Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gratitude to God, St. Benedict and Benjamin George

Gratitude rays are just shooting out of me today. (No, that sounds like I'm a science fiction character. Let's try again.)

I'm just oozing gratitude all over the place. (Yuck. No....Let's try  one more time.)

I'm grateful for three things that happened today. (Good. Normal. Plain and to the point.)

Today dawned bright and sunny, and it promises to remain so for several days. This after days upon days of rain punctated by cloudiness puncutated with occasional 30-minute stretches of sunshine that only served to tease and frustrate those of us who are longing for some Actual Summer Weather. Although, trying to see that silver lining--I've tried to be grateful that I've only had to water the tomatoes with a hose twice this month. But even that has been difficult, since I've been longing to use my gimmicky, new, as-seen-on-TV hose that expands when you turn the water on and contracts when you shut the water off. Honestly, when I read that verse in Psalm 63 that says "...like a dry weary land without water," I just want to snort and say, "What's that?"    Anyway, today is beautiful, and I plan to take a nice long hike today, even though each step will go squish in the sodden ground. Thank you, Lord, for the sunshine.  

Next, today is the feast of St. Benedict! The saint who more or less created western monasticism and gave us the Divine Office! (not to mention played a huge part in preserving western civilization after the fall of Rome. Read his biography sometime.)  Don't forget to do his memorial office today, using either the common of holy men with the proper of saints, or else the weekday psalter, substituting all the extras for Benedict in the proper of saints.   Just love the second reading in the OOR which ends with this thought: Put Christ before all else; and may he lead us all to everlasting life. Thank you, St. Benedict.

Last, I just discovered an app that will help hugely with my anger management issues related to Gregorian chant.  You see, I love Gregorian chant. But I hate trying to figure out the archaic  four-line staff system that the movers and shakers of the New Liturgical Movement insist on using. (Even though I am convinced that you can do chant JUST FINE with the modern five-line staff.) After decades of playing piano and reading music with the modern staff, I can't train myself--despite valiant effort--to sight read the four line staff. I'm just too old and the grooves in my brain for reading musical notes are too deep.

But then, early this morning, I discovered the iChant Gregorian app, which is available both in android and ioS.  The screen gives you a Gregorian staff with notes on each line and space, enabling you to tap out any hymn, psalm tone, anitphon,etc., so that you really know you have the right notes and intervals. There are buttons to switch from the Do clef to the Fa clef, and to move these from one line to another. You can also transpose it to any key you like.  Here is a sample screen shot:


So I am hugely grateful to Benjamin George. Finally, someone understands.

Oh, and it's weekly Question time for anyone who has one.



11 comments:

  1. Should I admit this? That I had NO idea that St. Benedict gave us the Divine Office! (not to mention played a huge part in preserving western civilization after the fall of Rome. I totally should read his biography. Any suggestions on which book I should download?!?

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    1. I enjoyed Citadel of God, a novelizatoin of St. Benedict's life by Louis DeWohl. Although it's been a few years and I don't recall whether it mentions the Divine Office that much. But monastcism and the fall of Rome, yes. But start with the Catholic Encyclopedia article that Mike recommends.

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  2. The Catholic Encyclopedia on newadvent.org has a nice long article on St. Benedict of Nursia.

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  3. Hello Daria, I just stumbled upon your blog! So nice to meet you. I am a Benedictine Oblate of St. Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, MN. Today I was at the monastery celebrating the Feast Day with the Sisters. The Feast of St. Benedict (July 11) is also the day when incoming sisters make their Perpetual (final) monastic vows after a 6 year novitiate.(Both men and Women monastics are called "Monks" and we no longer use "convent" but Monastery. (Yay for progress!) Today there was only one woman entering the "School of the Lords Service" as Benedict says in his Rule. It was a joyous Mass rooted in ancient monastic practices established by Benedict. This monastery is next to the College of St. Benedict and down the road from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN. Anyway.....After lunch and a reception I went over to the college bookstore and saw your book there! The cover really caught my eye! Since I already have a couple books on praying the Hours, I just paged through yours, noting that it was something new. I saw the part about the ibreviary for Kindle so I made note of it. I entered it into my browser just now and your blog came up with the directions you published in 2011. I saw your book on your sidebar....and realized where I was! Full circle. I look forward to browsing your blog and reading more. I'm on again/off again with the LOH, currently attempting to start it up I figured that as a Benedictine this would be as good a day as any to re-commit myself. Happy to meet you and find your blog! I live in a suburb of Minneapolis. Lynne

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    1. Happy to meet you too, Lynne. (although now I'm wondering who Shaggy and Scout are.) And thrilled to learn that my book is for sale in Collegeville, since some of their publications have been helpful to me, notably John Brooke's School of Prayer, and some now out of print books on liturgical customs for the Catholic home, such as Family Advent Customs and My Nameday--Come for Dessert. And my very first breviary, which was given to me in 1979, was a Liturgical Press edition.

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    2. Thanks for the reply Daria!
      Shaggy & Scout are my cats. I have had a "cat blog" since '06. The Cat Blogosphere started out as just a few of us crazy cat ladies blogging in our cats voices, life from their point of view. Now the CB is huge with thousands of cat blogs. Many of us (the humans) have become good friends over the years sharing life events, supporting each other in pet deaths. It's a great place to be.
      I've collected some old breviaries and have a nice collection of vintage prayer books and missals. If the breviary you have is "A Short Breviary" I have two copies from the early 60's. Recently revised and expanded it is now "Benedictine Daily Prayer: A Short Breviary." -Lynne

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  4. Totally off-topic, but you brought it up!! Have you gotten to use the hose yet? Does it work?? :-)

    God bless you!
    Michele F.

    P.S. I have the deWohl book -- that will be on my nightstand next!! Thanks for the recommendation.

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    1. Yes. Love the hose. Lightweight and easy to store. Very worth the money.

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  5. Question about LOTH! I'm still confused about feast days. For example, today: St. Henry, morning prayer. How do you know to read the psalmody from the Common of Holy Men or the Ordinary/Saturday Morning prayer? Or is it just an option, whichever you like?

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  6. Ellen, EVERYONE gets confused about this. Any memorials may be celebrated in one of two ways. Either you may use everything in the current weekday of the psalter with the exception of whatever is in the proper of the saints (usually just a closing prayer but sometimes an antiphon for the gospel canticle) OR you may use the suggested common (holy men, holy women, etc.) with those extras in the proper of saints.
    The only difference with an "optional memorial" is that you are free to ignore it altogether if you like, and just use the current weekday.
    Chapter seven of my book is tells about how to sort out the solemnities, feasts, and memorials, as well as the liturgical seasons.

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