Holy Rule for June 21
Prayers, please for Kat's friend who has had three heart attacks and has bad intestinal problems. She is not considered a candidate for a pacemaker or for intestinal surgery. She is greatly depressed and almost out of hope.
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 20, June 21, October 21
Chapter 17: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at These Hours
We have already arranged the order of the psalmody
for the Night and Morning Offices;
let us now provide for the remaining Hours.
At Prime let three Psalms be said,
separately and not under one "Glory be to the Father."
The hymn of that Hour
is to follow the verse "Incline unto my aid, O God,"
before the Psalms begin.
Upon completion of the three Psalms
let one lesson be recited,
then a verse,
the "Lord, have mercy on us" and the concluding prayers.
The Offices of Terce, Sext and None
are to be celebrated in the same order,
the "Incline unto my aid, O God," the hymn proper to each Hour,
three Psalms, lesson and verse,
"Lord, have mercy on us" and concluding prayers.
If the community is a large one,
let the Psalms be sung with antiphons;
but if small,
let them be sung straight through.
Let the Psalms of the Vesper Office be limited to four,
After these Psalms the lesson is to be recited,
then the responsory, the hymn, the verse,
the canticle from the Gospel book,
the litany, the Lord's Prayer and the concluding prayers.
Let Compline be limited to the saying of three Psalms,
which are to be said straight through without antiphon,
and after them the hymn of that Hour,
one lesson, a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on us,"
the blessing and the concluding prayers.
Just as Lauds and Vespers are fraternal twins, at dawn and sunset, so
are Prime and Compline, before work and before bed. Both are somewhat
different from the other minor hours, but, like Lauds and Vespers,
they share a similarity and complementarity of sorts. Prime was
suppressed in the Roman rite, but not in the monastic usage. Still,
in the reshuffling of things, Prime got lost in many, if not most
houses. I was delighted to find it still in use at one UK house.
It's too bad many places lost Prime. Just as Compline features many
things that prepare one for sleep or for the death it prefigures, always a
possibility, so Prime prepares one for the day at hand, for its work
and for life. The traditional time given for the celebration of Prime
was "before work."
Some older Oblate manuals used to offer the full text of Prime for
every day, with the other hour being the changeless Compline. That
made a great deal of sense. Many Oblates who could only dream
spending morning hours before work or school celebrating Matins and
Lauds could easily fit Prime into their schedule and its whole
liturgical slant was to prepare them for and bless their work day
Prime got merged with a lot of stuff that
ordinarily happened in the Chapter room daily: reading the Rule and
assigning work. Hence, some of its additions may not have been of the
purest type, but let us face facts, we are an age that rarely insists on
purism, and chiefly only when it agrees with agendas we already are
bent on anyway.
Since these are easily added to any scheme of morning prayer you
might be using,let me give you the two prayers offered at the end of
Prime. Either or both are a great way to begin the day and quickly
memorized. Just remember, as you say them, to join your heart to the
thousands and thousands of monastics who said them every day before
you. They are a very neat connection to our past and to the saints of
our Order who have gone before us.
"Lord God Almighty, You have brought us to the beginning of this day.
Preserve us now by Your power so that in this day we may not fall
into any sin; rather, that all our words, thoughts and acts may be
always directed to doing Your justice. We ask this through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen."
"Lord God, King of heaven and earth, be pleased this day to direct
and sanctify, to rule and govern our hearts and bodies, our thoughts,
words and deeds according to Your law and in obedience to Your
commandments. Now and forever may we attain salvation and freedom by
Your help, O Savior of the world, Who lives and reigns forever and
Enjoy them and use them!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
A blessed Easter to all! Christ is risen, truly He is risen!!
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and temproal welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Luke, house sale - his house has been on the market for over a year and he really needs to sell it and downsize after the end of a long-term relationship.
Deo Gratias, V. has been offered and very limited place next year on the post-graduate course of his dreams...now he needs the money to pay for it.
Funding for D. to further his studies, or inspiration for something even better.
Continued prayers for baby Grace and her family. She is stable but still on oxygen in the house 24/7, and is waiting to see a specialist.
Jual, young mother of three battling breast cancer. Nodules found in her lung. Having surgery Sunday.
Prayers for safe journey, and back, for an extended family going on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land for almost 2 weeks, and prayers for a wonderful time.
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
April 8, August 8, December 8
Chapter 55: On the Clothes and Shoes of the Brethren
For bedding let this suffice:
a mattress, a blanket, a coverlet and a pillow.
The beds, moreover, are to be examined frequently by the Abbot,
to see if any private property be found in them.
If anyone should be found to have something
that he did not receive from the Abbot,
let him undergo the most severe discipline.
And in order that this vice of private ownership
may be cut out by the roots,
the Abbot should provide all the necessary articles:
cowl, tunic, stockings, shoes, belt,
knife, stylus, needle, handkerchief, writing tablets;
that all pretext of need may be taken away.
Yet the Abbot should always keep in mind
the sentence from the Acts of the Apostles
that "distribution was made to each according as anyone had need"
In this manner, therefore,
let the Abbot consider weaknesses of the needy
and not the ill-will of the envious.
But in all his decisions
let him think about the retribution of God.
There is a tendency, both within the cloister and without, to hunt
for dramatic ascetic practices, while ignoring the truly more
difficult matters that lack the fanfare. Lights! Camera! Action! We
must always be wary of the Nora Desmonds of our hearts, who are
always willing to say, a la Sunset Boulevard: "I'm ready for my close-
up now, Mr. DeMille." How we do love to star, even at self-
Well, there's two bad pieces of new for Ms. Desmond et al. First the
penances we choose are usually not the most effective ones. The
best ones are imposed by God or our situation of daily duty and they
become tremendous means of grace when we patiently embrace them.
Second, the ones we do choose can be terrible risks for pride, which
undoes our efforts so insidiously.
What on earth does this have to do with the current chapter? Easy-
and very, very hard, too! The great ascesis here is to aim at
limiting ourselves to "all the necessary articles." There is a
challenge here for everyone from Abbot Primate to newest Oblate
novice. It is a challenge we shall likely never meet fully in life,
so it is something we can always be profitably picking at!
Do you know anyone at all, in any vocation, who has absolutely
nothing beyond what they need? I have known a few; alas I cannot
say it of myself. I think this is an area where we can all look at a challenging
grace-filled ascetic struggle that is placed on us by the Holy Rule.
Down-sizing actually feels great, once one gets over the consumerist
terror of doing so! One will quickly find that, in this area, less
really *IS* more, (unlike poetry and art, architecture and liturgy,
alas...! Minimalism there gets old fast...) We become freer when we
let go of things which hold us more than we realize.
We can get buried in things we are saving to complete unfinalized
plans that will never come to fruition, and while we save them, we
are disheartened by our own failure to use them. Jettison, m'dears,
jettison. As the one Desert Father used to say to the brethren,"Flee,
brothers, flee!" so do I say: "Jettison!"
This has the further charm of fitting well into a depressive's sofa
paralysis, too. Recall how I told you about that resolution to make
three things, no matter how tiny, better each day? Works here, too!
And you will often find to your delight that the trip to dumpster or thrift
shop donation includes 7, 8, or more things!
Keep chipping away and the mountain of our false hearts' desires,
beloveds. And one day may all those chips be ground to sand and may
we stand together on level, smooth quartz
sand, confronted by nothing but the dazzling ocean of God's
unfathomable mercy and love!
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]