Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Flaming Yet Unburned!

There's a description of Our Lady--in her fruitful virgnity--from tonight's liturgy, that you may keep in mind as you watch New Year's fireworks on television, or maybe live if you live in a pleasant climate.

Just as we pass the baton of each liturgical hour around the globe in a perpetual relay of praise, some of you are already celebrating the new year in Japan, Australia, and other Pacific places. Those in Europe and Asia are next. It's a blessing to be aware and connected, thanks to the internet and the Hours.

I hope none of you have had much trouble with the days of Christmas, which tend to give us a saint's day in the morning and a celebration of the Octave in the evening. Now we have a solemnity, which is pretty straightforward since everything is in the proper of seasons.

New Years resolutions, anyone? How about greater regularity with your Liturgy of the Hours, OR to add one more daily hour to your routine. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Blessings!

In the beginning, before time began, the Word was God; today he is born, the Savior of the world. (Antiphon Evening Prayer II of Christmas Day)

I can wish you nothing merrier this day than that you may all sense--in prayer, in the Eucharist, and in all things--that God is with us.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Isaiah: 4 kids per Bedroom a Good Thing!

 Every December 22nd I read those blessed verses from Isaiah reminding us that a home crowded with children is a something  Greatly To Be Desired.

Today's first reading in the Office of Readings, from Isaiah, contains lines that were enormously consoling to me years ago when I was expecting my fourth child. We were living in a smallish 3 bedroom ranch in California--no attic, no basement, and a one car garage that held all the things one would normally store in an attic or a  basement.

Although I laugh now to think about it, I was at the time in a minor panic over how I would house the next child were it to be a girl. My two older daughters were in one small bedroom, and our son in the other. A certain relative hinted that putting three children in one bedroom simply is Not Done, nor does one ever, ever, let children of opposite sexes share a room, even if one is a preschooler and the other a newborn.  I was still young and silly enough to care about keeping  this person's good opinion, even though it had already  been lost years before when I had the bad taste to become  pregnant on my honeymoon.

Sure enough, I had another girl. Little Maryanne had no idea how unhappy she was supposed to be, sharing a 10x11  room with two adoring sisters who were in fierce competition to see who could make her smile often. When she was 5 weeks old I picked up the breviary and read this December 22nd  passage from Isaiah:

Though you were waste and desolate,
   a land of ruins,
Now you shall be too small for your inhabitants,
   while those who swallowed you up will be far away.
The children whom you had lost
   shall yet say to you,
“This place is too small for me,
   make room for me to live in.”

And guess what? This was not a prediction of woe for Israel, but a promise of hope and blessing!

In other words, God used my predicament --a predicament I would have at regular intervals for the next 20 years--as an illustration of a good, highly to be envied  situation.  And the people of Israel, uncorrupted by  articles in Parents Magazine about the pitfalls of siblings sharing a room, understood this.  

 Isaiah helped me to realize that my problem was a pretty good one to have.

This post originally appeared in December of 2012.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

From a Reader in England

The Church has a lovely but hard-to-realize vision of the Liturgy of the Hours becoming part of parish life. This cant happen unless those of us who have already discovered this hidden treasure make the attempt to share it with others and approach their pastors about initiating a daily or weekly time for one or more of the Hours. A reader just wrote to tell me about just such an attempt. 

I wanted to share with you a lovely Evening Prayer for Advent initiative that we have tried with great success this year. As a parish lay group we have run 6 to 7pm Adoration on Mondays starting with the Angelus and finishing with Evening Prayer. We are a small rural parish but have attracted about 20 people every week. Not all the usual weekday Mass attending folk. Most people haven't experienced LOTH before. I wondered if they would come back the second week - but they did! It was this blog and your book which gave me the confidence to suggest it. As well as introducing LOTH to people it has been a really powerful prayerful experience. I would recommend the idea to anyone. One of the reasons for the success, I think, is that we are encouraging busy people to commit to a season of 4 weeks rather than a lifetime. That's something I learnt from The Everyday Catholic's Guide - don't be too ambitious as a beginner! 
Our last evening is Monday, December 23rd. r. If you are reading this in USA we will be passing on the prayer to you as the world moves on. 
If you are interested - our website www.catholicchurchmarch.co.uk is a good window into our parish community. 

