Monday, November 23, 2015

Memorial of Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro

We have three memorials to choose from today--St. Clement I, pope; St. Columban, abbot, and Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, martyr. As an North American, and one with a particular attachement to modern saints, my choice would be the last one. Unfortunately, Blessed Miguel does not have his own second reading in the Office of Readings. But then I remembered that religious orders often have their own "ordo"--a calendar of feasts and liturgicall texts  for members of their orders who have been canonized or beatified.  A quick search revealed that although the Jesuit calendar is online, the extra texts are not. The "Jesuit supplement" can be purchased, but alas! the second reading for Bl. Miguel does not appear to be available online.   However, I did locate an excerpt from it, which appears on two different spirituality blogs. This is from a letter of his. Itt's short, but contains plenty of food for reflection: 

"Nonetheless, the people are in dire need of spiritual assistance. Every day I hear of persons dying without the sacraments; there are no priests who confront the situation; they keep away due to either obedience or fear. To do my little bit may be dangerous if I do it the way I have so far; but I do not think it temerity to do it with discretion and within certain limits. My superior is dead scared and always thinks that, out of two possibilities, the worse is bound to happen. I dare say there is a middle way between temerity and fear, as there is between extreme prudence and rashness. I have pointed this out to the superior but he always fears for my life. But what is my life? Would I not gain it if I lost for my brothers and sisters? True, we do not have to give it away stupidly. But what are sons of Loyola for it they flee at the first flare?"
Miguel Pro.gif
source wikimedia commons

I haven't posted lately, so just a reminder: you may ask any question you have about the Liturgy of the Hours at the end of this or any post. If there is something you want to know about the correct way to say the prayers, about celebrating saint's days, about various print and online editions of the Liturgy of the Hours, or anything else in that ballpark, please do so. 

Welcome to the new readers who have joined us in recent weeks. 


  1. Question: Is there a list of the vigils canticles anywhere on the web?

    Details: I don't own a paper breviary, but I try to do vigils sometimes with ibreviary. I like to try to sing the psalms and canticles(at least mentally) to help focus. I have chosen St. Meinrad tones for the LOTH psalms & the canticles based on Fr. Columba's description as follows

    I solemn
    II awe, reverence
    III sadness, repentance
    IV meditative
    V happy, joyful
    VI peaceful, contentment
    VII victory, triumph
    VIII narrative, authoritative

    I keep a cheat sheet with my phone to look up the tone for a given psalm or canticle so I don't have to remember 200 or so.

    I'd like to add the vigil canticles to my table, but short of buying a breviary I can't see how to do so.

    Please point me at this list if you know of it. Thanks in advance

    1. Ah! There is a good question, and one I can actually answer for you. ibreviary has vigils! I explain about that in this post from some time ago: Vigils follows Office of Readings. This means that on Saturday night you must switch the day on your ibreviary app to Sunday. Say the OOR and you will see that vigils follows right after. If you dont have the app, but instead just use the ibreviary website on your desktop computer, (see widget on top right of this page), then the day will change automatically at 6pm in the evening (Eastern Standard Time) I hope this all makes sense. If not, ask more questions.And actually, I have more questions for you regarding St. Columba and the psalm tones. Will hopefully get back to you with that.

    2. Thank You very much for the instant reply.

      Yes Ma'am, I see the Vigils in iBreviary, but what I am looking for is a list like this:

      of the canticles used in Vigil, in order to chant the canticles with St. Meinrad tones, Some of the canticles used in Vigil also come up in Lauds, but I'm pretty sure that that there are others that are not.

      The purpose is to select a mode or tone for the canticle ahead of time, so as to not have to stop & select one on the fly whilst praying the office.(particularly when you are also trying to get out the door to Mass for a day that has Vigil...)

      Based on the descriptions above from Fr. Columba's document, a list of Vigil canticles & suitable tones could be prepared in advance. IF there was a list of the canticles used in Vigils.

      That is my question.

      Thanks again

    3. Okay, sorry, I read your original post too fast and misunderstood. The answer is no, I don't know of any online listing like the psalter listing you linked to. I'm much more of an amateur when it comes to chanting than you are. If and when I decide to chant, I usually stick with my cheat card from the Mundelein psalter--six simple tones that are alternated (3 each) between weeks I&III and II&IV. I occasionally refer to a card with the Conception abbey tones, but find that I'm not easily committing them to memory. I take it that the Roman numerals that Fr. Columba lists refer to the mode? in which case there should be some similarity no matter whose tones I use. Anyway, I do want to learn more about this. I'll have to sit down and go over psalm tones and see whether I can sense joy, awe, or repentance in each one. Now, as to your need, let me help you out as far as the next few weeks are concerned. For the four weeks of advent, the vigil canticles are: Is 40:10-17; IS 42: 10-16; Is 49: 7-13. (same ones each week) For the Christmas season, its Is 26:1-4,7-9,12 ; IS 40: 1-8; and IS66:10-14a These are for Christmas day, the 2nd Sunday, Holy Family, and Jan. 1st. Also Epiphany and Baptism. Oh! and for Immaculate Conception you use canticles from Common of Blessed Virgin. Those would be Is61:10--62:3; IS 62: 4-7; and Sirach 39:13-16a. Boy, looking at these makes me want to start doing vigils more often myself! Anyway, I hope this will help for the next few weeks, at least.

