OREMUS: 10 February 2009

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Mon Feb 9 17:00:00 GMT 2009


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OREMUS for Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Scholastica, sister of Benedict, Abbess of Plombariola, c.543

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. 
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Psalm 135

Alleluia!  Praise the name of the Lord;*
 give praise, you servants of the Lord,
You who stand in the house of the Lord,*
 in the courts of the house of our God.
Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;*
 sing praises to his name, for it is lovely.
For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself*
 and Israel for his own possession.
For I know that the Lord is great,*
 and that our Lord is above all gods.
The Lord does whatever pleases him,
   in heaven and on earth,*
 in the seas and all the deeps.
He brings up rain clouds from the ends of the earth;*
 he sends out lightning with the rain,
   and brings the winds out of his storehouse.
It was he who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,*
 the firstborn both of human and beast.
He sent signs and wonders
   into the midst of you, O Egypt,*
 against Pharaoh and all his servants.
He overthrew many nations*
 and put mighty kings to death:
Sihon, king of the Amorites,
   and Og, the king of Bashan,*
 and all the kingdoms of Canaan.
He gave their land to be an inheritance,*
 an inheritance for Israel his people.
O Lord, your name is everlasting;*
 your renown, O Lord, endures from age to age.
For the Lord gives his people justice*
 and shows compassion to his servants.
The idols of the heathen are silver and gold,*
 the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but they cannot speak;*
 eyes have they, but they cannot see.
They have ears, but they cannot hear;*
 neither is there any breath in their mouth.
Those who make them are like them,*
 and so are all who put their trust in them.
Bless the Lord, O house of Israel;*
 O house of Aaron, bless the Lord.

Bless the Lord, O house of Levi;*
 you who fear the Lord, bless the Lord.
Blessed be the Lord out of Zion,*
 who dwells in Jerusalem. Alleluia!

A Song of the Lamb (Revelation 19.1b,2a,5b,6b,7,9b)

Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, . 
whose judgements are true and just. 
Praise our God, all you his servants, . 
all who fear him, both small and great. 
The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns: . 
let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory. 
For the marriage of the Lamb has come . 
and his bride has made herself ready. 
Blessed are those who are invited . 
to the wedding banquet of the Lamb.

Psalm 147:1-12

Alleluia!
   How good it is to sing praises to our God!*
 how pleasant it is to honour him with praise!
The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem;*
 he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted*
 and binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars*
 and calls them all by their names.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;*
 there is no limit to his wisdom.
The Lord lifts up the lowly,*
 but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;*
 make music to our God upon the harp.
He covers the heavens with clouds*
 and prepares rain for the earth;
He makes grass to grow upon the mountains*
 and green plants to serve us all.
He provides food for flocks and herds*
 and for the young ravens when they cry.
He is not impressed by the might of a horse,*
 he has no pleasure in human strength;

But the Lord has pleasure in those who fear him,*
 in those who await his gracious favour.
 Alleluia!

FIRST READING [Genesis 1:20-2:3]:

And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 

And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 

Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ 

So God created humankind in his image,
   in the image of God he created them;
   male and female he created them. 

God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. 

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. 

HYMN 
Words: John Ellerton (1826-1893)
Tune: Morning (Monk); Meter: 77 77 77

Oh how fair that morning broke,
When in Eden man awoke!
Beast and bird and insect bright
Revell'd in the gladsome light;
God look'd down from Heav'n above,
All was life and joy and love.

Ah! the doleful change when sin
Darkly, subtly enter'd in!
War and pestilence and dearth
Mar and sadden God's fair earth;
Human sorrow fills the air;
Death is reigning everywhere.

Yet rejoice; for God on high
Hath not left His world to die!
God's dear Son, with dying breath,
Broke the power of sin and death;
Christ the Tempter overthrew,
Christ is making all things new.

Lord, in me be sin subdued,
So may I with heart renew'd,
Fight the fight and run the race,
Work in my appointed place,
Waiting for the glad new birth
Of Thy perfect Heav'n and earth.

SECOND READING [Mark 6:14-29]:

King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’ 

For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 

Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb. 

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

Prayer:
We seek you daily, O Father,
and you are there daily to be found.

Wherever we seek you,
at home, at work, on the highway,
you are there, O Lord.

Whatever we do,
eating and drinking,
writing or working,
readings, meditating or praying,
you are there, O Lord.

If we are oppressed,
you defend us, O Lord.

If we hunger,
you feed us, O Lord.

Whatever we need,
you give us, O Lord.

Christ our Guide,
stay with us on our pilgrimage through life: 
when we falter, encourage us, 
when we stumble, steady us, 
and when we have fallen, pick us up. 
Help us to become, step by step, more truly ourselves, 
and remind us that you have traveled this way before us. 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.
		
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- 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.

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The psalms are from _Celebrating Common Prayer_ (Mowbray), (c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.

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.

The intercession is by Stephen Benner and is based on a prayer by James Norden written in 1548. The first collect is by Angela Ashwin.

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,
http://news.css.edu/about/benandschol.shtml] 



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