Thank you so much for this note, Anonymous! I'll be thinking of you at Evening Prayer on Monday. Hopefully you can offer this in your parish again during lent. If you aren't already doing this, you might want to offer a short information card to those who attend explaining briefly what the LOTH is and what to do if they'd like to do it at home. Feel free to copy paragraphs from my book if that makes it easier. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

O My! O Gee! O Antiphons!

Breviary novices find a season such as Advent a little tricky, since that puts an end to simply using everything in the 4-week psalter for the day's prayers. Instead, we have that extra flip to the front of the book, known as the Proper of Seasons. Starting tomorrow, it gets even more confusing, as we start the season-within-a-season that occurs from December 17th thru 23rd. It's the Octave before Christmas. If you add December 24th and Christmas day, you might say we are starting the Christmas Novena. 

This means that whenever December 17th rolls around, we ignore the advent weekday in the Proper --in this case Third week of Advent,Tuesday--and instead turn ahead to December 17th. (p. 318 in volume I of the 4-volume breviary, and page 116 of the one-volume Christian Prayer. And page 292 if you are using the 4-volume African breviary. 

Why this weirdness? Because December 17th thru 23rd can occur in various places during  the third and the fourth week of advent, depending on what day of the week Christmas comes each year. We have to have four Sundays of Advent. But the fourth week of advent might only last a day or two.  Hence this 17th thru 23rd section, separate from the advent weekdays in your breviary. The whole point of 17 thru 23rd is heightened anticipation as we begin a countdown til Christmas. The Church is a little kid that just can't wait, and that is reflected in the liturgy. Our invitatory antiphon moves from a sedate reference to "the King who is to come" to a more excited "the Lord is close at hand!"  We have hymns such as Lo! How A Rose and Behold a Virgin Bearing Him, which are more Christmas-y in character than what we used throughout Advent. 

Best of all, the Magnificat antiphons during 17-23 consist of the beautiful prophetic names of the Messiah, otherwise known as the O Antiphons. We know them well in their rhyming verse form as the verses of the hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel. The liturgy saves verse 1 for December 23rd since it is the greatest of these holy messianic names. 

If you have kids at home, the O antiphons all by themselves make a wonderful family devotion. A search on the internet will show you all kinds of crafts and activities built around them for the craft-and-activity-inclined. In our family, we simply read the O Antiphon each night at dinner as we light the advent wreath. Some years I'd also make the kids sings the appropriate verse of O come O come Emmanuel, but that has fallen by the wayside as the more enthusiastic singers among them have grown up and left home. But it is certainly worth making a Big Deal out of the O antiphons each year. Here is my favorite website for information related to the O antiphons and other ideas related to family advent and Christmas customs.

For the adult mind and heart, you can't beat Father Z for these reflections on the O Antiphons, although admittedly I haven't examined every O antiphon link out there. If any of you come across something you like, please share it here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

