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Holy Rule for Oct. 21

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  • Jerry Lee
    +PAX Prayers, please, for the will of God in the US elections. Prayers, too, for the health of Barbara, glaucoma, laser treatments ineffective, invasive
    Message 1 of 15 , Oct 21 6:22 AM
      +PAX

      Prayers, please, for the will of God in the US elections.

      Prayers, too, for the health of Barbara, glaucoma, laser treatments ineffective, invasive surgery being considered, for Kristen and her husband (who had surgery to correct the problem,) they are trying to have a baby, for Tom, prostate cancer surgery, and for Frances, possible bone cancer and for her husband, early Alzheimer's disease. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent. Alleluia! Thanks so much. JL

      February 20, June 21, October 21

      Chapter 17: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at These Hours


      We have already arranged the order of the psalmody
      for the Night and Morning Offices;
      let us now provide for the remaining Hours.


      At Prime let three Psalms be said,
      separately and not under one "Glory be to the Father."
      The hymn of that Hour
      is to follow the verse "Incline unto my aid, O God,"
      before the Psalms begin.
      Upon completion of the three Psalms
      let one lesson be recited,
      then a verse,
      the "Lord, have mercy on us" and the concluding prayers.


      The Offices of Terce, Sext and None
      are to be celebrated in the same order,
      that is:
      the "Incline unto my aid, O God," the hymn proper to each Hour,
      three Psalms, lesson and verse,
      "Lord, have mercy on us" and concluding prayers.


      If the community is a large one,
      let the Psalms be sung with antiphons;
      but if small,
      let them be sung straight through.


      Let the Psalms of the Vesper Office be limited to four,
      with antiphons.
      After these Psalms the lesson is to be recited,
      then the responsory, the Ambrosian hymn, the verse,
      the canticle from the Gospel book,
      the litany, the Lord's Prayer and the concluding prayers.


      Let Compline be limited to the saying of three Psalms,
      which are to be said straight through without antiphon,
      and after them the hymn of that Hour,
      one lesson, a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on us,"
      the blessing and the concluding prayers.


      REFLECTION

      A real short one here. People often ask me about the Benedictine
      Office and want to include it in their prayer lives. Unless you can
      read Latin AND find an old Breviarium Monasticum, or, also hard to
      find, buy an old Monastic Diurnal in English and Latin, that can be
      hard to do! This chapter offers a great solution: Benedictine Psalms
      of Compline.

      They are the same ones every day. You can use them with whatever
      format you have for Compline. Many houses, even today, still use the
      Psalms mentioned here, and all of them did for most of our history.
      The Psalms are 4, When I call...,90(91) He who dwells in the shelter
      of the Most High..., and 133(134) O come, bless the Lord..., the
      first number being the Septuagint numbering usually found in older
      Catholic Bibles and the parenthetical numbering the Hebrew one found
      in Protestant Bibles.

      Used daily, these Psalms sink quickly into memory. Pretty soon you'll
      be able to say Compline with no book. Now that is a great joy! We
      sometimes say it in the car when a couple of us have picked someone
      up at the airport in Boston. We can be together, singing Compline in
      a pitch dark car on the road home. No books needed. Warm and
      familiar. Enjoy!!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      jeromeleo@...

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jerry Lee
      +PAX Prayers, please, for Tom, spinal injections of cortisone yesterday and now some painful waiting to see if they will work, also for Josh, that he do
      Message 2 of 15 , Oct 21 5:49 AM
        +PAX

        Prayers, please, for Tom, spinal injections of cortisone yesterday and now some painful waiting to see if they will work, also for Josh, that he do nothing foolish he will regret, and for his parents. Prayers for D., that his love of the Office will be renewed. Prayers for the happy death and eternal rest of Sister Irene, 92, who died Tuesday, and for all who mourn her. Prayers, too, for Cindy, chemotherapy complications and for Penny, going through a terribly sensitive and painful family problem, and for all her family and those who seek to help her. Prayers for A., travelling to another city, for her uplifted spirits and job hunt. Prayers of thanks and Deo gratias for Donna, whose surgery went well and did not even require blood transfusions. Lord, help them 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 20, June 21, October 21

        Chapter 17: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at These Hours


        We have already arranged the order of the psalmody
        for the Night and Morning Offices;
        let us now provide for the remaining Hours.


        At Prime let three Psalms be said,
        separately and not under one "Glory be to the Father."
        The hymn of that Hour
        is to follow the verse "Incline unto my aid, O God,"
        before the Psalms begin.
        Upon completion of the three Psalms
        let one lesson be recited,
        then a verse,
        the "Lord, have mercy on us" and the concluding prayers.


        The Offices of Terce, Sext and None
        are to be celebrated in the same order,
        that is:
        the "Incline unto my aid, O God," the hymn proper to each Hour,
        three Psalms, lesson and verse,
        "Lord, have mercy on us" and concluding prayers.


        If the community is a large one,
        let the Psalms be sung with antiphons;
        but if small,
        let them be sung straight through.


        Let the Psalms of the Vesper Office be limited to four,
        with antiphons.
        After these Psalms the lesson is to be recited,
        then the responsory, the Ambrosian hymn, the verse,
        the canticle from the Gospel book,
        the litany, the Lord's Prayer and the concluding prayers.


        Let Compline be limited to the saying of three Psalms,
        which are to be said straight through without antiphon,
        and after them the hymn of that Hour,
        one lesson, a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on us,"
        the blessing and the concluding prayers.


        REFLECTION

        A real short one here. People often ask me about the Benedictine
        Office and want to include it in their prayer lives. This chapter offers
        a great solution: the Benedictine Psalms of Compline.

        They are the same ones every day. You can use them with whatever
        format you have for Compline. Many houses, even today, still use the
        Psalms mentioned here, and all of them did for most of our history.
        The Psalms are 4, When I call...,90(91) He who dwells in the shelter
        of the Most High..., and 133(134) O come, bless the Lord..., the
        first number being the Septuagint numbering usually found in older
        Catholic Bibles and the parenthetical numbering the Hebrew one found
        in Protestant Bibles.

        Used daily, these Psalms sink quickly into memory. Pretty soon you'll
        be able to say Compline with no book. Now that is a great joy! We
        sometimes say it in the car when a couple of us have picked someone
        up at the airport in Boston. We can be together, singing Compline in
        a pitch dark car on the road home. No books needed. Warm and
        familiar. Enjoy!!

        For any who would like a copy of the 1963 Monastic Diurnal, which has
        all the day hours, but not Matins, it has been republished by Farnborough
        Abbey, in Latin and English, side by side columns. More info at:

        http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        jeromeleo@...
        http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
        Petersham, MA

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Brjeromeleo@aol.com
        +PAX Prayers of Deo gratias, please, for Bob, recovering nicely from the transplant and will probably be allowed to return home next week. He is having
        Message 3 of 15 , Oct 20 6:12 PM
          +PAX

          Prayers of Deo gratias, please, for Bob, recovering nicely from the
          transplant and will
          probably be allowed to return home next week. He is having challenges
          sleeping,
          hence my his wife, Petrina, isn't sleeping either. prayers for the both.

