Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weekly Q&A Assumption Edition




You are the bridge of life and the ladder to heaven: you are a boat over the sea of death reaching to immortality.   -St. John Damascene Office of Readings for the Assumption, Dominican office.

Whatever breviary you normally use, you might want to check out ibreviary today (widget on right), because it includes along with the regular office for the Assumption, some alternate antiphons and a second OOR reading that are used on this feast by the Dominican order. I thought the Dominican antiphons for Evening Prayer I last night were lovelier than the regular ones. And the Dominican OOR second  reading is a great follow up to the regular second reading from Pope Pius XII. 

Last week a reader brought up the issue of what to do when the Liturgy of the Hours becomes routine and one becomes bored. A  few of us brought up the usual advice about perseverance in prayer during dry times, etc., and she responded that this was what she needed to hear. But its true, once you've read the same psalms year after year, especially when it's just the psalter during ordinary time, things can get a little dull. 

I though it would be nice to assemble a list of things we can do to revive and freshen up our daily office. Little things that will just help us pay more attention to what we are doing, or to help us focus on aspects of the hours that we may have missed. Here are some examples for starters:

  • If you don't normally read the quotations under the psalm title, start doing so. And/or use these as substitute antiphons for a while. (the General Instruction allows this as an option)
  • Concentrate on praying these psalms on behalf of the Church Universal--thinking about the sufferings, temptations, triumphs, etc. of the Church as a whole rather than your own personal joys and woes.
  • Imagine Jesus praying the psalms (which in fact He IS doing through you), and what He thought/felt as He prayed/prays them.
  • Imagine Our Lady praying the psalms. Ask her to pray them with you
  • If you normally use all the longest options (invitatory, hymns, psalm prayers, repeating antiphons at the end of psalms) cut them out for a while so you have more time to focus on what's left.
  • Vice versa if you normally take short cuts: add one or more of the above options back in for variety and added devotion.
  • If you normally don't use the commons for saints feasts (other than the major, obligatory ones), then start doing so more often.
  • Go online to try a different version, such as the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Breviarum Romanum. 
Okay. What are your ideas for improving your attitude when the Liturgy of the Hours becomes routine?

Or, just ask any other question you like about the Liturgy of the Hours.

15 comments:

  1. Daria:

    Praying the LOH since 1975 I completely agree that one can get bored or tired of it. Being a lay person we are somewhat fortunate in that we can switch off to another version of the LOH ( Latin, Monastic Diurnal, Little Office of the BVM etc). I have used your suggestions listed above and they do help. During Ordinary Time and when no feast or obligatory memorial is scheduled I often pray the Office of the Dead on Tuesdays (traditional day) for family, friends, priests and religious that have impacted my life as well as those persons who may have passed away without faimly or friends present.
    I also think of the thousands of monastics and cloistered sisters who have to say/sing the office in choir every single day without benefit of variety such as we have available to us a lay people. Imagine how tired they may get!!! We have to keep plugging away as the Good Lord accepts our intentions and interior desires and not our basic emotions.

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  2. I am fairly new to praying the daily office, but find my spirit continually refreshed by it. About two years ago I found an old copy of the little hours of Catherine of Cleves that my mother gave to me when I was in High School. I have always loved those miniatures, and after years of regarding such materials only in a scholarly light, I have come to actually cherish them as devotional books for my own life. What a privilege to be able to look into these texts and know that the same faith with which those words resounded in 1350 or 1500, still lives in the pages today.

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  3. I think a way to refresh yourself when things might get stale, is to occasionally use the DivineOffice.org podcasts. Although I love this site and their recordings very much, I prefer to pray by myself because I go a lot slower; in some parts, almost lectio-style. And many times when I pray by myself, I catch myself mind-wandering, thinking about other things I need to do today while I'm praying, and I usually will start that paragraph over again. So, not too conducive to following a podcast.

    But if you can either plug your iPod into your car, or save the iTunes podcast to a CD, it is great to pray the Hours while driving using DivineOffice.org's podcasts.

    -Doug

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  4. Since I switched to Unversalis on my Kindle I've discovered the different translations help with the problem of creeping boredom. THey also force me to pay attention and sometimes highlight different elements in the text. I load one month at a time, and can change the translation every month, if I want.

    Making a point of praying the psalms and canticle ALOUD instead of my usual quiet mutter helps too. There's something about hearing the words with my ears as well as my mind that changes my attention.

    Elaine T.

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  5. These are all great ideas. The "paid for" version of Universalis uses the Revised Grail Psalms, which is different enough from the current version to make you sit up and pay attention. Or you can buy the Revised Grail Psalms in a single volume (in biblical order) from GIA publications and use them alongside your print breviary.
    One other method I've used comes from the old "SQ3R" method they taught us in school. I just do the S part (survey) by reading over all the antiphons first, then going back to the beginning and praying the hour. That way you see how they hang together or have a theme or even tell a story.

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  6. Thank you, Daria, and other Readers for weighing in on this subject again. The most encouraging thing I have gotten from reading this blog and comments is that I am not the only one who experiences this lack of feeling during the LOH at times. Thank you all so much for great suggestions and for making me feel a little more "normal" (whatever that is) about my spiritual ups and downs! Peace to all!

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  7. A completely unrelated question:
    Tomorrow is the feast of Saint Helena, who is on my domestic liturgical calendar against my ever having a daughter. But there's no LotH information on her that I can find, only references to her feast day being August 18th. So, how would I pray her memorial?

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    Replies
    1. Geek Lady, With the LOTH there's not much else you can do except use the common of holy women, and insert Helena's name when appropriate. Perhaps this would be a good feast to switch to an EF online breviary for the day, since it might have something a bit more Helena-specific, although I'm just guessing.

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  8. I want you and everybody else to know that there's another set of readings for the OOR from the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University (UK):
    http://www.centreforcatholicstudies.co.uk/?page_id=765

    -Mike Demers

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    Replies
    1. Wow! This looks great. The references for the 2yr cycle of the scripture readings has always been listed in an appendix at the end of Christian Prayer, but we would have had to wait for years for ICEL to get its act together and "translate" the second set of readings. I can't wait til I have the leisure to start looking at these. Now, here's a dumb question. Does it matter which year I use Year I or Year II? If so, when? Is it I for odd years and II for even?

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    2. Yes, it does matter. Although this year's cycle began on Advent Sunday in 2011, it's Year II because 2012 is an even number. Kind of tricky.
      -Mike Demers

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    3. Okay, so it's odd=I even=II. I knew the year starts with the first Sunday of Advent, same as with the lectionary years (ABC)
      Another good topic for a blog post someday.

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  9. Also, in case you didn't know, you can access the Revised Grail Psalms from this link:
    http://www.giamusic.com/sacred_music/RGP/psalmDisplay.cfm

    -Mike Demers

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    Replies
    1. This one I knew about. I posted the link a while ago, but it doesn't hurt to have it here again. Thanks.

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