Holy Rule for Feb. 24
Prayers, please, for Anthony, that he can get back to a regular prayer schedule.
Prayers, too, for a Teen Retreat upcoming and that more teens will sign up for it.
Prayers for S's daughter, court appearance she needs to go well.
Prayers, please, for vocations to St. Mary's Monastery and to Pluscarden Abbey
and all our respective monasteries. 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!
I am going to begin this by reprinting two paragraphs of very
important qualifications from the last post on this chapter.
"I hasten to add a word of caution to Oblates here: the Holy Rule is
referring to the 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. SHARE the Office all you can, but tend first to
the responsibilities of your state in life.
Before I became a monk I used to OCCASIONALLY do all 150 Psalms
alone. There were two things worthy of mention here: I was a single
man with one (very loving!) cat, and I recited them. Even at that, I
can assure you it took up a chunk of time. Hence, Oblates should take
great care that they don't obsess on this notion. Do what you can and
rest assured that your community, and the Order and the whole praying
Church is more then "making up" whatever you can't offer."
Several years ago, the guesthouse well died (temporarily, thanks
be to God!) We had to gather 10 gallon plastic buckets for each
bathroom, haul them down the hill to the monastery in the station
wagon, fill them and bring them back. What a hassle! We also had to
caution the guests rather indelicately about unnecessary flushes.
Even more recently, a storm and left us without electricity for
about twelve hours. Afraid to open the fridge too much and with no oven,
we ordered pizza in Athol for the guests.
Both of these things were tough, but neither were anything 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 Athol House of Pizza to call and no car to pick it up in.
(OK aqueducts in some places, but you get the picture...) In the
midst of a life that we would find crushingly different, St. Benedict
insisted on the weekly 150. Hmmmm......
Every day, well before Mass, I can send this message out to 1,600
people all over the world with no effort beyond editing and typing the
prayer requests. Think of what a mailing to 1,600 would entail before
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 abundance? 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? How much of the time we
save goes to prayer? How much goes to mindless stuff we could well do
Love and prayers,
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Prayers, please for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Dave, recurrent prostate cancer, seeing oncologist on the 18th, and for Elaine, his wife.
Tom, upper erosive esophagitus, a stomach ulcer and hiatal hernia. The current meds are
not helping the problem. Seeing doctor today.
Joyce, who had surgery and several organs are filled with cancer.
The family needs prayers as it is very hard for them to deal with the diagnosis.
Carol, undergoing surgery to repair leg tendons on Thursday... for a safe operation, and a quick, comfortable, and complete recovery.
Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Doris, who has gone to God, for all her family and all who mourn her.
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
March 13, July 13, November 12
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
Let the brethren serve one another, and let no one be excused from
the kitchen service
except by reason of sickness or occupation in some important work.
For this service brings increase of reward and of charity. But let
helpers be provided for the weak ones, that they may not be
distressed by this work; and indeed let everyone have help, as
required by the size of the community or the circumstances of the
locality. If the community is a large one,
the cellarer shall be excused from the kitchen service; and so also
those whose occupations are of greater utility, as we said above.
Let the rest serve one another in charity.
The one who is ending his week of service shall do the cleaning on
Saturday. He shall wash the towels with which the brethren wipe
their hands and feet; and this server who is ending his week, aided
by the one who is about to begin, shall wash the feet of all the
brethren. He shall return the utensils of his office to the
cellarer clean and in good condition,
and the cellarer in turn shall consign them to the incoming server,
in order that he may know what he gives out and what he receives
I know some houses have moved away from having table waiters, but
something is lost in that. We have cafeteria style first portions
here, then the waiter goes around to offer seconds and clears the
dishes. It isn't a really big deal, but it does have a great reward,
as the Holy Rule points out. Because we are a small community, only
8, everyone, even the Superior takes a turn at waiting.
Formerly, in some houses (maybe in all, but I am not sure,) the
Abbot would wait tables on Holy Thursday. There was a nice
connection there: he who held the place of Christ waited on all on
the feast of the Last Supper, and washed the feet of twelve in
Church that day.
The connection here is personalist. Waiting on people connects you
very much to them, as any waiter could tell you. Restaurants may
not pursue that connection to any depth, but a home situation, like
a monastery, surely does. There's a great notion here for Oblates
do not live alone: take turns waiting. We can get slumped into Dad
or Mom or husband or wife always being waiter or waited upon.
Switch off, care for each other, in this and many, many other ways!
There are tons of ways of serving another, serving each other, that
have nothing at all to do with tables or dining. There are many,
many, equivalent forms of foot-washing. Hunt for them diligently and
practice them with deep love!
Love and prayers,
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