          Prayers for Leah, she has been notified that there is a liver available for
          transplant today
          (Friday)! At 10 years old she is understandably frightened. Along with the
          good comes the bad:
          a 10 year old boy died which resulted in this liver becoming available.
          Please remember in your prayers
          the boy's family who made the generous gift of life of his organs, in the
          midst of their grief and sorrow.
          Prayers for his happy death and eternal rest in the arms of God.

          Prayers for Fred and Mary, married 60 years this Sunday, he collapsed and is
          in ICU, unconscious
          and on life support, also for their son, Bp. David, and all their family.
          Prayers for Pat, hospitalized
          with severe heart pain, cause as yet undiagnosed. Prayers for Jeanne, 8
          months pregnant and
          having trouble, also for Pat, her Mom, and all their family. Prayers prayer
          for Elizabeth in the last stages of bowel cancer
          who has opted for no further surgery and also for her lovely 7 yr.old cat,
          Bailey, who needs a home.
          Elizabeth is terribly concerned about Bailey's welfare more than her own.
          Prayers for one thinking
          of adopting Bailey, that the right thing be done. Prayers for Steve who is
          having surgery on Monday for his artery
          blockages and for AS worried about test results for her recent illness.
          Prayers for Pam who is recovering
          slowly from blood clot in her brain and fluid on lungs, all found yesterday
          when she collapsed.

          Prayers for Connie, brain aneurysm, decision about surgery pending. Please
          pray for understanding and
          reconciliation between two friends. Please pray for Susanne whose spouse Al
          recently died after a long
          battle with Alzheimer's Disease and for Al's happy death and eternal rest
          and for all their family. 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 20, June 21, October 21

          Chapter 17: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at These Hours


          We have already arranged the order of the psalmody
          for the Night and Morning Offices;
          let us now provide for the remaining Hours.


          At Prime let three Psalms be said,
          separately and not under one "Glory be to the Father."
          The hymn of that Hour
          is to follow the verse "Incline unto my aid, O God,"
          before the Psalms begin.
          Upon completion of the three Psalms
          let one lesson be recited,
          then a verse,
          the "Lord, have mercy on us" and the concluding prayers.


          The Offices of Terce, Sext and None
          are to be celebrated in the same order,
          that is:
          the "Incline unto my aid, O God," the hymn proper to each Hour,
          three Psalms, lesson and verse,
          "Lord, have mercy on us" and concluding prayers.


          If the community is a large one,
          let the Psalms be sung with antiphons;
          but if small,
          let them be sung straight through.


          Let the Psalms of the Vesper Office be limited to four,
          with antiphons.
          After these Psalms the lesson is to be recited,
          then the responsory, the Ambrosian hymn, the verse,
          the canticle from the Gospel book,
          the litany, the Lord's Prayer and the concluding prayers.


          Let Compline be limited to the saying of three Psalms,
          which are to be said straight through without antiphon,
          and after them the hymn of that Hour,
          one lesson, a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on us,"
          the blessing and the concluding prayers.


          REFLECTION

          A real short one here. People often ask me about the Benedictine
          Office and want to include it in their prayer lives. This chapter offers
          a great solution: the Benedictine Psalms of Compline.

          They are the same ones every day. You can use them with whatever
          format you have for Compline. Many houses, even today, still use the
          Psalms mentioned here, and all of them did for most of our history.
          The Psalms are 4, When I call...,90(91) He who dwells in the shelter
          of the Most High..., and 133(134) O come, bless the Lord..., the
          first number being the Septuagint numbering usually found in older
          Catholic Bibles and the parenthetical numbering the Hebrew one found
          in Protestant Bibles.

          Used daily, these Psalms sink quickly into memory. Pretty soon you'll
          be able to say Compline with no book. Now that is a great joy! We
          sometimes say it in the car when a couple of us have picked someone
          up at the airport in Boston. We can be together, singing Compline in
          a pitch dark car on the road home. No books needed. Warm and
          familiar. Enjoy!!

          For any who would like a copy of the 1963 Monastic Diurnal, which has
          all the day hours, but not Matins, it has been republished by Farnborough
          Abbey, in Latin and English, side by side columns. More info at:

          _http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/_ (http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/)

          Love and prayers,
          Jerome, OSB
          _http://www.stmarysmonastery.org_ (http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/)
          Petersham, MA












          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Br. Jerome Leo
          +PAX Prayers, please, for Sandy and his wife Eileen and their fellow pilgrims as they travel tomorrow to Assisi for a Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer
          Message 4 of 15 , Oct 20 4:35 PM
            +PAX

            Prayers, please, for Sandy and his wife Eileen and their fellow pilgrims as they travel tomorrow to Assisi for a Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world: Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace" with the Holy Father.

            Prayers for Chris, 7, who has taken a turn for the worse. MRI yesterday showed the tumor they were treating has grown
            around brain stem and doctors arent holding out much hope. Parents are on the way to hospital with a
            relic of Blessed Pope John Paul II and ask for prayers to same. Hoping for a miracle. All they can do
            now is make him comfortable.

            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 20, June 21, October 21

            Chapter 17: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at These Hours
            We have already arranged the order of the psalmody for the Night
            and Morning Offices;
            let us now provide for the remaining Hours.

            At Prime let three Psalms be said, separately and not under
            one "Glory be to the Father."
            The hymn of that Hour is to follow the verse "Incline unto my aid,
            O God," before the Psalms begin. Upon completion of the three
            Psalms let one lesson be recited,
            then a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on us" and the concluding
            prayers.

            The Offices of Terce, Sext and None are to be celebrated in the
            same order, that is:
            the "Incline unto my aid, O God," the hymn proper to each Hour,
            three Psalms, lesson and verse, "Lord, have mercy on us" and
            concluding prayers.

            If the community is a large one, let the Psalms be sung with
            antiphons; but if small,
            let them be sung straight through.

            Let the Psalms of the Vesper Office be limited to four, with
            antiphons. After these Psalms the lesson is to be recited, then the
            responsory, the Ambrosian hymn, the verse, the canticle from the
            Gospel book, the litany, the Lord's Prayer and the concluding
            prayers.

            Let Compline be limited to the saying of three Psalms, which are to
            be said straight through without antiphon, and after them the
            hymn of that Hour, one lesson, a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on
            us," the blessing and the concluding prayers.



            REFLECTION

            A real short one here. People often ask me about the Benedictine
            Office and want to include it in their prayer lives. This chapter
            offers a great solution: the Benedictine Psalms of Compline.

            They are the same ones every day. You can use them with whatever
            format you have for Compline. Many houses, even today, still use
            the Psalms mentioned here, and all of them did for most of our
            history. The Psalms are 4, When I call...,90(91) He who dwells in
            the shelter of the Most High..., and 133(134) O come, bless the
            Lord..., the first number being the Septuagint numbering usually
            found in older Catholic Bibles and the parenthetical numbering the
            Hebrew one found in Protestant Bibles.

