Thursday, July 26, 2012

Happy St. Anne's (and Joachim's) Day!

Had to share my favorite painting of St. Anne by my favorite artist.

And also, the official hymn for today's feast, according to the Roman breviary.  You will find it in the Mundelein psalter, and also online at (see widget on the right.)

The morning star will pierce the night,
Then rosy tints of dawn appear,
Announcing that the sun will rise
To bathe the world in luster clear.

The Sun of Justice is our Lord,
The Dawn is Mary, full of grace,
Saint Ann the fair and gleaming star,
Before whom ancient Law gives place.

Saint Ann, you were the fruitful root,
The tree that would salvation bring,
By bearing her, the chosen stem,
The Mother of our Lord and King.

Most holy parents of the one
Who is our loving Mother too,
With her, now pray for us who fall:
Our pardon win, our strength renew.

All glory, Jesus, be to you
Once born of Virgin undefiled,
Who, with the Spirit of your Love
And God the Father, ever reign. Amen.

You will notice that St. Joachim doesn't get mentioned except for the "holy parents" reference.  Until  the Second Vatican Council, Joachim's feast was on the following day, July 27th.  Perhaps he once had his own hymn, but I have no time to research this possibility today. I'm sure however, that he does not mind taking a back seat to his mighty wife,Anne, who obtains  cures for people at her shrine in Quebec at a prodigious rate. 

 Our current American breviaries seem to contain far too many plain vanilla hymns, be they contemporary or of the more traditional type. It's true that the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours allowed for substitution of hymns other than the official/traditional ones, but it seems that the American breviary went overboard with the substitutions. Here's hoping that the future revision of the breviary will include more of the kind of variety and poetic beauty of which the above is one example.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

100,000th Pageview Giveaway! +Welcome+Q&A

Night Prayerbook

Welcome, new blog followers "Encourager", Timothy, and Terri. And welcome  to all those I don't have names for who susbscribed this week on Google Reader and other readers.

Maybe 100,000 pageviews in the eighteen month life of this blog is pathetic, maybe not. But it' a significant number to me. Thank you, everyone, for your interest in the Liturgy of the Hours.

To celebrate this numerologically significant milestone, we're going to have a Giveaway.  Thanks to the kindness of the St. Thomas More House of Prayer in Cranberry, PA, I have three copies of a beautiful and easy to use Night Prayerbook-Compline. This is a workbook sized book with everything needed for  each night's compline on a two page spread. It has lovely margin decorations, reminiscent of illuminated manusripts, on the edges of each page, color coded for the liturgical season.

Why the liturgical color coding? Because even though Night Prayer repeats each seven days during ordinary time, there are a few variations for the Easter Triduum, its octave, the Easter Season, and the eve of solemnities. So nothing is left to guesswork here for the beginner.

The Night Prayerbook is an ideal way to introduce newcomers to the Liturgy of the Hours, or to get a spouse, friend, or family member to start praying with you.  For anyone using this book by themselves, there is a beautifully clear beginner's tutorial that answers every question about the prayers and rubrics of Night Prayer. 

How to win one of these beauties? Just enter a comment below. IMPORTANT: If you are signed on as Anonymous, please leave some sort of name or distinguishing remark so that you will stand out from all the anonymous "Enter me" messages. 

ALSO: if you are not a regular follower of this blog, and there is no way for me to click on your name and actually contact you if you win, then consider subscribing to this blog, at least for a while, so that you will receive the post announcing the winners next week. 

Will my fellow bloggers, especially those involved in third orders, please let their own readers know about this contest? Thanks. 

One more note: the St. Thomas More House of Prayer, which donated these books, is a lovely, lay-run retreat house whose mission is identical to that of this blog: to spread awareness and participation in the Liturgy of the Hours. If your travels ever take you across route 80 in northwest Pennsylvania, this beautiful place is worth a side trip.

