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Life of Our Most Holy Father St. Benedict
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CHAPTER XXXVIII.

Of the weekly reader.

Reading ought not to cease while the Brethren eat at table. Neither ought anyone presume to read, who shall take up the book at haphazard; but let him who is appointed to read for the whole week, enter upon his office on Sunday. After Mass and communion, let him ask all to pray for him, that God may keep from him the spirit of pride. And let this verse be thrice repeated in the Oratory by all, the Reader first beginning it: “O Lord Thou wilt open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise;”182182Ps. l. 17. and thus having received a blessing, let him enter upon his duty. The greatest silence shall be kept, so that no muttering, or voice, shall be heard, except the voice of the Reader.

Such things as are necessary for meat and drink, let the Brethren so minister to each other, that no one need ask for anything. Yet should anything be wanted, let it be asked for rather by a sign than by a word. Nor let anyone presume to ask questions, about what is being read, or about anything else, lest occasion be given to the evil one. Should the Prior, however, think fit, he may make some brief exhortation for the edification of the Brethren. And let the Brother who is Reader for the week take a little pottage before he begin to read, on account of Holy communion, and lest perchance it be grievous for him to fast so long. Afterwards let him eat with the weekly Officers and servers of the kitchen. The Brethren must not read or sing in turns, but such only as may edify the hearers.


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