April 1, August 1, December 1
Chapter 50: On Sisters Who are Working Far From the Oratory or Are on
Those sisters who are working at a great distance
and cannot get to the oratory at the proper time --
the Abbess judging that such is the case --
shall perform the Work of God
in the place where they are working,
bending their knees in reverence before God.
Likewise those who have been sent on a journey
shall not let the appointed Hours pass by,
but shall say the Office by themselves as well as they can
and not neglect to render the task of their service.
Monastics not at home- including Oblates who live elsewhere-
"...shall say the Office by themselves as well as they can." This is
a very important qualifying phrase. Over the several years I have
been in e mail contact with hundreds of Oblates, this question arises
in one form or another again and again, often with a number of
solutions offered equal to the number of people answering the
"...as well as they can." That means every instance of the Oblate's
life must be taken into account: work, marriage, parenthood. Some
Oblates can and do say the whole Office. For others, the chronic
frustration at NOT being able to might be more constructively given
up. It destroys peace and holds humility at bay. Many of us just
cannot, for one reason or another do it all. Admitting that is a
great boon of truth and truth, after all, is humility!
Most monasteries today have embraced schemes of the Office that are
not portable, even for their own monastics. Do the best you can. That
may be the Roman Office, the Book of Common Prayer, or part thereof,
or it may be something else for you, but just do the best you can in
your current circumstance.
Whatever that circumstance may be, it is where God has placed you at
this moment. There is a great holiness and truthfulness in starting
from where we are. It's really the only way to begin a journey anyhow
(you can't depart from where you are not yet!) so why not shrug your
shoulders and start shuffling along from here and now and today.
Take heart in this pithy quote from St. Faustina's diary:
"O life so dull and monotonous, how many treasures you contain!" All
those hassles, all that inaccesible frustration of location or time,
all that we THINK stands in the way are truly portals of mercy and
grace, would we but let them open!
Love and prayers,