            Used daily, these Psalms sink quickly into memory. Pretty soon
            you'll be able to say Compline with no book. Now that is a great
            joy! No books needed. Warm and familiar. Enjoy!!

            For any who would like a copy of the 1963 Monastic Diurnal, which
            has all the day hours, but not Matins, it has been republished by
            Farnborough Abbey, in Latin and English, side by side columns. More
            info at:

            _http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/_
            (http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/)

            or contact: Brother Bernard 1.505.388.9279 -- Our Lady of Guadalupe
            Monastery, New Mexico, USA

            Love and prayers,
            Jerome, OSB
            http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
            Petersham, MA





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Br. Jerome Leo
            +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Chester, 98, and for his wife, Joan, and all their family and all who mourn him. Prayers for Michael D., his wife
            Message 5 of 15 , Oct 21 4:51 PM
              +PAX

              Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Chester, 98, and for his wife, Joan, and all their family and all who mourn him.

              Prayers for Michael D., his wife and daughters and son and son in law. Special intentions involving a custody case, car accident and employment, as well as pain issues. Prayers for them all.

              Prayers, please, for Sisters Mary Emmanuele and Mary Therese, novices
              of our Nuns in Petersham, on the anniversary of their investiture. Only
              six more months in their 1 1/2 year novitiate!! May God fill them with His perfect will.

              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 21, June 22, October 22
              Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said

              Let this verse be said: "Incline unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make
              haste to help me,"
              and the "Glory be to the Father" then the hymn proper to each Hour.


              Then at Prime on Sunday four sections of Psalm 118 are to be said;
              and at each of the remaining Hours, that is Terce, Sext and None,
              three sections of the same Psalm 118.

              At Prime on Monday let three Psalms be said, namely Psalms 1, 2 and
              6. And so each day at Prime until Sunday let three Psalms be said
              in numerical order, to Psalm 19,
              but with Psalms 9 and 17 each divided into two parts. Thus it comes
              about that the Night Office on Sunday always begins with Psalm 20.


              REFLECTION

              Since Prime was to be said before work, its Psalms could vary. The
              Tuesday through Saturday repetition of the same 9 Psalms for minor
              hours excludes Prime, which was probably said in Church or Chapter
              room, or partially in both. Since Prime was celebrated where books
              were available, it could use different Psalms every day and did.
              There was no need for the memorization which would allow farmer
              monks to celebrate None in the midst of a hayfield.

              I was glad to hear from some who especially loved the prayers of
              Prime. So do I! Here, however, is yet another offering from the
              Office of Prime: its hymn. Being metrical, it is easily memorized.
              A nurse friend of mine told me years ago she used to sing this hymn
              every morning at an Episcopal summer camp for kids. Not a bad idea
              at all! Enjoy!

              Love and prayers,
              Jerome, OSB
              http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
              Petersham, MA 01366

              HYMN

              Now that the daylight fills the sky
              We lift our hearts to God on high,
              That He, in all we do or say,
              Would keep us free from harm today:

              Would guard our hearts and tongues from strife;
              From anger's din would hide our life;
              From evil sights would turn our eyes;
              Would close our ears to vanities.

              So we, when this new day is gone
              and night in turn is drawing on,
              With conscience by the world unstained
              Shall praise His name for vict'ry gained.

              To God the Father and the Son
              And Holy Spirit, three in one,
              Be endless glory as before
              The world began, so evermore. Amen.






              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Br. Jerome Leo
              +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of baby Mya, who died in a tragic accident, and for her Mom and Dad, brother and all their family, and for all who
              Message 6 of 15 , Oct 22 5:24 PM
                +PAX

                Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of baby Mya, who died in a tragic accident, and for her Mom and Dad, brother and all their family, and for all who mourn her. May God have taken her right into His arms and may the living be consoled.

                Prayers for the eternal rest of the Mother of Nancy and Robin, and for Nancy and Robin and all her family, and all who mourn her.

                Prayers for Pete, that he may find quiet and peace, joy and hope, and discover warm people of good will around him'

                Prayers for clarity and quiet for John.

                Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of James, on the anniversary of his death,
                and for 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

                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.


                REFLECTION

                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 is 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 frequently had to be said on the spot, in the fields-
                it is very 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!" yet we also see it as from a distance. We look from
                afar and see that Jerusalem is a city compact, a unity of peace and
                order. Who has seen a monastery on a hill and not had similar
                thoughts?

                Even the accidental end of the sequence (which continues in
                Vespers,) has a wonderful application. "Blessed are those who fear
                the Lord, who walk in His ways!" It recounts the joys and
                protections of a life lived for God and ends with the plea: "On
                Israel, peace!" Just
                picture yourself saying that at the end of a hard day's work in the
                field, looking at back Abbey Church, the safe home of gathered
                family and choir. Not shabby!

                Love and prayers,
                Jerome, OSB
                http://www.stmarysmonastery.org



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Br. Jerome Leo
                +PAX Prayers, please, for Jimmy and Al, special intentions for each. Prayers for the eternal rest of Msgr. John Scully, near his death anniversary. Lord, help
                Message 7 of 15 , Oct 23 4:35 PM
                  +PAX

                  Prayers, please, for Jimmy and Al, special intentions for each.

                  Prayers for the eternal rest of Msgr. John Scully, near his death anniversary.

                  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.


                  REFLECTION

                  Vespers and Compline are 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 one think of finally getting home
                  and shutting the door after a long day and a tough commute. 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 us 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. If you can GENTLY establish a quiet
                  space for yourself while cooking, go for it. The solitude of a
                  kitchen at work feeding loved ones is a rich one, indeed. Be careful
                  not to make your family crazy, though. That's why I stress GENTLY!
                  The family comes first!

                  If you are into CDs, 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
                  different!

                  A further plus is that the memory of you listening to Gregorian
                  chant while cooking, admittedly a rather unusual practice, will
                  stay in your children's minds long, long after you are gone. Who
                  knows what a snippet of chant memory might do for a faith life years
                  after you have died?

                  Love and prayers,
                  Jerome, OSB
                  http://www.stmarysmonastery.org/
                  Petersham, MA



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Br. Jerome Leo
                  +PAX Prayers, please, for Doug, health and insurance problems. Prayers for Catherine, job search. unemployment has not kicked in yet. Prayers for Jo,
                  Message 8 of 15 , Oct 24 4:40 PM
                    +PAX

                    Prayers, please, for Doug, health and insurance problems.

                    Prayers for Catherine, job search. unemployment has not kicked in yet.

                    Prayers for Jo, pre-cancerous lesions on scalp and hoping for best results from treating them topically.

                    Please pray for Nancy, who has died after great sufferings, and for her husband John and family and all who mourn her.

                    Prayers for Marie, starting daily radiation and one day a week of chemo for cancer treatment, and her son Mike and all the family is very worried.

                    Prayers for Fr. Tad, officially beginning his parish work today in the north of Scotland. Prayers also for Canon Doyle and Monsignor Robert, the retired priests who have filled in so selflessly while the parish was without a full-time shepherd. May the parish now have the stability so beloved of St. Benedict.

