Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Understanding the Benedictine Office: upcoming series

There are quite a few people who are relatively new to the Benedictine Office looking in on this blog, so I thought it might be helpful to run a short series on the structure and underlying spirituality of the traditional Benedictine Office.

The Rule of St Benedict on the Office

In fact, the Rule of St Benedict devotes quite a few chapters to the Office, and these are traditionally read between February 10 and 26 (and again in June and October) in monasteries. 

Reading these chapters reflectively, will I think, help you to get more out of the Office, as well as aid your understanding of how it all fits together and works.

Many who do read the Rule regularly, struggle, I think, to get much spiritual juice out of the section on the Office. But my own view is that the Benedictine Office as broadly set out in the Rule is a vital element of Benedictine spirituality, teaching and reinforcing many of the messages set out elsewhere in the Rule, as well as important in its own right.

Accordingly, I plan to offer a short series of posts each day here by way of commentary on this section of it.

You don't have to have read what comes before it in the Rule to make sense of that is often described as St Benedict's 'liturgical code', but if you do have time for a quick read or refresher of the Prologue up to Chapter 7, that will certainly be helpful.  You can find online versions of the Rule of St Benedict in a variety of languages here.

Each post will set out the prescribed section of the Rule for the day in Latin and English (using the translation by Abbot Justin McCann).  I'll then set out a few notes on it for you to consider, question and debate.

And before I start that, I'll offer a sort introduction to this section of the Rule.  So more soon....

Understanding the psalms

I'd also like to draw your attention to my other blog, Psallam Domino.  Over there I'm providing a series of notes aimed at helping people pray the psalms in the Office more deeply, and particularly, to pray them in Latin, in line with the Church's tradition!

If you have a look through it, I've already provided notes on quite a few psalms, but at the moment I've just started on the psalms of Sunday Vespers, with an introductory post on Psalm 109.

To find the next part in this series, click here.

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