Holy Rule for Feb. 13
Prayers, please, for the happy death of the following, for all their loved ones and all who will mourn them:
Sr. Germaine, OSB, dying of cancer.
Carole, dying of ovarian cancer.
Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Brian, ear problems.
Doris, recurring ulcer.
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
February 13, June 14, October 14
Chapter 11: How the Night Office Is to Be Said on Sundays
the hour of rising for the Night Office should be earlier.
In that Office let the measure already prescribed be kept,
namely the singing of six Psalms and a verse.
Then let all be seated on the benches in their proper order
while the lessons and their responsories are read from the book,
as we said above.
These shall be four in number,
with the chanter saying the "Glory be to the Father"
in the fourth responsory only,
and all rising reverently as soon as he begins it.
After these lessons
let six more Psalms with antiphons follow in order, as before,
and a verse;
and then let four more lessons be read with their responsories
in the same way as the former.
After these let there be three canticles
from the book of the Prophets,
as the Abbot shall appoint,
and let these canticles be chanted with "Alleluia."
Then when the verse has been said
and the Abbot has given the blessing,
let four more lessons be read,
from the New Testament,
in the manner prescribed above.
After the fourth responsory
let the Abbot begin the hymn "We praise You, O God."
When this is finished
the Abbot shall read the lesson from the book of the Gospels,
while all stand in reverence and awe.
At the end let all answer "Amen,"
and let the Abbot proceed at once
to the hymn "To You be praise."
After the blessing has been given,
let them begin the Morning Office.
This order for the Night Office on Sunday
shall be observed the year around,
both summer and winter;
unless it should happen (which God forbid)
that the brethren be late in rising,
in which case the lessons or the responsories
will have to be shortened somewhat.
Let every precaution be taken, however,
against such an occurrence;
but if it does happen,
then the one through whose neglect it has come about
should make due satisfaction to God in the oratory.
Making the comparatively safe assumption that the majority of those
reading this will not be spending the wee hours of Sunday celebrating
three nocturns instead of two, what do we glean from this? Well, for
starters, let's note that St. Benedict goes out of his way to make
Sunday special year-round, even when he would at other times shorten
the Office. Making Sunday special, by the way, was not some novel
idea of his own: it's a commandment of God, one we often forget these
Sunday is not just a day off. Sunday is not observed by just cramming
Church in somehow and the rest of the day no different. The Roman
Catholic practice of Saturday Vigil Masses can really throw a wrench
into this: do it late Saturday afternoon and "get it out of the way."
Whoops! In spite of the theological and liturgical justifications of
a Vigil Mass, that's what it often boils down to in people's minds:
less than an hour, done late the day before, and you're done! Not!!!
If Sunday affords no extra time at all to you for rest, for prayer,
for lectio, please change something. I know one family who can't make
it to Mass on Sunday because of sports schedules for several kids in
different games. What will those kids grow up thinking of as
Sabbath? A rushed 45 minute Mass Saturday evening, if that? How many
observant Jews does one find in that dilemma? None. They know what
No one took the Sabbath away from Christians: we surrendered it
ourselves! It is, by the way, still there waiting, just as God is, for us
to take back. Fully within our power to do so. All we have to do
is change ourselves. That can be hard at first, but the rewards are
Many of us can clearly recall when no stores were open
on Sunday, save a few of the gas stations and an emergency
pharmacy. I wonder how our willingness to make Sunday just another
shopping day contributed to the change we see today?
Albert Schweitzer once said that the proof that Christianity had
failed in Europe was war. I would say that the only proof needed to
say that our Christian theology of the Sabbath has failed is to take
a look at what's left of Sunday. And please don't blame the pagans
for this one: we are at the root of the problem. Most likely at fault
was our legalistic idea of "youse goes to Church and youse done with it."
Check out your library or bookstore for some good Jewish
books on how to keep the Sabbath. You're going
to have a refreshing surprise. You're going to find deep holiness and
you're going to find it largely "home-made" by the believers
themselves, in their own homes. If you whine, as Christians can, how
tough it is to run uphill against a secular world's Sunday, bear in mind that
Jews are doing all this themselves on SATURDAY, with absolutely no
cooperation from government or business or society at all.
This Sunday observance, by the way, is not imposing monasticism on your
children: it's making them Christian. Not an optional job!
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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