December 29th, 1982, Serial No. 00415

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Monastic Orientation Set 1 of 2

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We are in scheme 5 of the constitutions and today we'd like to finish that scheme, the rest of which is a very technical kind of thing, and then start on the other half of the constitutions which are the more spiritual part. We can use that as a kind of basis for discussing the basic elements of monastic life and also to give a theological basis and a kind of unity to these elements of the monastic life from the point of view of the present constitution, which is that of the rule of Saint Benedict and the Second Vatican Council together with the novice tradition. We got to page 25, I believe, part 2 of scheme 5, the extraordinary regime. Now the ordinary regime, you remember, is that which is in operation all the time.


The extraordinary regime is that which is in operation from time to time and it consists of the general chapter and the consulta. The consulta you'll find way back on page 31. There are only three chapters in this part. First the general chapter, secondly the consulta. The general chapter is very long. And thirdly the election of officials outside of the general chapter. That's that extraordinary thing which happens when somebody dies or becomes incapable of continuing in office. Okay, let's go quickly through the organization of the general chapter, starting on page 25. A. Functions and members of the chapter. The general chapter constitutes the supreme authority and power in the congregation and is its legislative organ. So that's a pretty heavy function, you see, for the chapter. It's equivalent to an ecumenical council, something like that.


But whereas ecumenical councils are irregular, aren't they? Only there may not be one more than every 100 years or every 200 years. The general chapter is a regular thing. And they varied in frequency from time to time. Some orders have a general chapter every year. That's equivalent. We have it every six years. Monastic congregations ordinarily it's not quite so frequent. I think the trappists have one every three years. It's legislative organ. So the laws, the constitutions actually are made by the general chapter. So you see how it is the highest authority. On the other hand, because it's only in session very infrequently, it can't do a lot of the ordinary business of the congregation. You can't make things work within the chapter. First task, to further the spiritual vitality of the congregation. It does this by making laws and directives and exhortations and all kinds of things. And then it has a clause in there about the renewal, the sound adaptation of the congregation. Every six years, it's up to the prior general to say where and when.


It's always at Karmadalen. They may have had one at Rome when they were working on the constitutions. It's either. Now it's at the monastery of Karmadalen. Occasionally, often at the press, but not always at Budapest in the library. Then the people that go to the chapter, the prior general, the two assistants, the park ranger, the prior superiors, two visitors. You'll see that the composition of the general chapter is pretty heavily loaded with regard to members of the community of Karmadalen. Also because the prior general, since he's the superior, the ordinary member of that community. And a number of those other officers, general officials are likely to come from Karmadalen. Now, he doesn't have to come from Karmadalen, but he's the superior of Karmadalen, okay? And it's up to that community to, well, it's not up to the community to elect him,


it's up to the congregation. Suppose they elected a prior general, suppose the general chapter elected a prior general from Ponte Avalon, or even from New Karmadalen, okay? Well, he would be the superior of Karmadalen. And since it's not the community that elects him, he doesn't have to be a member of that community. You have to consider that he has to be the superior of that community, or the superior of that community is to be his superior. Well, the superior general doesn't have to be from that community, but the superior general is the superior of that community. You could consider it to be kind of an unjust situation, it could be, except that almost always he is also from that community, okay? Simply by reason of the balance of the people in the congregation turns out that, within my memory, it's never been otherwise. Actually, Father Allapranda was the prior general for six years, and he was not a professed of Karmadalen, that's true,


but he was pretty much a member of Karmadalen, I think he did, I'm not so sure how much he did, but there's an example, because he belongs to Ponte Avalon. And then they delegate, in letter H, that's something that doesn't go back too far, and the idea is that the general chapter should not just be composed of superiors, but also of representatives, sort of from the grassroots. Now, the bigger the house is, the more delegates they send. Sir Kamaldele sends about four or five, and there's legislation to determine where they come from, and how they're elected, and it's quite complicated. I'm not going to talk in detail about the election of the delegates, or anything like that, or a lot of other doings in the chapter, because I'm not about those interests. When a chapter comes around, I'm not going to talk about it. The officers of the chapter, verse 27, the order, the deliberations,


all that's technical stuff. The elections, here's a marvelous piece of Judaic language, the votes are to be free, secret, certain, absolute, and determined. And every one of those words has a meaning. It's marvelous. Every one of them means something. There's a whole lot of reality in those few words. It means that you can't say, um, you can't say, well, I'd like father so-and-so, unless, in which case, I'd like father so-and-so. Yeah, it's making it conditional, instead of determined. Certain means you can tell what's there, okay? So if somebody, they used to have marbles, white ones or black ones, if you got a gray one, that would be uncertain.