What Gives with Online Breviary Discrepancies? Plus Q&A

 This is from alert blog follower Russ Stutler, who lives in Japan, and thus is a day ahead of us.  First he said some very kind things about   The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours. I blushed  modestly and went on to read:
All the navigating between different pages and options during Advent finally convinced me to buy a cheap tablet so I could let iBreviary and/or Divine Office navigate for me. Well, my first day, today has different ending prayers for Evening Prayer (Sunday I -- I live in the future still). iBreviary has prayers about St. John of the Cross while Divine Office talks about Advent. Which is correct?
My answer: iBreviary is pretty clearly wrong this time, which surprises me. Both iBreviary and Divine Office occasionally make mistakes, but my experience is that ibreviary has a slight edge over DivineOffice.org in posting the correct prayers. But the only people who might possibly use prayers for St. John of the Cross this evening are the Carmelites, who might celebrate this saint with a solemnity. No, I take that back! Sundays in Advent (as opposed to those or Ordinary Time) take precedence over solemnities. So yes, iBreviary fail here. 
I'm imagining the webmasters cutting, pasting, and posting these prayers on the sites weeks ahead of time, and just getting a little tired and perhaps looking at the wrong day on the calendar now and then. Or just forgetting some rule about the order of precedence for a given saint's day. It could happen to anyone. 
Now, you will frequently find legitimate discrepancies between these two apps on weekdays.  DivineOffice.org will sometimes choose to run a weekday office without reference to a saint whose memorial is optional. iBreviary usually lets you know about every possible saint's memorial on the universal calendar, but then chooses which one they want to have on the day's page, leaving the reader to go find the commons in the "Prayers" section should he want to choose a different saint. 
Both sites have ways to contact the administrators to let them know when something is incorrect. In fact, they are grateful to have mistakes pointed out. In general, digital breviaries make fewer mistakes than we ribbon flippers normally do, so we should forgive their occasional glitches.
Welcome, new blog followers Andrew and Vicki.
It's Q&A time. Congratulations to any of you, especially mothers, who are keeping up with most of their LOTH routine despite the insane amount of work Christmas preparations  can impose upon us. If  you even have time to think about items in the breviary that confuse you, much less  formulate rational questions about them, then you are REALLY dedicated, and really keeping your mind on prayer and praise during this holy season. 
 I will check back whenever there is no cookie dough on my hands, in case any answers are required.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Time Running Out for Autographed Book Special.

A re-run of a previous post in case anyone missed it a few weeks back. Just to help with your Christmas shopping. I've got a dozen left now.

Have I got a deal for you! I have thirty copies of The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours sitting here in my bedroom. Let me bill you for $12.75 via Paypal (that's only a few cents more than the price at Amazon), and I'll send you an autographed copy. Shipping  (book rate) is free!

You may specify how you want the book inscribed, e.g., a mere "Daria Sockey" or something more elaborate such as,  "To John Smith, Pray always and never lose heart, with best wishes for a Blessed Christmas 2103 from Daria Sockey" or whatever else seems good to you.

Here's what you do. Email me with the relevant names, address,autograph preferences  and the email address  of your Paypal account. My email is thesockeys"at" gmail "dot" com.

This offer is only good until December 10th.

Another suggestion: for a really special gift, send my book along with a Christian Prayer breviary and a St. Joseph yearly guide (Which you would have to obtain elsewhere).

Psalms Keep Shipwrecked victim Sane! + weekly Q&A

It's been said here before, but bears repeating: one of the many side benefits of praying the Liturgy of the Hours is that after a few years,many psalms, or at least many verses of them, become embedded in your memory. These verses will spring from your heart and your lips at odd times, in response to life's joys, life's sorrows, life's crises, and just life in general. In other words, your personal, spontaneous prayer becomes formed and informed by God's word.

Just a few examples.
When I feel weary, bored, jaded: O God, Your are my  God, for You I long. My body pines for you like a dry weary land without water....

When stressed worried about the dozens of things that plague a mother: Though an army encamp against me, even then I would trust....
...He will conceal you with His pinions, under His wings you will find refuge.

When conscious of sin: Create a clean heart for me, O God, renew in my a steadfast spirit.

So when I read this story of a shipwrecked Nigerian man who kept himself calm by reciting psalms 54 thru 92, I just thought, "There you go."

What are the psalm verses that come to you as you go about your day or face stressful situations? Feel free to share them in comments. It's also weekly Q&A time, so your questions about the Divine Office are welcome as well.

And welcome new blog followers Doug, Owen, and anyone else who joins us but whose name is not available to me. This is the place for us psalm-sayers to learn more about our favorite prayer, so feel free to ask or say anything you like on that topic.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Weekly Q&A, Joy from the Pope, and Welcome!

Last things first. Welcome, new bog follower Alan Neskar.

If you don't have spiritual reading planned yet for advent, I suggest a slow, take-your-time reading of Pope Francis' new Apostolic Exhoration, Evangelii Gaudium.   I've only read the first chapter so far, but it's touched me deeply. Many other writers have recommended that we set aside our personal "hobby horse" before reading it. That is, don't just read it in a feverish search for your Important Issue to be addressed (pro-life, liturgy, social justice, women's roles, etc.), but instead read it with an open heart, attentive to hear what you need to hear, eager to learn something new, or be reminded of what you might have  forgotten.

