Holy Rule for Oct. 16
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Julien Kenord, 27, a Caritas worker killed in Haiti, and for his family and all who mourn him and for his assailant(s).
Continued prayers for Ricky's job search, please.
Oscar and his Mom and brothers. His Mom has a large tumour blocking the colon, with substantial metastases and inflammation in the liver. Finally she underwent an urgent colostomy and after a month she started chemotherapy. The three sons have a 95% chance of this disease, because four of their maternal relatives have suffered from it, prayers for all.
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 15, June 16, October 16
Chapter 13: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said on Weekdays
On weekdays the Morning Office shall be celebrated as follows. Let
Psalm 66 be said without an antiphon and somewhat slowly, as on
Sunday, in order that all may be in time for Psalm 50, which is to
be said with an antiphon. After that let two other Psalms be said
according to custom, namely: on Monday Psalms 5 and 35, on Tuesday
Psalms 42 and 56, on Wednesday Psalms 63 and 64, on Thursday Psalms
87 and 89, on Friday Psalms 75 and 91, and on Saturday Psalm 142
and the canticle from Deuteronomy, which is to be divided into two
sections each terminated by a "Glory be to the Father." But on the
other days let there be a canticle from the Prophets, each on its
own day as chanted by the Roman Church. Next follow the Psalms of
praise, then a lesson of the Apostle to be recited from memory, the
responsory, the Ambrosian hymn, the verse, the canticle from the
Gospel book, the litany, and so the end.
Many, many Oblates wish they could say more of the Office than they
do. Unfortunately, many, MANY things complicate that for them, not
least of which is that virtually every house is doing something
different, often using several books that are neither easily
portable nor readily available. The upshot is that many monastics,
Oblates and professed, are forced to use the Roman Liturgy of the
Hours when traveling or not in choir.
Well, that undoubtedly connects one with the prayer of the whole
Church, but it is not our own monastic Office. Oblates who know the
hunger of this imperfect state of affairs may find at least a
partial remedy in today's chapter. Psalms 66 and 50 are to be said
daily. Granted, many houses with various Psalm arrangements no
longer do so, or perhaps say
one, but not both. However, by memorizing one or both of these
Psalms (and 66 is VERY short and repetitious, to boot, easily
memorized,) one can add them to the Roman morning prayer and thereby
make it at least a tad more Benedictine!
The tragedy of our Benedictine Office these days is that all of us
have lost the ability to be exactly connected in prayer with the
rest of the Order. That was not a shabby thing. There was great
comfort in knowing that every Benedictine in the world was doing
and saying the same things on the same days. We are no longer
literally on the same page.
Take comfort, slim though it may be, in this: using one or both of
these Psalms daily will at least connect you to all the
Benedictines BEFORE 1964, and even a good many after!! And there is
a great, vast multitude of saints in that number. Denied connection
in our own day, we may safely rejoice in what little we can glean with the
holy monastics of the past who do, after all, represent the bulk of
our 1,500 years of history!
Love and prayers,
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******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.
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
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,
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