                    Prayers for Star on the 25th October, the 2nd anniversary of her death. Prayers for her eternal rest, and for comfort for her family, esp. her daughter, Beth, and for all who mourn her.

                    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 24, June 25, October 25
                    Chapter 18: In What Order the Psalms Are to Be Said

                    The order of psalmody for the day Hours being thus arranged, let
                    all the remaining Psalms be equally distributed among the seven
                    Night Offices by dividing the longer Psalms among them and
                    assigning twelve Psalms to each night.


                    We strongly recommend, however, that if this distribution of the
                    Psalms is displeasing to anyone, she should arrange them otherwise,
                    in whatever way she considers better,
                    but taking care in any case that the Psalter with its full number
                    of 150 Psalms be chanted every week and begun again every Sunday at
                    the Night Office. For those monastics show themselves too lazy in
                    the service to which they are vowed, who chant less than the
                    Psalter with the customary canticles in the course of a week,
                    whereas we read that our holy Fathers strenuously fulfilled that
                    task in a single day. May we, lukewarm that we are, perform it at
                    least in a whole week!


                    REFLECTION

                    I am going to begin this by reprinting two paragraphs of very
                    important qualifications from the last post on this chapter, in
                    February.

                    "I hasten to add a word of caution to Oblates here: the Holy Rule
                    is referring to choral Office in monasteries. To undertake for
                    oneself such an Office could well be unwise, and sometimes, even
                    wrong. The conditions of one's state in life come first. Oblates who
                    are parents or married have kept Vigils and Nocturns with sick children
                    or spouses of which professed monastics would never dream. Don't get
                    hung up on this one. SHARE the Office all you can, but tend first
                    to the responsibilities of your state in life.

                    Before I became a monk I used to OCCASIONALLY do all 150 Psalms
                    alone. There were two things worthy of mention here: I was a single
                    man with one (very loving!) cat, and I recited them. Even at that,
                    I can assure you it took up a chunk of time. Hence, Oblates should
                    take great care that they don't obsess on this notion. Do what you
                    can and rest assured that your community, and the Order and the
                    whole praying Church is "making up" whatever you can't offer."

                    A couple of years ago, the guesthouse well died (temporarily,
                    thanks be to God!) We had to gather 10 gallon plastic buckets for
                    each bathroom, haul them down the hill to the monastery in the
                    station wagon, fill them and bring them back. What a hassle! We
                    also had to caution the guests rather indelicately about no
                    unnecessary flushes. Even more recently, a storm left us without
                    electricity for several hours. Afraid to open the fridge too much
                    and with no oven, we ordered pizza in Athol for the guesthouse.

                    Both of these things were tough, but neither were anything compared
                    to the amount of labor required to maintain life in the first
                    centuries of the Order's existence. Neither were there lay
                    brothers to do all that work in those days, since they were a much
                    later development. No electricity, no indoor plumbing, no running
                    water, no phones, no Athol House of Pizza to call and no car to pick
                    it up in. (OK aqueducts in some places, but you get the picture...)
                    In the midst of a life that we would find crushingly different, St.
                    Benedict insisted on the weekly 150. Hmmmm......

                    We live in a world where countless labor-saving devices and perks
                    give us far more time than anyone in history has ever had. Are we
                    always good stewards of that abundance? Heaven knows, I don't want
                    to give up those modern advantages, look at how hooked on computers
                    I am. But what do we do with all that time? How much of the time we
                    save goes to prayer? How much goes to mindless stuff we could well
                    do without?


                    Love and prayers,
                    Jerome, OSB
                    http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                    Petersham, MA












                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Br. Jerome Leo
                    +PAX Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Troy, for all his family and all those who mourn him. Prayers, please, for Karen, who has just started her own
                    Message 9 of 15 , Oct 25 4:27 PM
                      +PAX

                      Prayers, please, for the eternal rest of Troy, for all his family and all those who mourn him.

                      Prayers, please, for Karen, who has just started her own business. She asks for courage and to live God's will in all she does.

                      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 25, June 26, October 26
                      Chapter 19: On the Manner of Saying the Divine Office

                      We believe that the divine presence is everywhere and that "the
                      eyes of the Lord are looking on the good and the evil in every
                      place" (Prov. 15:3). But we should believe this especially without
                      any doubt when we are assisting at the Work of God. To that end let
                      us be mindful always of the Prophet's words, "Serve the Lord in
                      fear" (Ps. 2:11) and again "Sing praises wisely" (Ps. 46:8) and "In
                      the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to You" (Ps. 137:1).
                      Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves in
                      sight of the Godhead and of His Angels, and let us take part in the
                      psalmody in such a way that our mind may be in harmony with our
                      voice.


                      REFLECTION

                      If there were any phrase I could carve on the walls of every choir
                      in the Order, it would be: "In the sight of the Angels I will sing
                      praise to You." It stresses not only the lofty character (and
                      cast!) of our sacrifices of praise, but also the demeanor we should
                      have in offering them.

                      This applies to parishes as well as to monasteries. In either
                      milieu there can arise a certain foolish and unfortunate terrorism
                      in "ministers" of rubric or music. The foregoing italics were not
                      unintentional: when one terrorizes the flock over trivia, ministry
                      has stopped. We are in the presence of the Angels, yet we sometimes
                      easily forget that our brothers and sisters are each worth
                      infinitely more than aesthetics, than music, than rubric. We must
                      love people more than those!

                      Dump on your sister or brother in the name of such things and you
                      have missed the Bridegroom and married the Wedding March. Don't be
                      too surprised if you find the Wedding March to be a less than
                      thrilling spouse, a source of frustration rather than peace and joy!
                      Whenever we use the constructs of rubric or music to hurt or demean
                      one another, those Angels whose presence we ignore at our peril
                      weep, and I think God does as well.

                      The Presence of God that we miss so often should change our
                      demeanour. Students act differently (usually worse, alas...) for a substitute
                      teacher. Employees are different when the boss is off for the day.
                      These assortments of different behavior are pretty much shot
                      through the human condition, though not necessarily always a good
                      idea.

                      The message here is no masks. Know Him in Whose presence and House
                      you are. But really KNOW Him. That can take a lifetime of trying on
                      and shedding as false different modes of conduct.

                      God is Parent and Creator and we are always creatures, but we are
                      not always children. We have to grow to the adult relationship with
                      God that fortunate children eventually share with their parents.
                      (If we never got to do this with our parents, and many haven't, establishing
                      such
                      honesty with God is going to perhaps be a bit of a chore... Keep trying!)

                      As we grow in our knowledge of God, our behavior around Him (and we
                      are ALWAYS "around Him", that's another clear message of the Holy
                      Rule!) changes. It becomes more real and more natural. It changes
                      with a very clear eye to Whom God is and who we are. It changes
                      from knowledge born of love and security.


