OREMUS: 10 February 2007

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Fri Feb 9 19:21:02 GMT 2007

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OREMUS for Saturday, February 10, 2007 
Scholastica, sister of Benedict, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543

O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, O God,
through Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd.
In the waters of baptism you give us new birth,
at your table you nourish us with heavenly food,
and in your goodness and mercy
you guide us beyond the terrors of evil and death
to your Father's home to dwell in eternal light.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 5

Give ear to my words, O Lord;*
 consider my meditation.
Hearken to my cry for help, my King and my God,*
 for I make my prayer to you.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;*
 early in the morning I make my appeal
   and watch for you.
For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness*
 and evil cannot dwell with you.
Braggarts cannot stand in your sight;*
 you hate all those who work wickedness.
You destroy those who speak lies;*
 the bloodthirsty and deceitful, O Lord, you abhor.
But as for me, through the greatness of your mercy,
   I will go into your house;*
 I will bow down towards your holy temple in awe of you.
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness,
   because of those who lie in wait for me;*
 make your way straight before me.
For there is no truth in their mouth;*
 there is destruction in their heart;
Their throat is an open grave;*
 they flatter with their tongue.
Declare them guilty, O God;*
 let them fall, because of their schemes.
Because of their many transgressions cast them out,*
 for they have rebelled against you.
But all who take refuge in you will be glad;*
 they will sing out their joy for ever.
You will shelter them,*
 so that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you, O Lord, will bless the righteous;*
 you will defend them with your favour as with a shield.

Psalm 6

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger;*
 do not punish me in your wrath.
Have pity on me, Lord, for I am weak;*
 heal me, Lord, for my bones are racked.
My spirit shakes with terror;*
 how long, O Lord, how long?
Turn, O Lord, and deliver me;*
 save me for your mercy's sake.
For in death no one remembers you;*
 and who will give you thanks in the grave?
I grow weary because of my groaning;*
 every night I drench my bed
   and flood my couch with tears.
My eyes are wasted with grief*
 and worn away because of all my enemies.
Depart from me, all evildoers,*
 for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my supplication;*
 the Lord accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be confounded and quake with fear;*
 they shall turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

A Song of Wisdom (Wisdom 9.1-5a,5c-6,9-11)

O God of our ancestors and Lord of mercy,
you have made all things by your word.

By your wisdom you have formed us
to have dominion over the creatures you have made;

To rule the world in holiness and righteousness
and to pronounce judgement in uprightness of soul.

Give us the Wisdom that sits by your throne;
do not reject us from among your servants,

For we are your servants,
with little understanding of judgement and laws.

Even one who is perfect among us
will be regarded as nothing
without the wisdom that comes from you.

With you is Wisdom, she who knows your works,
and was present when you made the world.

She understands what is pleasing in your sight
and what is right according to your commandments.

Send her forth from the holy heavens,
from the throne of your glory send her.

That she may labour at our side
and that we may learn what is pleasing to you.

For she knows and understands all things,
she will guide us wisely in our actions
and guard us with her glory.

Psalm 149

   Sing to the Lord a new song;*
 sing his praise in the congregation of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in his maker;*
 let the children of Zion be joyful in their king.
Let them praise his name in the dance;*
 let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people*
 and adorns the poor with victory.
Let the faithful rejoice in triumph;*
 let them be joyful on their beds.
Let the praises of God be in their throat*
 and a two-edged sword in their hand;
To wreak vengeance on the nations*
 and punishment on the peoples;
To bind their kings in chains*
 and their nobles with links of iron;
To inflict on them the judgement decreed;*
 this is glory for all his faithful people.

FIRST READING [Jeremiah 17:1-4]:

The sin of Judah is written with an iron pen; with a
diamond point it is engraved on the tablet of their
hearts, and on the horns of their altars, while their
children remember their altars and their sacred poles,
beside every green tree, and on the high hills, on the
mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your
treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your sin
throughout all your territory. By your own act you shall
lose the heritage that I gave you, and I will make you
serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in
my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn for ever. 

Words: Henry Williams Baker, 1861
Tune: Ravenshaw 
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Lord, thy Word abideth,
and our footsteps guideth;
who its truth believeth
light and joy receiveth.

When our foes are near us,
then thy Word doth cheer us,
Word of consolation,
message of salvation.

When the storms are o'er us,
and dark clouds before us,
then its light directeth,
and our way protecteth.

Who can tell the pleasure,
who recount the treasure,
by thy Word imparted
to the simple-hearted?

Word of mercy, giving
succor to the living;
word of life, supplying
comfort to the dying!