Still one more note: You may also use this post for the regular weekly Q&A. Just include whether or not you want to be included in the drawing for the Night Prayerbook.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Rest of the Story

If you are a fan of stories in the Paul Harvey style, check out my latest on Catholic Exchange. And tell me if you guessed who I was talking about before the end.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Breviary History #7- The Monastic Diurnal

7.) The Monastic Diurnal, 1949

It was recognized that the Short Breviary was inadequate in that it did not provide the riches of the Monastic Breviary. Under the encouragement of Alcuin Deutsch, William G. Heidt, O.S.B. (1913-2000) and Pascal Botz O.S.B. (1905-1998) put together the Latin English The Monastic Diurnal or the Day Hours of the Monastic Breviary (1949). It preserved the vulgate psalms and did not adopt the Pian Psalter. It was a supreme achievement in that the Latin and English were side by side and all of the office of the Psalter, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline were included, with the exception of Matins.

In the introduction Abbot Alcuin Deutsch notes that “[t]he work was undertaken at the request of the Sisters of St. Benedict, Convent of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Minnesota.” The sisters transitioned from the Little Office of the Virgin Mary to this, while saying the full monastic office at their mother-house. Abbot Deutsch further notes that “the Holy See has dispensed from the recitation of Matins those sisters working outside the mother-house, that they may not be too heavily burdened.” In the acknowledgements it is noted that texts were taken from A Short Breviary, and that Abbot Ignatius Esser of St. Meinrad’s Abbey contributed the hymn for the Feast of St. Gertrude.

The volume has been reprinted (2004) as the sixth edition by St. Michael’s Abbey of Farnborough, England and may be purchased from them. It is essentially the 1963 Fifth Edition with an updated table of movable feasts (through 2066) and corrections made to the txt as noted in the errata sheets of the 1963 edition. For those laity wishing for a more traditional or traditional monastic spirituality, this book is a must. It is small, easy to carry, yet the font is not to hard on the eyes. The Diurnal also has several things that the Short Breviary did not: (1) Office of the Dead, (2) The Seven Penitential Psalms and Litany, (3) Rite of Commending a Departing Soul, (4) The Itinerary (a small office to be said before a trip), (5) A Full Benedictine Sanctoral, and (6) A Supplement with feast kept elsewhere that are not in the universal calendar.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Welcome, Q&A,etc.-Ripe Blackberries edition

I'm happy to welcome new followers Lauren, Pascal, and Roy to Coffee&Canticle, and hope their visits here will enhance their devotion to the public prayer of the Church.

Unlike most of the women in my neighborhood, I'm a pretty lackadaisical gardener. My vegetable garden consists of two tomato plants and two pepper plants that are thriving, but also overrun with weeds. I never figured out how or when to spray the fruit trees, so the apples won't be good for much more than applesauce, after having been intricately carved to remove all the blight and bugs. But the burgeoning wild blackberry patch out behind the barn is another story. Right now this thorny jungle is heavy with a million deep purple jewels. There's plenty for both the birds, for me, and the neighbors--so long as one is willing to wear pants and long sleeves in 90 degree weather OR to lost a little blood  while reaching through the thorns.

All of which has nothing to do with the Liturgy of the Hours, although the verse from Psalm 34, "taste and see that the Lord is good" often comes to me as I'm picking and eating.

This morning at Lauds, Psalm 86, the "prayer of a poor man in distress" was easy to pray in the name of the church: thinking of how Christ suffers in his people who are often poor, persecuted, hungry, etc. Also, thinking of how the Church is hated and insulted at every turn, how politicians try to repress it and journalists to humiliate it every chance they get. When I came to the line that says "save your handmaid's son", I thought, naturally, of the Handmaid of the Lord. So right here in the psalm we are, in a way, appealing to the intercession of Mary most holy, reminding God that the child of such a mother must surely be answered.

Anyway--it's weekly Q&A time. Should anything about the Liturgy of the Hours confuse you, or if non-confused people want to discuss the minutiae of rubrics and options, then this is the place to be. Likewise if you just want to make a remark or observation about anything even vaguely related to the Divine Office. Just remark away in the comment box below.

By the way, some blog followers are having trouble posting comments unless they do so as "Anonymous". I have no idea how to help them, being nearly as clueless about blogger as they are. If anyone has light to share on this topic, please do so.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Did Christ know He Was God?

