Thursday, June 6, 2013

Weekly Q&A -Post grandchildren visit edition

Daughter, Son-in-Law, and the two babies (Harald and Edward Francis) and their huge dog just left aftera four day visit. Fun, but I am drained of energy. I haven't even had the will to satisfy my curiosity about St. Norbert, whose memorial was today. The blurb in my breviary said he tried to reform a diocese without much success, his attempts being met with protests in the street. I wonder what sorts of reforms they were protesting, but don't care to heave my carcass over to the hall book case to get Butler's Lives of Saints off the shelf to see what it says.

Anyway, I have no clever remarks for today's post, but invite Divine Office-related questions from anyone who has them. After a good night's sleep I should have the will and the wit to answer them.

Welcome, new blog followers, Dave and David G. Glad to have you. Make yourselves at home.


  1. Just in case you're using books, evening prayer I for Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus begins tonight.

  2. A most blessed solemnity of the Sacred Heart to all! I have a very simple question. How can I keep Psalm 95, the Canticle of Zechariah, and the Magnificat "fresh" when I say them. They are beautiful but since I pray them every day, they can lose their punch for me and I wind up not really internalizing them and my mind wanders. That doesn't seem fitting for such beautiful and
    Important parts of the Office. Thanks!

    1. That's a good question. Several thoughts come to mind, not in any special order of importance.
      1. The nice thing about knowing these by heart is that you can look up from the text while you say them. Not only does this rest your eyes, but as you pray you can look at a sacred image --statue, icon, etc.-- and use that to focus your prayer. OR, look out the window or stroll out on your porch in nice weather and admire the beauty of creation (assuming you have a decent view), thus making these canticles focused on the lovely gifts of sky, trees, birds, etc. that God has given us. This works particularly well for Psalm 95.
      2. Don't forget that we have alternate choices for the Invitatory Psalm: Psalms 100, 67 or 24 may be substituted, and maybe this will help. The only proviso here is to check and make sure that one of these alternates isn't already in the psalter for Morning Prayer that day, so you don't end up saying it twice.If this is the case, you can stick Psalm 95 in its place.
      3. When the office is said in community, the customary rubric is to stand up for the gospel canticles, just as we stand for the gospel at mass. The Gospels are the pinnacle of Sacred Scripture, so we give them that kind of respect and attention. Perhaps standing up for them, even when you pray alone, will help with the attention issue.
      4. Last, pay attention to the antiphon! During ordinary time, the antiphon usually is based on one particular verse of the canticle. Focus on just that thought while you recite the canticle, just as when we say the rosary we aren't usually paying attention to the words of the Hail Mary so much as thinking of the mystery, with the Hail Mary being a kind of background music. So, you canticle antiphon will cue you to dwell on one thing: mercy, God coming to help us, humility, God setting us free, God's might, God's action in the soul of Mary, etc. On feasts, these antiphons help us pray the canticle in even more specific terms, for example the antiphons today for the Sacred Heart. ditto during advent, lent, etc.
      I hope this helps, and I invite other readers to add their own thoughts here if they have any.

    2. That is a wonderful answer. Thank you for your response.

  3. Hi - I saw a blurb in my parish bulletin this morning that the Pilgrim Virgin Statue will be here in Kansas City this month. And I believe your husband will accompany it? Small world!