Sunday, February 18, 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.)

In his instructions about when to say the Alleluia, St Benedict emphasizes the importance for me of seasons, the rhythms of life. Every moment is an Alleluia moment. But it is probably good for me to have a context for for rejoicing, and a context for remembering that life also involves waiting, seeking, suffering.

Saturday, February 17, 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. Selfless attention points me away from myself, toward communion and community, toward a sense of belonging, of everyone and everything belonging.

Friday, February 16, 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.)

Acceptance and forgiveness can transform the stubborn patterns that ensnare my relationships with others. But first I must accept and forgive myself. That is only possible because I can know, in my own experience, that God accepts me, forgives me, and transforms me.

Thursday, February 15, 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.)

Starting out slowly, and building to a rhythm over the week, the psalms are like a river of praise. In the same way, it seems to me, meditation requires patience and fidelity to merge with the divine energy that directs the flow of life.

Wednesday, February 14, 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.

Tuesday, February 13, 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 midst of his instructions that solemnize Sundays, I read that St. Benedict compassionately acknowledges human failing -- as well as forgiveness, reasonable adjustment and continued commitment. And so, I'm led to reflect that what I think of as my almost-predictable failings, are opportunities for the mercy of God to manifest through others, in ordinary and in unexpected ways.

Monday, February 12, 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. Meditation guides me in a similar way to be as responsive to reality and committed to continuous prayer.