Sunday, January 24, 2016

Seeing a familiar Scripture like it's New

Does this every happen to you?

You're reading your office--morning prayer, evening prayer, whatever. Suddenly something you've read a hundred times before leaps out at you. Knocks you over. Pierces your heart.

Why did I never notice this one before, you ask yourself?  

That happened to me tonight at evening prayer--which I was reading in a rather distracted way since the TV was on across the room and Downton Abbey was intruding itself into my mind. But then there was that little reading from 1 Peter:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope throught the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith to a salvation  that is ready  to be revealed  in the final time. 

Talk about good news!

I think maybe this means I can stop worrying about the outcome of the Republican presidential  primary race...

How about you? Has anything really wonderful jumped out at you from the pages of your breviary in  the last day or so?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Snowy Evenings and Disappearing Collects

Good evening, friends! Having just finished Evening Prayer,  I'm sitting here in my Divine Office rocking chair, in front of my picture window, gazing  past the birdfeeders and out into the snowy evening.  I love snowstorms when I get to watch them from inside a warm house, especially since  there's no need to drive anywhere for the rest of the day on this Day of Rest. 

I just found this question from a reader in the comments of an older post. I'll share and answer it here, since I bet this reader is not the only one who is puzzled. Here's the  question:

I need an explanation.
Why does the MP Concluding Prayer in all three online breviaries no longer match the the Collect prayer from the day's Mass? 

I thought they were authorized by ecclesial authorities to match . . .and for some time they did as I recall. Now it seems that the online sites have returned to matching the MP Concluding Prayer with what is documented in the breviary books and NOT the new/revised Collect Prayer from the day's Mass as approved for use in the 2011 missal. What's going on?

And now the answer.  Yes, the concluding prayers are authorized to "match" the Collect of the day's mass, when, and only when, the collect and the concluding prayer of  the Liturgy of the Hours are supposed to be the same prayer. And they are not  the  same prayer during MP and EP in Ordinary  time.   Here are the relevant explanations from the good old General Instruction for  the Liturgy of the Hours: 

197. The concluding prayer at the end marks the completion of an entire hour...
198. In the office of readings, this prayer is as a rule the prayer proper to the day. At night prayer, the prayer is always the prayer given in the psalter for that hour.
199. The concluding prayer at morning prayer and evening prayer is taken from the proper on Sundays, on the weekdays of the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, and on solemnities, feasts, and memorials. On weekdays in Ordinary Time the prayer is the one given in the four-week psalter to express the character of these two hours.
200. The concluding prayer at daytime prayer is taken from the proper on Sundays, on the weekdays of the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, and on solemnities and feasts. On other days the prayers are those that express the character of the particular hour. These are given in the four-week psalter.

So, to sum up. The concluding prayer for Morning,  Evening, and Daytime prayer is identical to the Collect of the day's mass only during the various holy seasons, and also for any saint's day throughout the year. The concluding prayer for Office of Readings is that of the mass all year long.   Eventually, when the revised translation of the English breviary is complete, you will see a change (i.e. an  improved translation, similar to what we had for the Roman  missal) in the concluding prayers in the four week psalter as well. But that is a few years down the  road. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Confusing pre-Epiphany Office

Good day, friends!

The other day I hinted at the annual problems with figuring out what pages to use during the days preceding the Epiphany. There are actually discrepancies between the Editio Typica altera and the designation for these days in the American breviary. The Roman breviary designates today simply as "January 2." while our breviaries say "Saturday between January 2nd and Epiphany.

I use a more recentlu published English breviary from Kenya, which uses the "January 2nd" designation, and today's first reading in the OOR is from Colossians, chapter 2. The American breviary, on the other hand, has a first reading from Isaiah.

My advice the other day was to simply go with a digital breviary to be sure you were doing the right thing.   But lo and behold, I followed my own advice and saw that ibreviary is running last year's psalter, when January 2nd was on a Friday, and so its psalmody begins with the penitentual Psalm 51.

Moral of the story: no one flip their ribbons (whether virtual or real) to the right places all the time!

So, if you want to do this according to the Roman breviary, use Saturday week I for your psalter and "Monday from January 2nd to Epiphany" for your readings, and/or use the second reading for the feast of Sts. Basil and Gregory of Naziazen.

Or, since, after all, the American breviary is in fact an authorized liturgical book for Americans, just go with "January 2nd to Epiphany, Saturday".(which is what you will find at    And be happy that this year there is only one day between January 1st and Epiphany.