Or if somebody worked on a smudge which you couldn't do. Absolute, let's see what does that mean. I forgot the difference between absolute and determined. That's in the canon, rather. It can be looked up in the book. If you're interested in casting a vote. Um, okay, but final means unconditional, too. Okay, free is clear, secret is clear, certain is clear. I have difficulty determining, getting the difference between absolute and determined. Yeah, one means that it's not conditional.


It's just plain. That'll come up if you have somebody voting by proxy. They try to vote a conditional. Somebody sent you a conditional. Determined, uh, I'd say that absolute means it's unconditional. Determined means that it refers to a particular person without any possible doubt. You can't say I vote for a certain, a certain monk who has these qualifications. I vote for the oldest monk. Okay, the consultant over on page 31. They elect the general, the prior general, by the way, and the two visitors and the prior curator general and a couple of the lesser officials at the general chapel. That takes place at the end. The consulta is a lesser body, a lesser assembly


that takes place on the, in the middle of the time between the two generals' elections, the third year. The same order of business is in the general chapel. Some things are better. The priors don't have to take a financial bond. And the membership is the same. Okay, chapter three covers the case where somebody dies or becomes incapacitated, and they have to elect another replacement for them. The appendix on page 32 gives you the juridical structure of Kamaldolid, which is very special because it's two communities in one and because the prior general resides there, okay? So it needs a special treatment. Since it's not of general concern, however, not of general application, it was not put in the constitution themselves but made an appendix to the constitution because the constitutions are for everybody. And this is particular.


Prior general is also prior of the holy hermitage and monastery of Kamaldolid, which are a single community, juridical and spiritual, hopefully so. And then the bond between the monastery and the hermitage and how you can move, how you choose between one and the other and how you can move from one to the other. There are two vice priors. The two vice priors at present are Franco, up in the hermitage, who used to be a novice minister up there, and Emanuele, whom some of you know because he's been here, who is the prior of the monastery of Kamaldolid. They're both young men. And they're elected by the two communities. See how delicately this is balanced because the communities have a right to have some say who runs them, don't they? They can't elect the prior general if they can't elect the two vice priors. At one time, the vice priors of the hermitage and monastery were also the visitors. That's not so now.


Emanuele is both prior and visitor. The Franco is not. The other visitor is Bernardino, who also belonged to the family of Kamaldolid. Okay, task of the two vice priors. The holy hermitage of Kamaldolid, head and mother of the entire congregation, holds first place among all the houses. So there's a precedence even among the houses in case they were to line up to go somewhere. That's a historical inheritance, that particular passage from regulations. Now the decrees. Establishment of a permanent commission of study. Actually, that never got into functioning. It was a noble idea in the glow of the aftermath of Vatican II, which petered out somewhere about late in 1969. It hasn't been heard from since. Those things happen.


Special powers conferred on the general chapter in the third decree. The idea is that with the permission of the holy see, the general, on the general council, the general council can change things before the next general chapter, since we're in a time of renewal and we have these constitutions not experimentally, on an experimental basis. Decree number four. Because San Gregorio Alcielio, that's our monastery in Rome, is a house which serves the entire congregation. It's not to be a dependency of Comaldoli, as it was before. It is to be a dependency of the general council. That's a juridical adjustment. Decree number five is a kind of amnesty for displaced persons. People who had been in another community than their community of profession for a long while, or who wanted to switch for some reason or another, were given this chance at that time to switch. Because they were trying to sort of regularize it.