                      Love and prayers,
                      Jerome, OSB
                      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                      Petersham, MA






                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Br. Jerome Leo
                      +PAX A lot of intentions, folks. Prayers today for the following, eternal rest for the dead and for all their families and all who mourn them; and spiritual,
                      Message 10 of 15 , Oct 26 1:32 PM
                        +PAX

                        A lot of intentions, folks. Prayers today for the following, eternal rest for the dead and for all their families and all who mourn them; and spiritual, mental and physical health of the living, for all their loved ones and all who take care of them:

                        Suze's mother

                        Baby Leo, gross birth defects caused death at a few weeks leaving deeply grieving parents,

                        conversion of life for Mary Elizabeth

                        special intention, Henrietta

                        special intention for Ben and continued prayers for real estate issues - home sold but still owes money,

                        Arjahn, new business, relationship issues, health issues -- just had a stroke (early 40s) affecting one side of body - 10%

                        Elizabeth's son and also her close friend, DJ. the latter is suffering from leukemia, he appears to be responding well to meds.

                        B. - special intention

                        JS-- tough studies and tough decisions -- guidance from the Holy Spirit

                        Deo gratias for all answered prayers.

                        Denise, many tests and hoping it isn't cancer.

                        Ruth and Barth, celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary.

                        Jean, who passed away 8 years ago.

                        Alida, who passed away after a full life of 98 years. Prayers, also, for her daughter, Sr. Mary David of Holy Wisdom Monastery, Alida's other children and extended family.

                        Genny, severe back pain.

                        a Christian family in Pakistan. A daughter named Nancy is very ill & they have no money for her medicine.

                        George. some problems at one of his jobs and he will have to discuss the issue/s with the director.

                        Special intention for Fr. Paul.

                        Eternal rest of Joe and Faith, and for their son and daughter-in-law, John and Anne.

                        Fr. Joe, on his 29th birthday, and for his parents and siblings.



                        February 26, June 27, October 27
                        Chapter 20: On Reverence in Prayer

                        When we wish to suggest our wants to persons of high station, we do
                        not presume to do so
                        except with humility and reverence. How much the more, then, are
                        complete humility and pure devotion necessary in supplication of
                        the Lord who is God of the universe! And let us be assured that it
                        is not in saying a great deal that we shall be heard (Matt 6:7),
                        but in purity of heart and in tears of compunction. Our prayer,
                        therefore, ought to be short and pure, unless it happens to be
                        prolonged by an inspiration of divine grace. In community, however,
                        let prayer be very short, and when the Superior gives the signal
                        let all rise together.


                        REFLECTION

                        There is a necessary tension in Benedictine prayer, both public and
                        private, between the awesome majesty and otherness of God and His
                        infinite closeness and approachability. God is among us. He is not
                        the guy next door, but neither is He some untouchable, easily
                        offended emperor or sultan. Both these truths must be addressed in
                        order to maintain a correct balance.

                        God doesn't need ceremony, He doesn't need anything. All the high
                        church in the world might (or might not...) tickle His fancy, but
                        it does not one whit for Him personally. The rub here is that WE
                        need what we offer to God, and that has been all too often
                        forgotten.

                        In a very real and subtle sense, we BECOME what we offer to God,
                        often quite unnoticed by ourselves. The upshot of all this is
                        clear: offer God the lowest possible common denominator and that is
                        what those offering same will become. Offer Him empty and
                        presumptuous high church as theatre and be not surprised when those
                        offering such
                        things become rather ridiculously silly themselves. In very sad
                        fact, either empty extreme will make people pathetically silly and
                        spiritually impoverished besides.

                        St. Benedict says far less about personal prayer than the
                        Carmelites, but everything he says here would warm the hearts of
                        Sts. Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. The "short and pure"
                        prayer that he recommends was already a great favorite of the
                        Desert Fathers and Mothers. They loved "one-liners", often just
                        repeating "O God, come to my assistance," or other phrases from
                        the Psalms, many of which figure in the Office to our own day.

                        This is another truly Benedictine form of prayer, one that can be
                        started without any preparation at all, the "short and pure"
                        aspirations repeated from the heart. The Jesus Prayer would work
                        well here, or any other of a number of phrases from devotional
                        prayer or
                        Scripture. Like the early Desert monastics, one may weave them into
                        virtually any part of the day or work.

                        Even a surprise moment of solitude on an elevator is a chance for a
                        few good Jesus Prayers! In line at the grocery store one could
                        choose to only read the scandal sheet headlines every other day
                        (LOL!) and use some of that time for aspirations instead.
                        Opportunities abound! The shortness of this prayer is perfect for
                        busy Oblates, a real connection to our Benedictine family and way
                        that is accessible to all.

                        We can get distracted when repeating a one-line prayer many times.
                        On the one hand, one should struggle to remain focused, but on the
                        other, a Desert Father once quipped that, if God counted
                        distraction at Psalmody, no one could be saved! I have always taken
                        great
                        comfort in that saying, since frequently (like, say, daily...) I
                        more closely resemble a Tibetan prayer wheel than a praying,
                        conscious monk. It may be folly, but I hope God is pleased with
                        even those "prayer wheel" times. Another Desert saying has it that,
                        even when we are distracted at prayer, it still annoys the demons
                        and is worth at least that!!

                        A very Benedictine warning here that the Carmelites would strongly
                        approve: prayer is only to be prolonged by "inspiration of divine
                        grace." When God does let us feel something wonderful in prayer, a
                        very understandable temptation is to hang onto the feeling, to
                        prolong it, to produce it again. Doesn't work, folks, and it could
                        very well turn into a trap. When God prolongs prayer or gives us
                        graces, fine! Relax, swim in His grace and enjoy it, but never,
                        ever try to fill the pool for a quick dip on your own. That's not
                        the way prayer- or God- works.

                        Love and prayers,
                        Jerome,OSB
                        http:www.stmarysmonastery.org
                        Petersham, MA



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Br. Jerome Leo
                        +PAX Prayers, please, for Br. Simon of Pluscarden, on his feastday, blessings and graces galore and many more, ad multos annos! Prayers, too, for the eternal
                        Message 11 of 15 , Oct 27 3:02 PM
                          +PAX

                          Prayers, please, for Br. Simon of Pluscarden, on his feastday, blessings and graces galore and many more, ad multos annos! Prayers, too, for the eternal rest of Fr. Jude of St. Leo, on his feastday. And for all our Simons and Judes, prayers and blessings and happy feastday!!

                          Prayers for Joe and his wife Carney... Joe is experiencing serious complications from his heart transplant... may they find peace of heart and mind in God's love and mercy, and may Joe find renewed health to sustain them both.

                          Prayers for George, still needs help wityh a complex situation at work and a difficult director to deal with.

                          Prayers for Joyce and her family whose members are dealing with life-threatening health issues and economic hardships. They are deeply grateful to God for His help and pray for His continued graces.

                          Prayers for Helene, special needs.

                          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 27, June 28, October 28
                          Chapter 21: On the Deans of the Monastery

                          If the community is a large one, let there be chosen out of it
                          brethren of good repute and holy life, and let them be appointed
                          deans. These shall take charge of their deaneries in all things,
                          observing the commandments of God and the instructions of their
                          Abbot.

