Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Any Liturgists out there? Candle-ologists, maybe?

Reader Thomas Dillon sent in the following question:

 As we prepare to continue our Sunday Evening Prayers in our parish during Lent, if we decide to have a light service at the beginning of the celebration, is the Pascal candle permitted to be used during a Lenten service of Second Vespers? Our should we use another type of candle? Sorry to bother you again, and thanks so much for being there to answer our questions.

I won't have a chance today  to research church instructions on use of the Pascal candle during lent. If anyone know the answer here, please comment below, or on the previous Q&A post where Tom asked this question in the comments. 


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Q&A Time

Just a quickie to tell you a few things.

1. If you are at the March for Life on Thursday, look for my husband, Bill, who is escorting the National pilgrim Virgin statue of Our Lady of Fatima at the head of the march. Tell him that Daria says don't forget to do Midday prayer, and to be careful driving home.

2. Someone asked me what a good votive office for the National Day of Prayer for legal protection of Unborn Children might be. I couldn't find anything official on the USCCB website.  Neither Office for the Dead nor that of the feast of the Holy Innocents seems appropriate. Maybe, if you wanted to do something other than the regular office of Thursday, you might jump ahead and do parts of Friday, since Friday's office stresses the passion and also repentance for sin.

3. This is a Q&A post. Ask anything you want about the Liturgy of the Hours and I'll try to get the right answer for you.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Back to Ordinary Time

Time for the breviary shuffle, for those who use a four-volume edition.  Put away volume I, grab volume III off the shelf for a six-week sojourn of ordinary time, before switching back to volume II for Lent thru Pentecost.

First Monday in Ordinary Time. One of two Mondays in Ordinary Time with no ordinary Sunday to precede it. Trivia question: when is the other?

I've said it a couple of times, but it bears repeating."Ordinary" in this context does not mean routine, let alone dull or uninteresting. It means that the weeks are ordered, or numbered. With ordinal numbers, get it?

But there's nothing ordinary (in the sense of dull or unimportant) about the breathtaking  poetry in the book of Sirach this week (Office of Readings).  Nor the reading from Pope St.  Clement I, which is a lovely, long petitionary prayer which certainly covers every base. Nor does todays daytime reading (midafternoon) from 1 Peter ever fail to inspire awe: realize that you were delivered not by any diminishable sum of silver or gold, but by Christ's blood beyond all price!

And so it goes. The liturgy fills us with a thousand gifts, all year long. Never "ordinary".


At the same time, I feel a good kind of ordinary (in the "ordinary" sense of the word) whenever I put away the Christmas paraphernalia, put the furniture back where it belongs, and get back down to the business.  The relative quiet and the relatively  slender to-do list clears my mind.  And leaving behind for a while the page flipping and calendar checking of Christmastide does much to fuel the notion that ordinary time in the liturgy is a little less complicated, breathing upon us a goodly simplicity. A needed break in the action until Lent.

Office of Readings Time: Lifestyle vs. Tradition

This query recently came in from Patrick Beherac, who by the way has an interesting and informative blog about American saints, both canonized and potentially so,   Here is his question:

I've been doing the Hours since November, sometimes bungling a day but I'm getting the hang of it. I started adding in Readings about a week ago and ran into a snag. I'm a night owl, and get more out of Readings in the evening than the morning, but on Saturdays and before Solemnities it looks like the day changes at Evening Prayer 1. On a normal day, I pray EP after work, Readings in the evening, and NP before bed. Is there any guidance as to whether I ought to reverse those on Saturdays and before solemnities? I know whatever way works for me is "okay," but as long as I'm still forming habits, might as well try to form good ones.

