Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bootcamp III Evening Prayer and Lent offices

Now that I fixed the sadly truncated Bootcamp II post (half of which was missing) it's time for Bootcamp III. Evening Prayer.

Basically, if you know how to do Morning Prayer, Evening prayer goest the exact same way. No invitatory psalm, of course. Just begin "O God, Come to my assistance/Lord,, make haste to help me. Glory be...etc."

Evening Prayer follows the exact same format as Morning Prayer. The gospel canticle is the Magnificat. And during the evening intercessions, you may add your own petitions just prior to the last one, which is usually for the dead.

Praying Morning and Evening Prayer during ordinary time is a cinch. You simply use the psalter from beginning to end. (unless it's a saint's feast but we'll talk about that another time.)  On Sundays, however, you do have to turn to the front of the book (Proper of Seasons) and find the concluding prayer for whichever Sunday of the year it is.  

Now we are in lent and so, if you are using a breviary, you have to start using your ribbon-flipping skills on a daily basis. If this sounds too scary, switch to an online breviary app. but really, there's nothing scary about it. And aren't most of us trying to cut down on staring at electronic devices during lent? So if you've gotten out of the habit of using your printed breviary, this is the time to get back to it.

Anyway, throughout lent we will use the psalter only for the psalms, at which point we turn to the front of the book (Proper of Seasons) and use it for the reading until the end. So really, not too difficult.  These first four days (Ash Wednesday thru Saturday) we are told to use week IV of the psalter (although Friday week III's psalmody is another option for Ash Wednesday). After that we go in order, weeks I thru IV, then start over with weeks I and II for weeks 5 and Holy Week.

Did you ever wonder why the front section of the book  (and the back section of saints' feasts) are called "Propers"?  I used to, since my everyday definition of "proper" was "appropriate" or "correct". As in "proper behavior" or "the proper way to fill out a check is..."    But the Latin word proprius means "belonging to", (like "property" is what belongs to us). So the readings and prayers in the front third of your breviary are those which "belong to" lent. And those in the back of your book "belong to" the specific memorials and feasts of the church year.

Next Up: Bootcamp IV - Daytime Prayer