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Holy Rule for Oct. 19

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX Prayers, please, for P., in rehab after hospitalization for fluid on the brain. Lord, help us all as You know and will. God s will is best. All is mercy
    Message 1 of 57 , Oct 18, 2010
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      Prayers, please, for P., in rehab after hospitalization for fluid on the brain.

      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 muh. JL

      February 18, June 19, October 19
      Chapter 15: At What Times "Alleluia" Is to Be Said

      From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption
      let "Alleluia" be said both in the Psalms and in the responsories.
      From Pentecost to the beginning of Lent let it be said every night
      with the last six Psalms of the Night Office only. On every Sunday,
      however, outside of Lent, the canticles, the Morning Office, Prime,
      Terce, Sext and None shall be said with "Alleluia," but Vespers
      with antiphons.

      The responsories are never to be said with "Alleluia" except from
      Easter to Pentecost.


      It is not uncommon for me to get posts asking how on earth I can
      say "God's will is best." after recounting some litany of horrible
      things which have befallen people in need of our prayers. Well, now
      I up the ante a bit and add the equivalent of "Alleluia!" , "praise
      Him!" to each post.

      In every instance, even when it is all we can do to choke it out,
      gritting our teeth, we must always say Alleluia. God must always be
      praised, always, even when we cannot see goodness anywhere else at
      all, it *IS* in Him and must be acknowledged. I fully expect
      that, before long, new subscribers who have not seen this post will
      begin to write and ask me how and who I can say Alleluia after
      metastatic cancer and the like. Guess I'll have to save an answer in
      my file!

      We can see here that, in the West, already by St. Benedict's
      time, "Alleluia" became a happy word of celebration, the use of
      which was proscribed in somber times like Lent. That didn't happen
      in the East. They go merrily along with Alleluia, even in the
      depths of Lent. There might be a lot more sense to that, actually.

      "Alleluia" means "Praise the Lord!" I know we have taken it to mean
      something a lot more like "Whoopee!", but it doesn't. I bow to St.
      Benedict and Western tradition in the liturgical use. In our
      hearts, however, there should be an "Alleluia/praise the Lord" at
      all times and seasons. "Praise the Lord anyhow!" the charismatics used to say
      when something dreadful or unlovely happened to one. How true, how
      very true!

      I have not had the
      crosses of many, but I have had heavy, tailor-made ones of my own.
      Getting HIV two years before I became a monk comes to mind, as does
      living with it for 20 years. So does depression, which just
      about equals it, and I was depressed LONG before I had HIV.

      I was not always very graceful about that, nor about many a
      heartbreak, but I do know and I can honestly say that God's will HAS
      been best, always best. My 20/20 hindsight must, though grudgingly
      at times, fully own that Alleluia was appropriate at every point,
      in every instance.

      Saying that does not mean that I can no longer be terrified at this
      or that prospect. I can. We all can. Jesus was in Gethsemane. It is
      a very human fear, and God finds our humanity, in which He sees His
      Son, very fetching. So don't freak out if you still get scared, it
      is part and parcel of our human condition. But even then, we must train
      ourselves to praise!

      In every heartbreak, in every despair, in every grief we must
      ardently cling to our faith that God is merciful and good. We must
      see that when we feel unable to see it. We must, by faith and sheer
      will, affirm that the Lord must be praised at all times. He is not
      mean. Whatever is bleak shall never, ever lack His tender,
      caressing hand behind it, no matter how unseen to us. It is there.
      He is there. Always! Praise the Lord! ALLELUIA!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB

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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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        ******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
        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
        Petersham, MA

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