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Nov. 16

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX Prayers, please for all in harm s way in Afghanistan and Iraq, for Mary Ann, strenuous chemo for cancer with a doubtful prognosis, also for the suicide
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 16, 2003

      Prayers, please for all in harm's way in Afghanistan and Iraq, for
      Mary Ann, strenuous chemo for cancer with a doubtful prognosis, also
      for the suicide bombers and their victims in Istanbul. God's will is
      best. All really is mercy and grace, somehow it is!! Thanks so much.

      March 17, July 17, November 16
      Chapter 38: On the Weekly Reader

      The meals of the sisters should not be without reading.
      Nor should the reader be
      anyone who happens to take up the book;
      but there should be a reader for the whole week,
      entering that office on Sunday.
      Let this incoming reader,
      after Mass and Communion,
      ask all to pray for her
      that God may keep her from the spirit of pride
      And let her intone the following verse,
      which shall be said three times by all in the oratory:
      "O Lord, open my lips,
      and my mouth shall declare Your praise."
      Then, having received a blessing,
      let her enter on the reading.

      And let absolute silence be kept at table,
      so that no whispering may be heard
      nor any voice except the reader's.
      As to the things they need while they eat and drink,
      let the sisters pass them to one another
      so that no one need ask for anything.
      If anything is needed, however,
      let it be asked for by means of some audible sign
      rather than by speech.
      Nor shall anyone at table presume to ask questions
      about the reading or anything else,
      lest that give occasion for talking;
      except that the Superior may perhaps wish
      to say something briefly for the purpose of edification.

      The sister who is reader for the week
      shall take a little ablution before she begins to read,
      on account of the Holy Communion
      and lest perhaps the fast be hard for her to bear.
      She shall take her meal afterwards
      with the kitchen and table servers of the week.

      The sisters are not to read or chant in order,
      but only those who edify their hearers.


      It is tempting when reading any rule or law to view it being observed
      with a Nazi goose-step precision. Don't go there! That's not how the
      Holy Rule gets fleshed out in healthy communities. (And the key word
      here is HEALTHY!) Ours is a Rule for families, and families need love
      and affectionate playfulness to build and strengthen their bonds of
      unity and delight in each other.

      So, OK, we do keep silence in the refectory and we do have reading
      and we can't go absolutely off the wall while there, but we do quite
      often have some fun. A sidelong glance with eyes rolled upward can
      say volumes, a smile or chuckle, sometimes universal and joyous
      laughter do the same.

      One could go too far with such things, but in moderation they are
      fine. They unite with non-verbal ties, they connect with wordless
      junctures and these are very powerful. The huge amount of verbiage in
      our modern world has taught us to discount words on many occasions,
      but the genuinely affectionate body language of shared silence does
      not fall under that sentence. Hence, these are very strong messages
      of love we send to one another.

      Sometimes the matter being read is sufficiently boring to make one
      chew with incredible speed. (This is as Catch 22, however. The faster
      one eats, the more days it will take to finish the pearl of great
      price at hand....) When we were recently reading a papal document on
      consecrated life rich with Vaticanese, a bureaucratic jargon that
      could induce sleep faster than any narcotic known to science, there
      were ample opportunities to enjoy a bit of comic relief.

      I am typically bored to tears by such literature read aloud. I can do
      it alone, but read it to me? Well, you know the warmth of the
      language employed in such officialese! Yeccch!

      Suffice it to say that I was longing for anything to break the mood.
      Then- O wondrous to say!- came a longish portion on "the difficulties
      of consecrated life" the religious had to bear. Sensing my moment had
      come, I patted Brother Bernard, who sat next to me, on the forearm
      and smiled patronizingly. (It is our particular vocation to tease and
      torture each other!)

      I am probably beyond redemption in some areas! LOL!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      Petersham, MA
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