One year ago tomorrow, I prepared to quit my day job and set up this blog, writing a Welcome Post that might have been viewed by a dozen people that week. Now,300 posts and 50,000+ pageviews later, this is still an itty-bitty blog catering to a small (and elite, right guys?) audience. But Coffee&Canticles is growing, and that means, praise the Lord, awareness of the Liturgy of the Hours is growing too. There's been a radio "appearance" and a request from Our Sunday Visitor for a feature article on the liturgy of the hours.
This first year of blogging has made me grow, too, both in knowledge and in practice.Thanks to the motivation of writing it, I've gone from doing maybe 3 liturgical hours with consistency to a point where I rarely miss any of the 5 daily hours.
Any of you who manage that without the help of that nagging voice--how dare you write about praying the Office if you don't do it all?--have my admiration. Because this is not easy. For that matter, anyone who does ANY of the hours faithfully while holding down outside employment OR while caring for babies and preschoolers OR while homeschooling: you are awesome!
Wait. I think "awesome" is out. "Amazing" is my teenager's favorite happy adjective these days. You are amazing.
Writing this blog has forced me to learn so much. I've had to read the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours from beginning to end several times this last year. My library of books and fund of liturgical trivia has grown considerably. (For instance, I know now that in that first post where I equate the Office of Readings with the Office of Vigils,I was wrong! Vigils is more of an extension of the OOR done on the evening before a Sunday or a feast, mainly in monastic communities.) I'm learning to chant Morning and Evening prayer thanks to the incredible Mundelein Psalter.
And most of all, I've been inspired by the comments, questions, and efforts of all of you, ordinary Catholics who are willing to fool with a bulky prayerbook, or buy an app, or subscribe to a website, and spend weeks figuring out how it is done and what it all means. And are willing to explain it all to other people, who are likely to blink and reply, "Isn't that just for priests and monks?"
On the Coffee&Canticles agenda for this year is to keep on posting and answering your questions. The book proposal is still being considered by a major Catholic publisher--say a prayer that this will work out. I'm in discernment (that's fancy Catholic talk for confused&wondering) about seeking opportunities to give talks and how-to workshops about the Liturgy of the Hours at homeschooling and other Catholic conferences. If any of you can advise me there--or know of a planned conference that is short of speakers!--please let me know.
One more thing. I'd love to have guest posts from anyone who likes to write and would like to do a short meditation on a particular day's liturgy, one its hours, or one of the psalms. Or, to tell me about how you learned the LOTH, how you manage to get it said, and what its done for you. Just contact me off site.
Next time: Q&A Wednesday.And coming up: inclusive language breviaries.
Finally, in honor of this one year anniversary, I have some giveaways to, um, give away. Every couple of days I'll give away one of the following to a randomly chosen name from among those who post a comment.
Here are some of the titles. Most are new; the few that are not will be noted.
A Companion to the Liturgy of the Hours by Shirley Darcus Sullivan. Short meditations on each psalm, canticle and reading from lauds and vespers. The author draws on Carmelite spirituality.
The Pope and the CEO by Andreas Widmer. A former Swiss Guard gives the lessons for life and for success that he learned watching John Paul II.
The Rosary -keeping company with Jesus and Mary by Karen Edmisten. Short motivational guide to praying the rosary. Good for beginners who want to know what it's all about as well as veterans who need fresh inspiration to maintain their rosary habit.
Shorter Christian Prayer - (slightly used but good condition) a breviary consisting of only the four week psalter for lauds and vespers plus limited selections from the propers for Advent, Lent, and Easter, the Holy Triduum, and a couple of feastdays. A good introduction for people who is 1. not sure they really want to do this and/or 2. intimidated by the size of the regular book.
Daytime Prayer -(slightly used but good condition) a slim volume containing the complete hour of Daytime Prayer for every day of the year. About the same size as Shorter Christian Prayer. The regular one-volume breviary only contains selections from Daytime Prayer, so if you are interested in having the Real Deal this is the book for you. I kept it in my desk at work for the last year at my day job, since I didn't want to lug the book from my 4-volume set around.
Surrender!The Life Changing Power of Doing God's Will by Father Larry Richards. Spiritual shock therapy as only Father Larry can administer it.
Holy Traders- Apostles and Evangelists edition. Saints trading cards for kids.
Patron Saints - a list of patrons for every possible profession, situation, person, place, things, illness, and crisis. by Thomas J. Craughwell.
The Mass-the Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina. Step by step through the liturgy, with insights on history, theology, and spirituality.
Okay, that's it for starters. I'm not sure which book to give away first, so....... for the first giveaway only, I will let the winner choose which book he or she wants.
All you have to do is write a comment. Anything, like "Happy Birthday" or "I Want Book" or "Pick Me or I'll find out where you live and hunt you down."
I'll write down all the usernames on little pieces of paper, put them in a bag, and have one of my kids reach in and pick one. Only one comment per person. I'll close entries on Saturday night. A new contest (where I name the prize) will start next week.
P.S. If I get a dozen comments from "anonymous" I won't know how to tell you that you've won. either sign on as a follower,(preferred method to my mind) or give yourself a name, or make an unusual remark to distinguish yourself from the other anonymouses.