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July 27

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Extra fervent prayers, please, for Matt Fisher, his Mom, Francoise and his Dad, Louis, and Matt s wife, Bettie. His Mom needs surgery that she probably
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 27, 2003
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      Extra fervent prayers, please, for Matt Fisher, his Mom, Francoise
      and his Dad, Louis, and Matt's wife, Bettie. His Mom needs surgery
      that she probably would not survive. Without the surgery, death is
      likely imminent. God's will is best. Thanks. NRN JL

      March 27, July 27, November 26
      Chapter 47: On Giving the Signal for the Time of the Work of God

      The indicating of the hour for the Work of God
      by day and by night
      shall devolve upon the Abbot
      either to give the signal himself
      or to assign this duty to such a careful brother
      that everything will take place at the proper hours.

      Let the Psalms and the antiphons be intoned
      by those who are appointed for it,
      in their order after the Abbot.
      And no one shall presume to sing or read
      unless he can fulfill that office
      in such a way as to edify the hearers.
      Let this function be performed
      with humility, gravity and reverence,
      and by him whom the Abbot has appointed.


      Our families are varied, both in monasteries and in the world. Not
      everyone has the gift of song or of reading aloud. Of those who do,
      not everyone has the gifts of love and humility and these, too, must
      be taken into account. The Solesmes Congregation is the world
      authority in Gregorian chant, but even they must live by the Holy
      Rule. I love the story of an Abbot of one their abbeys who used to
      take the choir master down a peg or two when he thought he was being
      too dominant, singing too loud, or too much of a soloist. He would
      tell the offender to sing sotto voce for a given amount of time as a
      reality check. Now there's a smart Abbot!

      In Benedictine families, those who can are forbidden to look down on
      those who cannot. Those who can are also forbidden to "star" in their
      own productions. We have a place and function for everyone and that
      place is firmly guarded by love, humility and equality. We do care
      that word and chant be proclaimed edifyingly, even nobly, but the
      minute we get sucked into the idiocy of performance or divahood of
      either gender, the whole thing is flushed. As so often, the Holy
      Rule's clear message is: "Get a life! Get real!"

      We have vocations, not careers. If any job becomes our life, it is
      time to change because, to us, any job is work, nothing more. It may
      be prayerful work, but it is just work. In and of itself, it has no
      more (or less!) relation to our monastic calling than cleaning
      toilets or taking out the garbage. The manner and attitude we give to
      any task whatsoever can either advance us on the monastic path,
      stymie us, or pull us back. A superior who knows this and assigns
      offices accordingly can be a very, very great blessing to all. One
      who does not should be envied by none.

      Father Gregory, our newest priest, ordained just under a year, has
      not the gift of song. He knows that and we know that. It has never
      been easy for him when his turn came up to be hebdomadary in choir.
      We wondered what would happen when ordination turned him, perforce,
      into a celebrant. We shouldn't have.

      I think some of Father's problem may be a genuine inability, one he
      could have allowed to make him throw up his hands and quit, one he
      could have let overcome him. He didn't do that. He tried and still
      tries so admirably that it truly edifies me every time he sings. He
      sings with tremendous concentration and humility, and all of us know
      that these are born of a deep love and obedience in him. I have often
      told Father that his voice pleases God more than any in our choir and
      I mean that. He has, with practice, improved a great deal, but that
      is not at all the focus: his efforts are, his determination and love
      and obedience are. Father Gregory gives the best possible example of
      how a Benedictine ought to sing. Would to God that we all had his

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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