There are several answers to this question. 
As Patrick noted, the Office of Readings may be done at any time of day. 
The Office of Readings is the post-Vatican II version of the hour of Matins, which monastic orders would chant in the middle of the night--midnight or in the wee small hours of the morning.  In fact, this practice still goes on in many monasteries  and abbeys today. 
There are two modified versions of this practice. One is to pray the Office of Readings the previous evening, as a kind of "vigil". Another is to do it first thing in the morning  just prior to Morning Prayer (lauds). The idea is that in either case, the OOR becomes the first hour of that day's liturgy. 
If you use the "evening before" option, note that Night Prayer is still the last hour you pray before bedtime. So even though when I use the "evening before" method and pray Office of Readings for Wednnesday January 14th on the night of  Tuesday the  13th, I still use Tuesday's Night Prayer afterward, before I go to bed. 
So if Patrick wants to continue reading the OOR in the evening, but wants to be more traditional, he should pray the following day's OOR in the evening. People who do this might also like to try the extra office of Vigils on the eve of Sundays and solemnities. You would need a 4-volume breviary for this, or else use the vigils button on ibreviary. (Not sure if other apps include vigils.)
On the other hand, if Patrick has, through habit, gotten used to doing the OOR of the actual calendar day in the evening, he is free to continue. It will, as he pointed out, feel awkward on  Sundays and solemnities. Perhaps on these days he could do his  OOR a bit earlier, so it is before Evening Prayer I of the Sunday/solemnity. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

My Song or His Song?

File:Deer Drinking Drawing.jpg

Morning  Prayer today (Psalter, Monday, week II) included one of my top favorite psalms, 42. Usually my nature-loving little heart gets off on the deer that years for running streams, or else on "deep is calling on deep...your billows and all your waves swept over me" since  this is  such a mighty image of how confused and helpless and overpowered we can feel in the midst of suffering, even when we are fully aware that God's will is always done.

But today,the verse that jumped out was #8, because of its different translations. Our USA  breviary (Grail Psalms) says, by day the Lord will send his loving kindness; by night I will sing  to him, praise the God of my life.

While my African breviary (Revised Grail Psalms, which is eventually what we'll get when a revised American  breviary is approved), has by day the Lord decrees his merciful love; by night his song is with me, prayer to the God of my life.   The Revised Standard Version and the Douay-Rheims also go with "his song".   Commentator notes in the Navarre Bible says that either interpretation of the Hebrew is possible.

My decidedly  non-scholarly preference is "his song".  This speaks to me of our beloved Divine Office, wherein we pray the psalms,which is God's word in inspired songs. As the Church tells us, Christ prays in us and we pray in Him in this eternal hymn of praise to the Father that is the Liturgy of the Hours.

Are you a Psalm 42 fan?  Share your thoughts on a favorite verse or this psalm as a whole. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Marian Antiphons and Night Prayer

Our Lady of Puerto Rico, Cathedrdal San Juan Bautista
 At the conclusion of Night Prayer (a.k.a. Compline) we say or sing a Marian antiphon (Some prefer to call them marian anthems since they are not antiphons in the same sense as the antiphons that surround our psalms in the  breviary). Your breviary gives you a page of choices for this, ranging from a basic Hail Mary, to the familiar (for those who say the rosary) Hail Holy Queen, to a number of other traditional choices:, Regina Caeli, Alma Redemptoris Mater, and others, in both Latin  and English.

Think of it as your final, "Goodnight, Mom! You're the greatest! Love you." while She is tucking  you in for the night.

Although our breviary seems to offer us a menu of choices for this final marian prayer, it's also good to know that there is a traditional rubric for using the one that best fits with  the liturgical season.

From Advent through the Christmas season, the traditional marian prayer is the Alma Redemptoris Mater: "Loving Mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea,, etc."

For ordinary time--both the little patch of it that falls between Christmastide and lent, as well as the big patch between Pentecost and the start of advent, use the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen) Alternatively, continue with the Alma Redemptoris Mater until February 2nd, which in the traditional liturgy was the end of the extended Christmas season.

During lent, switch to the Ave Regina Caelorum: "Hail, O Mary Queen of heaven, Queen of all the saints and angels, root of Jesse, heaven's portal, etc." Although now that I look it up, I see that this one  only appears in Latin in the Christian Prayer breviary.  No problem--just pray it in Latin.

