OREMUS: 10 February 2012

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Thu Feb 9 17:00:00 GMT 2012

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

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

Lord, open our lips,
and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

How different are they who devote themselves
to the study of the law of the Most High! 
Let us worship God.

Blessed are you, God of life,
you nurture and sustain your people. 
You bless us with abundance; 
you gift us with your graciousness; 
you know our every need. 
In the birthing forth of creation 
you call us into being. 
You gift us with healthy and wholeness; 
you sustain our every endeavor. 
You feed your hungering people. 
You call us to work for justice, 
to share our table with all creation, 
to feed the needy at our door,  
to see nobody left in need. 
We give you thanks and praise you: 
Blessed be God for ever!

An opening canticle may be sung. 

Psalm 53

The fool has said in his heart,
'There is no God.'*
 All are corrupt
 and commit abominable acts;
 there is none who does any good. 
God looks down from heaven upon us all,*
 to see if there is any who is wise,
 if there is one who seeks after God. 
Every one has proved faithless;
all alike have turned bad;*
 there is none who does good; no, not one. 
Have they no knowledge, those evildoers*
 who eat up my people like bread
 and do not call upon God? 
See how greatly they tremble,
such trembling as never was;*
 for God has scattered
 the bones of the enemy;
 they are put to shame,
 because God has rejected them. 
O that Israel's deliverance
would come out of Zion!*
 when God restores
 the fortunes of his people
 Jacob will rejoice and Israel be glad. 

Psalm 54

Save me, O God, by your name;*
 in your might, defend my cause. 
Hear my prayer, O God;*
 give ear to the words of my mouth. 
For the arrogant have risen up against me,
and the ruthless have sought my life,*
 those who have no regard for God. 
Behold, God is my helper;*
 it is the Lord who sustains my life. 
Render evil to those who spy on me;*
 in your faithfulness, destroy them. 
I will offer you a freewill sacrifice*
 and praise your name, O Lord,
 for it is good. 
For you have rescued me
from every trouble,*
 and my eye has seen the ruin of my foes. 

Psalm 55

Hear my prayer, O God;*
 do not hide yourself from my petition. 
Listen to me and answer me;*
 I have no peace, because of my cares. 
I am shaken by the noise of the enemy*
 and by the pressure of the wicked; 
For they have cast an evil spell upon me*
 and are set against me in fury. 
My heart quakes within me,*
 and the terrors of death
 have fallen upon me. 
Fear and trembling have come over me,*
 and horror overwhelms me. 
And I said, 'O that I had wings like a dove!*
 I would fly away and be at rest. 
'I would flee to a far-off place*
 and make my lodging in the wilderness. 
'I would hasten to escape*
 from the stormy wind and tempest.' 
Swallow them up, O Lord;
confound their speech;*
 for I have seen violence
 and strife in the city. 
Day and night the watch
make their rounds upon her walls,*
 but trouble and misery
 are in the midst of her. 
There is corruption at her heart;*
 her streets are never free
 of oppression and deceit. 
For had it been an adversary
who taunted me,
then I could have borne it;*
 or had it been an enemy
 who vaunted himself against me,
 then I could have hidden from him. 
But it was you, one after my own heart,*
   my companion, my own familiar friend. 
We took sweet counsel together,*
 and walked with the throng
 in the house of God. 
Let death come upon them suddenly;
let them go down alive into the grave;*
 for wickedness is in their dwellings, 
 in their very midst.] 
But I will call upon God,*
 and the Lord will deliver me. 
In the evening, in the morning
and at noonday I will complain and lament,*
 and he will hear my voice. 
He will bring me safely back from the battle
waged against me;*
 for there are many who fight me. 
God, who is enthroned of old,
will hear me and bring them down;*
 they never change; they do not fear God. 
My companion stretched forth
his hand against his comrade;*
 he has broken his covenant. 
His speech is softer than butter,*
 but war is in his heart. 
His words are smoother than oil,*
 but they are drawn swords. 
Cast your burden upon the Lord
and he will sustain you;*
 he will never let the righteous stumble. 
For you will bring
the bloodthirsty and deceitful*
 down to the pit of destruction, O God. 
They shall not live out half their days,*
 but I will put my trust in you. 
FIRST READING [Genesis 18:16-33]:

Then the men set out from there, and they looked towards Sodom; and Abraham went with them to set them on their way. The Lord said, 'Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the Lord may bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.' Then the Lord said, 'How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.' 

