are parents
or married have kept Vigils and Nocturns with sick children or
spouses of which professed monastics would never dream.
Don't get hung up on this one. Treasure the Office all you can, but tend first
to the responsibilities of your state in life. Remember that your Community
is saying the whole Office, even when you cannot, and that you are
always a part of that Community and its prayer!
OK, having said that, let's talk a little about monasteries and the
Office. The old notion of monastics as professional pray-ers
whose only mission in life was the celebration of the full liturgy is
simply bunk. Nothing in the Holy Rule supports that extreme view. On
the other hand, many things do support the idea of a task, a service,
even, to some extent, a burden of the Office that monasteries assume.
Put another way, balance, as always, is put forward here. The Office
should be neither too hard nor too easy. It ought to chafe a bit, but
not overwhelm, just like the Rule's injunction that both the weak and
the strong may have something to strive for and be not discouraged.
If we make the Office TOO easy, it becomes merely a dash of
devotional side-dressing to a busy, but otherwise only faintly pious
The busyness of modern life is nothing compared to the amount of
labor required to maintain life in the first centuries of the Order's
existence. Neither were there lay brothers to do all that work in
those days, since they were a much later development. No electricity,
no indoor plumbing, no running water, no phones, no cars. In the
midst of a life that we would find crushingly different, St. Benedict
insisted on the weekly 150. Hmmmm......
We live in a world where countless labor-saving devices and perks
give us far more time than anyone in history has ever had. Are we
always good stewards of that largesse? Heaven knows, I don't want to
give up those modern advantages, look at how hooked on computers I
am. But what do we do with all that time?
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for the safe release of Fr. Chito and 13 others held hostage by militants in Marawi, Philippines. Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of the police chief there, who was beheaded, and for his family and all who mourn him. Prayers for the conversion and repentance of his killers and all the attackers. Prayers for all those affected in any way and for peace in this troubled region.
Prayers for our Sr. Christine, whose 20th anniversary of solemn vows was yesterday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!
Sue asked prayers for all who suffer hearing loss.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. John Brioux, OMI, and for his family and all who mourn him.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Fr. Peter D’Alesandre, and for his family and all who mourn him, especially Rachel.
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 25, May 26, September 25
Chapter 7: On Humility
Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying,
"Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,
and he who humbles himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11).
In saying this it shows us
that all exaltation is a kind of pride,
against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard
when he says,
"Lord, my heart is not exalted,
nor are mine eyes lifted up;
neither have I walked in great matters,
nor in wonders above me."
But how has he acted?
"Rather have I been of humble mind
than exalting myself;
as a weaned child on its mother's breast,
so You solace my soul" (Ps. 130:1-2).
if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility
and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation
to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life,
by our ascending actions
erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream,
on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending.
By that descent and ascent
we must surely understand nothing else than this,
that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility.
And the ladder thus set up is our life in the world,
which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled.
For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder,
and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted
the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.
Today we begin St. Benedict's exhaustive treatment of humility.
Humility and obedience are so closely linked that it is virtually
impossible to speak of one without adding the other. Since both are
essential Benedictine virtues, it is easy to say that there is no
such thing as a holy Benedictine who has not climbed or is not
climbing this ladder. I have never known a holy monk who was not
humble, in fact, it was usually their most outstanding trait.
A lot of this chapter will grate on modern ears. I will be the first
to admit that some people need assertiveness training. However, in my
experience, most of us do not. Most of us manage to be assertive on a
daily- even hourly- basis without much difficulty. Remember, too,
that modern psychology is a science which, like all science, is
limited to observable data.
Hence, it is not surprising that the generalities of psychology deal
with relations between people and visible, created things. The catch
here is that the humility St. Benedict speaks of is rooted in
relationship of humans to God, a sphere in which psychology often
finds itself woefully out of its element. It can see some things
amiss, but not all. It lacks the supernatural basis of faith, and
this impedes it in this area. Balance, always balance.
A quickie on the Psalm quote today: "...neither have I walked in
great matters, nor in matters above me." This would appeal to
Brother Patrick Creamer, my late mentor. He learned to do it quite
well and in just 45 years or so!! Say a special prayer for Patrick's
eternal rest with God.
I speak as one who has been all too focused at many times on the
monastic soap opera, its hand-wringing tempests in teacups. About
many things, even most, we must learn simply not to meddle, not to
trouble ourselves with matters too great, even though we may have to
call them "great" with an inner, rueful chuckle.
You will never have peace until you learn to leave all that alone, to
distrust it for the empty and tragic charade that it truly is. And
you will never get anywhere if you don't have peace. The road to that
peace is humility and love, both effective vaccinations against the
fatal disease of power.
Love and prayers,