Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Chapter 15: When the Alleluia should be said

From the holy feast of Easter until Pentecost the Alleluia must always be said in the psalms and the responsories. From Pentecost until the beginning of Lent it is said only with the last six psalms in the night office. On every Sunday outside Lent, however, the Alleluia is included in Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext and None.... (From Ch. 15 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

Alleluia is a prayer of thanksgiving and praise, and also an exclamation that comes from the heart of the present moment. Like the mantra, it takes me out of my fascination with the past.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Chapter 14: The celebration of Vigils on feasts of saints

On the feasts of saints and on all other solemnities Vigils should follow the order laid down for the celebration of Sunday except that the psalms, antiphons and readings that are appropriate to the day should be recited; the order of the liturgy itself remains the same as that described for Sunday. (Ch. 14 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

The phrase "communion of saints" has come to take on much more meaning in my life through the practice of meditation. Attention beyond myself makes creation look new, inspires connection and belonging, and so, the circle of "saints" expands.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Chapter 13: Lauds on ordinary days (paragraph 2)

It is important that the celebration of Lauds and Vespers should never be concluded without the recitation by the superior of the whole of the Lord's prayer so that all may hear and attend to it. This is because of the harm that is often done in a community by the thorns of conflict which can arise. (From para. 2 of Ch. 13 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

As I've grown older, and have experienced forgiveness more, I've also come to realize that sometimes there are healthy boundaries that I need to establish and maintain, that may sound like qualifications on forgiveness. It's long, hard work to transform unhealthy patterns of relationship, and forgiveness may be come before trust. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Chapter 13: Lauds on ordinary days (paragraph 1)

On ordinary days Lauds should be celebrated like this: the sixty sixth psalm should be said with its antiphon but rather slowly, as on Sunday, to make sure that all are present for the fiftieth psalm which is said with its antiphon. (From para. 1 of Ch. 13 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

Rather slowly -- those are the words I respond to here. In my eyes, Benedict expresses compassion for those, like me, who are often burdened by a human sense of time -- procrastinating or rushing as my ego dictates, and so often out of kilter with a sacred sense of time. For me, the mantra is a tool of compassion, because it always lets me begin again, and draws me towards presence.


Friday, June 15, 2018

Chapter 12: The celebration of solemn Lauds

For Lauds on Sunday the sixty sixth psalm should be said first of all straight through without an antiphon. (From Ch. 12 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

O God be gracious and bless us/and let your face shed its light upon us/So will your ways be known upon earth/and all nations learn your saving help. I recognize this as similar to an ancient, pre-Christian prayer, given to Moses by God, from the book of Numbers. The early books of the Old Testament teach me that in a covenant relationship, God works faithfully, through human disorder. I learn that God continues to bless me, even when it doesn't feel like it.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Chapter 11: Vigils or night office on Sunday

This arrangement for Vigils is followed in the same way on every Sunday both in summer and winter, unless -- which God forbid -- the community gets up late, in which case the lessons or responsories should to some extent be shortened. (From para. 2 of Ch. 11 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry OSB, 1997.)

In the very midst of his instructions, I read that St. Benedict compassionately acknowledges human failing -- as well as forgiveness, reasonable adjustment and continued commitment. May this be a model for me in my own spiritual practice, and life.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Chapter 10: The night office in summertime

From Easter until the first day of November the same number of psalms should be said as we have established for winter, but because the nights are shorter, instead of reading three lessons from the book on the lectern only one should be recited by heart from the Old Testament with a a brief responsory to follow. (From Ch. 10 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry OSB, 1997.)

I see that St. Benedict describes a rhythm of prayer that responds to the circumstances of nature and draws on scripture committed to heart.  The practice of selfless attention in meditation, has the same power to help me be as responsive to reality and committed to continuous prayer.