There were a lot of people that belonged to community A and had been living in community B for a long time. Over and over. For all kinds of reasons. It's a one-time thing, yeah. No, not the individual request. See, the prior general would have the power to say yes or no. So that's all over. Now, two examples were Father Robert, who transferred to Comaldoli at that time. As I remember, it was that time. And then Thomas did also. I think the two of them was in Comaldoli. And then there was a couple of other people. And they still belong to Comaldoli. Does that have an effect still on the community? Oh, that can be changed. It can be changed back. For instance, if either one of them were here at New Comaldoli for five or ten years, quite likely it would be that those two would be transferred. Okay, the next is a special decree for New Comaldoli.


Now, this actually is made possible later on in Scheme 10. But Scheme 10 had not gone through in this chapter. You see, these are the cleanup items for the first session of this general chapter in 1968. And they hadn't made this adjustment of the novitiate and so on. And we needed it. We said we didn't. So they rushed it through for us. And then the same thing came up pretty much later on, except for one item in Scheme 10. The idea was to lengthen the period of formation here at New Comaldoli since we're dealing with barbarians, not people with centuries of civilization. So we were permitted to have a two-year novitiate. Americans are barbarians, in case you're wondering. A two-year novitiate, and to prolong the period of simple profession up to nine years. Now, that was already in the power of the prior general. But it's put in the power of the prior,


in other words, the local superior, because the prior general doesn't know the people. So it's a very hard thing. As a matter of fact, the prior was simply asking when he would give us a little bit of a magnet, because he doesn't know the person. So that permits a long time before a solemn provision. That's right. So the same thing is in the Constitution now for everybody. This was a special provision for us. Now, the prior has the faculty to use this procedure, okay? Notice, let's start. So he doesn't have to do it, okay? If he wants, he has... And remember that in the declarations for that time, the postponement was six months. So this is doubling it.


He has the power to double it, but he doesn't have to for a given candidate, okay? And then a year later, Scheme 10 comes along and makes it minimum of a year for each one and maximum of two years for each one, which is actually more than Scheme 10. But it's fluid. You don't have to do any of these things. And certainly, you don't have to prolong a period of simple provision until it's entirely up to you. A person can make his own provision after three years of evidence. It's positive. So that affects everybody except confederated Benedictines. There was a little concern with, like, a priest who would come in, okay, and sort of zip through the formation period, be in the community, be in the chapel, have a vote and all that. You really don't have to invite this. Or another religious, somebody coming from another religion. Actually, you'd be amazed how much different it makes the kind of formation. You just have a whole different mentality. It can recap it.


Okay. Any questions about that before we turn to Scheme 6? Now, Scheme 6 is a different kind of material, you'll notice immediately. And 6, 7, 8, and 9 are a different kind of material. Then 10 returns to the more, what would you call it, technical, theoretical material that I'm talking about for now. But not entirely. 10 is kind of a mixture. But we have prayer, we have asceticism, we have the monastic apostolate, we have poverty and work, and this intervening scheme. A lot of the main... And these contain the main elements of monastic life, even though they're not all in the titles. For instance, under asceticism, there probably was silence and solitude and things like that, which we might not immediately think of in that connection. Everything is lumped together into these chapters. Now, what I'd like to do... You've heard about all of these items already. It's pointless just to repeat them. What can we look for as we go through these schemes?


I think one thing that's very important is the general theological viewpoint on which things are being looked at, and the way that they're tied together, the meaning that they're given, the meaning and the purpose that they're given. Because there's an attempt to interpret all of these traditional practices in the light of the Gospel and in the light of Vatican II, the Second Vatican Council, and in the light of the Church, the ecclesiology. You can say that the Second Vatican Council is the Council of the Church, the Council of Ecclesiology. When you begin to think of Christianity or Catholicism in terms of the Church, with the consciousness that we didn't have in some way before... If you compare with the earlier Constitutions, the Church is thought of in a different way. It's thought of as, what, as... It's kind of often as an institution, rarely as the local church, in the early liberation of the Constitution. And here it's thought of in a kind of theological way. And then the attempt to put everything


into a theological context, with a target of a theological meaning. What I mean is, everything in terms of ultimate meaning. Not just to make a precept or a law, okay, without locating it in a framework of meaning. And actually, it's very important for us now, in this time of transition, this time of change... I said, to locate something theologically is to locate it in terms of its ultimate meaning. Okay? To locate it in terms of... If you tell somebody to do something, let's say you tell them, well, you're going to fast every Friday, you've got to locate that in terms of the meaning of what he's doing, the ultimate meaning of what he's doing, which for a philosopher would be one thing, but for a Christian monk, it's in terms of the Bible, it's in terms of Scripture and the Church. So this is where the greatest difference appears, between the older constitutions