                          Let men of such character be chosen deans that the Abbot may with
                          confidence
                          share his burdens among them. Let them be chosen not by rank but
                          according to their worthiness of life and the wisdom of their
                          doctrine.

                          If any of these deans should become inflated with pride and found
                          deserving of censure,
                          let him be corrected once, and again, and a third time. If he will
                          not amend, then let him be deposed and another be put in his place
                          who is worthy of it.

                          And we order the same to be done in the case of the Prior.


                          REFLECTION

                          St. Benedict reverences seniority- a traditional monastic value- in
                          many places, but he also moderates that tradition, keeping it from
                          turning into ageism. When considering the appointment of these
                          deans, their worthy lives and teachings are the criteria, not their
                          age. Unspoken here, but nevertheless evident, is the demand that seniors
                          obey such young officials.

                          There is no room for griping about young "whipper-snappers" here!
                          Obedience is not about the age or wisdom or human perfection of the
                          superior. It is about faith that God leads us through such flawed
                          human beings of every sort. When "X" crosses you or breaks your
                          heart or stokes your anger, it is imperative to recall that this
                          often has precious little to do with "X" and his or her
                          personality. It's is God's gift to your self-study. He wants you to
                          learn something about yourself and tests you. "X" might not even be
                          faintly aware of being used as an instrument of His will!
                          (Recalling this all the time is a LOT harder than it sounds, for some a
                          lifelong struggle.)

                          A further check here is given by the insistence on personal
                          holiness. Granted, even in monasteries, the clever and
                          manipulatively ambitious sort can get around this and sometimes do,
                          but what if all our offices, in monastery AND Church went to really
                          holy people? The first objection (usually put forward by the
                          ambitious who would be overlooked under this system!) is that they
                          would be TERRIBLE administrators. So? The point there was what?

                          Next time you want a fun day-dream, try to picture a Church and
                          Order run entirely by the holy and wise. Wow! Now usually, day-
                          dreaming is an utter waste of time, but this one is not. After you
                          have spent some time envisioning all those things, go out and BE
                          what you
                          dreamed. Truly live as if the dream had come to pass. Be prepared
                          to be a little lonely: none of us are likely soon to see a Church
                          run entirely by saints. But we can all make that dream one person
                          closer to coming true, by changing ourselves, by incarnating that
                          ideal as best we can. The only ones we can surely change are
                          ourselves!

                          Of course, there will be loud complaints about saints in charge,
                          too. For one thing, as Dorothy Day observed, saints can be terribly
                          hard to live with. For another, the problem is our lack of faith,
                          a problem even good governance will not remove. Only with the
                          help of God's grace, we can remove that problem. It starts with us
                          asking Him for that grace!

                          Love and prayers,
                          Jerome, OSB
                          http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                          Petersham, MA




                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Br. Jerome Leo
                          +PAX Prayers, please, for G. and his wife, serious marriage problems. Prayers for fidelity to each other and that they can stay together. Prayers, please, for
                          Message 12 of 15 , Oct 28 4:11 PM
                            +PAX

                            Prayers, please, for G. and his wife, serious marriage problems. Prayers for fidelity to each other and that they can stay together.

                            Prayers, please, for Jim and his wife. He is in the hospital with unknown neurological problems. They have him in a medically induced coma while they try to find the cause.

                            Prayers for JR, doing well afrer a liver transplant but still very ill and facing the possibility of transplant rejection.

                            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 28, June 29, October 29
                            Chapter 22: How the Sisters Are to Sleep

                            Let each one sleep in a separate bed. Let them receive bedding
                            suitable to their manner of life, according to the Abbess's
                            directions. If possible let all sleep in one place; but if the
                            number does not allow this, let them take their rest by tens or
                            twenties with the seniors who have charge of them.

                            A candle shall be kept burning in the room until morning.

                            Let them sleep clothed and girded with belts or cords -- but not
                            with their knives at their sides, lest they cut themselves in their
                            sleep -- and thus be always ready to rise without delay when the
                            signal is given and hasten to be before one another at the Work of
                            God,
                            yet with all gravity and decorum.

                            The younger shall not have beds next to one another, but among
                            those of the older ones.

                            When they rise for the Work of God let them gently encourage one
                            another, that the drowsy may have no excuse.


                            REFLECTION

                            Hastening "yet will all gravity and decorum" has prompted many a
                            community joke, many a wry comment as one ran most ungracefully,
                            parts of the habit flapping wildly in the breeze, to whatever the
                            bell was about to make one late for! St. Benedict far antedates the
                            Three Stooges, but he still took precautions to ensure that we
                            would not look EXACTLY like Moe, Larry and Curly when we went to
                            choir or dinner! Admittedly, some of our human tendency still
                            arises to give a partial glimpse of that comedic trio, but, as
                            always, the picture is balanced!

                            As for the candle, the elderly may have problems during the
                            night if their health is declining. Hale and hearty (and hopefully
                            easily awakened!) juniors nearby promise them assistance, if
                            needed. However, if you want a humorous take on the knives issue,
                            it may
                            have been to prevent mayhem and murder of the snorers, an idea
                            which has doubtlessly occurred to many light sleepers!

                            Of course, dormitory sleeping is a thing of the past in our Order
                            today, but its nice to see the thoughtfulness behind its original
                            expression in the Holy Rule. There's a bit of the "mother" in St.
                            Benedict, going out of his way to mention a small detail like not
                            sleeping with knives. It is worthy of note, however, that St.
                            Benedict, as always is MODERATELY maternal, not neurotically so! He
                            doesn't get all bent out of shape, but he cares greatly and deeply.

                            One of the most beautiful images in this passage is the exhortation
                            to "gently encourage one another" at the hour of rising. Remember
                            that the strictest silence of all prevailed at this time. Now
                            picture the monastics gently encouraging one another! With no
                            words, there
                            had to be a lot of touch, a lot of gentle smiles, a lot of warmth
                            and care expressed NON-verbally.

                            There is a particularly good suggestion for Oblates: practice
                            showing non-verbal affection some time! Try to express your care,
                            concern and camaraderie for those around you with smiles, winks,
                            pats on the back and such. Not ALL the time, but hone this skill. A
                            wordless message of praise or solidarity or love can be treasured
                            by another, often much more than what we might have said.

                            A very good idea of how loving a monastic is can be had by
                            disturbing their silence (or sleep, I imagine!!) Is the reaction
                            cross and withering? Watch out for that one! Is there a smile, even
                            a warm one, a reaction of sweetness? Well, when silence is over,
                            that is a monastic to whose words you may want to listen carefully.

                            One species of Australian eucalyptus keeps the ground around itself
                            clear by emitting a toxic substance that renders other growth
                            impossible. Sad to say, but sometimes monastics in community (or in
                            families, or in workplaces!) can engage in a very similar activity.
                            There is a terrible facial message that says: "Don't even come near
                            me- with anything at all!" We need to watch ourselves carefully for
                            that one.

                            Everyone has bad days, now and then. Good communities and good
                            families know how to spot them in each other. If, however, those
                            days get strung together for some time and fairly often, something
                            is very, very wrong. The monastic life, in
                            cloister or marketplace, is not the proper arena for eucalyptus
                            toxicity!


