Holy Rule for Oct. 25
Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of the following and for all who mourn them:
Nikki Kloss, sister of our Mother Mary Mary Elizabeth, OSB and Sr. Mary Angela, OSB, also of Fr. Anthony Kloss, OSB, of Still River. She died suddenly and unexpectedly. Quite a shock for her Mom and many siblings. Prayers for them all.
Jim, father of Fr. Mark, who died shortly after Fr. Mark was able to visit him and had returned to Rome, thinking he was stable.
Prayers for the spirituaal, mental and physical health of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
A priest we asked for prayers for is still unwell with stress and related issues - Lord strengthen him, St. Therese pray for him.
Prayers for Star on the anniversary of her death, may she rest in peace, and may those who mourn her find solace in happy memories.
Maggie, nearly totally blind through glaucoma, partially deaf, suffering from pneumonia and emphysema - she seems to have given up the fight and is looking for peace. She is being cared for by two of her children. Praayers for them all.
Rose, still suffering from a block (infected) cheek duct which isn't due to be cleared out for a few weeks.
Chris as he bravely continues to strive to work full-time, though still not fully recovered from his breakdown - he's a lot better, though, thanks be to God!
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 25, June 26, October 26
Chapter 19: On the Manner of Saying the Divine Office
We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that "the
eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the evil in every
place" (Prov. 15:3). But we should believe this especially without
any doubt when we are assisting at the Work of God. To that end let
us be mindful always of the Prophet's words, "Serve the Lord in
fear" (Ps. 2:11) and again "Sing praises wisely" (Ps. 46:8) and "In
the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to You" (Ps. 137:1).
Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves in
sight of the Godhead and of His Angels, and let us take part in the
psalmody in such a way that our mind may be in harmony with our
If there were any phrase I could carve on the walls of every choir
in the Order, it would be: "In the sight of the Angels I will sing
praise to You." It stresses not only the lofty character (and
cast!) of our sacrifices of praise, but also the demeanor we should
have in offering them.
This applies to parishes as well as to monasteries. In either
milieu there can arise a certain foolish and unfortunate terrorism
in "ministers" of rubric or music. The foregoing italics were not
unintentional: when one terrorizes the flock over trivia, ministry
has stopped. We are in the presence of the Angels, yet we sometimes
easily forget that our brothers and sisters are each worth
infinitely more than aesthetics, than music, than rubric. We must
love people more than those!
Dump on your sister or brother in the name of such things and you
have missed the Bridegroom and married the Wedding March. Don't be
too surprised if you find the Wedding March to be a less than
thrilling spouse, a source of frustration rather than peace and joy!
Whenever we use the constructs of rubric or music to hurt or demean
one another, those Angels whose presence we ignore at our peril
weep, and I think God does as well.
The Presence of God that we miss so often should change our
demeanour. Students act differently (usually worse, alas...) for a substitute
teacher. Employees are different when the boss is off for the day.
These assortments of different behavior are pretty much shot
through the human condition, though not necessarily always a good
The message here is no masks. Know Him in Whose presence and House
you are. But really KNOW Him. That can take a lifetime of trying on
and shedding as false different modes of conduct.
God is Parent and Creator and we are always creatures, but we are
not always children. We have to grow to the adult relationship with
God that fortunate children eventually share with their parents.
(If we never got to do this with our parents, and many haven't, establishing
honesty with God is going to perhaps be a bit of a chore... Keep trying!)
As we grow in our knowledge of God, our behavior around Him (and we
are ALWAYS "around Him", that's another clear message of the Holy
Rule!) changes. It becomes more real and more natural. It changes
with a very clear eye to Whom God is and who we are. It changes
from knowledge born of love and security.
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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