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Valuable Free Advice ! ( Book 12 )

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A Directory For The Canonical Hours

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This short but beautiful treatise, though written for the benefit of Benedictine monks, is so full of spiritual wisdom, and of gentle and loying piety, that no one can read it without feeling himself moved to devotion. In language of inexpressible sweetness and power, it sets before us the threefold office of divine worship-praise, than ksgiving, and prayer; and with maxims culled from the writings of Saints and Fathers of the Church, develops this threefold office throughout the several hours of the Divine Office. Should a beginner find the number of subjects laid down for meditation too great a strain on his intellect, nothing can be easier than to single out the chief ones and dwell on them, not for the space of one psalm only, as the author directs, but during two or three. A like easy arrangement will at once remove any difficulty that may be met with by ecclesiastics not using our monastic Breviary, which Abbot Cisneros had in view in allotting the subjects for meditation to the several canonical hours. Let us consider this wise advice: "IN the second book of Paralipomenon, chapter the twenty-ninth, it is written: My sons, be not negligent; the Lord hath chosen you to stand before Him, and to minister to Him, and to worship Him. Since, then, God has chosen the religious man as His minister, to worship and serve Him, he ought to know how God is to be served. For, as Gerson says, nothing so beseems a religious as the worthy and careful performance of divine worship- to-wit, of the canonical hours, which our father and captain, St. Benedict, calls in his Rule the work of God; more especially because it is the first duty of a religious, as St. Jerome says, to employ himself in praising God, offering Him hymns, psalms, prayers, and sacrifice; and by these means to appease the anger of God against His people, and bewail the sins of his brethren. Wherefore a monk must be watchful and diligent in worthily discharging the debt of his service to God, lest the fearful curse of Jeremias the prophet fall upon him: Cursed be the man that doth the work of God with negligence."



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