Funny how a psalm verse that you've read (yet not seen) a million times will suddenly pop out at you. Mine today was verse 8 of Psalm 39: And now, Lord, what is there is there to wait for? Was, given what preceeded it, a not exactly despairing question, but a world-weary one.  But then the follow up: In You rests all my hope, was like a tiny flame lit in the pre-dawn grayness. And my next thought--Advent is upon us, and will teach us exactly what we have waited for, and are waiting for.

Then,, that reading in the OOR from St. Macarius, with the grim analogies of what life without Jesus is like and the more hopeful analogy of our souls being tilled like a wilderness patch turned into a garden. Loved it. This is the only time Maracarius turns up in the Office of Readings. I wasn't surprised to learn that Macarius was a dessert hermit. You can see how well he knows that barren places that he describes here.

Okay. It's Thanksgiving Eve,and I"m cooking for twelve tomorrow. And figuring out where to put six guests at night. Gotta run. But thanks be to God for all his good gifts, including all of my Coffee&Canticles friends who share with me a love of His great gift of scriptural, liturgical prayer.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Christmas Special! Autographed Book! Limited Supply!

  Is there a Liturgy geek, a lover of prayer, or a scripture fan on your Christmas gift list?

Are you hoping to get a friend or family member interested in the Liturgy of the Hours?

Have I got a deal for you! I have thirty copies of The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours sitting here in my bedroom. Let me bill you for $12.75 via Paypal (that's only a few cents more than the price at Amazon), and I'll send you an autographed copy. Shipping  (book rate) is free!

You may specify how you want the book inscribed, e.g., a mere "Daria Sockey" or something more elaborate such as,  "To John Smith, Pray always and never lose heart, with best wishes for a Blessed Christmas 2103 from Daria Sockey" or whatever else seems good to you.

Here's what you do. Email me with the relevant names, address,autograph preferences  and the email address  of your Paypal account. My email is thesockeys"at" gmail "dot" com.

This offer is only good until December 10th.

Another suggestion: for a really special gift, send my book along with a Christian Prayer breviary and a St. Joseph yearly guide (Which you would have to obtain elsewhere).

A Question for non-Americans or Americans abroad

Blog follower Russ Stutler and I are wondering how many national  or language-group breviaries contain the two year cycle for the Office of Readings. Russ lives over in Japan, and his Japanese breviary has the two- year cycle of scripture and patristic readings. I've been told that Spain has the two-year as well, although I don't think this is true for South American Spanish breviaries.

We've discussed before that unofficial translations of the two year cycle, in English, are available on a Scottish website, but it seems that no print breviary for any English-speaking nation has this. The books in use for England, Australia and Kenya are identical to the USA version as far as the Office of Readings are concerned.

So, any of you with light to shed on this topi--shed away!

It Feels Like Advent Already...

...not because of the seasonal decorations at the mall, nor the email alerts coming from Blackfriday.com. It seems to me that the liturgy itself is anticipating the holiday season. In a good way.

In the Office of Readings, we had first readings from Daniel all last week. Daniel's visions are of an apocalyptic character. Their images and narratives seem to foreshadow what St. John wrote in Revelation, thus putting us in mind of the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus. And that is one of the three "advents" we are supposed to dwell on during Advent. (The other two being Jesus' incarnation &birth, and His personal "advent" in our souls with each and every holy communion.)

This week, we have Zechariah, all clearly prophecies of the Messiah, coming as Conqueror, King, Judge, and Shepherd, to name a few.  I mean when I read something like:
Rejoice heartily, O daughter of Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
For your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, 
Meek and riding on an ass, ,on a colt, the foal of an ass...

...I just  hear those  sleigh bells ringin' and ring-ting-tinglin' too when I read stuff like that. And I see Mary, meed and riding on an ass, carrying within her the King.

