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Even the most retro, technology-hating, breviary lover will want to set aside the aesthetic delights of their printed prayer book, in favor of the virtual one, for December 12th’s Office of Readings. This, after all, is the only way to see the second reading for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which does not appear in our 1976 edition breviaries.
The reading consists of the 15th century account of the apparition to St. Juan Diego. Our Lady’s words to him are beautiful:
“Listen and understand, my humblest son. There is nothing to frighten and distress you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and let nothing upset you. Is it not I, your Mother, who is here? Are you not under my protection? Are you not, fortunately, in my care?
I also have the Kenyan breviary, in which this account has a somewhat different and longer version. Here, the above paragraph is translated thus:
Listen, beloved son,fear not and stop worrying.Am I not here, your Mother?Have you not been placed directly under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your lie and happiness? Have you not been placed in my lap, in my arms? What else do you need?
Although there is no way for us to tell which translation is really the most accurate, that phrase “in my lap, in my arms” so sweetly reflects the love of our heavenly Mother, that I’ll put my money on the Kenyan version.…
From today’s Office of Readings
Insignificant man, escape from your everyday business or a short while, hide for a moment from your restless thoughts. Break off from your cares and troubles and be less concerned about your tasks and labors. Make a little time or God and rest a while in him.
Enter your mind’s inner chamber. Shut out everything but God and whatever helps you to seek him; ad when you have shut the door, look for him. Speak now to God and say with your whole heart: I seek your face; your face Lord, I desire.
This Reading this makes me want to rush off to adoration. Think I will do that after this post is done.
This is the reading for the weekday of Advent. But if you turn to the reading for the feast of St. Ambrose, you get this saint’ letter to a new bishop. There are several second readings in the OOR that are advice to bishops from Augustine or another Father. Some of them must make the bishops who read them uncomfortable, full of warnings about what will happen to a bishop who neglects his duties out of fear or laziness. But this one is more of the comforting and inspiring variety. I don’t think I’d mind reading it if I were a bishop. Basically it urges us to fill ourselves with Jesus so that, like a supersaturated cloud, we will find it easy and natural to overflow with the Good News, effectively evangelizing others.…
St. Nicholas’ Day is tomorrow. Aside from the legends about the 4th century bishop of Myra which gave rise to the various iterations of Santa Claus, there is one other essential story of St. Nicholas that every Catholic ought to know.He was a hammer of heretics. Literally. Gave ‘em the old one-two. Or at least, the old one.
At the Council of Nicea, where the Church’s doctrine on the nature of Jesus Christ was formulated, Nicholas defended the orthodox concept of Christ being of the same substance as God the Father. The heretical Arius propounded his own theory that Jesus was not fully divine, but just a really, really good man who became sort of god-like.
Always one to put his faith into action, Nicholas, becoming incensed by Arius’ claptrap, got up and smacked him. Like this:
:When the kids were little, we read them stories of St. Nicholas each year, and had them put their shoes out on the doorstep on the eve of his feast. (In our house Santa Claus was a different person altogether.) We taught them to sing an old Dutch song about St. Nicholas coming on his white horse during the night to fill the shoes of good children with gifts. Prominent among these were chocolate coins, in memory of his secretly providing marriage dowries for some poor girls.
My kids made out like bandits during the holidays, receiving presents from St. Nicholas on the 6th, Santa Claus and the Christ Child on the 25th, and from the 3 Kings on the Epiphany.…
Saw this on one of my favorite Catholic/Mothers/Humor blogs,and could not resist.
Thank you to the redoubtable Mrs.Pinkerton at Dumb Old Housewives for finding and sharing this piece of cartoon brilliance.
And speaking of St. Andrew’s Day, don’t forget that the traditional Christmas novena starts today. From today through Christmas, say this lovely little prayer daily:
Saint Andrew Christmas Novena
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
Now, in the last few years I’ve been seeing announcements from overly pious bloggers with too much time on their hands saying that this prayer must be said 15 (!) times a day from now until Christmas. NO! NO! NO!
Well, say it 15 times if you like.
But I have it on good authority from a man who attended Catholic schools before Vatican II. The good sisters told the children to say this prayer once a day for a special Christmas intention. And I will take my stand with the sisters. There’s nothing wrong with repeating prayers, and we Catholics do this, with spiritual profit, all the time (rosary, Jesus prayer, chaplet, etc.)
Whereas: advent is a very busy time of year especially for us moms, making prolonged extra devotions difficult to keep up on daily basis, and
Whereas:The Christmas novena is such a lovely little thing that should be savored as we say it, rather than “gotten through” in quantity
Therefore: I conclude, in solidarity with full-habited pre-Vatican II nuns, that Once a Day is Enough!…
As stated in a previous post, the Revised Grail Psalms don’t appear, at first glance, to be all that different from the current psalter, but a couple of word changes keep popping up again and again. Changes that are very welcome. As with the (now one year old) new missal, these changes have theological significance.
In numerous psalms in the Revised Grail version, the words salvation and savior have replaced our current help and helper. A few examples:
The Lord is my light and my salvation,
whom shall I fear? (Psalm 27:1)
O God be gracious and bless us
and let your face shed its light upon us.
So will your ways be known upon earth
and all nations learn your salvation. (Psalm 67:2-3)
Restore in me the joy of your salvation;
sustain in me a willing spirit….
Rescue me from bloodshed, O God
God of my salvation,
and then my tongue shall ring our your justice.(Psalm 51: 14,16)
Bring us back, O God our Savior!
