Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Q&A - Incipient Autumn Edition

Welcome, new  blog follower Nicole, to Coffee&Canticles. May this blog fulfill your every dream of what a log about the Liturgy of the Hours ought to be. Feel free to ask questions or comment on your own experience of the divine office, favorite psalms, readings, etc. This is the place where breviary geeks are free to go on about their holy obsession any time they like.

Thanks again to everyone who commented on their love for the office of readings two posts ago.  There were so many worthwhile remarks that I'm going to add a little sidebar to my manuscript titled something "Ordinary Catholics Rave about the Office of Readings", and quote three or four of your gems of wisdom and enthusiasm.  If any of you who commented object to that, let me know. Keep in mind that I might edit slightly for clarity, changing a word here or there but keeping the meaning. I'll attribute each quote to whatever first name is on the post. This should protect your general anonymity but enable you to proudly show the book to your friends, point to your name, and say, "look, that's me!"

It's that time of year here in Northwest Pennsylvania when a single patch of red leaves appears on an otherwise green maple tree, three weeks ahead of all the other leaves.  It think of it as the coming attractions trailer for fall. Always exciting to me, as this time of year, with its color and cooler temperatures and deep blue skies fills me with energy.  Just in time, since my book deadline is October 10th.

I've been trying in vain to find a quote from,I think, C.S. Lewis about why we love the change of the seasons. How they give us both variety and continuity. The burst of color in the maple or the first snow fall is wonderful because it is both a change of scenery, yet it is also the same, good old change in scenery that we welcome back like a friend we haven't seen for a whole year. This lead me to think about how brilliantly the changing liturgical year mirrors seasonal change and has a similar effect on our souls as the natural seasons do on our psyches. It's exciting, just when the brilliance of fall has turned into dreary winter, to lift up our hearts with advent and Christmastide. It's appropriate during the dreary end of winter, to immerse ourselves in penance for lent. Spring/Easter--too obvious to need comment. And finally, after all the drama of these holy seasons, it's a relief to enter the green valley of summer--ordinary time--and just pray, worship, and learn the normal lessons of the gospel, without any seasonal add-ons. (Ordinary time is the best time to start using the Liturgy of the Hours for just this reason. )

Then it all begins again.

The Liturgy of the Hours enhances our awareness of the liturgical year, seasons and feasts, especially for those who are not able to attend daily mass. There was a commercial years ago (for what product I forget--maybe long distance service), that said "It's the next best thing to being there." The Divine Office serves this function for those who crave daily liturgy but can't manage mass due to work schedules, having small children to care for, or budget constraints in this time of high gas prices.

Okay, time for any and all breviary related questions.