Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weekly Q&A + Welcome Newbies!

Welcome to new blog followers Jason, KT Cat, Michael, Veronica Mae and Collette.

Only two weeks of ordinary time left, and then owners of 4-volume breviaires will be switching to volume II, and all of us who use a printed breviary will be adding that extra daily ribbon- flip to the Proper of Seasons in the front third of the book after the psalmody is done. It's even more fun when you have a saint's memorial during lent. Don't worry, breviary novices, you can do this. And if you can't, there's always the digital route.

I just received a review copy of a new book by Anglican bishop N.T. Wright called The Case for the Psalms.  Idon't know much about this author, but he appears to be a decent, "mere Christianity" kind of writer. I haven't read too far into the book yet, but so far  like what I see. This quote, for example, where he talks about the need for the psalms in worship as opposed to a more free-form, modern "praise&worship" style:
 "Good liturgy, whether formal or informal, ought never to be simply a corporate emoting session, however 'Christian', but but a fresh and awed attempt to inhabit the great unceasing liturgy that is going on all the time in the heavenly realms.(That's what those great chapters, Revelation 4 and 5,are all about.) The Psalms offer us a way of joining in a chorus of praise and prayer that has been going on for millennia and across all cultures. Not to try to inhabit them, while continuing to invent non-psalmic 'worship' based on our own feelings of the moment, risks being like a spoiled child who, taken to the summit of Table Mountain with the city and the ocean spread out before him, refuses to gaze at the view because he is playing with his Game Boy."

I like that.

A couple of readers here at Coffee&Canticles are Anglican/Episcopalian. Do you know much about this N.T. Wright and could you recommend other works of his?

Okay. Questions from the confused are welcome in the comments below. Also, comments from the non-confused who just want to share a favorite passage from today's hours or anything else you might want to say. Don't forget to enter the new book giveaway that is a post or two behind this one. 

18 comments:

  1. Hi, Daria. I really like N.T. Wright's writings. He's very prolific and can write in an accessible style even when he's being scholarly. He recently released a major huge book on St. Paul. He was until a few years ago the Bishop of Durham in the Church of England. His most helpful book to me is Surprised by Hope, about life after death. He's written a whole series of Biblical commentaries, too (Matthew For Everyone, etc.). I look forward to reading his Psalms book, which I've bought on my Kindle.

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  2. Well worth hearing are some lectures on YouTube by N.T. Wright on the Psalms:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSb62xG9om0

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  3. Good morning, Daria!

    I have a question(s): today, 2/21/14 is the optional memorial for Saint Peter Damian, bishop. In my breviary (I am now using the 4 volume African breviary which I love!) the instructions in the Proper of Saints indicates "From the Common of Pastors (page 1590), and of Doctors of the Church (page 1616).

    My understanding of this instruction (vis-a-vis the office of readings) is that since Saint Peter Damian is both a Bishop and Doctor that I may choose to use either the Common of Pastors or Doctors and that I would take the Invitatory Ant., psalmody and the first reading from either and then the second reading, responsory and prayer from the proper of Saints for Saint Peter Damian. Is this correct?

    I am also confused by this instruction from the ordinary concerning the Office of Readings:

    There are two readings. The first is a biblical reading with its responsory, taken from Ordinary Time, except for solemnities and feasts when it is taken from the Proper of Saints or Commons.

    Since Saint Peter Damian is an optional memoria and not a solemnity or feast this instruction would seem to indicate that the first reading should come from the Proper of Seasons which is now Ordinary Time? Should the first reading have been from Friday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary time or from the either the Common of Pastors or the Common of Doctors?

    I hope my question makes sense- my head is spinning!

    Thanks much,

    Albert

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    1. I get this question all the time. It's one of the single most confusing things about the breviary. When it tells you in the proper of saints, "from the common of doctors (martyrs, bishops, etc.)" what it really means is "those elements appropriate to this level of saint's day are to be taken from the common of doctors, pastors, etc." Now, for a memorial, you are supposed to use the psalmody and antiphons from the current weekday (with a few exceptions such as Mary Magdalene who has her own antiphons in the proper of saints). For the rest of the office, use any elements that are in the proper of saints for that saint, and then choose either to continue with the current weekday OR use what is in the commons. As to the First reading in the OOR, the Church is biased in favor of not interrupting the cycle of biblical readings in the proper of seasons, even in ordiinary time, so normally you would read today's (Friday) first reading, and then do the second reading for St. Peter Damian.
      Also, since this saint is optional, you are free to ignore him altogether and just do the weekday.
      If you still have your one-volume Christian Prayer breviary,the "Format of Offices" section on pages 37-38 is a very good breakdown on how to handle all these various types of saints days.
      One last thing to be aware of. The General Instruction encourages us to adapt the office to our needs, including using different psalms and readings on any given day should we have a good reason. So if you had a great devotion to St. Peter Damian,or belong to a St. Peter Damian parish, it wouldn't be wrong to ignore what I said above and use the entire common of pastors or doctors.