and the Christian constitutions. You'll notice that the older constitutions tend to look at the Church more institutionally, and they tend to look at law as law. In other words, you do it because you've got to do it, and here's the sanction for it if you don't do it. The new ones are very mild about prescribing things, and when they do, they always put it in the context of meaning, very carefully, justify it as it were, sometimes almost apologetically about something. That's the mood of the time. And so it is with prayer then. You'll find that there's a lot of structure in this scheme on prayer. It's been very carefully put together with the theological elements, the basic ones at the bottom, and then sort of building up, so it's a kind of pyramid structure. And at the bottom of the pyramid is the doctrine of the Trinity, is the basic Christian reality, the plan of God and our inclusion in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


That's in number one, before it even starts talking about prayer. Then the second part of number one, the sacramental connection, the Eucharist, the body, and the blood. The third part of number one, see, this is before we talk about monks at all. Notice, this is a general theological basis, which is straight Vatican II. Actually, the first one is from Ephesians 2. It was built on the analogy of the Council of Christians. Now, what's the importance of this third paragraph? The entire life of Christians, consecrated by the Holy Spirit, to form a spiritual temple and a holy priesthood. Building the monastic life on the basis of the so-called universal priesthood, which had been pretty much in the shadow since the Protestant Reformation. Do you remember what came up at that time?


The Protestants said, well, there ain't no institutional priesthood. Everybody's a priest. And so the priest said, yes, there is. The church said, yes, there is, Tony. And that's where the battle was. In fact, it was so bitter that the doctrine of the universal priesthood, which is in, for instance, St. Peter's Letter, and it's in other places, got practically pushed out of sight in the Catholic Church. It was considered kind of sinister and threatening because Luther had used it as a weapon. So it's brought back in in Vatican II because it's extremely important, okay? For instance, the monastic life gets a lot of its meaning from the fact that what you are doing in the liturgy and in your prayer is a participation in the sacrifice and in the prayer of Jesus, of Christ, the one priest. Now, it's a priestly act. If you want to find the theological core, the theological backbone of your prayer and even your life,


you have to come back to this notion of the priesthood of Jesus and the fact that we all participate in it, not just the ministerial priests, not just the ordained priests who have a special role, but in some way, on a certain level, the universal priesthood is more important than the ministerial priesthood, okay? On a certain level. On another level, of course, the sacrifice, the service of the Eucharist is indispensable, and therefore the ministerial priesthood is necessary for the existence of the Church. Or nearly necessary, in this scheme of things. So that's why that's put so strongly there. Now, the universal priesthood of the faithful is reasserted in Vatican II. Those beautiful phrases of Saint Peter. A spiritual temple and a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices to God, to Jesus Christ, and in Jesus Christ. They exercise fully their holy and sacerdotal character.


Sacerdotal means priestly. So that theology of the universal priesthood, which is rooted in the priesthood of Jesus, which you also find in the letter to Hebrews, most strongly, is used as the theological basis here for monastic prayer. Now, in the scheme on prayer, it's not only what we call prayer, but also the liturgy, okay? Including the Eucharist. You think of that as sacrament or whatever, but it covers that. Now it descends to the monks. It continually narrows down, starting from the broadest place, the pyramid. Have a special attention for prayer. Especially those in the hermitage, where the focus on prayer is even stronger. In other words, leaping through this when I comment on every word. Now the Benedictine framework, see smaller still, narrowing down still. Nothing be preferred to the Opus Dei. The Opus Dei for Saint Benedict, as we brought up by Thomas the other day, is the divine office. So the Benedictine communities give this primacy to the various form


