Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Happy Easter

Two days late? Actually, it is Easter here all week. Aside from the omission of the Creed, Mass each day this week contains all of the Easter chants, including the sequence. The office is fairly demanding as well, with Te Deums and fancy versicles, etc. Interestingly, in the Benedictine tradition, the office for the remainder of the Easter season is simplified: two antiphons at Vigils (instead of the usual seven), three at Lauds (instead of five) and one antiphon at Vespers (rather than four). In Benedict's day, Easter also signalled a change in the number of readings at Vigils, shortening the office since it needed to be finished before the sun rose. There are two coordinating concerns here: first, Lent is quite strenuous and Easter provides some relaxation for celebration and rest; at the same time, secondly, spring and summer are the work seasons for monks, who typically have been farmers. Longer days means more difficulty in completing long offices. In the winter, when not much can be done because the nights are long, Vigils can last two hours without anything else pressing to take its place.

Our situation is not so different: April begins our busiest time, connected as we are with the tourism industry. Between now and November, our Bed and Breakfast will be almost entirely full. This means a lot of pancakes and changed beds. Similarly, while we might not find the rhythm of the sun and longer days as obvious as did the sixth-century monks who lacked urban light pollution, our summer nights are short because the city gets appreciably louder this time of year, with young persons out cruising with their 'stereos' blasting (are these audio devices or weapons of psychological terror?), the White Sox winning games and setting off fireworks, etc.

So some relaxation is these weeks is a great good, as we bask in the triumph of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior. I wish you peace and refreshment, and a happy Easter!


The Archer of the Forest said...

The Lord is risen, indeed! Alleuia!

Prior Peter, OSB said...

Amen and Amen!

Scott said...

Do I remember correctly that there's a Web site update in the works (chicagomonk.org)? Not that you owe us an update; it's a fine site...just didn't want to miss the update when it happens. Thank you!

Prior Peter, OSB said...

Dear Scott,
You remember correctly indeed! I am a bit bashful about the fact that it is taking so long. I won't give you a date for the great unveiling, but just know that when it happens, I will try to make it obvious.
Thanks for your faithful readership!


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If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

Origen of Alexandria
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