Saturday, January 13, 2018

Ordinary, but not Dull plus Q&A

So we're completing the first week of Ordinary time.

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 this past Monday's  reading from Pope St.  Clement I, which was a lovely, long petitionary prayer which certainly covers every base. Nor Monday's  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!

This coming Wednesday we learn how to become a hermit from St. Anthony. The heart-breakingly beautiful Psalm 42 pops up again on Monday morning. Tuesday's daytime readings remind us of the mystery and privilege of being a member of the Body of Christ.

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

Yet.

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 cluttered, and breathes upon us a goodly simplicity. A needed break until Lent.





  Now then, it's been a while since I've done a formal "Q&A" post, partly because I've been a bad, neglectful blogger, and partly because you are free to ask any question on any post.  but perhaps newer people don't know that.    So please, if anything about the Liturgy of the Hours is confusing you, fire away!  

22 comments:

  1. Hi Daria, I was wondering albeit there's literally 4 weeks till we switch volumes to Lent and Easter, is there any chance i could have a little reminder how to work my way through the brievery for these seasons please? Especially Eastertide as I find that the weekdays of the season do not go in Order rather are separated by the Sundays thank you in advance.

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  2. Happy to. But remind me...are you using a single-volume or a four-volume breviary these days?

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  3. At the moment I'm using a single one of just lauds and vespers because Lent/Easter is confusing me so much.

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    1. Okay. Let's start with Ash Wednesday and the three days after. The Proper of Seasons (front third of book) says to use the psalms of week IV for these days, EXCEPT that you may instead use Friday III just for Morning Prayer of Ash Wednesday. (I usually go with this option because the penitential Psalm 51 is perfect for Ash Wednesday.) For Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, continue with week IV psalms then the proper of seasons for the reading onwards. Then the weeks of lent go through the psalter in order: week I psalter for week I lent, etc. For the 5th week of lent start over with week I psalms. Holy Week uses week II psalms. If you go to mass on Holy Thursday evening, this takes the place of Vespers that day. Same thing on Good Friday if you attend Good Friday liturgy at church. Holy Saturday has its complete lauds and vespers in the proper, and Holy Saturday vespers is NOT replaced by attending Easter Vigil. Okay, that's what I have for you so far. Before I talk about the Easter season, is there anything about what I've said so far that you do not understand?

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    2. I think its just the weeks of Eastertide Daria, with the weekdays coming in between sundays 24,6 (or something like that and sundays 3-5 and weekdays 3-5

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    3. Forgive me for being so dense, Mitchell, but I don't understand your question. I just went to the Monday of each week of Easter, morning prayer, to compare them. The psalter changes each week in order, then repeats with week I on the fifth week. The short reading is the same every morning, as is the responsory. The gospel canticle antiphons, intercessions, and concluding prayers are different each day. Each day during the Easter season you use the psalter for the psalms, then turn to the proper of seasons for the rest of it. I don't understand what confuses you, so please give me some examples.

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  4. Those of us on the old Roman calendar, who have not even fully come out of the Nativity season altogether with Candlemas still ahead of us and the Sundays After Epiphany heartily echoing the theme of the season, are switching to violet and dropping the Alleluia in two weeks with an early Septuagesima!

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    1. Hi Tom any chance you could give me some help on why the weekdays of 2,4,6 of Easter are seperate to weeks 3-5 as its really confusing me (I'm prepping for the next part of the Liturgical year you see) and it's confusing me big time with the separation of weeks Thank you God bless.

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    2. Mitchell, I am sorry but I don't understand your question. Could you please clarify what you mean or give examples?

      I should also note that I don't often pray the reformed breviary, so there are probably better-versed readers on here to help. The traditional Roman rite has a one-week Psalter, which is obviously much simpler to handle in this regard.

      Also, Mitchell, have you considered praying the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary instead of the LOTH? It seems to me that you are spending an unhealthy amount of time and energy trying to strictly conform to rubrics. The traditional Little Office (according to the rubrics of 1960) is cheap, and varies very little. There are three unchanging Office cycles: Office I for most of the year, Office II for Advent, and Office III for Christmastide from Christmas Eve to Candlemas [Feb 2], plus a very little bit of Pre-Lent/Lent and Easter variation. It has the 7 full canonical hours of the Roman Breviary: Matins+Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. But the psalms are the same each day.

      As limited as it is in content compared to a full breviary, it has a lifetime's worth of depth for meditation and prayer. I once wrote a post on why one should pray the LOBVM, which you might find edifying: https://tomsdigest.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/why-pray-the-little-office-of-the-blessed-virgin-mary/

      You can pick up a copy of Angelus Press' edition for $20 in the U.S. (and I'm guessing something comparable in the UK). I strongly recommend it, especially if you keep struggling with the LOTH.

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  5. What reading should I use today January 18 2018 for morning prayer? So is it Romans 8:35-39 or Romans 12:1-2 ? Christian Prayer shows 8:35-39 and iBreviary shows 12:1-2. Which is authoritative?

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    1. I would consider the book authoritative. Not sure why ibreviary is using that one from Romans. Perhaps it's from a common appropriate to St. Anthony? That's the only thing I can think of at the moment, but haven't time to look it up right now.