Today's Office of Readings for the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel had a second reading from Pope St. Leo the Great on the Incarnation. It reminded me of some of the theological silliness I lived through in the 1970s. The kind of thing you don't hear often anymore unless you attend the Episcopalian church.  I posted about it on Catholic Exchange

Liturgy of the Hours, Element by Element

Been over a month since I made mention of The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours. 
I've decided that updating  you  on my progress once a month wouldn't be overdoing the By the Way I'm Writing a Book routine. Besides, this is a request for assistance.

Chapters 1 through 4 are more or less complete. (There will be nine chapters in all.) These included the introductory ("What Exactly is this, Anyway?) chapter, the motivational chapter (Why should I want to pray the LOTH?), the resources chapter (types of breviaries,print and online with relative virtues of each, plus all the  tuturials and devotional commentaries) and the overview of the hours chapter (what each one contains and the time of day to say it.)

Now, after a week-long break to attend to some home redecorating projects and the resultant disposal of much useless accumulated junk that had been put off far too long, it's time to get back to chapter five. This one is called "Piece by Piece".  I'm going to take each element of the LOTH--from invitatory thru concluding prayer--and describe it's purpose and benefit.

Antiphons, for example, do so many things. During a special liturgical season, they relate the psalmody to that season. At other times the antiphons give us a theme or a focus as we pray the psalm. The antiphon relates the ancient hymns of Israel to the thing that we are doing with them. To illustrate: the second antiphon for today's Office of Readings is, "Offer to God a sacrifice of praise," reminding us that  with the Liturgy of the Hours we are fulfilling exactly what God is asking of us in Psalm 50.

If any of you have a favorite element of the LOTH, be it ever so small as the opening verse or the responsory after the reading, tell us here in the comments. Why does that element delight and/or instruct you? Why does it make sense (to you) for that element to be in the Liturgy of the Hours?  As I write this chapter, I don't want to leave out anything that will help readers get excited about the Divine Office. Naturally, I'll be integrating whatever the General Instruction says about the value of each element. But I'd also like to have the testimony of ordinary Catholics who pray the hours.

One more thing: please remember me in your prayers that this book will be written quickly and well, to the glory of God. Maybe add this to your intercessions at evening prayer. Hmm..."guide your servant Daria as she writes, that your sacrifice of praise may become ever more the prayer of the whole people of God."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Of X-files and breviary supplements- guest post #6

Another guest post from breviary expert Jim McCauley. This one is not so much on history, as on supplements and variants on our current breviary that are currently available. I'll certainly be putting a few of these on my wish list! -Daria

This article was supposed to be on the Pian Psalter, which I will get to , I assure you, But, as some of you may have heard, the Committee on Divine Worship to begin to develop a plan to produce a revised edition of the Liturgy of the Hours, but no timeline is available for this project.  However, I can tell you that a new supplement is due out in 2014.  But still, many of you may ask is there more out there?  Are there other variants?  Well, the first thing to keep in mind is that the African Liturgy of the Hours (updated 2009) and the BritishDivine Office (updated in 2006) are not approved for Liturgical use in the United States or Canada.  Yes, you may  use them privately, if you wish.

But the question remains, are there other approved forms out there?  Yes, as Mulder from the X -Files stated, "the truth is out there," you just have to find it.  What lies out there is a treasure trove of wonderful readings and hymns, the proper offices of the various religious orders.  No, you do not have to be a religious to make use of them, any layperson can do so and it is considered liturgical prayer.  Probably the best known and the easiest to obtain is the Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours.  This is a red softcover volume, just like the 1992 Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours.  It was last updated in 1975 and a new Proper Office is supposedly due out in 2014.  This is a particularly wonderful one ,with the memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus on January 3, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angles of the Portiuncula on August 2, and the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis on August 17.  Please note that the Feast of the Holy Name and the Stigmata are both survivors, as they were once on the pre-1970 universal Calendar of the Church. Please note that the Holy Name of Jesus was re-inserted into the Church’s Universal Calendar in 2001, with the same date of January 3, as a memorial.  The Franciscan proper office book is the only place you can find this office for the Liturgy of the Hours! This may be purchased from Franciscan Media, formerly St. Anthony Messenger Press.

