Holy Rule for Feb. 15
Prayers, please,for Br. Joseph, renewing his vows next month.
Prayers for Wilma (early 60s), in hospital to get the bones in her left ankle fused - she has such bad osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis in her ankle that the Consultant said the only way to ease her crippling pain would be to fuse the bones in that ankle. She has a coal fire for heat, stairs, and is not supposed to let that foot touch the ground for 3 weeks, so she is going to need a lot of help.
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.
February 15, June 16, October 16
Chapter 13: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said on Weekdays
the Morning Office shall be celebrated as follows.
Let Psalm 66 be said without an antiphon
and somewhat slowly,
as on Sunday,
in order that all may be in time for Psalm 50,
which is to be said with an antiphon.
After that let two other Psalms be said according to custom,
on Monday Psalms 5 and 35,
on Tuesday Psalms 42 and 56,
on Wednesday Psalms 63 and 64,
on Thursday Psalms 87 and 89,
on Friday Psalms 75 and 91,
and on Saturday Psalm 142 and the canticle from Deuteronomy,
which is to be divided into two sections
each terminated by a "Glory be to the Father."
But on the other days let there be a canticle from the Prophets,
each on its own day as chanted by the Roman Church.
Next follow the Psalms of praise,
then a lesson of the Apostle to be recited from memory,
the responsory, the hymn, the verse,
the canticle from the Gospel book,
the litany, and so the end.
Again, we have the gentleness of St. Benedict, insisting on the slow
recitation of Psalm 66, to give all the stragglers and strugglers
time to arrive! But we have it here in other respects, too. Check out
the length of the Canticle from Deuteronomy. Pack a lunch!! St.
Benedict divides it, drops one Psalm and lets one half of the very
long canticle take its place.
Even though St. Benedict went out of his way to shorten the Roman
Office of his day, here he says that the canticles chosen by the
Roman Church for most of the week should be used. When he sees a good
idea, he embraces it. When he sees a need for change, he does that,
too. It is very evident that he did not care for lengthy services,
that he did not want his monastics to become liturgical gymnasts,
spending ALL their time working out! As always, he wanted balance.
We must always be careful NOT to read St. Benedict with purely 21st
century eyes. Liturgy and uniformity were very, very different in his
time. If anything, uniformity was little known. The greatest
ascendancy of the Roman usage before Trent in Europe- and even that
was far from complete- would come hundreds of years later, under the
aegis of Charlemagne. The enforced uniformity of Trent was over a
thousand years away.
(Trivia: We forget that the Roman rite of Trent was not used
everywhere before the 16th century, or even used everywhere afterwards.
One of the minor complaints to arise about the priests
of the post-Reformation English mission was that some used the new
Roman Mass of Trent, while others clung to the more ancient and
properly English rite of Sarum. Dominicans, Carmelites, Cistercians and
Carthusians retained their own rites, with Gallican peculiarities,
right up until the late 1960's. Carthusians still use their own rite
for Mass and Office.)
Hence, when we see St. Benedict setting up his own complete Psalter,
that is not unusual: every monastery would have to do that for
itself, some better than others. It was that "some better than
others" part that St. Benedict wished to avoid: he set a standard for
his monasteries that would protect them from the surrounding extremes
of too much or too little.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
Prayers for the at least 37 killed and 15 injured in a plane crash in Kyrgyzstan. For the eternal rest of the dead, the recovery of the wounded and for the families of all. Prayers, too, for those who lost homes or property, half of the village was destroyed by the crash.
The Salesians invite all to join them in praying a novena to Mary Immaculate, Help of Christians, for the release of kidnapped Fr. Tom in Yemen. The novena is from January 15-23.
Prayers for the eternal rest of JP. For whom we prayed, and for all his family, especially his son, and all who mourn him.
Prayers for John, facing two hours of dental implant surgery on Tuesday, may all go well and may he recover quickly.
Prayers for Donna, on her birthday, graces galore and many more, ad multos annos!
Prayers for the eternal rest of Br. Augustine, 58, of the Maronite monks in Petersham, Holy Trinity Monastery, and for his Community, family and all who mourn him.
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.
January 17, May 18, September 17
Chapter 3: On Calling the Brethren for Counsel
In all things, therefore, let all follow the Rule as guide,
and let no one be so rash as to deviate from it.
Let no one in the monastery follow his own heart's fancy;
and let no one presume to contend with his Abbot
in an insolent way or even outside of the monastery.
But if anyone should presume to do so,
let him undergo the discipline of the Rule.
At the same time,
the Abbot himself should do all things in the fear of God
and in observance of the Rule,
knowing that beyond a doubt
he will have to render an account of all his decisions
to God, the most just Judge.
But if the business to be done in the interests of the monastery
be of lesser importance,
let him take counsel with the seniors only.
It is written,
"Do everything with counsel,
and you will not repent when you have done it" (Eccles. 32:24).
The key here is not to contend insolently; there is no proscription
against telling the Abbot one feels something is amiss, so long as it
is done respectfully and humbly. We are Benedictines, not fascists;
we have a Father, not a Fuhrer.
Human nature being what it is, people are usually more prone to cite
the Abbot's responsibility to seek counsel than they are to cite the
equally important proscription against contending with one's Abbot!
There's a cure for that and many other ills buried within this
chapter, a telling phrase whose observance promises peace. That
little gem urges the monastics not to follow their "own heart's
Follow that gem and peace abounds! For one thing, whether abbot or
monastic, parent or child, boss or employee, the focus of the
relationship ceases to become self. None of us is anywhere near the
big deal we'd either like to be or think ourselves to be! Much of
what seems earth-shattering to us is really small stuff, indeed.
This is so important to monastic struggle because it is so intricately
interwoven with detachment and holy indifference. We must learn how
to hold onto our inner peace, how to safeguard it from damage at the
hands of trivia. An abject TERRIBLE day for us, one when we are so
hurt or angry that the world seems to have stopped, is just another average
day for the rest of the community. Until, of course we decide we ARE
the center of the universe and ruin it for them... Cling to that
knowledge of trivia and less will suffer!
At that point of recognizing trivia, truth and therefore, humility
enter into the equation. We need very good "trivia
detectors" and their default setting must be aimed at ourselves,
rarely cast elsewhere except in cases of really great need. We can
keep those detectors more than amply busy just in our own hearts
and wills! We need to know deception, falsity, trivia, but it is
essential to know them first in ourselves.
If these good tools of detection are aimed only at others, the result
will be pride and a fall, not humility and truth. Jesus said "I am
the Truth," and to Him we must prefer nothing. Hence, our first
desire must always be the truth and the truth is that the earth does
not revolve around us as an axis!
Our age, particularly, has embraced the idea of "Follow your bliss!"
Well, maybe...sometimes.... but maybe not, too. Our "bliss" is no
guarantee of infallibility. Years ago, and for many years of my life,
I thought my "bliss" would be very different from where I finally wound up.
As a handy rule of thumb, I would say that the will of God quite
often looks nothing like bliss at first. Hence, confusing bliss with
the divine will can be very risky. The will of God often BECOMES
bliss when we are in the midst of following it, or in hindsight, but we
frequently have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into that compliance!
Love and prayers,