 True,  that this all leads up nicely to the feast of Christ the King this Sunday, which is the culmination and ending of liturgical year 2013.   But it also puts one in mind of the beginning of liturgical year 2014, don't you think?

Weekly Q&A Time for anyone who has a Divine Office question. Just put it in the comments below. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cantio Dei! + weekly Q&A+Lectio divina

Welcome new blog follower Cantio Dei! That is a really cool user name, although I can only guess at what it means. I sing of God, perhaps?  My Latin is pretty awful: lots of  vocabulary but virtually no grasp of case or tense.

Speaking of Latin terms, are any of you practioners of Lectio Divina? The way I understand it--which is at a very, very basic level, it's a prayerful method of spiritual reading, wherein you take a short passage of scripture (or some other spiritual work), and do the following:
1. read it! (duh)
2. think about it, especially about how it applies to you: What is God possibly telling me here?
3. Pray--talk to God about what you noticed in step 2.
4. Contemplate--stop talking and just rest in whatever truth,goodness, beauty and love have been revealed in steps 1-3.

Now, I don't tend to do a lot of Lectio Divina, because I have a hard time reading only a short passage. I feel psychologically driven to complete a chapter or other major chunk of whatever it is I"m reading. But it dawned on me today that the readings for morning, daytime, and evening prayer are teenie-tiny little things. Unlike when I have an open Bible in my lap, there is no temptation to read the rest of the chapter, because it's not there! So when I have time, I now do a quick lectio divina exercise with these readings.

This morning for example, that little bit in 1 Peter about putting one's gifts to use according to the measure in which they were received--it gave me some lovely clarity about a project I'd been contemplating. It was great to relax and "contemplate" with gratitude, this little love note God had sent me.

Don't know how consistently I"ll stick with this new little wrinkle to my lauds and vespers routine, but I hope it lasts. It will put some new life into readings that I've eyeballed thousands of times over the years.

Now, please, don't one of you experts in contemplative prayer tell me I"m doing this all wrong!

Okay, weekly Q&A/comment  time. Give it all you've got.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Making an Old Psalm New Again--Today

One thing we all love about the Liturgy of the Hours is its variety. 150 psalms, dozens of canticles, hundreds of readings and antiphons. You can pray the hours for years and years, yet still find something new every day.

But after 20 or 30 years, finding something new each day takes a little more work than it used to. Trust me on that.  So it's nice to keep a few commentaries around, and once in a while crack one open and see what it says about a particular psalm.

That's what I did today. I checked out what the Navarre Bible said about good old Psalm 95, aka the Invitatory psalm. There's something to be said for having a psalm memorized. It gives you the ability to pray it wherever you are. The downside is the temptation to rattle it off without much thought. But for the next few weeks, at least, that won't be my problem. Because of this brief comment on  verse 7, "Today, listen to the voice of the Lord":

Every time a person says this psalm, "today" should be taken literally.

Wow. God isn't telling me to listen to Him in general, but today.
Today He is telling me something. Will I hear it?
Today there is something He wants me to do. Will I notice?
What must I do to enable me to hear his voice today?

That single word, today, is now wrapped up in my mind with other scriptural phrases, like "Be sober! Be alert!" and  "Now is the day of salvation!"

So look up a psalm in a commentary and see what might happen to you!

The Navarre Bible: The Psalms and The Song of Solomon (The Navarre Bible: Old Testament)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Welcome+Weekly Q&A- All Saint's Edition

Photo: In honor of the upcoming All Saints Day, children and teachers from our REP program showed us their interpretations of their favorite saints.
photo:St.Michaels Church, Fryburg, PA

Reminder: Evening Prayer I for All Saint's Day tonight.

Welcome new (or recent, since I haven't checked for quite a while) blog followers Raymond, Maryrose, Shanti, Lynn, RCC Soldat44, Edgar and Kyle! Also welcome, Mike Demers to the "followers" page, although you've already been a devoted Coffee&Canticles follower for ages. 

It's weekly Q&A Time. If you have any questions of confusion about the Liturgy of the Hours, breviaries, or breviary apps, just ask here. You are extremely likely to get the answer you need.

