Holy Rule for Feb. 23
Prayers, please, for the spiritual and physical welfare of the following, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:
Alex, very depressed and no motivation to apply for jobs, to get back on track and motivated to seek work.
Brittany and Orest, who just got engaged. May God be with them always.
Marie, for whom we prayed, is out of ICU, but may have had a heart attack., tests will show what's wrong. Prayers for Myrna and all her family, too.
Another Marie, 87, who is suffering much, and for her daughter Cathy with whom she lives, who is trying to help her, but feels she is not getting very far.
Emily and her newborn baby, Zachary. He was born at 30 weeks and both are having many serious medical problems.
Ricky, cancer in his head. Much prayer needed.
Ida, elderly senior with constant pain for years. Taken to the hospital today.
B and C, undergoing deep crises of faith and also that B stop actively seeking to undermine the faith of C who is suffering greatly because of it.
Deo gratias, Sadie, 7, is recovering so well from her heart transplant that she can now walk up into town from her house, and back, with her mother - that will be over a mile in total! Her parents say she has never in her young life had such energy. Thanks be to God! Please thank everyone for their kind prayers.
Maggie, 86, is very ill. She recently had RSV (a respiratory virus) which made her unable to breath, and the strain on her heart caused a heart attack. She also has an aneurysm in her aorta, but surgery is too dangerous in her weakened state. She is being sent home, it seems, to allow her to die in the comfort of her own home. She is a Scientologist. Prayers for her happy death and all who will mourn her, esp. Barbara.
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 is a flavor no
other hour has for me. 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 thoughtfully
divided because of their length. Apparently by numerical
happenstance, Psalm 140 winds up 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 the kids!)
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 cook in the kitchen,
at work feeding loved ones, is a rich one, indeed. That exercise of
care for your loved ones is truly prayer, a graced act of love!
If you are into CD's or tapes, 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
We carry a CD from the monks of Solesmes which has Sunday Vespers and Compline.
Click on our webpage, then on gift shop, then on Gregorian Chant.
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,