Holy Rule for Feb. 11
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Fr. Victor Gillespie, OSB, of New Subiaco Abbey, and for his Community and all who mourn him.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical well-being of the following, for all their loved ones and aall who take care of them:
Sr. Germaine, OSB, dying at home of cancer, for her happy death, her Communityb and all who will mourn her.
Jose, Lou Gehrig's disease/ALS, and for Beata, his wife.
Michael, troubles with US Immigration over his residency card.
Matthew, very stressful changing of jobs.
Trish, who will get a report and prescribed program of treatment for a breast mass removed last week.
Maurice, who was just told yesterday that he has malignant melanoma.
Monica, cancerous lymph nodes removed, having chemo.
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 11, June 12, October 12
Chapter 9: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at the Night Office
In winter time as defined above,
there is first this verse to be said three times:
"O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall declare Your praise."
To it is added Psalm 3 and the "Glory be to the Father,"
and after that Psalm 94 to be chanted with an antiphon
or even chanted simply.
Let the Ambrosian hymn follow next,
and then six Psalms with antiphons.
When these are finished and the verse said,
let the Abbot give a blessing;
then, all being seated on the benches,
let three lessons be read from the book on the lectern
by the brethren in their turns,
and after each lesson let a responsory be chanted.
Two of the responsories are to be said
without a "Glory be to the Father"
but after the third lesson
let the chanter say the "Glory be to the Father,"
and as soon as he begins it let all rise from their seats
out of honor and reverence to the Holy Trinity.
The books to be read at the Night Office
shall be those of divine authorship,
of both the Old and the New Testament,
and also the explanations of them which have been made
by well known and orthodox Catholic Fathers.
After these three lessons with their responsories
let the remaining six Psalms follow,
to be chanted with "Alleluia."
After these shall follow the lesson from the Apostle,
to be recited by heart,
and the petition of the litany, that is "Lord, have mercy on us."
And so let the Night Office come to an end.
Keeping Vigils is one of the things monastics do and have done from
time immemorial. Monasteries are structured to make that possible.
Things that are never easy are at least possible in monasteries
because everything has been geared toward that end.
Oblates in the world may sometimes express regret that they cannot
keep the whole monastic Office, but let me assure you, there are
Vigils kept by Oblates of which monastics have no clue. Sure, it's
hard to get up in the dark and say 14 psalms, but monastics need
never face the harder, lonelier Vigils spent beside a desperately ill
spouse or child. They need not face the terror of long insomniac
nights of financial dread and worry, which compounds when one
realizes that oversleeping might cost one one's job. The vocations in
which Oblates find themselves often more than compensate for whatever
asceticism one might find in a cloister!
But, you see, that is how it ought to be: all the graces we need for
holiness, for sainthood, are built right into our situations. The
monk need not long for parenthood, nor the parent for the cloister.
Each vocation is different and appropriately varied, but every
vocation carries within it exactly the mercy and the means of grace which
God knew from all eternity would be most perfect for us.
We must train ourselves with great care to really will whatever God wills
for us. This is different from merely passive acceptance. This is actually
wanting whatever God sends out of deep faith that it is tailored flawlessly
to our best growth in holiness. The best book ever written on this practice,
in my opinion, is "Abandonment to Divine Providence", by Father Jean-Pierre
de Caussade, SJ. I heartily recommend it and it is still in print after
centuries, a real classic! Great Lenten reading!
Never, ever think that a night spent sleepless for a sick child
doesn't count as many, many, MANY Vigils! Benedictines live and
thrive in all manner of environments today, and some of the best of
them are not in choir in the wee hours, but that matters absolutely
not at all!
Love and prayers,
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Don, for whom we prayed, has died without seeing the Priest. Ardent prayers for the repose of his soul and for his brother, Jim, his wife and family and all who mourn him.
Kaitlin, whose test we prayed for has also been able to get out of the bad real estate deal she was enmeshed in. Deo gratias, and thanksgiving prayers!
Lola, whose back surgery we prayed for, has now developed pain/numbness in her other leg. Unsure of the cause, possibly a bone chip or spur, they are taking her back to surgery this afternoon. Continued prayers, please, and for her brother, Richard and all their family.
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 6, June 7, October 7
Chapter 7: On Humility
The ninth degree of humility
is that a monk restrain his tongue and keep silence,
not speaking until he is questioned.
For the Scripture shows
that "in much speaking there is no escape from sin" (Prov. 10:19)
and that "the talkative man is not stable on the earth" (Ps. 139:12).
OK, if you are a parent, you cannot speak to your children only when
they question you. The therapy bills in later years would be
astronomical. There are many situations in a Benedictine life lived
in the world, among non-monastics, where this has to be altered, but
its kernel of truth must be discovered and maintained.
WHY do we talk needlessly? Quite often it is nothing more than a
trick to change the reality around us. We are bored, or we feel we
are not getting enough attention or we think the mood too heavy, so
we speak to change whatever annoys us at the moment. I should know.
I am infamous for creating my own entertainment when things seem
dull to me. That's not always a great idea...
Some tough moments, some difficult stuff are meant to be endured.
They are part of our necessary learning and growth. Ever notice how
we assess a child's maturity by its ability to be quiet and non-
fidgety in surroundings (like Church!) that do not spoon feed its
attention span? Well, the same is true of us at every stage. We do
ourselves harm if we defuse every single tense moment with a word or
two. We cheat ourselves.
All too often we speak only to remind the universe around us, which
has carelessly forgotten for a second that we are its center, of a
whole bevy of falsehoods: I am the cutest, smartest, or wittiest, I
have the solution to all of this. What folly on the part of the
entire cosmos to forget our importance! Better speak to clear the
Those who know me are thinking: "HE wrote THIS?!?" Yes, alas, I am
guilty of all I wrote. Three times a year the Holy Rule reminds me of
that and each time I am aware that I need to work on it. Thanks be to
God, the Rule IS read three times a year: usually by the time the
next reading comes up, my interest has flagged and I have to start
over. As for the part about the talkative not being "stable on the
earth," well, there have been times in the last 18 years
when God had to nail my feet to the floor to keep me faithful and I am
not dead yet... I have not always been His most willing pupil, but
oh, is He ever patient! And infinitely merciful!
But, as one Desert Father said, that's what we do all day in
monasteries: "We fall down and we get up."
Love and prayers,
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