Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Find Joy Every Day; weekly Q&A

 You know those days when some verse in the day's Divine Office jumps out at you, as if your guardian angel had gone over it with a highlighter? You notice a verse that you'd read many times before, and suddenly, bam!  It's brand new.

I've been moping about the sorry state of world and national affairs, the economy, the decline in civilization, the decline of American society. (I'd been trying not to listen to much TV, radio or internet news, but it just keeps seeping in.) But this morning I read psalm 89 in the psalter for the Office of Readings:

Happy the people who acclaim such a king,
who walk O Lord, in the light of your face,
who find their joy every day in your name,
who make your justice the source of their bliss.

And so, applying the moral sense of interpreting scripture (what is God telling me about how I ought to live?), I made a decision to quit moping. That does not mean ignoring the ills of society. It does mean to be a happy warrior when fighting them.  It means remembering Who is King and finding joy in His name bliss in His justice.

Every day.

These thoughts then drove me to look up a relevant quote from Dorothy Day:

How necessary it is to cultivate a spirit of joy. It is a psychological truth that the physical acts of reverence and devotion make one feel devout. The courteous gesture increases one's respect for others. To act lovingly is to begin to feel loving, and certainly to act joyfully brings joy to others which in turn makes one feel joyful. I believe we are called to the duty of delight. 

 She's right. 

Welcome, new blog followers James G. and Anthony C. And all the anonymous folks who add the blog to their readers. 

Any questions about the Liturgy of the Hours, folks? Ask them here. 

Start thinking about Lent, and how you might want to expand your devotion to the hours: by adding one of them, or just being more faithful to the ones you usually do. To learn to chant some of it. To encourage someone else to join you in liturgical prayer. There are lots of possibilities. 


  1. What happened to "Converte nos" at the beginning of Compline? It appears in the Little Office of the BVM (Baronius Press), but it's not found in Shorter Christian Prayer or in the one-volume Christian Prayer or in Fr Weber's The Office of Compline (Ignatius Press).

    Can it still be prayed or has it been suppressed? Any other details, historical or otherwise, would be appreciated.

    btw, thanks for this wonderful blog!

  2. Chris, the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours was completely revised after the Second Vatican Council. One of the goals of this revision was to make each of the hours shorter in duration both for the sake of busy parish priests and to make the hours a simpler project for lay people. People argue endlessly (as they do over the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the mass) about which one is "better" and why. But no one has to argue, because the Church permits us to use either version. If you miss the "converte nos" and the rest of the more extended penitential rite at the beginning of Compline, then you might want to use that version. Or pray compline from the Office of the BVM, which is also approved as liturgical prayer.
    Or, if you want to pray the newer Liturgy of the Hours, but wish to add "Convert us O God our Savior/and turn away your anger from us." just before you begin the hour with "God, come to my assistance, etc" then there is no harm in that. What we have to watch out for is mixing up parts of the old breviary with parts of the new breviary, because then you risk losing the liturgical character of the prayer, making it instead into a patchwork devotional.
    The General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours (there's a tab on top of this page linking to it) gives some of the background and rationale for the changes. I don't know lots of detailed history. We had a number of guest posts here during the summer about various editions of the breviary prior to Vatican II which might be of interest to you. Look back into the archives for June thru August to find them.

  3. Thank you so much for your insight and information, Daria! I've read through those guest posts.