Wednesday, June 17, 2009

February 16, June 17, October 17

Chapter 13: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said on Weekdays

The Morning and Evening Offices
should never be allowed to pass
without the Superior saying the Lord's Prayer
in its place at the end
so that all may hear it,
on account of the thorns of scandal which are apt to spring up.
Thus those who hear it,
being warned by the covenant which they make in that prayer
when they say, "Forgive us as we forgive,"
may cleanse themselves of faults against that covenant.
But at the other Offices
let the last part only of that prayer be said aloud,
so that all may answer, "But deliver us from evil.

Some Thoughts

Does it strike you as curious that only the monastic superior is to pray most of the Lord's Prayer with the monastics only joining in at the end? I certainly does me. While I can't say I have done a study of the use of the Lord's Prayer in private devotions, it's hard for me to imagine that it did not. I've checked Kardong's Commentary and it doesn't say anything helpful. Which is a pity.

Although I once had a class a seminary where we had to research the religious practices of those not in monasteries. The class was called What Led Up to the Reformation or something like that and what we all learned was that there really wasn't much recorded about the religious observances of people not in monasteries or convents. Except of course for those the Roman Catholic Church deemed heretics such as the Waldensians, Albigensians and the Beguines. Church historians find the seeds for the Reformation in these 3 groups as well as other contributing factors. Of course, there are those Medieval Books of Hours which the nobility had and presumably used in prayer. Although Lady Godiva bequeathed her prayer chaplet (string of beads on which she counted out her Pater Nostras) to a statue in Coventry Cathedral. There were a few more bits and pieces I came across but that was about it. We could have a very interesting chat about it, if anyone is interested, on the Mere Benedictines list.

One explanation that I've come with about this passage is that Benedict wanted the communal emphasis on the hard bits of the Lord's Prayer. That he wanted to emphasize that God will forgive us only as we forgive each other. And in the other Offices, he wanted the monks to really hear that it is only God who can deliver them from evil.



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