Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Weekly Q&A plus Welcome!- Literary edition

Welcome, Jordan and Judith to Coffee&Canticles. Thrilled to have you here. Also thrilled with the title of Jordans blog, An Ever Fixed Mark ("fixed" to be pronounced with two syllables in the archaic fashion: fix-ed. ) That title comes from Shakespeare's Sonnet 116, a favorite of mine:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

One of the few good bits of advice I received in college was a recommendation from an English professor to memorize one sonnet per month. I seized on this idea with an enthusiasm that lasted for an entire two months. (I am like the seed that falls on stony ground in many aspects of my life).  But a thing worth doing is worth doing badly (GK Chesterton), so I am grateful to still be able to recite, almost flawlessly, the above sonnet plus the incomparable 29 ("for they sweet love remembered, such wealth brings, that then I scorn to change my state with kings.)

Of course, all this has a connectioin to the Divine Office, right? 

Of course right! (now I'm quoting Yente that matchmaker.This must be my day for quotations. )

Shortly after my project to memorize sonnets fell by the wayside, I began praying Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer. That has continued (on and off, with many of abandoning and returning) for many years. Although I didn't set out to memorize the psalms and canticles, this has actually happened with quite a few of them. 

I'm sure it's the same for many of you. The 3 gospels canticles come pretty quickly. And little Psalm 117 (Saturday morning week III) is down after one or two recitations. Sunday morning of week I is usually next (although one never gets all those weather elements (dew, rain, frost, etc) quite straight in the Canticle of the three Children). The psalms of Night Prayer are mostly short and memorable, and going through that cycle every week will stick them in your memory after six months to a year. So there's about 15 items that were memorized without really trying.

How about you? Have any psalms or canticles gotten happily stuck in your memory?

And ask any breviary-related questions here.