Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Breviary Basics for Lent plus Q&A

If you just started using a breviary recently, you might have some trepidation about lent. You've got to start using the Proper of Seasons every single day, rather than just Sundays. This is not so difficult, but here are some principles to simplify it further. You might want to print and cut out this post and stick it in your book for reference.

1. Each day you will only use the four-week Psalter as far as the end of the psalms--taking care to use the specified Lent antiphons--and then turn to the front of your book (Proper of Seasons.) Keep a ribbon there and in the psalter.

2.For Ash  Wednesday: use week IV of the Psalter for the Office of Readings, although Friday of week III is also an option. For the  the next three days, use week IV of the Psalter (although for Thursday only  week III is also given as an option.) Personally I"m sticking with week IV. On Sunday you will start over with week I, and so on through the rest of lent, going in order and then repeating weeks I and II for the last two weeks.

3. Saints Days. All saint's days in lent are observed as optional memorials. This means you do not use the Common of martyrs, doctors, etc. You use everything for the regular lenten weekday EXCEPT what is in the Proper of Saints. Alternatively, you may ignore the saint's prayers and readings altogether and do everything from the current lenten weekday. (That is what "optional" means).

4. Solemnities. St. Joseph on March 19th and the Annunciation of Our Lady on March 25th are two breaks from lenten liturgy. Do their complete offices from the Proper of Saints and the Commons as the breviary instructs you. Use these days to lighten up on your lenten penances, e.g. eat dessert, drink a cocktail, watch TV or have a chocolate bar. (Or in my case, go to the mall and buy myself some earrings or a pretty top. Shopping fasts are really rough on girls like me.)

Okay, any questions on Lenten offices or anything else related to the Liturgy of the Hours? Fire away!