of celebration of the mystery of Christ in the sacred liturgy. Notice the care in saying that the liturgy is a celebration of the mystery of Christ. Meaning, meaning, meaning. All the time it's trying to get it into a framework of meaning to tell you what it's about, not just that you do it. For instance, if you look at the other constitutions, the older ones, they would say, well, Mass will be celebrated. Conventional Mass will be celebrated every day at a certain time, but everybody should be present. But that's it. This is a different one. In the liturgy, indeed, Christ daily exercises his priesthood. See that continually. Associates with himself the Church's pride. Now there's this very powerful phrase, SC, remember, is the document on the liturgy, Vatican II on the liturgy, Sacrum Concilium. The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed, and at the same time is the fountain from which all her power flows, at which point the Carmelites begin to shrivel up in the corner and say,


what? There's nothing left. It's a very strong statement. The liturgy is the source and also the consummation. It's the ground, and it's also the apex, the base and the peak. So Vatican II itself has to point out that very quickly that's not right. Because it can be a kind of pan-liturgism, especially in Benedictine monasteries, whereby the liturgy is everything. So you do the liturgy and then the rest of the time, so you do what you can. Question from the audience I think it's the liturgy. Let me see. I brought it with me. I think it's the liturgy. That's number 10. Yes. No, it's the liturgy.


Nevertheless, the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed. It is also the fount from which all the power flows. No. No, I was joking. But see, at one time, there was this big battle between the proponents of the liturgy over here, the liturgical prayer over here with a bag of genie bearing the flag, and contemplative prayer over here with Maritime bearing the standard of their respective white horses. And when you seem to give everything to the liturgy, the people whose whole focus is on interior prayer, personal prayer, private prayer, contemplative prayer, begin to get very fearful. And sometimes I have this feeling too. It's a crazy polemic, but that's what it is. And they're all saying that the liturgy of the Church is the summit of it. It's a very peaceful offering. But does people know how to do it? Oh, sure. You've got to bring it out, though. Otherwise, they feel that they've conquered the field.


I think when you read A, that one answer is that the Eucharist is so important. Yeah, the problem of whether it's the liturgy or the Eucharist is being talked about. Now, as far as the liturgy is concerned, it's the Eucharist that is the most, the central part, okay? The Eucharist is certainly the apex. And I guess you'd say it's the foundation, too, because by it, we are incorporated into the body of Christ. Therefore, it's by it that we participate in the priesthood of Christ, right? Which is the axis of this. So it's foundational in the Eucharist. Well, the liturgy can't be separated from the Eucharist, so... They're like concentric circles, you know? You can consider the Eucharist to be the core and then the divine office to be sort of around it. Just as the paschal mystery of Jesus, right, is the core of his life, and then his other acts, also his acts of worship, are another wider circle around that, okay?


Okay, now we get to the Eucharistic celebration. This is the center of the life of the community, because from it, the church is born. Of it, continue through it. So that means it's the source. The communion and divine life and the unity of the people of God, these are the basic dimensions. The vertical and the horizontal, which we found earlier on, I remember talking about church as sacrament and the monastic community, that was in scheme four. Now here you find it reproduced once again in the celebration of the Eucharist. Now, this theology of the Eucharist was not in the earlier constitution, you see? So it's a great enrichment. It means that you can use the constitutions in a different way now than you did before. See, now, in a certain way, you can use them in spiritual reading or to find your bearings, theologically speaking, within the Christian history. That wasn't possible before. Expressed and realized.


Every word is loaded there, so... But we won't comment on it. Fortes to the future perfect communion with the Blessed Communion. If you read the big text for this area, this Father Vagagini's book, The Theological Sense of the Religion. And Vagagini was very close to the Second Vatican Council on the religion. He was on the commission, often had a determinative influence, I think, also on the document. And he may have advised also on the constitution, this part. Number five. Therefore, since that's the center, everybody has to be careful, individual and community, that the orientation of the life is in accord with it. The preparation and the development of the Eucharist. Then, on the celebration itself.


