Initially the community of Laus was made up of three persons: Henri Tempier, Bourrelier (a scholastic brother) and a prospective member (postulant). As the ministry of the shrine was re-established and grew, so were other Missionaries to join the community.

Maintain in everything a most exact discipline; you are beginning to form a community in regularity, do not let abuses creep in…

As an example of regularity, Eugene wrote about taking one’s time in the community prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours.

… Remember how much importance I give to the Office being said very unhurriedly; I lay it on your conscience because nothing seems more unedifying to me, more incongruous than rushing through the psalmody. Whether we are in a hurry or not, we must go slowly with the psalms.
I reiterate this to you, I much insist on it – it is my duty. Do not hesitate to impose a penance on whoever may infringe this indispensable rule of decency.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 22 February 1819, O.W. VI n. 40

Refer above to the entry of April 20, 2012 for more on this part of the Rule.

Years ago I remember being struck by an article of a former soldier who had had one book to keep him company in his months of loneliness in a cruel prisoner-of-war camp. He called his reflection “slow, slow reading” and described how he would spend hours savoring just one sentence or paragraph at a time, and how entering into the world of his book he was able to survive and keep his equilibrium. Eugene seems to be asking the same thing: savor the Word of God as it is used for prayer.


By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.   Thomas Merton

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4 Responses to SLOW, SLOW PRAYING

  1. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    I am struck by only three Oblates at the the Shrine of N.D. du Laus. And Tempier was the only ordained minister. The others ministered for sure-but the demands on our second founder Fr Tempier must have seem insurmountable. Just thinking of his situation ought to give us all hope.
    And then prayer and savoring each word. This will be reflected upon in the formation process, yet in fact it is in our local communities that we need to be challenged by Eugene’s words. How many communities have we lived in where each psalm is done in “one breath”?

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I cannot speak to reciting the Liturgy of the Hours (the Office) however I can speak to “rushing” through prayers – be they with a ‘chosen community’ or private prayers, oraison or a simple rushed ‘hello’. For me, I find that if I rush I may eventually end up doing it just so that I can say (to myself) that I have done it – and then I miss much. I find to that if I make a habit of rushing through my prayer it is easier to eventually drop it or skip it. And I dare to say that when I rush it or miss it a couple of times or start skipping it “I” am changed, I feel like I am missing something vital that is necessary for me to be “alive”, something that allows me to “be” who I have been created to be. I lose touch with myself and with the others around me. Perhaps that could be equated to the penance that Eugene speaks of imposing. One way or another we are made aware of the what happens when we “do” for the sake of “doing” and lose touch with our “being”.

    Last summer I joined into the community morning prayer during my two weeks at St. Paul’s U. I loved it – that time together in morning prayer – I found that I became more a ‘part of the community’ that I was studying with – it created or strengthened a bond. This year I shall do that again and also the evening prayer. It will not be a ‘huge’ chunk of time and there is a naturalness and joy that comes with it. Something akin to what Thomas Merton speaks of.

  3. John Mouck says:

    This makes me think of lectio divina. Not only did I not know what that meant before, but I had never even heard the words. So I’ll just share something with you…

    Each day, every day, Vickie and I read from a little book, “Our Daily Bread,” that Jack gave me just before he left. I have the book so I read the blurb in there. She has our bible so she reads the bible passage for the day that it directs us to. (I should mention, we are 1000 miles apart so we do this all via Skype – God bless the internet!) Typically neither of us much understands the bible passage, especially those darn psalms. However, invariably something – a word, a phrase catches our attention and what was intended to be a daily five minute reading ends up in a minimum 1/2 hour discussion about our lives.
    It’s so wonderful; it’s so simple and such a joy.

    • franksantucci says:

      What a beautiful and powerful sharing, dear John! You push me to relook at my approach to the Word of God and to add a tone of more wonder, more simplicity and more joy. Thank you. Frank

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