The next one is the Supplement to the Divine Office For The Society of Jesus, a green hardback volume with a ribbon that came out in 2002.  This contains the memorials of St. Edmund Campion on December 1, St..John Berchmans on November 26, Blessed Miguel Pro on November 23 and St. John Ogilvie on October 14.  The reading are superb and it contains in its appendix specialized intercessions for certain Jesuit celebrations.  You can obtain this volume from the Institute of Jesuit Studies in St. Louis, Missouri

When we come to the Carmelites, the American Province last produced a supplement in 1993 while the Anglo-Irish province last produced one in 2006.  Both are out of print and difficult to find.  However, a supplement to the last volume is available, called theSupplement to theProper of the Liturgy of the Hours of the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and of the Order of Discalced Carmelites.  This is a 48 page supplement updating the American 1993 volume.  I was told, once again a new one is due in 2014.  This will be a great boon, because the Carmelite proper contains the optional memorial of Blessed Titus Brandsma on July 27, the Memorial of St. Teresa of Avila’s Transverberation on August 26, and the feast of the Prophet Elijah on July 20.  The 2006 Anglo Irish volume contains, extra Poetry, hymns, and readings for vigils, making this a superb volume.  The Supplement is available from Carmelite Media in Tuscon, Arizona.

In regard to those congregations dedicated to the Blood of Christ, they have the wonderfulThe Liturgy of the Hours: Feast Days for Congregations Dedicated to the Blood of Christ.  This is a superb volume, approved by now Cardinal Ranjith when he was Secretary Congregation of Divine Worship in February 2009.  This volume contains the July 1 Solemnity of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, another survivorl from the pre-1970 office.  This is an absolutely wonderful office. The paperback book is available from the St. Charles Center in Ohio.

An odd little supplement I came across: The Oblates of St. Joseph Proper Texts for the Liturgy of the Hours, available from the Marello bookstore in California.  Outside of the feast for the founder (St. Joseph Marello), I can only tell you it is a small, red softcover book, like the Franciscan proper.  I have mine ordered.

Finally, St. Meirad Archabbey has the Liturgy of the Hours for Benedictine Oblates, published in 2009.  It has a leatherette cover with ribbons and gilded edges.  It contains monastic feasts, such as those of St. Meinrad on January 22.  This volume is available from the Archabbey.

In regards to other orders.  I know the Redemptorists, Servites, and Passionists all have their own proper offices.  I emailed the Servites and Passionists and received no reply.  The Redemptorists told me I had to check in with their English province.  In regard to the Dominicans, they had an experimental office come out in 1982, but they actually have no official English translation of their Latin proper offices!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bl. Louis and Zelie! It's not too late... conclude vespers or compline tonight with the collect (concluding prayer) for their feast, which is today:
you have given to Blessed Louis and Marie ZĂ©lie
the grace to lead a life of holiness as Christian spouses and parents.
Grant that through their intercession and example
each of us may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

We have my summer guest blogger, Jim McCauley, to thank for this, by the way. He received the prayer from a Carmelite friend and passed it on. Now, I'm wondering what common one would use to celebrate this holy couple once they are canonized. There's a common for holy women, for holy men, but not holy couples! That's one more revision needed for a future edition of the breviary.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Weekly Q&A St. Benedict edition

Welcome, Caroline, to Coffee and Canticles, your one stop shop for all things related to the Liturgy of the Hours.
Sorry I'm a little late with this post. Many tasks interfered today, including the bottling and corking of seven bottles of homemade wine, the culmination of a process that started when we harvested the grapes last September. If any of you ever try to make wine, here is one piece of advice. Don't buy this corker:

It's very hard to use. Go for a more expensive model that relies a little less on your own strength. My poor little arms are aching right now.

Today was the feast of St. Benedict, surely a patron of us psalmsayers if there is one. We have Benedict to thank for the Divine Office having the form that it does today.

Now for some tylenol, a hot bath, and bed.
Any questions about the Divine Office?
About wine making?

Friday, July 6, 2012

USA Breviary revision news

Father Z. shares the latest news on the proposed revision of the Liturgy of the hours, which he received in the newsletter of the USCCB committee for Divine Worship.

In the comments, every expresses their wish lists for what a revised breviary ought to look like.

