Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

Enjoy every day of this glorious week of Easters. The Liturgy of the Hours will help keep you immersed in the only event in history that really matters. Prefer your breviary to every newspaper/news website/ TV news/ talk radio show this week. Listen to Him explain to you all the scriptures concerning Himself.

The Lord is risen, Allelulia!
He is truly risen, Alleluia!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Update on New Translation of Breviary

This is from a recent issue of the newsletter of the United States Bishops committee on Divine Worship, regarding the progress of the new translation of the Liturgy of the Hours. Nothing earthshaking, but at least signs that progresss is being made:

The project of revising the English translation of the Liturgy of the Hours is still years from completion, but steady progress does continue to be made. The translators with the International Commission on English in the Liturgy continue to work through its various sections; the translators are working diligently. At the present time, they are concentrating especially on the intercessions and on the antiphons for the Benedictus and the Magnificat. In recent years, the Holy See has insisted on unified worldwide English translations of liturgical texts, with the exception of the Scriptural texts. The various Bishops’ Conferences have some latitude in determining the best Biblical translation to use in their own areas. With that in mind, the Conference has been moving forward in preparing Scriptural elements of the revised Liturgy of the Hours. Last November, the Bishops approved a series of further revisions in the Revised Grail Psalms. This was done partly as a “counteroffer” to revisions that the Holy See made to the first draft of the translation, and partly in response to experience gained by several religious communities who have been using these Psalms in their regular prayer. Last June, the Bishops approved a new translation of the Old and New Testament Canticles of the breviary, which were prepared by Conception Abbey. So, together with our existing New American Bible, the Biblical elements of our revised Liturgy of the Hours are falling into place. The last two elements will still require the recognitio of the Holy See. The Holy See has been gently encouraging the English-speaking Conferences to try to come to a consensus on Scriptural translations for the liturgy. The growing ease of international travel and communication and the growing worldwide influence of the English language obviously are factors here. The possibility of finding a Psalter that could be adopted in common will be discussed in the upcoming International Commission on English in the Liturgy meeting. We look forward to hearing the observations that the representatives of various groups will have about this question. This is a project that may or may not come to fruition. Therefore, it is premature to say what impact, if any, it would have on our new breviary.  

Whenever I mention this upcoming new translation, I always get the question: I was about to buy a new four-volume breiviary: should I just wait until the new version comes out? My answer is No, unless you are willing to wait another six years or more. 

What's going on with ibreviary?

If you normally rely on the ibreviary app for Android, prepare for a wild ride.

If you have to manually confirm whether to do updates on your apps, do not update ibreviary! Keep your current version a while longer, because the new version has some bugs to work out.

Apparently they have added an audio option. But this ain't no when it comes to audio. This audio is composed of (I'm making up this term) robo-words. And, in their English audio, it's English robo-words done by a native speaker of Italian. Many mispronunciations. Difficult to understand.

To put it another way: this English is like the text-to-speech feature on your e-reader, but in an Italian accent by someone who hasn't quite mastered English pronunciation. While the English of is like an professional audiobook.   Of course, ibreviary is free and is pretty pricey.  

I appreciate that ibreviary's good intentions, but I don't think many of us will find this a useful addition.  

In addition, the update of the app gave me lots of trouble just opening the app and being able to select English for the texts.  I had to uninstall and reinstall it in order to make it work at all.  After that, it began to work better, especiallly once I shut off the audio option.

Tell me about your experience with the new ibreviary app.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Antiphons of Holy Week are a Goldmine

File:Gethsemane Carl Bloch.jpg
source:wikimedia commons

Afraid I've been a poor blogger this lent. For good reasons, such as lots of (paid) writing jobs, and a week visiting my grandchildren in sunny Texas.
But I had to check in for Holy Week. My hope is that everyone has been faithful to their daily committment to one or more of the liturgical hours.  There is no better time to read/pray/study the psalms with special attention to their messianic meanings. To think of the passion with every verse that refers to pain, betrayal, abandonment, and desolation, yet note how, even after the saddest of sad psalms, there is almost always that hint of coming resurrection. Today, for example: Hope in God I will praise him still, my savior and my God. 

But this week my focus, particularly during morning and evening prayer, will be the antiphons before each psalm and canticle. Each is one facet of a rare, gorgeous, many-facted jewel.  Each one of them is profound enough to --had you sufficient devotion and time for it--stop you in your tracks for the next hour, just pondering. Just look at these from this morning:

Jesus said: My heart is nearly broken with sorrow; stay here and keep watch with me.

Now the time has come for this world to receive its sentence; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

Jesus, the beginning and end of our faith, endured the cross, heedless of the shame, and is seated now at the right hand of the throne of God. 

As I said, there are whole worlds within each of these antiphons all by itself. But then, take the next step and see how the antiphon shines a light on the presence of Jesus in each psalm and canticle!   That first one, My heart is nearly broken...  look how it fits with Psalm 42. Listen to Jesus, today on Monday, anticipating what will happen on Friday.

Then look at how the next antiphon and the one after that works so perfectly for its respective canticle of psalm.

But even if you are too busy this week to even get all of morning and evening prayer done (e.g. you are a buy mom who must clean the house, buy stuff for Easter baskets, make sure there are decent clothes for all the kids for Sunday, buy the right food for all those special holyday recipes, etc., ect.,) then just READ THE ANTIPHONS. And maybe copy one or two of them on a sticky note, put that on your fridge or computer screen, and just stop for a millisecond each time your eye falls on it during the rest of the day.    

As always, questions or comments about your life with the Liturgy of the Hours are welcome and will be answered.