Sunday, August 14, 2011

Why you gotta love online breviaries--especially if you're getting old.

 Like many in my generation (boomers, that is), I straddle a fence between digital and print media. When it came to the Divine Office, I was initially repelled by the idea of reading lauds off a monitor. Me -with-my-book-in-my-armchair was the only way to go. 

Then I saw the advantage of popping a featherweight mobile device in my purse vs. a 1.5 pound breviary. A real boon to my aging shoulders.

Today, I had new proof that an online breviary is a prop to those of us who are slowly falling apart as we shuffle along towards out golden years.

Now, I was certainly aware this morning that Monday is the solemnity of the Assumption. As I sat  at Sunday mass I made a resolution to get out to mass tomorrow.

But my short term memory switches tend to start shutting off by early evening. So when I turned on my Kindle at 5:30PM to read vespers, I was  shocked when I saw "Evening Prayer I - Assumption of Mary."

Shocked, and pleased to have ibreviary keeping me on the right page, so to speak. If  instead of picking up the Kindle, I had instead grabbed the Christian Prayer book, I would certainly have turned to Evening Prayer II of the 20th Sunday in ordinary time. Just force of habit and, as I said, not being the sharpest tack in the drawer once I've had my dinner.

So the digital breviary turns out to be  a huge help both to aging bones and to aging memories.

In addition, I had the pleasure of seeing on the alternative antiphons that the Dominican order uses for this feast.  I'm really intrigued that different orders have  alternate prayers for many of the feasts. And the Dominican antiphons for the Assumption, Evening Prayer I, have more to them than the regular ones. I'll share them here to give you some extra food for prayer on this beautiful feast:

1.The gates of paradise were opened to us through you: today, all glorious, you rejoice with the angels.

2.You are a garden enclosed,O Mother of God, a locked garden and a sealed fountain. Arise, my beloved, and come away.

3.You are beautiful and lovely, O daughter of Jerusalem, terrible as an army arrayed for battle.

Christ ascended into heaven and prepared an everlasting dwelling place for his most chaste mother: this is the sublime festival, surpassing that of any saint, on which she who is glorious and blessed entered the heavenly nuptial hall, acclaimed by the ranks of the heavenly court. There she dwells, ever loving, never forgetful of those who remember her.

A blessed Assumption to you all. Salve Regina!


  1. I can see that for prayer, that would be helpful.

    However, I've been frustrated recently by trying to read and critique a book electronically. I'm addicted, I'm afraid, to my highlighter, paper clips, red pen and post-it notes.

  2. I know this is a little, silly human thing, but the online Divine Office has made a big difference for me because it's *convenient*. It's all laid out, no page hunting and I'm going on the computer anyway so, why not start with Morning Prayer? The Lord once again finds a way to condescend to my human frailty!

  3. I've been using my iPod and then iPhone for the divine office for almost a year now. I can't remember the last time I used my book. I miss it. I miss the holy cards tucked in between the pages and the weight of it. I miss too something about an object that is set aside only for the purpose of the prayer. The book feels holy somehow (is it a sacramental?) while the device is just a device and one minute is showing prayers and the next is scrolling Facebook updates. (I go back and forth between thinking of that as a benefit or a drawback.) But for convenience the books just can't beat the electronic version. Especially for keeping track of what day I'm on, what feast etc. My tired mommy brain is so grateful I no longer have to flip back and forth and think about where I am and where I'm going.

    Love those Dominican antiphons!

  4. I especially love the third antiphon: "You are beautiful and lovely, O daughter of Jerusalem, terrible as an army arrayed for battle."

    Terrible as an army arrayed for battle. I don't know why but I love to contemplate that aspect of Mary. That she is both lovely and terrible, that is is more fearsome than any army. Her humble strength will conquer any force.

  5. @Kathy: I agree about book reviewing electronically. Same problem here.And when I'm writing commentary on the psalms I have to go back to my print breviary for ease in looking stuff up.
    @John-I never liked reading the office from a big computer monitor--but with a little laptop or kindle I can take it someplace comfortable. But I still use the book on my nightstand for compline.
    @Melanie: hope you can take some delight in your anniversary despite Dom's absence--at least it's for a really good reason. Yeah, "terrible" is a jarring adjective for the Blessed Mother. Made me think of the line in the Fellowship of the Ring where Galadriel is imagining how it might be if she had the Ring. She described what she would be as "beautiful and terrible as..." something, I forget what.
    I guess if terrible means inspiring terror, then she is indeed terrible to Satan.

  6. I tend to toggle between both, though in most cases the book wins. On vacation last week I only brought the iPad, no breviary, and I survived. It's nice for convenience, especially while traveling, and I have had those moments of "oops, I would have missed that feast if I'd been using the paper version" but I always think to myself, I prayed--even if it was the wrong page. (For the record, sometimes this mommy's brain is so fried by the time Evening Prayer rolls around that I pray the morning's Gospel Canticle rather than the Magnificat.)

  7. I've done the Magnificat mix-up myself a few times. Why do you think most of my comments are on Morning Prayer or OOR? The mind is just not there anymore by evening.