There were a lot of people who were in the church and there were a lot of things to be changed, you see, in the celebration of the Eucharist at that time. One principal thing was that you had the priests all saying so-called private masses and then you had one conventional mass, which was celebrated by a single priest. The whole community would be present, not con-celebrated. And that was changed. You see a strong push in that direction. According to the nature of the praying community and the intrinsic exigencies of the celebration. Now, those are subtle, mild pushes towards changes in the liturgy, in the concrete liturgy. And then the resulting contemplation. So, warmly recommended that the celebration of the Eucharist be one and the same for all the members of the community. Now, this refers to the question of private masses


or the one con-celebrated conventional mass. There's a strong push to drop the duplication of mass by having the priests having a real Eucharist and they celebrate it themselves. And then attending the conventional mass as spectators, as part participants. That was a real battle, and there was a lot of tension. A lot of people here were afraid of keeping the private mass. See, the more solitary like that, the more you want to keep the Eucharist too as a solitary practice, according to the nature of the community. And it has a long history in my work, because I think at the time of St. Norman, you'd find a lot of priests celebrating private masses. And some of those monasteries, like in the Trappist monasteries of our time, 30 years ago, you'd have about 20 altars where the priests would celebrate each one as one private mass, side by side, like in the crypt of the church. And then you'd have one big conventional mass


where everybody was present, but only one priest, maybe the abbot, would celebrate. And you get very attached to this. In spite of, if you think about it, you think about the cruelty of a certain detachment, you realize that they don't conform well to the nature of the Eucharist, to the meaning of the Eucharist, which really is community, which is this sharing of life. On the other hand, if somebody's really a recluse, well then, it's quite natural for him to celebrate by himself. So anyway, we went back to Portland, there was a lot of our community there. And before we finally arrived in our community, we were all present, so not compromises, or far along the side of the unified salvation. But there's the open possibility of the open. Saint Peter Damian has this little treatise, Dominus Fulviscum, in which he talks about the mass,


some of the priests celebrating the mass privately. And that's one of the strongest statements that's made for that kind of privacy. In solitary religion. Okay, on the solemnity of the priorship, there's all the key Eucharists, because that expresses the unity of the community. The last paragraph in that part, since all the faithful, now not just the monks, but all the faithful exercise their priesthood in a liturgical assembly, when they are present, their active and conscious participation in divine mysteries is to be part of it. This is another gentle push, which has very concrete repercussions, which would have been evident here at the time when they had the electric screen here, which buzzed open, these points opened, so they could easily come in. The idea is that where the faithful have been kept, sort of held off at arm's length from the celebration of the Eucharist, they should be, in some way,


allowed to come closer and further forth. Now that, as you can imagine, is a very tense subject in monasteries, and you see a great difference in various monasteries, even if you go to various Baptist monasteries. If you go to Gethsemane, you'll find a blue boat up in the balcony, which is about like 300 meters from Mars. It's about a thousand feet away, and the priests almost have to take a bus to get there, to get them from India. The whole service waits while the priests come back, and then finally they can let the choir enlist. Whereas, in other ones, we're pretty close to the people here. It depends a lot on where you are at geographically. If you're near a city, it could be just impossible to be able to get as close as we could be drawn to. But that's been a very sensitive subject. And even then, I mean, it's still a debatable thing. Like, should you have somebody from among the retreatants


read the second reading and say, See, it's still on the same line as it was before. You become very tired of that kind of thing, after all, that kind of discussion. The divine office. So, the divine office is very important for monks. You know, monks had a lot of place in the actual evolution of the divine office in the legal history of it. The canons in the city churches and so on. A lot of it came from the monks, especially the way that the office was formulated by St. Benedict in his rule had a lot of influence on the subsequent even in the Roman offices. Celebration of the divine praise is a fundamental effort of their life. There was probably a dispute as to whether to put the fundamental element or the fundamental element. It was much more important. The sacrifice of praise.


These are classic biblical praises. Once again, here, as in the Eucharist, Christ exercises his priestly action. Sooner or later, it's important for you to read something on that theology of the liturgy, if we don't have a class on it. Because otherwise, we don't know how to relate what we're doing to the center of our life. We don't know how to pull it together in our minds. The writing of the mystery of salvation finds its plenitude in prayer and church. In quotes, Cashion, conference 10, chapter 11, which I think is the end of that conference. Cashion quotes John 17. St. Gregory homilies on Ezekiel book 10. Unfortunately, we don't have those in English. There are some big quotations in Butler's Western Mysticism. Since the divine...


