38. The Reader of the Week

There must always be reading while the brothers are at table, and the reader should not be just anyone who happens to be there and grabs the book. Rather, let the one who is going to read do so for the whole week, and begin on Sunday.

Beginning after Mass and Communion, he should ask all to pray for him so that God may keep from him a spirit of pride. 3 Let all recite this verse three times in the oratory, with the reader himself beginning it:

O Lord, you will open my lips,
and my mouth will announce your praise. (Ps 51:17)

Then, after receiving a blessing, let him begin to read.

There should be complete silence so that no whisper or voice is heard there except that of the reader alone. Therefore, the brothers should serve each other whatever is necessary for eating and drinking in such a way that no one needs to ask for anything. If, however, something is required, they should ask for it with some signal rather than with their voice.

Let no one there presume to ask a question about the reading itself or about anything else “lest occasion is given [to the Evil One]” (Eph 4:27; 1 Tim 5:14), 9 unless perhaps the superior wants to say something briefly for their edification.

10 Now because of Holy Communion, the brother who is reading for the week should receive some diluted wine before he begins to read so that it does not become too hard for him to keep the fast. 11 Then afterwards, he should eat with the weekly cooks and servers.

12 The brothers should not read or sing according to seniority, but only those who edify the hearers.



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