Holy Rule for Feb. 18
Prayers of thanksgiving, Nadia, for whom we prayed, has had
successful neck surgery. Also, thanks be to God I am home after a
safe and happy trip!! God's will is best. All is mercy and grace!
Thanks so much! JL
February 18, June 19, October 19
Chapter 15: At What Times "Alleluia" Is to Be Said
From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption
let "Alleluia" be said
both in the Psalms and in the responsories.
From Pentecost to the beginning of Lent
let it be said every night
with the last six Psalms of the Night Office only.
On every Sunday, however, outside of Lent,
the canticles, the Morning Office, Prime, Terce, Sext and None
shall be said with "Alleluia,"
but Vespers with antiphons.
The responsories are never to be said with "Alleluia"
except from Easter to Pentecost.
When I lived in the Byzantine rite for a very happy while, one of the
things that surprised me was the fact that they still used Alleluia
in Lent. That sounded strange to my Western ears, but not for long.
In the West, Alleluia has become virtually nothing but a synonym
for "Hooray!" In the East, not so. Our Western connection of Alleluia
as primarily a word of rejoicing reserved for happy times is not
quite on the mark, with all due apologies to St. Benedict and the
rest of Western tradition.
When was the last time you stopped to think that "Amen" really
meant "So be it"? I do now and then, but usually just parrot the word
out without a thought. So it is with most people saying
Alleluia. "Oh, yeah, uh...alleluia...." Alleluia means "Praise the
Lord." Focus on this and one can readily see why the East still says
it during Lent.
Of course, St. Benedict's prescriptions here are a perfect blend of
change and variety for the Office. They "dress up" the most festive
times of the years and provide a break from the ordinary. Probably
what St. Benedict had in mind at the time was that our hearts should
be so full at Paschaltide that no other words would do: only the
ineffable stuttering out of "Alleluia!!" would convey our joy. He
wasn't wrong about that, but saying Alleluia mindlessly misses the
So, forgive me, does saying Alleluia only at joyous times. The
charismatic movement in the 1970's made popular the English
equivalent of Alleluia: "Praise the Lord!" It was an expression of
joy and gratitude for whatever God had done for one. Ah, but then
the "whatever" part of that phrase soon came to be evident! A very
clever catch phrase evolved for those times when things WEREN'T so
great, when one had difficulty appreciating what sometimes seems like
God's decidedly strange sense of humor. On such occasions, they
said: "Praise the Lord Anyhow!" Now that one is probably closer to
the real sense of "Alleluia!"
Our Office and Mass may change in Lent in the Western tradition, but
our hearts must always and everywhere, in every circumstance,
say "Alleluia!" and really mean it, really know it.
Love and prayers and Alleluia!
- +PAXPrayers for Michael, Kathleen and Nancy.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
March 13, July 13, November 12
Chapter 35: On the Weekly Servers in the Kitchen
Let the brethren serve one another, and let no one be excused from
the kitchen service
except by reason of sickness or occupation in some important work.
For this service brings increase of reward and of charity. But let
helpers be provided for the weak ones, that they may not be
distressed by this work; and indeed let everyone have help, as
required by the size of the community or the circumstances of the
locality. If the community is a large one,
the cellarer shall be excused from the kitchen service; and so also
those whose occupations are of greater utility, as we said above.
Let the rest serve one another in charity.
The one who is ending his week of service shall do the cleaning on
Saturday. He shall wash the towels with which the brethren wipe
their hands and feet; and this server who is ending his week, aided
by the one who is about to begin, shall wash the feet of all the
brethren. He shall return the utensils of his office to the
cellarer clean and in good condition,
and the cellarer in turn shall consign them to the incoming server,
in order that he may know what he gives out and what he receives
Some houses may have moved away from having table waiters, but
something is lost in that. We have cafeteria style first portions
here, then the waiter goes around to offer seconds and clears the
dishes. It isn't a really big deal, but it does have a great reward,
as the Holy Rule points out. Because we are a small community, only
7, everyone, even the Superior takes a turn at waiting.
Formerly, in some houses (maybe in all, but I am not sure,) the
Abbot would wait tables on Holy Thursday. There was a nice
connection there: he who held the place of Christ waited on all on
the feast of the Last Supper, and washed the feet of twelve in
Church that day.
The connection here is personalist. Waiting on people connects you
very much to them, as any waiter could tell you. Restaurants may
not pursue that connection to any depth, but a home situation, like
a monastery, surely does.
There's a great notion here for Oblates
who do not live alone: take turns waiting. We can get slumped into Dad
or Mom or husband or wife always being waiter or waited upon.
Switch off, care for each other, in this and many, many other ways!
There are tons of ways of serving another, serving each other, that
have nothing at all to do with tables or dining. There are many,
many, equivalent forms of foot-washing. Hunt for them diligently and
practice them with deep love!
Love and prayers,