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    2. Hi Daria having as a chat with Tom B iv been flicking through my breviary to get it sorted ready for Lent, from your last message to me I fully understand how Lent works now. However I am confused because the weekdays of Easter are split up and they don't seem to go in numerical order like my breviery has Monday to Saturday weeks 2,4 and 6 and then weeks 3-5 Sunday-Saturday could you assist me with this aspect as its just above my head somewhat Thank you God bless.

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    3. Mitchell, I guess your breviary (the UK/Collins one?) is laid out differently than my USA one-volume book.Since I don't have a copy I can't really help you with it. But it seems that Gorgonius knows what is going on and explains it in his comment.

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  6. Mitchell

    If I understand your question, I think you're referring to how the weeks are set out in Easter in some editions of the LOTH?

    I assume the publishers have tried to save some space in Advent, Lent and Eastertide because there are two sets of daily morning and evening intercessions provided for Lauds and Vespers (Morning and Evening Prayer) during these seasons. (compare with Ordinary Time when there are four sets of intercessions across the four weeks of the Four Week Psalter).

    For example, there is a six week structure in Easter before Ascension: Easter week or Easter Octave (starting on Easter Day) being Easter 1, Low Sunday/Divine Mercy Sunday is Easter 2 and so on until Easter 6.

    The publishers could print the seasonal variations (Scripture Readings, Responsories, Antiphons for the Gospel Canticles, the Intercessions and Concluding Prayers) for Lauds and Vespers for each week from Easter 2 to Easter 6 but to save space and because the intercessions are the most text-rich variations, they've bunched them up for weeks 2,4,6 and weeks 3 and 5.

    As mentioned above, there are two sets of intercessions in Advent and Lent and this method is followed in most English editions of the LOTH for these seasons too.

    I sometimes refer to a hard copy Catholic wall calendar to help me in navigating the church year. There are also printed "Ordos" for dioceses and national churches which provide helpful advice to pray the Divine Office during a liturgical year.

    The app and website Universalis is also a great navigator!

    Kind regards.

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  7. Hi Daria, I'm trying to learn the LOTH and am halfway through your book, and I was hoping you could help with a question. I'm trying to figure out the Concluding prayer for evening prayer today, 1/20. For evening prayer, the St. Joseph's Guide for the 1 volume Christian prayer book says to use page 851, Sunday EP for week III - at the end of that section, it says to use the "Conclusion, as in the Ordinary". But I don't see any Concluding prayer in the Ordinary, just a confusing reference to taking it from the current week of the Psalter for weekday offices, and to take it from the Proper for other offices. Saturday isn't a weekday, and we're in ordinary time, so where do I find the Concluding Prayer? Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi. God bless you for taking up the LOTH. Once you get over the learning period you'll love it,I promise! The Ordinary is a small section from pages 686 - 698 which give some instructions and general texts. The "conclusion" is not the prayer, but the concluding "May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life." which is said at the end of morning and evening prayer. The concluding PRAYER, which comes just before that final "conclusion" is in the Proper of Seasons, which is the first third of your book. Tonight's concluding prayer, for the third Sunday in ordinary time, will be found on page 247. You use this prayer (or the alternative one given below it) for evening prayer tonight, morning prayer tomorrow, and evening prayer II tomorrow. You will also go to this page for the antiphons for the canticles of Zechariah and of Mary. Hope that helps and keep asking whatever you want.

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    2. I will add that it's even easier on weekdays, because the concluding prayer is right there in the psalter during ordinary time. Once lent starts you'll be turning to the proper of seasons every day after using the psalter for the psalms.

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    3. Wonderful! I would have never figured that out on my own. Thank you for all you've done Daria to make the LOTH known, loved, and understood, even by thick-headed people like me!

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    4. You're not thick-headed! That one-volume breviary is not self-explanatory.

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  8. I have questions regarding singing hymns for the liturgy of the hours. Is it licit to sing the Pange Lingua for Lauds and the Adoro Te Devote for Vespers? What about other Latin hymns?

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    1. Hey Jonathan, aside from your rubrical if I may make a recommendation, you might consider picking up Fr. Samuel Weber OSB's self-published volume, "Hymnal for the Hours," available on Lulu.com. It has all the official hymns of the reformed Liturgy of the Hours (I mean, from the Latin editio typica, not the unofficial stuff they filled the vernacular breviaries with) in English translation and set to their traditional Gregorian tones. The hymnal is around $20, and you'll never have to sing a 1970s poor excuse for a substitute ever again.

      Even if you don't do so, you certainly shouldn't have any scruples for not singing what's in the American breviaries. They certainly had no scruples about failing to actually reproduce most of the official hymnody.

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    2. Jonathan, You can choose any hymn that is appropriate. The two hymns you mention are Eucharistic and fulfill the character of the LOTH in that they are hymns of praise. However, you might want to find hymns that are more seasonally appropriate during lent and the other holy seasons. Tom B's suggestion of Fr. Weber's hymnal is a good one. I use it myself most days. The traditional hymns for ordinary weekday evenings refer to the six days of creation in turn throughout the week, building up to Sunday. The hymns for morning prayer usually refer to the rising sun, starting a new day with resolutions to keep away from sin--very bracing!

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