Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Feasts--how do I figure out which page to use on my own?

Part II of a series on how to find your place in the breviary without having to buy that little St. Joseph guide each year. This is especially important if you breviary is not one of those published by Catholic Book Publishing Company, for example, that out of print Pauline single volume that everyone likes so much. (for good reasons but that's another story)

The last post talked about how to figure out which week in the psalter you should be using. This is really all you need to know if its a weekday in ordinary time, because on these days the psalter is all you use for Morning and Evening Prayer. (For our purposes here I'm talking about people who use the single volume Christian Prayer breviary, not you 4-volume folks who do the Office of Readings. People who use the four volume set usually know what they're doing.)

Also, for our purposes here, we will not talk about advent, lent, etc. because we are no in Ordinary time. We can discuss the holy seasons later. Remind me in November.

So, each morning, look at your indispensable (but free!) parish Catholic Calendar. If is says "St. so and so" or like today, "The Exaltation of the Holy Cross" that tips you off right away that you will be needing more than just the four week psalter. It means you must turn to the back section known as the Proper of Saints.   It's pages are in calendar order, so turn to that day and see what it tell you to do. That's right. Much of what you need to know is right there--no St. Joseph guide required.

Feasts are the easiest, especially feasts of Our Lord, such as today's. Everything you need is right there in the Proper of Saints for Sept. 14th. EXCEPT for the psalms for Morning Prayer. But there's an instruction that tells you, "Psalms and Canticles from Sunday Week I" *

*Handy hint: every single feast and solmnity uses Sunday Week I for its Morning Prayer psalter. Always.

Feasts of Saints, of Our Lady, and of Church dedications have one extra wrinkle. Besides what is in the Proper of  Saints, and besides using  Sunday Week I for Morning Prayer psalms/canticles, you will also be directed to one of the "Commons" which are in the last major section of your breviary. So next Wednesday, when you see Feast of St. Matthew on your calendar, you turn to the Proper of Saints, which in turn directs you to the Common of Apostles. Think of Commons as generic offices that cover various subgroups of saints: Apostles, Martyrs, Bishops, holy men, holy women, etc. So you turn to the page they give you for Common of Apostles, and use the prayers that are there. (bouncing back, of course, to which psalms for Morning Prayer, class? Raise your hand! Yes, you in the back. Right! The psalter of Sunday Week I is used for every saint's feast. Very good.) HOWEVER, don't forget to keep a finger or a ribbon marker on St. Matthew's page back in the Proper of Saints, because you will substitute his special gospel canticle antiphons for the generic antiphons in the common, and also will use Matthew's concluding prayer.

In summary--feasts are straightforward. Go to the Proper of Saints and follow instruction.

But, but, Daria, what about Memorials? And Optional Memorials?

I really have to get to work right now. If I get some comments below that tell me people have read and benefited from these last two posts, then I will continue the series with a separate post on Memorials, which I admit, can be confusing since there are various options for them.