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June 25

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the Hazletts and their family. They celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Friday. Continued prayers for Trappist Fr. Robert,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 25, 2003

      Prayers, please, for the Hazletts and their family. They celebrate
      their 50th wedding anniversary on Friday. Continued prayers for
      Trappist Fr. Robert, recovering well in CCU. Prayers also for Richard
      West, his Mom and family. She is having a lot of severe problems with
      radiation complications after breast cancer surgery.

      And a very unusal prayer request from me. I have 45 Coturnix quail
      eggs in an incubator. The heat and humidity here have been playing
      havoc with my admittedly low-tech incubator. Please pray that my
      quail hatch as well as they can. They are due on 6/30 and motherhood
      is upon me!!

      God's will is best! Thanks. NRN 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, in

      "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. 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 "making up" whatever you can't offer."

      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

      A couple of 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 no unnecessary
      flushes: "Mellow yellow, brown down..." 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......

      We have a bread machine in the guesthouse now. Makes fabulous bread
      in 4-5 hours with no effort other than measuring and adding the
      ingredients, closing the cover and switching it on. That takes about
      10 minutes prep for most recipes, 15-20 if one is obsessive like me.
      (Sigh...) It is astounding now how easy it is to say I "don't have
      time" to make bread. "Maybe tomorrow..." HELLO!?!?!? Ten minutes?
      What's wrong with me? What's wrong with us?

      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?

      Recently, PBS embarked on a bit of reality TV by challenging several
      families to live for a summer exactly as the pioneers did in the
      1880's, homesteaders starting with virtually nothing. Careful
      attention was paid to having only such things as were available at
      that period. It made for some really tough living for those families,
      but ALL of them had more than the founders of our Order had in this
      country, 30 years before them.

      And they said the whole Psalter....admittedly, with lay brothers
      doing a lot of the heavy stuff, but they said the whole Psalter.

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