Holy Rule for June 25
Ardent prayers, please, for the physical, mental and spiritual health of Shirley, having a very difficult time today and of Fr. Maurice, 85, age is beginning to catch up with him.
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. In the Holy Rule, 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]
Many ardent prayers for Mario, substance abuse problem and getting help and treatment, may he stay clean and sober. Prayers, too, for his parents, D. and M. and all his family.
Prayers for Kristen, young wife & mother with serious cancer. Parishioners are praying to Ven. Rose Hawthorne for a miracle.
Prayers for Diana and her daughter, Diana left the Church long ago, prayers that they both may return.
Many ardent prayers for Steve, in hospice, that he may get all the Sacraments, and for his wife and family and all who will mourn him. Divine Mercy chaplets, please, from those so inclined.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Kathy, who died in her sleep, and strength for her husband, Mark and for their family. Kathy was a very devout prayer warrior.
Continued ardent prayers for Josh, drug problems and hopefully already in treatment.
Prayers for Patty, 56, who has been home battling bacterial pneumonia for over a week.
Prayers for the eternal rest of 35 girls killed in a fire at a state-run home for youth in Guatemala, and for their families and all who mourn them. Prayers, too, for the other girls at that facility, where allegations of abuse have prompted riots from those housed there.
Prayers for a man estranged from his children for many years, that they resume contact with him.
Prayers for E., that she go to Confession, also for Liz, that she go to Confession. It has been many years for both.
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 14, July 14, November 13
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
An hour before the meal let the weekly servers each receive a drink
and some bread over and above the appointed allowance, in order
that at the meal time they may serve their brethren without
murmuring and without excessive fatigue. On solemn days, however,
let them wait until after Mass.
Immediately after the Morning Office on Sunday, the incoming and
outgoing servers shall prostrate themselves before all the brethren
in the oratory and ask their prayers. Let the server who is ending
his week say this verse: "Blessed are You, O Lord God, who have
helped me and consoled me." When this has been said three times and
the outgoing server has received his blessing, then let the
incoming server follow and say, "Incline unto my aid, O God; O
Lord, make haste to help me." Let this also be repeated three times
by all, and having received his blessing let him enter his service.
Families, and parents and caregivers, listen up! There's an
important lesson here. No task is too small to be blessed by
prayer. More than that, no task is so easy that it can be done
without God's help, so remember to thank Him. Of ourselves, we can
do nothing, literally nothing. All our strength and power comes from God.
Making dinner or washing the dishes? Take a quiet moment in the
midst of either to say "Help!" and "Thanks!" Two simple, one word
prayers. No matter how chaotic your household, everyone will find
time for at least that. God knows the details, knows your heart and
can readily fill in the blanks! We may think God needs essay-length
prayers, but He doesn't. He may enjoy hearing from us, but trust
me, we NEVER tell Him anything that's news to Him.
This chapter is not simply the humility and charity of service, it
is also the honest acknowledgment of complete helplessness without
God. For most folks, only sickness or debility will teach them
that. It may seem like nothing to bend down and pick up a pin off
the floor until a bad back makes that impossible. Handicaps hone
our perceptions of being in charge very, very well.
Of course, there is another side to simple things like serving
table, picking up pins and the like. One could not have done
anything without God's help, but ah, if one does them out of love
and care! Bingo! Double coupons, so to speak! If that pin got
carefully picked up because of a barefoot and running child, or a
beloved pet who is prone to "tasting" whatever she can find on the
floor, simplicity becomes a very much greater matter, indeed. Now
it is very close to the heart of God, and that is a wonderful place
By the way, though some might think me daft for saying this, it is
not at all that crazy. There is no reason why families could not
bless whomever is assigned to a domestic task for a week or month
or whatever. A simple prayer asking God to help them serve us all
and get over any rough times could be tastefully done without a lot
of fuss. This could really help drive home the message of the worthwhile
merit to be had in doing small things with love!
Love and prayers,