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June 18

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for Ann Murray, terminal liver and pancreatic cancer and for Ethan O Brien, 18 months, cerebral plasy and now blind, may never walk, also
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 18, 2003

      Prayers, please, for Ann Murray, terminal liver and pancreatic cancer
      and for Ethan O'Brien, 18 months, cerebral plasy and now blind, may
      never walk, also for both their families and all who bear these
      crosses with them. God's will is best! Thanks so much. NRN JL

      February 17, June 18, October 18
      Chapter 14: How the Night Office Is to Be Said on the Feasts of the

      On the feasts of Saints and on all festivals
      let the Office be performed
      as we have prescribed for Sundays,
      except that the Psalms, the antiphons and the lessons
      belonging to that particular day are to be said.
      Their number, however, shall remain as we have specified above.


      Every love life needs a bit of variety now and then, even the
      monogamous ones, even the celibate ones, and, let us face it, our
      prayer is (or ought to be!)a love life. Without marking certain days
      as special, our Office would quickly become a bland and tedious bore.
      On the other hand, mark too much as special and people soon get worn
      out. Variety itself becomes boring and a chore. What sane married
      couple would insist on spending every night in a different motel? One
      or both would quickly tire of that and it would destroy the very
      unity it was aiming to protect.

      Having lived in a monastery for part of the 1960's and 70's where the
      liturgy became the sad equivalent of a revolving door, changing often
      and not often well, I can speak from experience. It became dreadful
      to wonder what would happen next. It pulled out the necessary
      underpinnings of a certain stability (gasp!) and changelessness that
      a Benedictine life of prayer requires.

      Ah, but in the quest for simplicity carried to unfortunate extremes,
      it did, at times, become UTTERLY changeless. Same old same old, every
      single day with nothing different but the prayer at the end, if that.
      ("Oh boy, it must be Tuesday again....!") No antiphons, just psalms
      and canticles. No music other than the hymn, same seven each week for
      each hour, a few good, many bad.... No Glory be between Psalms, just
      one at the end. It was dull and gave even more of an impression
      of "let's just get this over with" than the old Office did at its
      very worst. One often wondered why we still bothered to go to choir.

      A balance between variety and stability is where the virtue truly
      lies. I have never heard anyone complain about singing or saying the
      same unchanging parts of the Mass every day, because they are set in
      the midst of elements that DO change every day. The same must be true
      of the Office to a certain extent. When SO much changes at feasts
      that one longs and pines for a weekday with one book and NOTHING
      special, that balance has been missed. On the other hand, the
      changeless mundane misses the balance as well. One should never have
      to come out of a "simple" Office and think quietly: "Wow, that was
      dumb...." (But I often have.)

      St. Benedict built the necessary change right into his Office for
      monasteries. Ignore his bottom line or extend it unduly and you get
      into trouble. In this instance, as in so many, he was far wiser than
      we are, than people of any age are.

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