February 12, June 13, October 13
Chapter 10: How the Night Office Is to Be Said in Summer Time
From Easter until the Calends of November
let the same number of Psalms be kept as prescribed above;
but no lessons are to be read from the book,
on account of the shortness of the nights.
Instead of those three lessons
let one lesson from the Old Testament be said by heart
and followed by a short responsory.
But all the rest should be done as has been said;
that is to say that never fewer than twelve Psalms
should be said at the Night Office,
not counting Psalm 3 and Psalm 94.
Somewhere in the RB Benedict writes something about how nothing is to take precedence over the work of God, the opus Dei, which we also call the daily office.
In his monastery, they spent something like 7 hours of each day in prayer. I know very few of us can match that! Even in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer of The Episcopal Church, there are only 4 and that would be a stretch for most of us. I’m disabled and I don’t manage 4 offices every day. I’ve had to learn that caring for my mother is a substitute.
There are long instructions in the RB about how the offices are to be prayed. Maybe for us who are not in the monastery what we can take away from this section of the rule is the challenge to establish a committed and regular prayer life of our own.
When I still lived in Ipswich, MA and rode the train to and from Boston every day, I would pray morning and evening prayer on the train. In the morning, the train was emptier and quiet until we arrived in Beverly and by then I would have finished. In the evening, people were too tired or even asleep, so the train was quiet enough for evening prayer. And since I worked in Copley Square, Trinity Church was right there and I would pray noon prayers in the church. Except for the days when there was a noon Eucharist.
The thing is, we really will make time for what we most value.People are fond of saying “I’ll try” and if my experience is anything to go by, that is a polite fiction. Yoda evidently agrees with me because as he told Luke Skywalker, “There is not try, there is only do.”