In our Oblate Chapter, St. Anthony of the Desert, it has long been our policy not to talk Church politics in our Chapter Meetings, and certainly not to talk national politics. The reason for this is simple. Our members may have a number of differing opinions, and they may be strongly held; discussing them would deflect us from our central purpose. We gather together for one reason only and that is to seek the Face of God.
An Oblate Chapter should be a refuge in the midst of a troubled sea. There are a number of “hot button” issues affecting The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion; and there are some recent decisions in the United States that create deep concern for Christian people. Airing them in a Chapter Meeting creates more heat than light. Our approach to the human situation is quite different from that of the world. At the heart of our Chapter Meetings are the Daily Offices and the singing of Psalms. We pray the psalms on a regular basis, not skipping any, because they address all of the issues that affect the human heart. Jesus himself prayed the psalms and when we pray the psalms today, we pray them with him, and with the Church universal.
Joan Chittister, O.S.B. reflects the mind of St. Benedict when she says:
“The Benedictine is not to pick and choose at random the psalms that will be said. The Benedictine is not to pick some psalms but not others. The Benedictine is to pray the entire psalter in an orderly way, regardless of mood, irrespective of impulses, despite personal preferences. Anything other than a regular recitation and total immersion in the psalms is, to Benedict’s way of thinking, spiritual sloth. Ours is to be a full spiritual palate. Readings may be shortened if situations warrant but the psalms never. We are to tap into every human situation that the psalms describe and learn to respond to them with an open soul, an unfettered heart, and out of the mind of God.” [i]