Wednesday, March 11, 2015

We Can Do This! Laetare! New Hymnal!

Laetare Sunday is nearly here, marking the halfway point of lent. Time to reflect on how your lent has been going, tweak your prayer, penance and almsgiving routine, and rejoice (that is what Laetare  means) that we are a little more than halfway to Easter.

This morning's Office of Readings had one of my favorite psalm verses: How blessed the people who know Your praise (Ps.89:16) That's us, folks. We are the lucky ones who know that perfect praise can be offered numerous times daily to our Creator and Savior. Perfect, not because we are, but because the Word of God with which we praise is perfect, and the One Who praise the Father with us and in us (that's Jesus) is perfect.

For those of you who wish to sing/chant the traditional, official  breviary hymns that come from the Roman breviary, I've found another lovely hymnal that, although less comprehensive than the Hymnal for the Hours that I reviewed at length a while ago, it has its own charms.

The new hymnal I refer to is the Lumen Christi Hymnal from Illuminare publications. This would be the ideal hymnal for a church that regularly provides Liturgy of the Hours services for its congregation. It's a slim volume overall--nice for those of us whose wrists ache from some of the hefty monstrosities  currently in most pews. Every one of the hymns is traditional, beautiful,and  easy to sing. You won't find anything written after 1965 here. No fickle melodic lines that can't make up their mind what key or time signature they want to be in. No tunes that are reminiscent of Broadway show tunes or pop hits.   But what I really like is the second half--gregorian chant hymns for lauds, vespers, and compline. All translated into English, and all on the modern five-line staff, so much easier for those who read music or teach themselves a song by plunking it out on a keyboard. There are hymns for weekdays and Sundays in every season, plus additional ones for many saints feasts and also for commons of saints.   There is only a single choice for each day (rather than the many choices as in the Hymnal for the Hours) but in some ways this works in its favor: I don't waste time considering which hymn to use but just do the hymn that is given. I also notice that these choices usually correspond to the second hymn given for lauds and vespers on

So if you like the idea of chanting the official hymns for morning and evening prayer, check it out.

Welcome new readers Shannon, Patti, Racheal, Peggy, Robert, Catherine,  Maryann and Mischa! Glad to have you here. Free free to comment and especially to ask any questions about the Liturgy of the Hours by commenting on any post.

And that applies to the rest of you. How's lent going? Are you faithful to your committment to praying the Divine Office? Is anything  about the breviary confusing?   Let me know.