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    2. Thanks for the answer, Daria! After the first reading of it I will have to go back and apply a little "lectio divina" to really soak it in. I like to do the optional memorials to meet a new friend.in Christ across the ocean of time.

      I hope when the new US breviary comes out in five years or so they find a way to simplify all this!

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    3. Well, the new US breviary can't change the rules for which prayers to say on which types of saint's days, but what they can change is to put clear, complete, user-friendly instructions in the front of the book instead of them here and there and expecting us to comb through lengthy church documents as they do now.

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  4. I really like N. T. Wright and have read "Paul: A Fresh Perspective" and "The Challenge of Jesus," both recommended by my priest (Catholic). I highly recommend him - he's scholarly but easy for me to read and understand.

    I also had a question, but I think you answered it above. I also like to do the optional memorials so always see the instruction to recite the psalms and canticles from Sunday. However, I'm afraid I ignore that instruction and use the day of the week we are in. I hope that's not breaking too many rules. Thanks, and I enjoy your blog.

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    1. Well, I now have a list of NT Wright recommendations from several people. And yes, as you'll see from what I wrote earlier, you've actually been keeping the rules, rather than breaking them, by using the current weekday psalms on an optional memorial or even a regular memorial.

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  5. I've never read Wright (I know Fr. Barron has) but I have listened to him on YOUTUBE. He seems to be very irenic scholarly Christian man and I have always enjoyed listening to his insights.

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  6. Hi again, I hope I've got this right. The evening prayer for the Feast of the Chair of St Peter takes precedence over the evening prayer I for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

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    1. Hi, Michael - Ordinarily, Sundays take precedence over everything except Feasts and Solemnities of the Lord. I believe there are a few exceptions, but they're rare. Hang in there! I wrote a lot of this down when first starting to pray the Hours. I still get messed up every once in a while. When in doubt, check the online Breviaries (although they sometimes mess up, too, but not often). Really there are just a handful of rules that you need to get down for most of the year. Advent/Christmas wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought they would be. Just more flipping than usual, but it followed a regular pattern. Lent and Easter should be the same. Just take it one day at a time, and check the online Breviaries if you're in doubt. I still do that if I'm not sure. And, above all, remember...there are no Divine Office Police who are going to knock down your door! God loves your prayers, but even more He loves how much you're trying. You're the apple of His eye just because of the effort you're making!

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    2. Hey Mike, I tried to answer this twice yesterday from my ipod but it wouldn't publish the answer. But Marie seems to have covered it. I feel like you and I had this same conversation a short while ago over some other feast that occurred on a Saturday. .But looking through the archives I can't find it.

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    3. Daria, you're right. We've had this discussion before but I finally realized yesterday that the instructions, as it were, don't agree in the Christian Prayer volume and the 4-volume set. The first one is wrong and the second one has it right. As you've said before, the online breviaries also get it wrong sometimes (as divineoffice.org did yesterday). Thanks again.

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  7. Hi Daria!

    Here goes: I'm using the one-volume Christian Prayer. Today (February 23rd) I just finished the Evening Prayer. I'm still hung up on a couple of things:

    1. On page 861, in red letters it says, "Psalmody." Is that was is directly below the word, or is that something I should be looking for somewhere else in the Breviary? I "think" it's what's below, but I have this nagging doubt.

    2. At the bottom of page 866, after the Our Father, it says, "Prayer, as in the Proper of Seasons." Do I go to the Proper of Seasons for Ordinary Time? If so, then I go to page 611, right? But which of the Evening Prayers do I use?

    I really appreciate the help. I'm gonna get the hang of this!

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    1. The word "psalmody" is a heading for what follows. It refers to the three psalms, or, in the case of morning and evening prayer, the two psalms plus one canticle, along with their antiphons.

      You were correct to go to page 611 for the prayer. On Sundays that exact same prayer is available for Evening Prayer I, Morning Prayer, and Evening Prayer II. You may choose from either the standard one or the alternative as you please with each of these hours.

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