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June 14

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Bob Simmons and all his family. Bob died of cancer on 6/12. Prayers also for Fr. Michael Hayduk, just appointed Protopresbyter
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 14, 2003
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for Bob Simmons and all his family. Bob died of
      cancer on 6/12. Prayers also for Fr. Michael Hayduk, just appointed
      Protopresbyter [rector] of the Byzantine Catholic Cathedral in Parma,
      OH. God's Will is best! Thanks! NRN JL

      February 13, June 14, October 14
      Chapter 11: How the Night Office Is to Be Said on Sundays

      On Sunday
      the hour of rising for the Night Office should be earlier.
      In that Office let the measure already prescribed be kept,
      namely the singing of six Psalms and a verse.
      Then let all be seated on the benches in their proper order
      while the lessons and their responsories are read from the book,
      as we said above.
      These shall be four in number,
      with the chanter saying the "Glory be to the Father"
      in the fourth responsory only,
      and all rising reverently as soon as he begins it.


      After these lessons
      let six more Psalms with antiphons follow in order, as before,
      and a verse;
      and then let four more lessons be read with their responsories
      in the same way as the former.


      After these let there be three canticles
      from the book of the Prophets,
      as the Abbot shall appoint,
      and let these canticles be chanted with "Alleluia."
      Then when the verse has been said
      and the Abbot has given the blessing,
      let four more lessons be read,
      from the New Testament,
      in the manner prescribed above.


      After the fourth responsory
      let the Abbot begin the hymn "We praise You, O God."
      When this is finished
      the Abbot shall read the lesson from the book of the Gospels,
      while all stand in reverence and awe.
      At the end let all answer "Amen,"
      and let the Abbot proceed at once
      to the hymn "To You be praise."
      After the blessing has been given,
      let them begin the Morning Office.


      This order for the Night Office on Sunday
      shall be observed the year around,
      both summer and winter;
      unless it should happen (which God forbid)
      that the brethren be late in rising,
      in which case the lessons or the responsories
      will have to be shortened somewhat.
      Let every precaution be taken, however,
      against such an occurrence;
      but if it does happen,
      then the one through whose neglect it has come about
      should make due satisfaction to God in the oratory.

      REFLECTION

      The idea of Vigils has very ancient Christian roots: watching all
      night in prayer, particularly before Sunday, in anticipation of the
      Second Coming (that they be found waiting, with lamps trimmed,) and
      from the tradition that Jesus rose from the dead at dawn. The
      connections of light/darkness and Son/sun are rich. Anyone who has
      ever done an all-night Vigil can tell you it is a memorable
      experience. They are frequently done, even in our own day, on Mount
      Athos, lasting literally all night and including the chanting of the
      ENTIRE Psalter. Remember what I said a few days ago about if liturgy
      is long, it's good?

      With all this, it's no surprise that St. Benedict adds some extra
      high church length to Vigils of Sunday. He still, however, makes a
      lot of allowances for the monastics, even those who (God forbid!)
      oversleep!! His Vigils are long, but they are quite pointedly NOT all
      night! Doing an all night vigil for Sunday and every big feast would
      do in a community of farmers in short order.

      Many people who cut their teeth on pre-1964 Merton works, like "The
      Silent Life" or "The Waters of Siloe", might think that the
      Benedictines were a rather mitigated lot and the Cistercians were the
      only ones who REALLY got the Holy Rule right. Well, yes and no... We
      ARE a mitigated lot, we started out that way and have continued on
      that middle road. St. Benedict designed his Rule as an adaptation and
      yes, mitigation, of Egyptian monastic life, suitable for European
      types. And no, the Cistercians are not at all necessarily the ones
      who "got it right," as their own adaptations after 1964 clearly
      indicate.

      Our long history is one of decline and repeated reform. The reforms,
      understandably enough have always been aimed at sweeping away
      mitigations and laxity. Predictably, they have often swept away a
      good deal of moderation in the bargain, as well! Also, predictably,
      the reforms themselves decay and have to be reformed: why do you
      think there are Common Observance Cistercians and Trappists- two
      separate Orders!

      Merton, like any of us, changed and grew. In his later years,
      questions of observance and mitigation were at least less prominent
      and sometimes totally absent. Right now it is probable that BOTH
      Benedictines and Cistercians are living in their most relaxed and
      mitigated conditions ever. That's not all bad. History might tell us
      some of it will need tinkering, tightening up, but God will send the
      men and women to do that in His time. Rather than adopt an attitude
      of ALL-NIGHT, ALL the time, get-every-boot-camp in toughest possible
      shape and so forth, why not bask a bit in the fact that we were born
      mitigated monastics and are meant to be so?

      When I first read Merton, he had some growing ahead of him and I was
      14...didn't make for a very complete grasp on my part! Now, instead
      of scorning relaxed observance in horror, I welcome it. Both Merton
      and I learned something on different schedules: God gives certain
      monasteries their particular observances because they are the only
      place in the world some people could ever become monks. And this is
      as true of relaxed observance as it is of strict!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Monastery
      Petersham, MA
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