OREMUS: 11 July 2010

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sat Jul 10 17:00:10 GMT 2010


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OREMUS for Sunday, July 11, 2010
Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino, c.550

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

Blessed are you, almighty and everlasting God,
for your servant Benedict,
the father of a great multitude of the just
and an outstanding teacher of love
for you and for our neighbor:
We thank you for the many gifts of the Holy Spirit,
which have led Benedict and other great teachers
to lead men and women to walk the path of salvation
under the guidance of Christ and the Gospel.
For this we revere you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 

http://www.oremus.org/ocan.html

Psalm 56

Have mercy on me, O God,
   for my enemies are hounding me;*
 all day long they assault and oppress me.
They hound me all the day long;*
 truly there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
Whenever I am afraid,*
 I will put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
   in God I trust and will not be afraid,*
 for what can flesh do to me?
All day long they damage my cause;*
 their only thought is to do me evil.
They band together; they lie in wait;*
 they spy upon my footsteps; because they seek my life.
Shall they escape despite their wickedness?*
 O God, in your anger, cast down the peoples.
You have noted my lamentation;
   put my tears into your bottle;*
 are they not recorded in your book?
Whenever I call upon you,
   my enemies will be put to flight;*
 this I know, for God is on my side.
In God the Lord, whose word I praise,
   in God I trust and will not be afraid,*
 for what can mortals do to me?
I am bound by the vow I made to you, O God;*
 I will present to you thankofferings;
For you have rescued my soul from death
   and my feet from stumbling,*
 that I may walk before God in the light of the living.

Psalm 57

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful,
   for I have taken refuge in you;*
 in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge
   until this time of trouble has gone by.
I will call upon the Most High God,*
 the God who maintains my cause.
He will send from heaven and save me;
   he will confound those who trample upon me;*
 God will send forth his love and his faithfulness.
I lie in the midst of lions that devour the people;*
 their teeth are spears and arrows,
   their tongue a sharp sword.
They have laid a net for my feet and I am bowed low;*
 they have dug a pit before me
   but have fallen into it themselves.
Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God,*
 and your glory over all the earth.
My heart is firmly fixed, O God, my heart is fixed;*
 I will sing and make melody.
Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp;*
 I myself will waken the dawn.
I will confess you among the peoples, O Lord;*
 I will sing praise to you among the nations.
For your lovingkindness is greater than the heavens,*
 and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Exalt yourself above the heavens, O God,*
 and your glory over all the earth.

Psalm 58
Do you indeed decree righteousness, you rulers?*
 do you judge the peoples with equity?
No; you devise evil in your hearts,*
 and your hands deal out violence in the land.
The wicked are perverse from the womb;*
 liars go astray from their birth.
They are as venomous as a serpent,*
 they are like the deaf adder which stops its ears,
Which does not heed the voice of the charmer,*
 no matter how skilful his charming.
O God, break their teeth in their mouths;*
 pull the fangs of the young lions, O Lord.
Let them vanish like water that runs off;*
 let them wither like trodden grass.
Let them be like the snail that melts away,*
 like a stillborn child that never sees the sun.
Before they bear fruit, let them be cut down like a brier;*
 like thorns and thistles let them be swept away.
The righteous will be glad when they see the vengeance;*
 they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.
And they will say,
   'Surely, there is a reward for the righteous;*
 surely, there is a God who rules in the earth.'

FIRST READING [Genesis 32.9-30]:

 And Jacob said, 'O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, "Return to your country and to your kindred, and I will do you good", I am not worthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan; and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him; he may come and kill us all, the mothers with the children. Yet you have said, "I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted because of their number." ' 

So he spent that night there, and from what he had with him he took a present for his brother Esau, two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milch camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. These he delivered into the hand of his servants, each drove by itself, and said to his servants, 'Pass on ahead of me, and put a space between drove and drove.' He instructed the foremost, 'When Esau my brother meets you, and asks you, "To whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you?" then you shall say, "They belong to your servant Jacob; they are a present sent to my lord Esau; and moreover he is behind us." ' He likewise instructed the second and the third and all who followed the droves, 'You shall say the same thing to Esau when you meet him, and you shall say, "Moreover your servant Jacob is behind us." ' For he thought, 'I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterwards I shall see his face; perhaps he will accept me.' So the present passed on ahead of him; and he himself spent that night in the camp. 

The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, 'Let me go, for the day is breaking.' But Jacob said, 'I will not let you go, unless you bless me.' So he said to him, 'What is your name?' And he said, 'Jacob.' Then the man said, 'You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.' Then Jacob asked him, 'Please tell me your name.' But he said, 'Why is it that you ask my name?' And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, 'For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.' 

HYMN 
Words: John Keble and William John Hall
Tune: Franconia
http://www.oremus.org/hymnal/b/b144.html
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Blest are the pure in heart,
for they shall see our God;
the secret of the Lord is theirs,
their soul is Christ's abode.

The Lord, who left the heavens
our life and peace to bring,
to dwell in lowliness with men,
their Pattern and their King;

still to the lowly soul
he doth himself impart
and for his dwelling and his throne
chooseth the pure in heart.

Lord, we thy presence seek;
may ours this blessing be;
give us a pure and lowly heart,
a temple meet for thee.

SECOND READING [Mark 7.1-23]:

Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, 'Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?' He said to them, 'Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, "This people honours me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines." You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.' 

Then he said to them, 'You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, "Honour your father and your mother"; and, "Whoever speaks evil of father or mother must surely die." But you say that if anyone tells father or mother, "Whatever support you might have had from me is Corban" (that is, an offering to God)— then you no longer permit doing anything for a father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many things like this.' 