For the Easter Season, we use the lovely Regina Caeli: "Queen of Heaven, Rejoice, Alleluia!" Those of you who pray the noon Angelus probably know that this prayer is used in its stead during the Easter season.

Complete Latin and English  translations of these four traditional marian antiphons, plus a bit of history on each one, can be found at this link to the Adoremus website.

For many years my husband and I have been chanting these antiphons using the "Simple Tones" version. If you would like to learn them, here is a page from the Chantblog with an audio file of the Alma Redemptoris Mater. On the bottom of that page you will find links for audio of the other ones as well.

It is true that the Liturgy of the Hours allows us to use any Marian antiphon  we like  after Night Prayer.  But to choose them in accordance with the liturgical  season is to participate in a beautiful and ancient custom. And not just ancient! This choice of marian antiphons, and these chant settings, are still used in many places, including monasteries, seminaries, and at the Vatican. So if you are looking for a New Year's resolution to enhance your practice of the Liturgy of the Hours, this might be the place to start. 

Christmastide Breviary Confusion, continued

The homepage today at ibreviary.com has some explanation for what's going on. Summary: it's not us--it's the book. Read on:

Dear users of the iBreviary,

We would like to take a moment to explain our choice of texts for the weekdays of the Christmas season upto the Epiphany in the English version of the iBreviary.

Due to an error in the liturgical books for the Liturgy of the Hours that follow the translation of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, the weekdays from January 2nd to the Epiphany are incorrectly labeled according to the weekday instead of the calendar date (i.e.‘Monday from January 2 to the Epiphany’ instead of ‘January 2’) in the printed books.

This is clear from the rubrics found for the Office of Readings in the printed books for the ‘Second Sunday of Christmas’ and the ‘Monday from January 2 to Epiphany’. It is also evident from comparison with the Latin editio typical altera, as well as the liturgical books printed for the use of the UK/Australia/NZ, etc. and Africa.

Despite this error, many communities prefer to still observe the Liturgy of the Hours according to the weekday rather than the calendar day.
 This is because the Roman Missal follows the weekday (i.e.  ‘Monday/Tuesday, etc. from January 2 to the Saturday before the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord’) instead of the calendar date (January 2’, ‘January 3’, etc.) when assigning Mass texts. By using the texts for the weekday rather than the calendar day, the Closing Prayer at the Hours are aligned with the Collect (Opening Prayer) at Mass.

Both sets of texts have thus been provided so that users may follow the prevalent usage of their own community. The first set of texts is provided according to the weekday (e.g. Thursday from January 2 to the Epiphany') and the second according to the calendar date as found in the Latin edition (e.g. January 4).

We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused by this selection to any of our users. Thank you for your understanding and we wish all our users the blessings of the remainder of this holy season.

Another good reason to use ibreviary today: it has the second reading in the OOR and the concluding prayer for the recently revived optional memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus. This was a feast that had been  suppressed after Vatican II but Pope Benedict XVI decided to put it back in place. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Where Am I in the Psalter for the next few Days?

Darned if I know.

The days between Jan 2nd and Epiphany are a great time to just use a digital breviary. Your printed book will be very confusing.

If you don't use the common for today's saint's feast, use Friday of week I.

Things will make sense again after this Sunday. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy Mother of God Day!

Happy New Year,  Everyone!  I hope you've been doing your best to immerse yourselves in the praise of our  mighty God and Savior this past week. It should get a lot  easier starting today, as obligations to host or attend family and social events has, for most of us, come to an end. Plus there's that New Year's motivation to make a clean start and Do Better. 

For my part, I resolve to post more frequently in 2015.

Did anyone give or receive a new breviary for Christmas?

Your blessed and fruitful virginity is like the bush, flaming yet unburned, which Moses saw on Sinai. Pray for us, Mother of God. (antiphon Jan. 1st)
Grant, we pray, that we may experience the intercession of her,through whome we were found worthy to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ. (Prayer for Jan. 1)