Isn't it marvellous to reflect that, so long as we make it into heaven, by however long a detour through Purgatory, we will be  among those officially honored in the liturgy on November 1st? And not just with a little optional memorial, but with a Solemnity?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pleiades and Orion Plus Q&A

Coming across this little reading from Amos at Daytime Prayer today reminded me of this old post.
And since I have another article deadline coming up, it all fits into my present week.

It's weekly Q&A time--ask your Divine Office question here.

Here I am going back on my word about not posting until a magazine article was done. But I can't help commenting on a snippet from today's Daytime Prayer, the Midday reading from the book of Amos:

He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
  who turns darkness into dawn,
  and darkens day into night;
Who summons the waters of the sea,
  and pours them out upon the surface of the earth;
  whose name is Lord. (Thursday, week I)

Every time I read this, I visualize Amos looking at the stars, maybe with his children, pointing out the constellations, just as Bill and I have done with our own children. Then I get wondering: didn't the Israelites have their own names for the constellations? (Guess not) Wouldn't they have thought it borderline idolatry to use the names of these pagan goddesses and  demi-god?  (Guess not. Looks like ancient Israel was a little more tolerant and cosmopolitan than one would have thought. Or maybe they were at this period a little too cosmopolitan, and were worshiping Greek gods. Certainly idolatry is one of the many sins of Israel which God mentions to Amos.)

So, each time I get taken aback by reading about Orion and the Seven Sisters in the Old Testament, I remind myself not to fall into the mindset that Dorothy Sayers says she had as a child. That is, to think about "Bible Characters" as somehow separate and removed from the rest of history. They are real, they are history, and very much enmeshed with all the other history that was going on at the time.

Okay. Back to the article. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Memorial of Blessed John Paul II Today! Reading Available!

credit: vocationnetwork.org

Today is the (optional) memorial of Blessed Pope John Paul II. Even the most hardcore printed breviary fans will want to go online for the Office of Readings (second reading) and the concluding prayer. Find these at ibreviary.com (widget on right side of this page, or at the Vatican website. 

What makes this second reading unique is that many who read today  it actually witnessed it being delivered--either in person or via television. It is John Paul's inaugural homily. There were no EWTN live broadcasts back in 1978, but many of us caught a bit of it on the evening news.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2nd Reading for St. Margaret Mary Alacoque...


...kind of makes today into a mini-feast of the Sacred Heart. I just love this:

This divine heart is an abyss of all blessings, and into it the poor should submerge all their needs. It is an abyss of joy in which all of us can immerse our sorrows. It is an abyss of lowliness to counteract our foolishness, an abyss of mercy for the wretched, an abyss of love to meet our every need.

Read the whole thing on the ibreviary.com widget on the right. Choose Office of Readings for October 16 and scroll down to near the very end.

Youth of Eagles + Q&A

Reading Psalm 103 during Office of Readings today, I remembered this 2011 post wherein I satisfied my curiosity about the eagle verse. Have you ever wondered why it's an eagle's youth that is renewed, as opposed to that of, say, a chickadee?   I finally looked it up and here's the result:

Psalm 103 comprises the psalter for today's (Wednesday, week IV) Office of Readings.In verse 5, after listing some of God's blessings--forgives guilt, heals your ills, redeems you, crowns you with love and compassion, fills your life with good things--the psalmist adds, renewing your youth like an eagle's.

Every time I read this line, I first give the little happy sigh with which I respond to beautiful  biblical nature imagery, a mini Hallmark poster of the image flashing in my brain.

Then I stop and say, Wait!...  what?

 Because I can't figure out what's so special about an eagle's youth.
Not his strength, power, beauty, far sight, but his youth.

My first guess--could it be there was a phoenix-type myth going on about eagles that the psalmist had picked up on?

I did a search and found that many people share my question. An interesting "biblical birdwatching" site gave a lengthy description of how many times a bald eagle molts until he acheives the mature, white-head-and-tail plumage at 5 years of age. The evangelical writer considered this molting a kind of renewal. Not bad, but 1. this would teach a lesson about the desirability of Maturity, the wisdom of old age, not about youth. and 2. the bald eagle is a North American bird.

