Holy Rule for June 23
February 22, June 23, October 23
Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said
At Terce, Sext and None on Monday
let the nine remaining sections of Psalm 118 be said,
three at each of these Hours.
Psalm 118 having been completed, therefore,
on two days, Sunday and Monday,
let the nine Psalms from Psalm 119 to Psalm 127
be said at Terce, Sext and None,
three at each Hour,
beginning with Tuesday.
And let these same Psalms be repeated every day until Sunday
at the same Hours,
while the arrangement of hymns, lessons and verses
is kept the same on all days;
and thus Prime on Sunday will always begin with Psalm 118.
Running psalmody, that is, reciting the Psalms in numerical order, no
matter what came next, was a very common ancient monastic practice.
Since one of the principles behind the Psalter was to "get it all in"
in the space of a week, that running psalmody was a natural
consequence. St. Benedict obviously had some of that on his mind: he
goes from detailed directions about the spacing of the longest Psalm,
118, right into assigning the next 9 to the minor hours which are
repeated throughout the week from Tuesday to Saturday.
As a result, one could safely say that there is nothing specific to
the time of day as such about these Psalms, but that it not entirely
correct. These nine Psalms from 119-127 are gradual Psalms,
pilgrimage songs. They were sung by the Jews as they were going up to
Jerusalem. They are filled with the tension of anticipation and
possession of God's Temple and His blessings, they are songs
of "already" and "not yet".
The gradual Psalms are short, compact units, easily memorized. Since
memory is one thing the Holy Rule no doubt was providing for- these
Offices could, if necessary, be said on the spot, in the fields- it is
likely that this group were quite deliberately chosen. No one in
their right mind would suggest some of the longer Psalms from Matins
for easy memorization!!
Regardless of what St. Benedict may or may not have had in mind, the
Holy Spirit can use all of us, even St. Benedict, in ways we do not
realize. Read through these Psalms and picture yourself saying them
in a distant field, with the Abbey in view, but far away. Get the
idea? The pilgrim songs that speak of already AND not yet were the
perfect thing for monastics to say in such circumstances. Jerusalem,
the House of God, was both a distant view and a complete possession,
since ALL of the monastery is the House of God.
It is easy, terribly easy, to forget that we live "in the House of
God." We do, all monastics do, Oblates do, everyone does. It IS God's
world. Being reminded of this by those Psalms of journeying is a
great idea. Our feet really are "standing within your gates, O
Jerusalem!" We look from afar and see that Jerusalem is a city
compact, a unity of peace and order.
Love and prayers,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- +PAXPrayers for Dot, 86, COPD, on her birthday.Continued prayers for Beckham, surgery to remove bladder blockage was successful, kidney damage remains to be determined.Deo gratias, Bone scan for DJ shows cancer is contained in the prostate and he will have surgery Sept 30. Of your kindness please continue to pray that surgery will eradicate all the cancer.God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Thanks so much! JL
January 7, May 8, September 7
And so we are going to establish
a school for the service of the Lord.
In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
our hearts expand
and we run the way of God's commandments
with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
Thus, never departing from His school,
but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.
"Our hearts expand..." they truly do. Mine has already been
wonderfully stretched and pulled and enlarged beyond my wildest
dreams, often with me kicking and screaming every inch of the way. I
have no doubt that it will grow bigger still, capable of holding
more, but I know I could not stand that now, it would be too much.
God works slowly, according to our individual needs. Better than
anyone, He knows that doing it all at once would reduce us to
The biggest factor that I can see in God's work of heart renovation
for me has been intercessory prayer. When you renovate a building,
you have to tear down some walls, a dusty, ugly, painful mess. Ah,
but the light and air and space that one finds in those new areas
where walls had stood! In praying for God's people, I learned to love
them, more prayer equaled more love and so it spiraled upward and
The rain for my roots was that work in progress, the expansion of my
heart. It's not the same as other loves I have known and in no way as
graphic or immediate or intimate, but oh, it is deep. I am sure it is
not incompatible with married love, but God seemed to want it so for
me. True to form, I argued with Him for years about that and still do
When a novice in my twenties, I used to look at two real saints of
St. Leo Abbey, Brothers David Gormican and Raphael Daly, both now
gone to God. I am not even sure I thought it had become easier for
them at the end of their lives, I thought, with the mindlessness so
easy for me then, that they were just so old they didn't care
My dear friend Ann Chatlos was a FABULOUS cook and she had been at it
for years. One day I went to see her and we sat talking in her
kitchen, she was fiddling around, nothing special. Frankly, I didn't
even notice any activity that would have produced a meal. She finally
turned around and said to me: "Stay for dinner." I asked when it
would be ready and she said, "Now." I was floored. While we spoke, a
pie, chicken and roast potatoes and something else I forget had been
going on. A full meal with nothing out of cans and a homemade
dessert, yet it appeared that she had just been chatting.
That's the nonchalance of Brother David and Brother Raphael. It
wasn't that they didn't care, it was that things of sanctity had
become so much second nature to them that many of those around them
never noticed that dinner was ready. May that nonchalance of sanctity
come to us all, and may Brothers David and Raphael and Ann, now also
with God, pray us there.
Love and prayers,