February 16, June 17, October 17
Chapter 13: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said on Weekdays
The Morning and Evening Offices
should never be allowed to pass
without the Superior saying the Lord’s Prayer
in its place at the end
so that all may hear it,
on account of the thorns of scandal which are apt to spring up.
Thus those who hear it,
being warned by the covenant which they make in that prayer
when they say, “Forgive us as we forgive,”
may cleanse themselves of faults against that covenant.
But at the other Offices
let the last part only of that prayer be said aloud,
so that all may answer, “But deliver us from evil.
I was curious about the reference to the “Superior saying the Lord’s Prayer in its place at the end so that all may hear it” so I looked it up Kardong’s Commentary. Apparently it was, in fact, a custom for the superior to pray the first part of the prayer with the congregation joining with the asking and promising forgiveness. Hence the need “so that all may hear it,” so they would know when to join in. Kardong also says that as a result of the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, singing of the entire Our Father is done by all the monks.
“on account of the thorns of scandal which are apt to spring up” refers to something Augustine of Hippo wrote about people omitting the forgiveness part of the Pater Noster thinking they weren’t obligated to it. As if.
The covenant referred to is the one of mutual asking and granting of forgiveness. So to Benedict, the asking and seeking forgiveness of the Our Father is not just something we promise to God but that we promise to each other. The monks (and us) are called together to hear God’s word which then demands that we forgive one another. In fact, that God will forgive us **only** if we forgive each other.