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Nov. 13

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers for Barry and Bill on their birthday. God s will is best. All is mercy and grace. Thanks so much! JL March 14, July 14, November 13 Chapter 35:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 13, 2003

      Prayers for Barry and Bill on their birthday. God's will is best. All
      is mercy and grace. Thanks so much! 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.


      Blessing readers and servers may strike the modern reader as a bit
      silly: a CEREMONY of blessing to do a no-brainer like that for a
      week? Ah, well there's the rub. Ancient monastics (and many Eastern
      Orthodox monastics even in our own day,) do NOTHING without a
      blessing. This results in all kinds of blessings for things we would
      take for granted. When the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne went as a
      group to the guillotine, at least one of the nuns approached the
      Prioress and asked; "Permission to die, Mother?" The Prioress blessed
      her to die.

      Getting a blessing, asking God's help for even seemingly trivial
      matters is a powerful reminder of our own weakness. It is a statement
      that we can do nothing without Him, that we truly are nothing that He
      has not given. There is a great humility in asking anyone for help.
      In this instance, however, humility is richest truth: we need God's
      help for everything. We do things only because He enables us, whether
      we asked Him for help or not. Our very lives would not exist without

      We still bless readers and servers. Short ceremony, same every week.
      We all pray together for whomever is serving us. Since we are small
      (only 7,) the Superior is often reader or server. When that happens,
      he kneels like anyone else and the senior monk blesses him. It's a
      little family ritual.

      But what is its message for families in the world? For single Oblates
      living alone? The message is that there are no tasks to insignificant
      to bless with prayer. St. Benedict has earlier encouraged us to begin
      every good work with prayer, but maybe we have forgotten. Because the
      monastic is MINDFUL, careful, attuned to life, nothing is
      unimportant, nothing should be done "on automatic pilot." There is
      that healthy level of mistrust of self that will ask for Divine
      assistance in any endeavor. "Bless, Lord, yet another
      diaper." "Bless, Lord, emptying the trash." "Bless, Lord, management

      Making dinner or washing the dishes? Take a quiet moment in the midst
      of either to say "Help!" and "Thanks!" Two simple, one word prayers.
      No matter how chaotic your household, everyone will find time for at
      least that. God knows the details, knows your heart and can readily
      fill in the blanks! We may think God needs essay-length prayers, but
      He doesn't. He may enjoy hearing from us, but trust me, we NEVER tell
      Him anything that's news to Him.

      Of course, there is another side to simple things like serving table,
      picking up pins and the like. No, one could not have done anything
      without God's help, but ah, if one does them out of love and care!
      Bingo! Double coupons, so to speak! If that pin got carefully picked
      up because of a barefoot and running child, or a beloved pet who is
      prone to "tasting" whatever she can find on the floor, simplicity
      becomes a very much greater matter, indeed. Now it is very close to
      the heart of God, and that is a wonderful place to be.

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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