O that we, discerning,
its most holy learning,
Lord, may love and fear thee,
evermore be near thee!

SECOND READING [Luke 11:24-28]:

Jesus said, 'When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through
waterless regions looking for a resting-place, but not finding any, it says, "I will return
to my house from which I came." When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order.
Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live
there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first.'
While he was saying this, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him,
'Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!' But he said,
'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!' 

The Benedictus (Morning), 
the Magnificat (Evening), or 
Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

Great are you, Lord, and greatly to be praised!
There is no end to your greatness.
Let your Spirit shape and make new our character,
encourage us in constant prayer,
direct us in the way of love
and bring us at last to heaven with all your saints in light.

All that is unfinished in us and in the world,
we entrust to you, Lord.

Every aspiration, longing and dream
crushed by temptation, sin and dullness of heart,
we entrust to you, Lord.

Holy Church seeking to offer you worship
in every place and culture, especially in the Diocese of
Atlanta, USA, The Rt Revd John Neil Alexander, Bishop.
we entrust to you, Lord.

Every people and tribe oppressed
by the greed and prejudice of others,
we entrust to you, Lord.

The empty and hungry places in our spirits
and in our relationships with others,
we entrust to you, Lord.

Lord of mercy and redemption,
rescue us, we pray, from the depths of sin and death;
forgive us what we do wrong,
and give us grace to stand in your presence,
to serve you in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God,
by whose grace Scholastica, the sister of Benedict,
became a burning and shining light in your Church:
inflame us with the same spirit of discipline and love,
that we may ever walk before you as children of light;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
let us pray in faith and trust:

- The Lord's Prayer

The God of love who calls us,
guide us this day and always:
his might uphold us,
his love enfold us,
his peace empower us;
in Jesus' Name. Amen.

The psalms and the invitation to the Lord's Prayer are from _Celebrating Common
Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with

The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary
Edition_, copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving and the closing sentence are adapted from
prayers reprinted from _Revised Common Lectionary Prayers_,
copyright (c) 2002 Consultation on Common Texts.

Our only source of information on the life of Benedict of Nursia (480?-547?) is
the second book of the Dialogues of Pope Geogory the Great (540-604). This
work dates from less than 50 years after the death of Benedict and is based
upon the reminiscences of persons who knew the Abbot, yet it is not history or
biography in our modern sense. Instead it is intended as an edifying and
didactic tale illustrating the means by which humans journey towards God. 
Benedict, whose name in Latin means "Blessed," was born to a Christian family
in the mountains to the northeast of Rome. The Roman Empire was crumbling
and the Goths and Vandals controlled Italy. As a youth, he was sent to Rome
for schooling and there experienced a religious awakening which caused him to
renounce corrupt secular society and to join a band of Christian ascetics. He
later became a hermit, living in the hill region of Subiaco. His fame as a holy
person grew until he was importuned to become the abbot of a group of
monks, who eventually became so peeved by his reforming zeal that they
attempted to poison him. Benedict left them to their evil ways and began
organizing groups of his own followers into small monasteries. In about A.D.
529, he and a few disciples came to the mountain above the city of Cassino
where they established the monastery now known as Montecassino. This is
probably where he wrote the monastic Rule, the only document which remains
to us from his hand. Benedict's death occurred about 547, and tradition tells us
he died standing before the altar, supported by his brothers, a model of fidelity
and perseverance for all of his followers.  Scholastica is, according to
tradition, the twin sister of Benedict. She is a shadowy figure whom we know
from a single charming story in the Dialogues. She led some form of
consecrated life with a group of Christian women. Gregory tells us that yearly
she journeyed to meet her brother at a small house midway between their
residences. On one momentous occasion, as evening fell, Benedict packed up
his monks to return to the monastery from which, according to his own Rule,
he was not permitted to be absent overnight. Scholastica begged him to make
an exception and stay over so that they could continue their holy conversation.
When Benedict refused, Scholastica wept and prayed and immediately such a
torrent of rain fell that no one could leave the house. As Gregory says, the
woman's prayers prevailed with God because her love was the greater. When
Scholastica died, Benedict had her body brought to Montecassino and placed
in his own tomb. Scholastica's name means "she who has leisure to devote to
study." Some skeptical historians have suggested that she is only a literary
device: a personification of the Benedictine practice of reflective study. She
remains very real, however, to Benedictine women, with the reality which can
transcend simple historical existence, as a model of the feminine aspects of
Benedictine monasticism, and an example of the power of the soul who loves
God. [Sr. Margaret Clarke, O.S.B.; College of Saint Scholastica,

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