Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Post Visitation Thoughts

Another day to be grateful for the Liturgy of the Hours, since I was unable to get to mass. But the office of the day kept this lovely event present throughout my day of work.

This is the day for the slothful to ask Our Lady for help with their besetting sin. At least, so says Dante. In the Purgatorio, souls who are being purified of this sin are made to run. And run. And run.

A lot.

And the scripture verse given to them as a motto is from the Visitation, "And Mary went with haste."

In other words, don't hesitate or procrastinate when it's time to do what is right. Just do it, and do it wholeheartedly. As Our Lady did.

The gem of the day (for me) was this bit from the Office of Readings, where St. Bede states that it is "an excellent and fruitful custom of holy Church that we should sing Mary's hymn at the time of evening prayer."  A great reminder that the Divine Office connects us not  only to all the faithful who pray it today, but to those who prayed these same psalms and canticles centuries ago.  And, I guess, to the heavenly choir that sings them throughout eternity. Together we form one big symphony of praise.

It's been a while since we've had a Q&A post. Any and all questions or comments about the Liturgy of the Hours are welcome. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Psalms as Personal Prayer

On my previous post, John Burzynski told me about this blog post by a nun in (I think) England.

It's about the many ways to understand the psalms as we pray them. It's long for a blog post but worth reading. 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Veni Creator

My favorite Pentecost custom? Singing the Veni Creator at every single liturgical hour this day, from Evening Prayer I thru Compline. All 7 verses. Some hours I do it in Latin (if you have the four volume breviary you'll find those words on page 1011 of volume II) and other times, in English. But either way I use the  Gregorian melody, which  fits both Latin and English.  

I love this melody so much more than  the typical tune to "Come Holy  Ghost" that we sing at mass. I normally love  those traditional anthems in 4/4 time, but the traditional Gregorian chant melody expresses the more mysterious and gentle action  of the Holy Spirit. This melody makes me think more of the wind, and more of breath, more of sanctifying grace, than the far less subtle "Come  Holy Ghost" tune from the missalette.

There are many fine renditions of Veni, Creator on YouTube, and I urge you to listen to a bunch of them. But I'm sharing this one because it's an average guy with an average voice, singing in a non-church setting. In fact, it looks like he's singing it with his breviary in his hands.  I think a lot of people avoid trying to sing Gregorian chant because we usually hear it sung by scholas or choirs of well-trained singers in an acoustically perfect cathedral. We think, "Isn't that beautiful!" and "I can't sing like that."  Well, you can sing like this guy: by yourself in a normal voice in a normal house and you will still be offering a priceless little jewel of praise to the Holy Spirit.

If you listen to this enough you will pick up the tune, and then be able to either sing it in Latin OR apply the same tune to most English  versions of the lyrics.

What is your favorite Pentecost custom?

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Mystery of the Missing 6th Week in Ordinary Time

I just got this question from Tami: 

Hi Daria, I have a question : why do we not have a week six of ordinary time this year? Week five was just before Lent and Monday (May 16) starts week seven. Does it have to do with where Easter fell this year? -Tami

Where did the missing week 6 in ordiary time go? 

Tami had me stumped. The lateness of Easter seemed like it might be a clue, but still...there are always 52 weeks in a year, so what difference would this make?  

Then I remembered that the Church year, as opposed tp the calendar year, starts with Advent. Advent can begin anywhere from November 27th to December 3rd. And early Advent "pulls back" the calendar by up to a week.  This year 2015)  Advent started on the 29th,  Next year (2016) Advent starts on November 27th. 

An early Advent means that there are not enough available Sundays or weeks to be "in" Ordinary time. So one of them must be eliminated.   As I recall, the Sunday gospels during the last few Sundays of the year are of particular eschatological significance, leading as they do to the feast of Christ the King. So you don't want to elilminate from that end. 

So, I'm puzzling about this and still not quite sure I have it right, when I said to myself, "Self! This looks like a job for--the internet!"  

A quick google of "sixth week in ordinary time is missing" brought me to this fun and informative article by Andrew Motyka at Corpus Christi Watershed.  (CCW, by the way, is a great site devoted to liturgical music.) Here is a quote from the article:

The trick here is to remember two things: because Christmas occurs on a different weekday each year, then the Advent and Christmas seasons will be of varying length. The second thing to remember is that the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, Christ the King, is always on the 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time. This year, though, there are only 33, not 34, Sundays in Ordinary Time. How does the Church rectify this? Simply put, she cheats. She simply declares the last Sunday of Ordinary Time to be the 34th, and then counts backwards until she reaches Pentecost. Therefore, the week following Pentecost is the 7th, not the 6th, week in Ordinary Time. There simply skips the 6th week of Ordinary Time altogether this year. You’ve been counting it wrong.

But do go and read the rest of it.