Luckily, I remembered that the Fathers of the Church have commented at length on just about every verse of scripture. Good old New Advent has St. Augustine's comments. Augustine claims that an eagle's beak tip never stops growing, and that after many years have gone by, it curves down and around the lower mandible such that the eagle would be unable to eat.  He grows weak from hunger, and then, in desperation, bashes the end of his beak off against a rock. Once again able to eat, his strength, vigor, and plumage are renewed, and he is once more like a young eagle. Augustine concludes:

 ...the eagle is not restored unto immortality, but we are unto eternal life; but the similitude is derived from hence, that the rock takes away from us what hinders us. Presume not therefore on your strength: the firmness of the rock rubs off your old age: for that Rock was Christ. 1 Corinthians 10:4 In Christ our youth shall be restored like that of the eagle....

My own knowledge of birds tell me that eagles don't really need to break off their beaks. I have seen crows and pet parrots rub their beaks against hard material.  And I've known pet parakeets to need a beak trim when they haven't had something hard to chew on. Probably eagles wear their beaks down by tearing at the bones of their prey.   But as St. Thomas points out, an analogy does not have to be true to be a good analogy.

So it looks like Christ, our rock, rubs off or breaks off our weary, aged sinfulness, and restores to us the youth of our baptismal purity. Enabling us to soar to heaven. On eagles wings  the wings of eagles.

Now it's time for weekly Q&A, which I"m afraid  missed last week. Just too much family stuff going on. So fire away if you have any questions about the Liturgy of the Hours. Or comments about the youth of eagles.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Where Do You Put Each Ribbon in Your Breviary?

A reader asks:

I've been praying the LoH for several months from the DivineOffice.org app. Today I picked up a copy of the single-volume CBC LoH. One question - what`s the best (or most common) way to use the bazillion and one ribbons in the book to mark out pages?

I haven't used the one-volume for quite a while, but here's what I did back in the day. 
Of the five ribbons in Christian Prayer one would always go in the four-week psalter. Another would be in the proper of seasons, since this section is used every Sunday in ordinary time, and every day during the holy seasons. 
Ribbon #3 would mark Night Prayer, and #4 in the Proper of Saints. The last one came in handy on days when one of the commons was used. 

This system worked for me because I was not using the Daytime Prayer or the selections of Office of Readings that are in Christian Prayer. When I added the OOR to my routine I purchased a single volume containing just this hour, a book now sadly out of print. 

A beginner to the Liturgy of the Hours might want to keep a ribbon in the Ordinary for the Invitatory Psalm and the gospel canticles until these are eventually memorized. But it is actually easier to make photo copies of these and paste them onto the inside front and back covers.

It is also a good idea to keep one or two holy cards in your breviary in case you want to mark the location of a hymn or some other spot in Christian Prayer. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Weekly Q&A - I love October edition

I say it every year. October is my favorite-est month of all. It is just too beautiful around here to be believed. The temperatures are perfect. Several of my favorite saints are commemorated during this month.
The only drawback to October in my part of the world is that is becomes extremely scary to drive after dark. I call it Night of the Living Deer syndrome. Actually, it's even scary in the middle of the day sometimes.  But I already wrote about that last year, along with some homage to the angels who keep me alive through it all. 

It's weekly Q&A time. One reader already asked  a question on the previous post: Why Sunday week I Psalms for the memorial of the Guardian angels, which is not designated as a feast, and therefore not normally deserving of anything other than normal weekday psalms? I gave him an off the cuff answer, which was okay, but since then I looked up what the General Instruction says about the psalter for obligatory memorials:
235. In the office of readings, at morning prayer, and at evening prayer:
a. the psalms and their antiphons are taken from the current week and day, unless there are proper antiphons or proper psalms, which is indicated as the case occurs.

So clearly, we had an "otherwise indicated" situation yesterday. I guess angels are special enough to rate Sunday week I psalms, even when their day is only a memorial.

Any other questions? 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Favorite photo of St. Therese

" In the heart of the Church, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction.