Holy Rule for Oct. 25/26
This is the reading for Oct. 25, I accidentally sent out Oct. 26 yesterday, so
this is trying to catch up and remedy the error. JL
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 24, June 25, October 25
Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said
The order of psalmody for the day Hours being thus arranged, let
all the remaining Psalms be equally distributed among the seven
Night Offices by dividing the longer Psalms among them and
assigning twelve Psalms to each night.
We strongly recommend, however, that if this distribution of the
Psalms is displeasing to anyone, she should arrange them otherwise,
in whatever way she considers better,
but taking care in any case that the Psalter with its full number
of 150 Psalms be chanted every week and begun again every Sunday at
the Night Office. For those monastics show themselves too lazy in
the service to which they are vowed, who chant less than the
Psalter with the customary canticles in the course of a week,
whereas we read that our holy Fathers strenuously fulfilled that
task in a single day. May we, lukewarm that we are, perform it at
least in a whole week!
I am going to begin this by reprinting two paragraphs of very
important qualifications from the last post on this chapter, in
"I hasten to add a word of caution to Oblates here: the Holy Rule
is referring to choral Office in monasteries. To undertake for
oneself such an Office could well be unwise, and sometimes, even
wrong. The conditions of one's state in life come first. Oblates who
are parents or married have kept Vigils and Nocturns with sick children
or spouses of which professed monastics would never dream. Don't get
hung up on this one. SHARE the Office all you can, but tend first
to the responsibilities of your state in life.
Before I became a monk I used to OCCASIONALLY do all 150 Psalms
alone. There were two things worthy of mention here: I was a single
man with one (very loving!) cat, and I recited them. Even at that,
I can assure you it took up a chunk of time. Hence, Oblates should
take great care that they don't obsess on this notion. Do what you
can and rest assured that your community, and the Order and the
whole praying Church is "making up" whatever you can't offer."
A couple of years ago, the guesthouse well died (temporarily,
thanks be to God!) We had to gather 10 gallon plastic buckets for
each bathroom, haul them down the hill to the monastery in the
station wagon, fill them and bring them back. What a hassle! We
also had to caution the guests rather indelicately about no
unnecessary flushes. Even more recently, a storm left us without
electricity for several hours. Afraid to open the fridge too much
and with no oven, we ordered pizza in Athol for the guesthouse.
Both of these things were tough, but neither were anything compared
to the amount of labor required to maintain life in the first
centuries of the Order's existence. Neither were there lay
brothers to do all that work in those days, since they were a much
later development. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, no running
water, no phones, no Athol House of Pizza to call and no car to pick
it up in. (OK aqueducts in some places, but you get the picture...)
In the midst of a life that we would find crushingly different, St.
Benedict insisted on the weekly 150. Hmmmm......
We live in a world where countless labor-saving devices and perks
give us far more time than anyone in history has ever had. Are we
always good stewards of that abundance? Heaven knows, I don't want
to give up those modern advantages, look at how hooked on computers
I am. But what do we do with all that time? How much of the time we
save goes to prayer? How much goes to mindless stuff we could well
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for the healing of Layla, 5, who broke two bones in her arm while skating, and for her family, who are wooried about her.
Prayers that E. will return to Confession after many years.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Catherine, and for her family, especially her daughter, Eliza, and all who mourn her.
Birthday prayers for Kathy and Fr. Patrick, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!
Prayers for the eternal rest of Ernest and his sons Ernest and, Sean, they died at different times a while ago. Prayers for all their family, esp. Maria and Rosemary, and for all who mourn them.
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 10, June 11, October 11
Chapter 8: On the Divine Office During the Night
In the winter time,
that is from the Calends of November until Easter,
the sisters shall rise
at what is calculated to be the eighth hour of the night,
so that they may sleep somewhat longer than half the night
and rise with their rest completed.
And the time that remains after the Night Office
should be spent in study
by those sisters who need a better knowledge of the Psalter
or the lessons.
From Easter to the aforesaid Calends of November,
the hour of rising should be so arranged that the Morning Office,
which is to be said at daybreak,
will follow the Night Office after a very short interval,
during which they may go out for the necessities of nature.
In St. Benedict's time, and for centuries afterwards, life on a self-sustaining
farm, which monasteries were supposed to be, was far more difficult and
time consuming than it would be today. The simplest things that we now do
with the flick of a switch were big deals, involving lots of human workers and
every available daylight hour.
Hence, the monks got up early, very early, to get in much of their monastic day
before the sun (and the critters!) rose for the day. There was, of course, a
penitential aspect to this early rising, too, and the ancient Christian practice
of the night vigil.
There's at least a possible hint for Oblates of today in all this. Get up a bit
earlier if you can, and devote those silent and dark morning hours or minutes to
your monastic endeavors. Knock off a late TV favorite and go to bed a tad
earlier. We always find time for what we love most. If, however, one is married
and has a spouse that doesn't want one to blissfully retire at 7:30 or so, this
will not work. Marriage is a primary, sacramental vocation and demands
Two very human glimpses into the personality of St. Benedict here. He
is thoughtful and kind, making sure the monastics have time for a
bathroom run and he is not prudish about mentioning it. Its part of
the human and part of family life. As casually as a Mother asks young
children if anybody "has to go" before a trip, he throws out mention
of the fact that not everyone could make it through two long services
without great discomfort!
Love and prayers,