WHOOPS! Second try here....
- OK, I forgot to copy the completed reflection, so only sent out the
Holy Rule quote. Thanks to Mary Hazllett for tipping me off! Here's
the whole thing. JL
A most blessed feast of All Benedictine Saints to all!
Please support a good friend and brother, D., with your prayers. He
is suffering from a bad bout of depression, something I am sure many
of us can understand all too well. NRN. -JL
March 14, July 14, November 13
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
An hour before the meal
let the weekly servers each receive a drink and some bread
over and above the appointed allowance,
in order that at the meal time they may serve their brethren
without murmuring and without excessive fatigue.
On solemn days, however, let them wait until after Mass.
Immediately after the Morning Office on Sunday,
the incoming and outgoing servers
shall prostrate themselves before all the brethren in the oratory
and ask their prayers.
Let the server who is ending his week say this verse:
"Blessed are You, O Lord God,
who have helped me and consoled me."
When this has been said three times
and the outgoing server has received his blessing,
then let the incoming server follow and say,
"Incline unto my aid, O God;
O Lord, make haste to help me."
Let this also be repeated three times by all,
and having received his blessing
let him enter his service.
An ancient monastic practice, still practiced in the Eastern Churches
to a much greater extent than in the Western one, was to do nothing
without a blessing from one's elder. Nothing. One can easily imagine
that the practice may have worn some abbas and ammas out at times,
but it did more or less perdure.
In the West, the practice evolved more into getting permission than
getting a blessing. Vestigial traces of the blessing roots can be
found in these blessings of servers and readers each week and also in
the custom, abandoned now in many places, but lasting until the later
20th century, of getting a blessing from one's superior before
leaving the monastic grounds and upon returning.
I can't help but point out that the Western evolution was altogether
unpredictable. Isn't it sad that, of the two Sisters, the West, which
has always been more into law than her sibling, should move away from
blessing to a more legalist approach. Sigh... It really would be nice
to see the day when the Church really DOES breathe, fully breathe
with both lungs, with each truly informing (and FORMING!) the other.
BOTH East and West have much to learn from each other and the sad
truth is that in the rank and file of both Churches, considerable
ignorance about their sister obtains.
There's an important message in this idea of blessings, one which
goes beyond monastery walls and embraces us all. Stop and think, if
it is a good idea to get blessed for a no-brainer like waiting table,
why should any of us risk making the great decisions of our spiritual
lives alone, unaided? Not every tradition has Confession, but some
sort of resource or direction is necessary to us all. A good
director, even a solid friend who shares one's spiritual search can
often be a reality check that saves us from a lot of self-harm.
Love and prayers,
Jerome, OSB jeromeleo@... St. Mary's Petersham,