                            Love and prayers,
                            Jerome, OSB
                            http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                            Petersham, MA




                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Br. Jerome Leo
                            +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of a man who died from deep vein thrombosis suddenly, and for his wife, Denise, all their family, his friend Maurice and all
                            Message 13 of 15 , Oct 29 3:49 PM
                              +PAX

                              Prayers for the eternal rest of a man who died from deep vein thrombosis suddenly, and for his wife, Denise, all their family, his friend Maurice and all who mourn him.

                              Prayers for a family who have lost three children and their father, all to the same kidney ailment. The survivors are, in addition to grief, understandably scared. Prayers for the eternal rest of the dead and for all the family and all who mourn them.

                              Prayers for all in the US northeast impacted by the severe snowstorm, many without power. Prayers that we keep our power on here, too.

                              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

                              Chapter 23: On Excommunication for Faults

                              If a brother is found to be obstinate, or disobedient, or proud, or
                              murmuring, or habitually transgressing the Holy Rule in any point
                              and contemptuous of the orders of his seniors,
                              the latter shall admonish him secretly a first and a second time,
                              as Our Lord commands (Matt. 18:15). If he fails to amend, let him
                              be given a public rebuke in front of the whole community. But if
                              even then he does not reform, let him be placed under
                              excommunication,
                              provided that he understands the seriousness of that penalty; if he
                              is perverse, however,
                              let him undergo corporal punishment.


                              REFLECTION

                              Calm down, folks! Nobody uses corporal punishment any more, though
                              I can tell you that its use in certain cases has often been a
                              daydreaming temptation! It's worth noting that, for most people,
                              such daydreams always chuckle at the thought of someone ELSE getting
                              corporal punishment, not themselves! Sigh... Me included.

                              While some today may chafe at these chapters, known as the penal
                              code of the Holy Rule, believe me, the modern problem is NOT that
                              they are too stringently enforced. Quite the opposite. The
                              Benedictine atmosphere of gentle moderation can cloak and empower a
                              lot of timidity and cowardice, too. Neither are very loving,
                              they're just useful means of avoidance.

                              Not all love is tough love, but all love IS tough. When a parent or
                              boss or superior chooses their own comfort by avoiding
                              confrontation with a problem member, everyone suffers. Those in
                              authority are called to love, and love leaves no stone unturned, not
                              even those that are horribly difficult to lift.

                              Most of us can think of far too many examples of timid authority
                              failures in families and workplaces. One probably cannot change the
                              people in charge that effect such negligence. One ought to bravely
                              try, but it often doesn't work. One can moan a lot about it, but
                              that gets to murmuring in no time and is also counter-productive.
                              The message here for all of us is "Look at your own choir stall",
                              which is a Benedictine way of saying "Mind your own business and
                              examine your conscience."

                              If you are in authority, or get there
                              someday, don't be a flop or an unloving wimp. If you are not in
                              charge, don't make yourself one of the problems. It is terribly
                              hard for rank and file to ignore what seemingly ought not to be
                              ignored, but sometimes we simply have to do so or leave. That is one
                              of the VERY great ascetic disciplines of common life. Believe me,
                              fasting pales to nothing beside this one. I'd rather fast any day!

                              Over the years I have heard excuses close to whining from people in
                              all areas of authority: political, ecclesiastical, parental,
                              monastic and administrative. "Nothing can be done about so-and-so.
                              My hands are tied." I hate to say that I remain unable to
                              completely buy that,
                              largely because sometimes I've been around long enough to see a
                              successor (or the courts!) DO something about so-and-so. My own time
                              as list owner of Monastic Life taught me that deciding to do
                              something can heap tons of abuse on one's head, but something often
                              can be done.

                              Monastics come to the Holy Rule for the benefit of discipline and
                              growth and guidance toward holiness. We have a right to same, and
                              no one should have to know that only for the most flagrant of abuses
                              will he or she get it. St. Benedict points us toward the "bonum
                              obedientiae", the good, the gift of obedience.

                              That means that, for Benedictines, there must be something much more
                              than mere non- intervention. There has to be someone on the rudder.
                              There has to be something more stable than the ever-changing weather
                              vanes of consensus or self-will. Micro managing is a
                              terrible fault, but no management at all is far worse in many ways.
                              BOTH extremes are to be avoided. Virtue stands in the middle: virtus
                              in media stat!

                              Love and prayers,
                              Jerome, OSB
                              http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                              Petersham, MA




                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Br. Jerome Leo
                              +PAX Thanks so much and prayers for Brian, an Oblate candidate of our house who was staying with us and did MUCH to help us get out from under around 19 inches
                              Message 14 of 15 , Oct 30 1:53 PM
                                +PAX

                                Thanks so much and prayers for Brian, an Oblate candidate of our house who was staying with us and did MUCH to help us get out from under around 19 inches of snow (according to Br. Vincent's estimate of snowfall.) Thanks, too, to all who prayed for us. Power went out only an hour or so in the middle of the early morning hours and the house didn't even get cold. God is good!

                                Prayers for all who did lose power in the storm, for all who had their lives impacted negatively.

                                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 1, July 1, October 31
                                Chapter 24: What the Measure of Excommunication Should Be

                                The measure of excommunication or of chastisement should correspond
                                to the degree of fault, which degree is estimated by the judgment
                                of the Abbess.

                                If a sister is found guilty of lighter faults, let her be excluded
                                from the common table. Now the program for one deprived of the
                                company of the table shall be as follows: In the oratory she shall
                                intone neither Psalm nor antiphon nor shall she recite a lesson
                                until she has made satisfaction; in the refectory she shall take
                                her food alone after the community meal,
                                so that if they eat at the sixth hour, for instance, that sister
                                shall eat at the ninth, while if they eat at the ninth hour she
                                shall eat in the evening, until by a suitable satisfaction she
                                obtains pardon.


                                REFLECTION

                                Let's face it, St. Benedict has a lot to say about excommunication-
                                a clumsy term, perhaps, because people often assume it means
                                excommunication from the Church, which is the only sense of the
                                word we commonly have today. It does not, of course mean that, just
                                a punishment of exclusion from certain community functions.

                                Let's face something else, at least in this chapter. Fasting an
                                extra three hours might not be lovely, but no intoning in choir?
                                What bad news! Gosh... Even many of us who CAN sing would look at
                                that as a nice break!

                                And eating alone? Well, the extra fast wasn't great, but I sure
                                missed that droning reader and the tedious book we've been reading.
                                What awful luck!

                                See the difference in perception a millennium or so can make? That
                                may be a large part of why the penal code is not followed today:
                                some of its punishments simply make little sense to modern
                                monastics, some seem mean, and others (as above,) seem like
                                downright vacations.

                                The rest of this applies with great ease to family situations,
                                marital situations and the workplace. Something must be gleaned
                                from all this legislation for punishment: the one at fault must be
                                told when something is wrong. That, after all, is the only reason
                                for punishment, to be a wake up call.