So the men turned from there, and went towards Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. Then Abraham came near and said, 'Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?' And the Lord said, 'If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.' Abraham answered, 'Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?' And he said, 'I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.' Again he spoke to him, 'Suppose forty are found there.' He answered, 'For the sake of forty I will not do it.' Then he said, 'Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there.' He answered, 'I will not do it, if I find thirty there.' He said, 'Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.' He answered, 'For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.' Then he said, 'Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there.' He answered, 'For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.' And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place. 

Words: Bernard of Cluny (fl c 1140), John Mason Neale (1818-66), Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861),
Tune: Ewing, Pearsall, St. Alphege

Jerusalem the golden,
with milk and honey blest,
beneath thy contemplation
sink heart and voice opprest.
I know not, O I know not
what joys await us there,
what radiancy of glory,
what bliss beyond compare.

They stand, those halls of Sion,
all jubilant with song,
and bright with many an angel
and all the martyr throng;
the Prince is ever with them,
the daylight is serene,
the pastures of the blessed
are decked in glorious sheen.

There is the throne of David;
and there, from care released,
the song of them that triumph,
the shout of them that feast;
and they, who with their Leader
have conquered in the fight,
for ever and for ever
are clad in robes of white.

O sweet and blessed country,
the home of God's elect!
O sweet and blessed country
that eager hearts expect!
Jesus in mercy bring us
to that dear land of rest;
who art, with God the Father
and Spirit, ever blest.

SECOND READING [Luke 3:15-22]:

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, 'I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.' 

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother's wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, added to them all by shutting up John in prison. 

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.' 

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

Bountiful God, you give us every good gift; 
hear us as we offer our prayers to you.

We pray for our family and friends
and for all who are dear to us,
that in following you
nd rejoicing in your mercy,
they may share in your joy for ever.
Bountiful God,
hear our prayer.

We pray for those who are worn by their work,
for older persons and for children,
that they may know
you are the strength of the weak
and the refuge of the distressed.
Bountiful God,
hear our prayer.

We pray for all who follow Christ,
that they may grow
in their sense of discipleship
and calling to proclaim the Good News to others.
Bountiful God,
hear our prayer.

We pray for all in the medical professions,
that they may work wisely
to promote health,
knowing that you are source of all healing.
Bountiful God,
hear our prayer.

We pray for all who are persecuted 
for the sake of righteousness
and for all who are oppressed,
that they may gain the true liberation
which comes from you alone.
Bountiful God,
hear our prayer.

God of our salvation,
save us from envy,
and teach us to be content
with what is enough.
We ask this in the Name
of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

O Lord,
whose servant Scholastica reflected
the incomparable brightness of your light,
grant that we may please you
by the transparency of our daily lives
and, by faithfulness
in the school of your service,
be found worthy of praising you in heaven
with all the angels and saints.
We make our prayer
through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever. Amen.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

May the creative Spirit activate in our hearts
a hunger for that justice
that will guarantee sustenance for every human being. Amen.

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 biography is by Sr. Margaret Clarke, O.S.B.; College of Saint Scholastica, http://news.css.edu/about/benandschol.shtml. The opening sentence is Ecclestiasticus 38:34. The opening prayer of thanksgiving and the closing sentence are based on a Eucharistic prayer found on www.diarmuid13.com . The collect is © 2005, Monastery of the Glorious Cross, OSB. 

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