Holy Rule for June 24
Prayers, please, for Dennis, he needs to find a job really soon. May God give him the job He wants for him.
Prayers for the eternal rest of Vishy and Mary, his wife. Both were killed in a plane crash.
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 23, June 24, October 24
Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said
Vespers are to be sung with four Psalms every day.
These shall begin with Psalm 109 and go on to Psalm 147,
omitting those which are set apart for other Hours;
that is to say that
with the exception of Psalms 117 to 127 and Psalms 133 and 142,
all the rest of these are to be said at Vespers.
And since there are three Psalms too few,
let the longer ones of the above number be divided,
namely Psalms 138, 143 and 144.
But let Psalm 116 because of its brevity be joined to Psalm 115.
The order of the Vesper Psalms being thus settled,
let the rest of the Hour --
lesson, responsory, hymn, verse and canticle --
be carried out as we prescribed above.
At Compline the same Psalms are to be repeated every day,
namely Psalms 4, 90 and 133.
Maybe it's just me, but I find Vespers and Compline very different
and refreshing. They are evening hours, not followed by work, except
for the light clean up after supper, which is not a main meal here
anyway. Vespers makes me think of finally getting home and shutting
the door after a long day and a tough commute. It ends the workday,
leaving the evening for family. Not shabby! A rite of passage from the job
to the home hearth!
A brief glance at the Psalms for Vespers will show that they are yet
another example of consecutive, running psalmody. One right after
another, except for a few which get bumped elsewhere or are
thoughtfully divided because of their length. Apparently by numerical
happenstance, Psalm 140 winds us in the Vespers grouping, and it is
most appropriate: "Let my prayer ascend to You like incense and the
lifting up of my hands like an evening sacrifice." Historically,
Psalm 140 has appeared in the Vespers or services of light
(Lucenaria) of many, many rites.
For active monasteries, or for busy Oblates in the world, evening and
early morning are often the only times we get of relative cloister
and focus. The morning hours are largely available to anyone willing
or able to get up while the rest of the world (including offspring!)
sleeps, the evening hours perhaps less so. Those evenings are family
times par excellence and our first vocations must always be respected.
If, as a working parent or spouse, getting home means just getting
started with dinner, don't despair! There is (or can be, if you
provide for it,) a lot of undistracted solitude in cooking, even if
it is rather harried cooking. The solitude of a kitchen at work feeding
loved ones is a rich one, indeed.
If you are into CD's, get one of somebody else singing Vespers and
play it. Heaven knows, if you can put up with the kids' music, they
can put up with yours for half an hour a day. Even if you do not
listen to every word, the soothing chant will settle into your bones,
become a backdrop of peace on which you can position the rest of your
evening. Give it a shot for two weeks and I'll bet you find your
evening meals and later times very different, because YOU are
Solesmes Abbey in France has produced a CD of Sunday Vespers and Compline in
Gregorian chant. In Latin, but lovely. We carry it in our gift shop here and you can order on-line.
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]