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Holy Rule for June 25

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX 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
    Message 1 of 209 , Jun 24, 2009
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      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
      before sleep.

      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,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      I have no idea why this didn t go through yesterday. Catching up. BJL +PAX Prayers for the grace-filled success of our Oblate Day and our Sisters Monastic
      Message 209 of 209 , Mar 14
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        I have no idea why this didn't go through yesterday. Catching up. BJL
        Prayers for the grace-filled success of our Oblate Day and our Sisters' Monastic Experience weekend at Petersham and for all participating.
        Urgent prayers needed for Brian's brother-in-law, Paul. He is a diabetic, and now has been diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. It is stage 3, and a biopsy this coming Tuesday will check to see if he is stage 4. He will be starting chemo & radiation. His wife is devastated. Brian has known Paul since they were very young, loves him like a brother and is crushed. Please pray for Paul, his wife, Brian and all their family and friends.
        Deo gratias, the twin's fluid build up is gone.

        Prayer for Brian T.,( another Brian,) who is being viciously harrassed.

        Prayers for JS, discernment and assistance in making an important life decision.

        Prayers for Beverly, special intention plus dicernment regarding another of perplexing issues..

        Deo gratias for all prayers and graces of the past.
        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
        to be.

        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,
        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA
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