American-Cassinese Congregation

The Constitutions and the Directory


Part I: Matters Pertaining to the Individual Monasteries

Chapter IV: Fundamental Elements of Monastic Life

C 63. Those who choose to live under the Rule and an abbot and commit themselves to life‑long formation in the school of the Lord’s service embrace certain values that are common to all Christians but receive a special emphasis and relationship to one another in Benedictine life (cf. RB 1:2; Prol 45). Fundamental to this way of life are the following elements.

D 63.1. Since the wholesome traditions and practices of each monastery are a fundamental expres­sion of its own creative fidelity to the Benedic­tine monastic tradition, each monas­tery of the Congregation is encouraged to develop its own Book of Customs.

D 63.2. To assist in maintaining a proper balance among the elements of prayer, work, and lectio, the daily horarium is to be es­tablished by the abbot in consul­tation with the council of seniors.

Article 1: Prayer

C 64. By its way of life each community is to support the efforts of its members to fulfill the Lord’s injunction to pray constantly (Lk 18:1). Such personal and pervasive prayer finds its communal expression when the monks come together at special hours of the day to celebrate the Work of God. Indeed, the spiritual life of the community, rooted as it is in love among the brothers and toward all, demands expression in such common prayer and finds genuine nourishment in it.

C 65. Monastic communal prayer celebrates the mysteries of God’s wondrous deeds in Christ Jesus in praise, adoration, and thanksgiving to him. The prime medium of monastic prayer has traditionally been the psalms, rich in sentiments of compunction and praise, which express the monk’s basic spiritual stance, humility.

C 66. 1. Each monastic community daily celebrates the monastic liturgy of the hours in common; in so doing they truly constitute the Church at prayer.

C 66. 2. All monks in solemn vows are obliged to celebrate the monastic liturgy of the hours daily (cf. CIC 663.3; 1174.1). If, therefore, they are not present at the common celebration, they must celebrate it privately (RB 50).

C 66. 3. For a just cause, the abbot can dispense from or commute the public or private obligation.

C 67. In its celebration of the Eucharist the monastic community renews in grateful remembrance the Lord’s covenant sacrifice, celebrating the deepest dimension of the existence and purpose of the community. Through communion in the Body and Blood of Christ, the monastic family confesses and experiences the mystery of faith and hope, while fraternal unity is fostered and strengthened.

C 68. In all the monasteries of our Congregation, the conventual Mass is to be celebrated daily at a time that enables the monks to be present.

C 69. The monk’s commitment to continuing conversion and his need for forgiveness when he has failed find unique expression in his celebration of the Sacrament of Penance. Therefore, a monk should make frequent use of this sacrament.

C 70. The monks of the monasteries of the Congregation are encouraged to continue those devotional practices that have been traditional in the monastic order, either integrated into the liturgy or in harmony with it, especially those that honor Mary, the Mother of God.

C 71. When a monk has completed his earthly pilgrimage, every monk of the Congregation is to offer the suffrages determined by the proper law of the Congregation and the customs of his own monastery.

D 71.1. Burial of a monk should normally be according to the customs of the monastery and in the monastic cemetery.

D 71.2. Notice of the death of a monk is to be sent to the other monasteries of the Congregation as soon as possible.

D 71.3. In all monasteries of the Congregation mention of a deceased monk is to be made daily for one month according to the custom of the house.

D 71.4. In addition to the suffrages that each community may determine for its own members, once each month every monk is to offer the Eucharist for all the departed of the Congregation. While this obligation is personal, the abbot can commute or dispense from this obligation in individual cases for sufficient reason. Also, once each month the conventual Mass is to be offered for the deceased of the Congregation.

D 71.5. Within eight days after All Saints, the office of the day and the conventual Mass are to be offered in each monastery for the deceased members of that community.


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