My own hopes:1. that the psalm prayers, if retained, be placed AFTER the conclusion of the psalm, as in AFTER the Glory Be an the repeated antiphon.
2. A better translation of the intercessions.
3. Scripture readings from something other than the New American Bible.
4. That artwork/graphics, if any, will be of better quality.
5. Better and clearer instructions in the ordinary that don't assume the beginner will be learning by watching senior members of a monastery or a seminary!
6. The traditional hymns from the Roman breviary (in Latin and English) rather than the many 70s-composed selections that we have now.
7. diacritical markings in the psalms to aid chanting.(underlines or italics on the words in each line where the note changes.)

What's on your wish-list for a revised breviary?

Breviary history #5- Mediator Dei

Another guest post by Jim McCauley on the 20th century history of the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office, especially as it relates to lay participation.

Mediator Dei, Pius XII and the Divine Office, 1947
When we have liturgical arguments, invariably people turn to Sacrosanctum Concilium (December 4, 1963). Progressives, liberals, conservatives, charismatics, and reform of the reform invariably use  this document to back up whatever point they wish to make.  However, in the corner is the traditionalist who keeps up the mantra “what about Mediator Dei?” That is a good question. This is the only papal Encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy and all too often it is ignored, as if it was entirely supplanted or made irrelevant by Sacrosanctum Concilium. However, as Aidan Nichols, O.P. sagely points out in his book A Pope and A Council on the Sacred Liturgy (2002), we should interpret or view Sacrosanctum Concilum in light or in view of Mediator Dei. And, no discussion on the Divine Office can be properly undertaken without reference to this document, signed by Pope Pius XII on November 20, 1947.

However, for our purposes, it is only in regards to the Divine Office that this document interests us. Here are some choice quotes:

“The Divine Office is the prayer of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ . . .”

“The Psalms, as we know, form the chief part of the Divine Office.”

“The Laity have no obligation in this matter. Still, it is greatly to be desired that they participate in reciting or chanting vespers sung in their own parish on feast days. We earnestly exhort you, Venerable Bretheren, to see that this pious practice is kept up, and that wherever it has ceased, you restore it if possible. This, without a doubt, will produce salutary results when vespers are conducted in a worthy and fitting manner and with such helps as foster the piety of the faithful.”

Hmmm. Sounds like we need the League of the Divine Office to help implement what Pius XII requested!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Let Religious Freedom Ring&Welcome&Q&A

Welcome new followers "RestlessHeart" and Nancy! Glad to have you here as we share our love for  that great sacrifice of praise which is the Liturgy of the Hours.  Feel free to ask questions or comment any time you like.

Here in the beautiful middle of nowhere (northwest Pennsylvania), we'll wind up the Fortnight for Freedom with an outdoor mass and blessing the new flagpole and flag in the churchyard.

Don't forget to tweet "Let Religious Freedom Ring!" at noon today.

Here is just one more article on this subject, which is notable for its calm logical explanation of the whole issue. Good to share with anyone you know who does not understand why the church is making such a fuss.

As I did the office of readings today, it occurred to me that I don't generally focus very well on its psalmody: I'm too anxious to get to the readings! (Bad girl, Daria!) Hence I often miss out on the consolations of these psalms, such as today's Psalm 18. Wow! What a fantastic hymn to God's power and protection in times of trouble. Very appropos to our current  fears for American conscience rights.

Enjoy your 4th, friends, whether its here in the USA with barbecue and fireworks, or in Australia, England, Japan, or somewhere else with your ordinary routine. Rejoice in the Lord always, and in the freedom of the children of God.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


What better can we do than to take refuge in the Lord! His love will never fail, alleluia.
-antiphon I, Daytime Prayer, 13th Sunday in ordinary time.

Just what I needed to hear after a few days of worrying about the recent Supreme Court ruling, reading the assorted weeping and gnashing of teeth in the blogosphere. His love will not fail any of us, whether the current tempest blows over, or whether it blows us, eventually, into ostracism, fines, persecution, or prison.

Christmas in July and Freedom's Fortnight

My pastor, Father Skip Davis,  did a bang-up job of his Fortnght for Freedom sermon. He saw the scenes from A Christmas Carol, in which Ebenezer Scrooge travels with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, as a metaphor  for the Church in America, and indeed for all Christians in this land of ours. I've linked it here on my Catholic Exchange blog. Go take a look.

And let me know if your pastor did anything half as good.