February 22, June 23, October 23
On Monday at Terce, Sext, and None, the remaining nine sections of Psalm 118 are said, three sections at each hour. Psalm 118 is thus completed in two days, Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, three psalms are said at each of the hours of Terce, Sext, and None. These are the nine Psalms 119 through 127. The same psalms are repeated at these hours daily up to Sunday. Likewise, the arrangement of the hymns, readings, and versicles for these days remain the same. In this way, Psalm 118 will always begin on Sunday.
For the rule, Sunday acts as a kind of fulcrum for the order of the psalms. A fulcrum is a place from which a lever gets its grip and purpose. Placed on a fulcrum, a pole becomes a boom gate; via a fulcrum, a crowbar moves a rock. As the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, each Sunday and its prayers are the fulcrum for the week ahead.
As St Paul says “…if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.” (1 Cor 15:14, NRSV). The Resurrection colours everything; it is Jesus alive, and it is our destiny.
To grow in the life of the Resurrection is a growth into freedom. Today, freedom is often presented as unstructured; if we are somehow limited, then we are not free. However, unstructured freedom makes it very hard to choose; choice without context is easily overwhelming. Choice must have a context, if it does not then our commitments (the product of our choices) have little or no foundation.
The rule, in its prayers and communal life in general, provides freedom with context, within structure. At its best, this structure supports a self-expression that is a vocational journey into living uniquely. This type of living is a learning to love. The human expression of love is always freedom within context, within a structure that does not serve itself. The rule’s structure is community – wherever that community finds you, be it a monastery, a family, a relationship, a friendship, or your meditation group.
Our life, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowler.
Indeed, the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help in is the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. (Ps. 124:7-8, RNJB)