Number nine, divine office is intended to sanctify the course of the day. This is the reason why the divine office is broken up into the different hours. It should be celebrated, therefore, as close to the proper time as you can, taking into consideration the changed conditions of life, which means that it makes a lot of difference what kind of work you're doing, and so on, how you schedule the divine office. The divine office is going to be scheduled. The hours will be scheduled differently in the 6th or 7th century than they are in the 20th century. And so, for instance, a community may not want to go to church eight times a day to pray the divine office. So they may condense a couple of hours, but they may readjust the hour because of the demands of their work. Otherwise, your work is too broken up. That's the idea of the divine office. Lauds and vespers, that's morning prayer and evening prayer, which are the two hinges of the divine office. Those are the two most important hours, even though not necessarily the longest hour. Vigils was the longest hour in the Old Testament.


Schedules. Participation of all the members of the community. In other words, don't have main hours of the divine office at a time when some people will be working and not others will be attending. The form of the celebration. Well, to each element. Reading, psalmody, singing, silent pauses. For an hour of the divine office, according to the directives, you have to have four things. Psalm or Psalms. Scriptural reading. Prayer, hymn or psalm. Silence is not one of the absolute requirements, but it's how it basically should be. But you know, up to before the renewal, there wasn't much silence in the liturgy. It's surprising. There'd be an atmosphere of silence in which the liturgy took place, but there wouldn't be silent pauses like something that was reintroduced. And it was very difficult at first to find the right rhythm for it. You know, there'd be too long, there'd be too short, there'd be too many of them, you'd get nervous. You'd cough and you'd fidget. Guests and the faithful.


So the same thing holds for them. They should be able to participate actively. Lectio Divina. Notice the sequence. First the Eucharist, then the Divine Offerings, Lectio Divina, and then finally pray the prayer. Preparation and expansion in a coherent commitment of life and in that this prose is up to, it's a logo, it's a suit. In Lectio, contact with the Word, food of the soul, pure and perennial source of the spiritual life. I think that's quoted twice. The earlier time was in Skim, too, a beautiful place, from Dei Verbum, which is the Vatican II Constitution. Introduces the monk into the mystery of salvation, which enunciates an initiation. Attitude of conversion is needed. And then specifically on what you read.


And this owes something to the last chapter of the Holy Rule, chapter 73, in which Saint Benedict said, remember, read what page of the Holy Scriptures or of the Catholic Fathers or of the Monastic Fathers. There's not a source of life. The Scripture, first of all, the Word of God, then the Father's tradition and the ever-living reflection of the Church. We may have quite a struggle with ourselves to come to a good view of what our reading, our spiritual reading, is to include. Spiritual reading properly. Is it just Scripture? Some people might say so. The Fathers, they say, are merely sort of digesting the Scripture or integrating the Scripture, unifying the Scripture and processing it and then giving it back to the convent on transmitting it to you. Tradition, not only the Fathers, but also perhaps later writers or later writers


or writings which somehow fall into, fall outside the circle of the Fathers. There is a line. I think they get to it a little later. I think it comes up a little later. They're not able to define it with complete sharpness here. Actually, it's not that sharp a line because if study is prohibited from having any of the quality of Lectio, then it tends to go dead. On the other hand, Lectio is not completely without kind of a reflection. The study is seen as a preparation. They don't distinguish qualitatively. They don't say that if you read this, it's Lectio and if you read that, it's study. Because you can study anything, including the Bible, including the things that you do with Lectio all the time.


And your Lectio range extends also beyond the narrow limits that one wants to fill. It's harder to read the Code of Canon Law for Lectio than you do. You can do it sometimes. If you look at it, read it in a certain way, there's some passages that are quite inspiring. And it's so different for different people as well. Now, the ever-living reflection of the Church, this is important. Even a contemporary reflection of the Church, which means reflection of theologians, spiritual leaders, and so on. It can be a mistake for us to confine our reading only to draw a line on it in terms of time. Say, there's nothing after the 6th century, after the time of the Fathers, or nothing after the monastic centuries, nothing after the Middle Ages. There's certainly not anything that's being written now that's appropriate, decadent or something like that.


Or because it's not ever going to be so clear. There's a time for focusing on reading more than once. There's another time in life for one to be quite open and to listen to the truth of the Word and whatever that Word comes to us. Nowadays, we do. It's a way of reading. It's a way of reading which leads to prayer, okay? Whereas study doesn't lead to prayer, as it were. Study, you're trying to understand something, and then you're going to go on.