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The Arrangement of the Night Office in Summer

Thursday, June 13, 2024
Chapter 10

From Easter until the first of November, the winter arrangement for the number of psalms is followed. But because summer nights are shorter, the readings from the book are omitted. In place of the three readings, one from the Old Testament is substituted. This is to be recited by heart, followed by a short responsory. In everything else, the winter arrangement for Vigils is kept. Thus, winter and summer, there are never fewer than twelve psalms at Vigils, not counting Psalms 3 and 95.

The very fact that when the seasons change and the nights grow shorter Benedict chooses to abbreviate the prayer time of the community rather than the sleeping time of the community gives short shrift to the notion of Benedictine spirituality as asceticism for its own sake or religion gone berserk or self-destruction masking as piety. No, the message of Benedictine spirituality is a consistent one: live life normally, live life thoughtfully, live life profoundly, live life well. Never neglect and never exaggerate. It is a lesson that a world full of cults and fads and workaholics and short courses in difficult subjects needs dearly to learn.