    4. Thanks very much Daria
      Is 49, Sir 39 & Is 62 are examples of what I mean.

      The St. Meinrad tones are one to eight. Tone eight has two flavors depending on the number of lines in a strophe. Depending on what document you look at they might be designated with the whole english words I just used or arabic or roman numerals.

      I asked the Conception monks & GIA for tips on which tone to use with which psalm since they sell the card you mention, & they seemed baffled by the question.

      From there, got a copy of the psalterium monasticum & looked at what tone went with what psalm in true gregorian chant. I used that since it was referenced in the Ordo Cantus Officii.

      However people like Fr. Anthony Ruff will argue that Gregorian chant doesn't really work in English.

      I've tried it & he has a point.

      That is what pushed me to St. Meinrad.

      The sisters at Monastery Podcast chant with a tweaked version of the St. Meinrad tones, & I found that after a few weeks I had soaked them up.

      But the St. Meinrad tones have a somewhat different mood than the gregorian tone & I just couldn't make the designated tone from the PM work,

      St. Meinrad tone V is a tune almost as chirpy as happy birthday. It is very hard to make it fit with, well...

      "Wretched, close to death from my youth,
      I have borne your trials; I am numb.
      Your fury has swept down upon me;
      your terrors have utterly destroyed me.

      They surround me all the day like a flood,
      they assail me all together.
      Friend and neighbour you have taken away:
      my one companion is darkness."

      for one example.

      So I am making & praying through tone assignments of my own based on the moods described above. I asked the folks at St. Meinrad & my own oblate directress for their input, but no one wants to discuss this.

      Discussions about music can get very rancorous very quickly & I wonder if they have been fighting about this for the last forty years & cannot bear to think about it.

      Please forgive me for being so long winded :)

  2. Hi Daria, I should like to wish you and your family a very happy thanksgiving with a suculent turkey!!!

  3. Thanks, Norrman. The turkey was delicious and it was an unseasonably mild day for Pennsylvania. Do you try to observe Thanksgiving down there in Chile?

  4. Hello Daria, I came across this link the other day at EWTN, I was wondering if you give some guide lines of what is an official Breviary. Browsing the Internet one sees that there are any amount of different Breviaries, but according to the article at EWTN not all are approved for Liturgical use, and some are not even approved for private use. If you have time, it would be great if you could give some feed back and ideas on the article and how one should go about one own private devotion using the Breviaries for DO ... etc… etc…

    1. I will give my opinion; Daria can correct me if I'm wrong.

      There are only two Breviaries that are approved for people with a canonical obligation to do the office. The Liturgy of the Hours (in any of the approved translations or the Latin original), and the 1962 Roman Breviary (which must be said in Latin).

      For lay people, there are no officially approved or unapproved editions. You can use the Benedictine Short Breviary, a 1911 Latin Breviary, the early-20th century Bute English translation of the Tridentine Office, or anything else you want. You are also free to choose which hours you say, and you can even omit parts of the office if you want.

      Of course if you want to match your prayer with the prayer of those obligated to the office, you have to use one of the first two, but it's not required.

    2. It is true that we can pick up any breviary, any edition, and pray part or all of it and this is legitimate prayer (private devotion. But I think Norman is saying and asking this: "Since the Vatican II decree on the Liturgy, the Church now offers lay people the opportunity to offer liturgical prayer (praying officially with and on behalf of the Church Universal) when they pray a version of the Divine Offiice/LIturgy of the Hours that is authorized for this purpose. Which of the editions available to me are so authorized?" I don't think any and all breviaries that exist fit that description.

    3. So to continue, the thing to do is to find texts that are clearly approved for liturgical use. This is usually made clear in the first few pages, with a statement from a national bishops' conference. As to Tridentine/EF/pre-Vatican II offices, I'm not sure whether any old edition currently has approval or only certain ones. (this is not my field of expertise) For one thing, it seems that priests who use traditional liturgy are obliged to read their office in Latin to fulfill their obigaton. So I wonder if laity who only read an English translation of this are really offering liturgical prayer, or just private devotion? I've never had this issue cleared up satisfactorily.

    4. From what I've read, it's just a private devotion if you read an English translation of the 1962 Latin breviary.