                                Unfortunately, the monastic hatred of personal confrontation
                                endemic in our ranks assumes (because it is easiest to do so,)
                                sufficient brilliance for all to sooner or later figure out that
                                they are amiss. It just ain't so, folks, sorry! Things fester when
                                they go ignored
                                for years. Things that someone should have dealt with gently, but
                                firmly and even summarily, in formation or childhood, torture the
                                family in later years.

                                Look, it is hard, VERY hard, to confront a predictably stubborn or
                                difficult child or monastic or spouse or employee.
                                It's easy to see why one would rather not do so. But the Holy Rule
                                asks many things that are difficult of us, and this one is
                                unquestionably
                                for the good of all, both the offender and the offended.

                                Please take very careful note, however, of the gentleness and real
                                concern that is essential if such confrontations are to succeed.
                                Explosive, violent tactics, harsh words and actions at the first
                                hint of trouble are not the monastic way. There is charity, always
                                charity first. If we must be sure of that selfless love in ourselves.
                                Not every correction is morally necessary. When that is the case, we
                                should often remain silent if we are not loving.

                                Timing is important, too. Not every day or time is the best time to broach
                                something difficult. One ought to be careful to avoid instant reactions
                                that
                                might do little good. One also ought to go to the person alone first, as
                                the
                                Gospel says. Instant rebukes in the presence of others are not the
                                Gospel's
                                way.

                                We must avoid the false charity, (really just cowardice in polite
                                drag,) that omits making these difficult corrections. It goes a
                                long way to making everyone's life hellish in the future.

                                Also, in workplace especially, bear in mind that the authority
                                figure here is the abbot, not the rank and file. One dare not
                                assume all those prerogatives as a peer and equal. Fraternal
                                correction will get a chapter of its own later on, but it is not a
                                mantle to be assumed lightly. We must beware of the other extreme:
                                becoming universal policing agents for all and sundry. A tiny spark
                                of Gestapo flickers in many of our all too human hearts. Do nothing
                                to fan the flame!

                                Love and prayers,
                                Jerome, OSB
                                http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                Petersham, MA




                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Br. Jerome Leo
                                +PAX Deo gratias and prayers of gratitude, please, for the National Oblates Retreat just held at Mount St Bernard s Abbey, Leicestershire, England. Thanks to
                                Message 15 of 15 , Oct 20 2:50 PM

                                  +PAX

                                   

                                  Deo gratias and prayers of gratitude, please, for the National Oblates' Retreat just held at Mount St Bernard's Abbey, Leicestershire, England. Thanks to Abbot Eric and Sr. Laurentia. Thanks for the many graces received.

                                   

                                  Deo gratias and prayers of thanks for Tim L. and his wife, their visa renewal is keeping their marriage safe. Prayers, too, for the healing they both need as a couple.

                                   

                                  Prayers  for the eternal repose of Bruce, 85. Prayers too for his wife Ann, all his 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!

                                  February 20, June 21, October 21
                                  Chapter 17: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at These Hours

                                  We have already arranged the order of the psalmody
                                  for the Night and Morning Offices;
                                  let us now provide for the remaining Hours.


                                  At Prime let three Psalms be said,
                                  separately and not under one "Glory be to the Father."
                                  The hymn of that Hour
                                  is to follow the verse "Incline unto my aid, O God,"
                                  before the Psalms begin.
                                  Upon completion of the three Psalms
                                  let one lesson be recited,
                                  then a verse,
                                  the "Lord, have mercy on us" and the concluding prayers.


                                  The Offices of Terce, Sext and None
                                  are to be celebrated in the same order,
                                  that is:
                                  the "Incline unto my aid, O God," the hymn proper to each Hour,
                                  three Psalms, lesson and verse,
                                  "Lord, have mercy on us" and concluding prayers.


                                  If the community is a large one,
                                  let the Psalms be sung with antiphons;
                                  but if small,
                                  let them be sung straight through.


                                  Let the Psalms of the Vesper Office be limited to four,
                                  with antiphons.
                                  After these Psalms the lesson is to be recited,
                                  then the responsory, the hymn, the verse,
                                  the canticle from the Gospel book,
                                  the litany, the Lord's Prayer and the concluding prayers.


                                  Let Compline be limited to the saying of three Psalms,
                                  which are to be said straight through without antiphon,
                                  and after them the hymn of that Hour,
                                  one lesson, a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on us,"
                                  the blessing and the concluding prayers.

                                  REFLECTION

                                  Just as Lauds and Vespers are fraternal twins, at dawn and sunset, so
                                  are Prime and Compline, before work and before bed. Both are somewhat
                                  different from the other minor hours, but, like Lauds and Vespers,
                                  they share a similarity and complementarity of sorts. Prime was
                                  suppressed in the Roman rite, but not in the monastic usage. Still,
                                  in the reshuffling of things, Prime got lost in many, if not most
                                  houses. I am delighted that it still in use at Pluscarden, our motherhouse.

                                  It's too bad many places lost Prime. Just as Compline features many
                                  things that prepare one for sleep or for the death it prefigures, always a
                                  possibility, so Prime prepares one for the day at hand, for its work
                                  and for life. The traditional time given for the celebration of Prime
                                  was "before work."

                                  Some older Oblate manuals used to offer the full text of Prime for
                                  every day, with the other hour being the changeless Compline. That
                                  made a great deal of sense. Many Oblates who could only dream
                                  spending morning hours before work or school celebrating Matins and
                                  Lauds could easily fit Prime into their schedule and its whole
                                  liturgical slant was to prepare them for and bless their work day
                                  ahead.

                                  Prime got merged with a lot of stuff that
                                  ordinarily happened in the Chapter room daily: reading the Rule and
                                  assigning work. Hence, some of its additions may not have been of the
                                  purest type, but let us face facts, we are an age that rarely insists on
                                  purism, and chiefly only when it agrees with agendas we already are
                                  bent on anyway.

                                  Since these are easily added to any scheme of morning prayer you
                                  might be using, let me give you the two prayers offered at the end of
                                  Prime. Either or both are a great way to begin the day and quickly
                                  memorized. Just remember, as you say them, to join your heart to the
                                  thousands and thousands of monastics who said them every day before
                                  you. They are a very neat connection to our past and to the saints of
                                  our Order who have gone before us.

                                  "Lord God Almighty, You have brought us to the beginning of this day.
                                  Preserve us now by Your power so that in this day we may not fall
                                  into any sin; rather, that all our words, thoughts and acts may be
                                  always directed to doing Your justice. We ask this through
                                  Christ our Lord. Amen."

                                  "Lord God, King of heaven and earth, be pleased this day to direct
                                  and sanctify, to rule and govern our hearts and bodies, our thoughts,
                                  words and deeds according to Your law and in obedience to Your
                                  commandments. Now and forever may we attain salvation and freedom by
                                  Your help, O Savior of the world, Who lives and reigns forever and
                                  ever. Amen"

                                  Enjoy them and use them!

                                  Love and prayers,
                                  Jerome, OSB
                                  www.stmarysmonastery.org
                                  Petersham, MA

                                   

                                   

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