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, 'Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.' 

When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, 'Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?' (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, 'It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.' 

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

Prayer:
We pray for the use of God's gifts to his Church, saying
Jesus, Lord of your Church:
in your mercy, hear us

God our Father,
you give us gifts that we may work together
in the service of your Son:
Bless those who lead,
that they may be firm in faith, 
yet humble before you.
We pray especially for the Order of Saint Benedict and 
all those who follow Benedict's wisdom in their daily lives.
Jesus, Lord of your Church:
in your mercy hear us.

Bless those who teach,
that they may increase our understanding,    
and be open to your word for them:
Jesus, Lord of your Church:
in your mercy hear us. 

Bless those who minister healing,
that they may bring wholeness to other, 
yet know your healing in themselves:
Jesus, Lord of your Church:
in your mercy hear us. 

Bless those through whom you speak,
that they may proclaim your word in power,
yet have their ears open to your gentle whisper:
Jesus, Lord of your Church:
in your mercy hear us. 

Bless those who work in your world today
that they may live for you, fulfil your purposes,
and seek your kingdom first
in the complexity of their daily lives.
Jesus, Lord of your Church:
in your mercy hear us. 

Bless those who feel they have no gifts and are not valued,
and those who are powerless by the world's standards,
that they may share their experience
of the work of your Spirit.
Jesus, Lord of your Church:
in your mercy hear us. 

Eternal God, 
who made Benedict to become a wise master 
in the school of your service
and a guide to many called into community
to follow the rule of Christ: 
grant that we may put your love before all else
and seek with joy the way of your commandments; 
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of 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

You have opened to us the Scriptures, O Christ.
Abide with us, we pray,
that, blessed by your royal presence,
we may walk with you
all the days of our life,
and at its end behold you
in the glory of the eternal Trinity,
one God for ever and ever. 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 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 is adapted by Stephen Benner from
_We Give You Thanks and Praise: The Ambrosian Eucharistic
Prefaces_, translated by Alan Griffiths, (c) The Canterbury Press
Norwich, 1999.

The intercession is adapted by Stephen Benner from a prayer in
_Patterns for Worship_, material from which is included in this
service is copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 1995.

The collect is from _Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the
Church of England_, material from which is included in this service is
copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2000.

The closing prayer uses a sentence from a prayer in _Opening Prayers:
Collects in Contemporary Language_. Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

Benedict was born at Nursia (Norcia) in Umbria, Italy, around 480 AD. He
was sent to Rome for his studies, but was repelled by the dissolute life of most
of the populace, and withdrew to a solitary life at Subiaco. A group of monks
asked him to be their abbot, but some of them found his rule too strict, and he
returned alone to Subiaco. Again, other monks called him to be their abbot,
and he agreed, founding twelve communities over an interval of some years.
His chief founding was Monte Cassino, an abbey which stands to this day as
the mother house of the world-wide Benedictine order.
Totila the Goth visited Benedict, and was so awed by his presence that he fell
on his face before him. Benedict raised him from the ground and rebuked him
for his cruelty, telling him that it was time that his iniquities should cease.
Totila asked Benedict to remember him in his prayers and departed, to exhibit
from that time an astonishing clemency and chivalry in his treatment of
conquered peoples.
Benedict drew up a rule of life for monastics, a rule which he calls "a school of
the Lord's service, in which we hope to order nothing harsh or rigorous." The
Rule gives instructions for how the monastic community is to be organized,
and how the monks are to spend their time. An average day includes about
four hours to be spent in liturgical prayer (called the Divinum Officium -- the
Divine Office), five hours in spiritual reading and study, six hours of labor, one
hour for eating, and about eight hours for sleep. The Book of Psalms is to be
recited in its entirety every week as a part of the Office.
A Benedictine monk takes vows of "obedience, stability, and conversion of
life." That is, he vows to live in accordance with the Benedictine Rule, not to
leave his community without grave cause, and to seek to follow the teaching
and example of Christ in all things. Normal procedure today for a prospective
monk is to spend a week or more at the monastery as a visitor. He then applies
as a postulant, and agrees not to leave for six months without the consent of
the Abbot. (During that time, he may suspect that he has made a mistake, and
the abbot may say, "Yes, I think you have. Go in peace." Alternately, he may
say, "It is normal to have jitters at this stage. I urge you to stick it out a while
longer and see whether they go away." Many postulants leave before the six
months are up.) After six months, he may leave or become a novice, with vows
for one year. After the year, he may leave or take vows for three more years.
After three years, he may leave, take life vows, or take vows for a second three
years. After that, a third three years. After that, he must leave or take life vows
(fish or cut bait). Thus, he takes life vows after four and a half to ten and a half
years in the monastery. At any point in the proceedings at which he has the
option of leaving, the community has the option of dismissing him.
The effect of the monastic movement, both of the Benedictine order and of
similar orders that grew out of it, has been enormous. We owe the preservation
of the Holy Scriptures and other ancient writings in large measure to the
patience and diligence of monastic scribes. In purely secular terms, their
contribution was considerable. In Benedict's time, the chief source of power
was muscle, whether human or animal. Ancient scholars apparently did not
worry about labor-saving devices. The labor could always be done by oxen or
slaves. But monks were both scholars and workers. A monk, after spending a
few hours doing some laborious task by hand, was likely to think, "There must
be a better way of doing this." The result was the systematic development of
windmills and water wheels for grinding grain, sawing wood, pumping water,
and so on. The rotation of crops (including legumes) and other agricultural
advances were also originated or promoted by monastic farms. The monks, by
their example, taught the dignity of labor and the importance of order and
planning. [James Kiefer]



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