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Holy Rule for Oct. 13

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for thr eternal rest of George, for whom we have been praying. He died this morning. And for his family, especially Brendan, and all who
    Message 1 of 57 , Oct 12, 2010
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      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for thr eternal rest of George, for whom we have been praying. He died this morning. And for his family, especially Brendan, and all who mourn him.

      Prayers for the spiritual, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care ofo them:

      Helen, who suffered a stroke, adn for her husband, Tony.

      John, who suffered mild stroke last February 2010 and still experiencing numbness in my right arm and face and hypertension and slight pain in other parts of the body and also experiencing slight nervourness and stress.

      Dennis, feeling a lot of holy trepidation at two new ministries for him: Extraordinary Minister of the Communion and RCIA, for grace and atrength and courage and openness to God's will for all.

      a priest who is having Visa troubles in the US.

      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

      Chapter 10: How the Night Office Is to Be Said in Summer Time

      From Easter until the Calends of November
      let the same number of Psalms be kept as prescribed above;
      but no lessons are to be read from the book,
      on account of the shortness of the nights.
      Instead of those three lessons
      let one lesson from the Old Testament be said by heart
      and followed by a short responsory.
      But all the rest should be done as has been said;
      that is to say that never fewer than twelve Psalms
      should be said at the Night Office,
      not counting Psalm 3 and Psalm 94.


      REFLECTION

      The gentleness of St. Benedict, his considerate thoughtfulness is
      again apparent here. Another principle comes to mind, as well. The
      Office is important, but it revolves WITH us to a certain extent. It
      is the axis our day turns on, but that axis may be shortened by the
      season. There are circumstances under which even the Work of God
      itself changes for us. Was humanity made for the Sabbath, or the
      Sabbath for humanity?

      The rhythm here is pure agriculture: when the sun rises
      sooner, so do the farm chores, which have no human seasonal clocks to
      tell them otherwise! Critters have to be cared for, milked and
      pastured according to their clocks, not ours. The upshot of this is
      that, for nearly 1,500 years, until the late 1960's, Benedictines
      followed the Holy Rule's advice and said Matins differently in the
      summer and winter, even in the cities. (It is worthy of note that, at
      least in the U.S., agricultural enterprises were being abandoned at
      about the same time as no longer economically feasible in many
      houses.)

      Put another spin on this and you will find, especially if you are an
      Oblate, that St. Benedict intends at least some aspects of his
      monastic program to adapt themselves to the environment in which the
      monastic lives. Do not wear yourself out trying to make the very
      square peg of a relentless monastic life fit into the intractably
      round hole of a life in the world.

      Don't try to make your kids (or spouse!) understand that you are
      going to be monastic, no matter whether they are or aren't. For one
      thing, if you in any way diminish your primary vocation, like
      marriage or parenthood, you are not going to be monastic at all!
      For another thing, such tactics might drive them even farther from
      the faith you hope to share and instill in them.

      The key to our struggle is obedience and humility, not control of others.
      Our oblation must be done in addition to our sacramental and primary
      vocations, never instead of them.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA



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    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX ******Somehow I skipped Nov. 28 and ran the 30th yesterday, so here s the reading for the 28th to catch up. March 29, July 29, November 28 Chapter 48: On
      Message 57 of 57 , Nov 28, 2010
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        +PAX

        ******Somehow I skipped Nov. 28 and ran the 30th yesterday, so here's the
        reading for the 28th to catch up.

        March 29, July 29, November 28
        Chapter 48: On the Daily Manual Labor

        From the Calends of October until the beginning of Lent,
        let them apply themselves to reading
        up to the end of the second hour.

        At the second hour let Terce be said,
        and then let all labor at the work assigned them until None.
        At the first signal for the Hour of None
        let everyone break off from her work,
        and hold herself ready for the sounding of the second signal.
        After the meal
        let them apply themselves to their reading or to the Psalms.

        On the days of Lent,
        from morning until the end of the third hour
        let them apply themselves to their reading,
        and from then until the end of the tenth hour
        let them do the work assigned them.
        And in these days of Lent
        they shall each receive a book from the library,
        which they shall read straight through from the beginning.
        These books are to be given out at the beginning of Lent.

        But certainly one or two of the seniors should be deputed
        to go about the monastery
        at the hours when the sisters are occupied in reading
        and see that there be no lazy sister
        who spends her time in idleness or gossip
        and does not apply herself to the reading,
        so that she is not only unprofitable to herself
        but also distracts others.
        If such a one be found (which God forbid),
        let her be corrected once and a second time;
        if she does not amend,
        let her undergo the punishment of the Rule
        in such a way that the rest may take warning.

        Moreover, one sister shall not associate with another
        at inappropriate times.

        REFLECTION

        Lectio divina, sacred reading, is the Benedictine form of
        contemplation, more ancient than many later forms, both Carmelite and
        Athonite. Being so ancient, it comes with very few directions. Much
        of its "method" has been developed and handed down by monastics over
        the centuries since St. Benedict.

        Even in that embellished form, it remains a very, very simple and
        efficient means to contemplative prayer. One simply reads Scripture
        or the Fathers (or Mothers!) slowly, reflectively, ruminating (like a
        cow chewing its cud!) on each word and verse. As St. Romuald later
        observed, one waits like a chick for whatever its mother gives it.

        One does not read to get through the book. One reads to see if and
        when the Holy Spirit calls us to higher prayer with a word or phrase
        that strikes the heart. At that point, one should follow one's heart
        and not worry about finishing the page! Cleared for takeoff!

        It is interesting that St. Benedict weaves all these schedules of
        contemplative reading and prayer together with his manual labor
        concerns, without any ado. There's another example of the dignity and
        holiness of work in a Benedictine theology. Our work, too, is prayer.
        It must be.

        We must, somehow, learn to be all prayer. That same
        ruminative mindfulness that colors our lectio must color our labor as
        well. It is a different form of attention, a different form of
        prayer, but it is prayer nonetheless! Just ask any gardener or cook
        with a mystical heart or, for that matter, any toilet cleaner or
        diaper changer of the same ilk!

        The Carmelites prescribe mental prayer, which should, with
        recollection, spread throughout one's day. The hesychasts of Mount
        Athos, Romania and Russia stress the Jesus Prayer, said vocally until
        it becomes automatic in the heart at all times. Both of these are
        more explicit methodologies, but the Benedictine aim is the same:
        prayer without ceasing, prayer in choir and garden and cell, prayer
        at reading and prayer at work. Mindfulness of God at all times is the
        contemplative goal of all these systems.

        This is just my own opinion, but I am inclined to think that the
        Dominican concept of contemplation comes closest to our own, largely
        because of their love of study. Study, for the Dominican, is often
        very similar to lectio in the Benedictine scheme of things. Why?
        Because the Dominican seeks Truth, and Jesus said: "I am the Truth."
        A Dominican could be reading virtually anything and still know that
        every bit
        of real, objective truth garnered from that reading would be yet
        another shard, no matter how small, in the infinite mosaic of the
        face of Christ. That is a mosaic none of us shall ever complete in
        this life, but oh, how much more familiar He shall seem to us when we
        meet Him because of it!

        Maybe I'm just prejudiced, but I think that a Dominican education,
        such as I had, is a wonderful preparation for Benedictine life.

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA




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