Put an end to your grievance against us. (Psalm 85:5)
While it’s true that God helps us in so many ways, saving us means so much more. Calling on God as Savior, rather than Helper, brings out the christological meaning of the verse, something we are always supposed to be doing as we pray the psalms. We see Savior and Salvation as code words for Jesus and the Redemption. Help and Helper do not have this significance.…
So we’re getting a new set of psalms in our breviary in three years five years some time or another within the next decade. But anyone interested in getting a look a the text of the Revised Grail Psalms only has to click here to check them out. At first glance, they don’t seem all that different. Often entire strophes are the same in both versions. But if you read through say, a dozen of them, comparing both versions, a few things jump out at you, and these things appear (to me) to be improvements. I’ll just mention just one of them today.
Love has Become Mercy
Back in the late sixties and seventies, grouchy traditionalists such as my parents and their friends would complain that “Love, Love, Love is all you ever hear about these days! Every song on the radio, every sermon at mass, it’s nothing but love.” Now I’m certain that my parents had nothing against love, either of God or neighbor. Their complaint meant that love was, in their opinion, being cheapened by the incessant verbal harping on it. Also, I think they felt that we couldn’t really understand or appreciate God’s love if it was the only topic that was every preached about. All the other divine attributes, all the doctrines of the faith that were neglected in the false spirit of Vatican II were precisely the things that helped us understand what an amazing thing the love of God really is.…
“I, Paul, a prisoner for the sake of Christ….
When St. Paul wrote this epistle, so many years ago, he probably had no idea what an impact it would have. Naturally, he hoped it would console Christians, young in their faith, who were dismayed and frightened at Paul’s arrest, imprisonment, and anticipated martyrdom. But did he have even an inkling that it would be treasured, read and re-read by generations and right up to the present day? Did he have any idea that his words from prison would have a more lasting impact on the Church than any of his oral preaching?
Short of a secret revelation from on high, probably not.
But what a letter! Full of praise for the mercy of God, Paul reassured his readers that God was his strength and solace in captivity. He spoke of how ardently he longed to be with the Lord. Still, ever humble, he asked for his disciples’ prayers, that he might not falter before finishing his race. And he reminded them that persecution and martyrdom is a blessed share in the sufferings of Christ, the head of his mystical body. As you probably know, Paul was eventually beheaded by his captors. Reading his letter while meditating on what he was facing inspires modern Christians to face their own sufferings with courage as surely as it helped Paul’s contemporaries in times long past.
But there’s more.
Perhaps you would like to re-read this Pauline epistle for yourself, now that I’ve whetted your appetite.…
There are some items you want to have not for Christmas, but for Advent. For example, I’ll be hunting for purple and pink candles this week. Here’s another item you will want to order it immediately, because you know that if you wait, the thought will be washed away in the tsunami of December activity. Especially if you are a homemaker who must buy, bake, send cards, decorate, and attend children’s events, all the while making desperate attempts to fit in some extra spiritual activity. (At times I think the penance of lent is nothing compared to this.)
Okay. For the benefit of the readily offended: I’m not saying it’s wrong to play Christmas music during advent. There’s nothing like hearing a beloved carol to cheer us on cold, dark days. Listening to or singing sacred carols mindfully can be a form of prayer. I get it. But I like to try to approximate– in my home– the practice of the Church. So for the first three weeks of advent, at least, we don’t play Christmas music at home. We only play advent music. (To which rule there are plenty of exceptions, for example, kids practicing for a recital or school program. And I know my kids cheat with their MP3 players and headphones, but the point is we are not blasting it aloud on the Bose until Gaudete Sunday.)
Now for years, this quirky custom of ours meant that anyone craving seasonal melodies was confined to putting various recorded versions of O Come O Come Emmanuel, which appear on many of our Christmas CDs, on “repeat track” until someone in the house shouted “Enough already!” That, and those tracks from Handel’s Messiah which set messianic prophecy to music: Every Valley Shall Be Exalted; And He Shall Purify, And the Glory of the Lord.…
Yesterday I talked about the plans presented the Bishop’s meeting for a revised translation of the Liturgy of the Hours. Today: the blow by blow on the debate and vote, plus my own opinions on it all.
In three to five years, we should have a new breviary in the USA. Maybe.
Today our Bishops voted to go forward with the work of editing, amending, and in some cases re-translating the elements of the Liturgy of the Hours. This vote was a preliminary approval for the work to be done. Once a draft is complete–and no timelime was given for that–the bishops will again review, discuss, and debate before voting on whether to send it to Rome for approval. Then, once the bishops have approved and Rome has approved, there will be the process of getting it published.
So I think 3 to 5 years is pretty optimistic. The new missal took way longer than that.
Here are some details of today’s debate priot to the vote.
Bishop Taylor argued for an amendment to expand the Office of Readings to include a two year cycle of scripture readings (such as Spanish breviaries already contain), and also a 2 year cycle of patristic readings. Archbishop Broglio also spoke in support of this, as did Cardinal DiNardo, who also mentioned that many of the current patristic readings were poorly translated and needed to be re-done. However, this amendment was voted down. Divine Worship Committee chairman Archbishop Aymond agreed that this should be done some day, but now was not the time.…
An hour ago I had the luck presence of mind nudge from my guardian angel to turn on EWTN and see how the bishops were doing with their meeting in Baltimore. Within minutes of tuning in, I gasped as Archishop Aymond, chairman of the committee on Divine Worship, took the podium to discuss (insert drum roll here) the proposed revision of the American breviary! Apparently enthusiasm for the new missal has emboldened Catholics to ask that the Liturgy of the Hours be similarly renewed and reinvigorated with a more faithful translation, and our bishops are actually responding.
I’d heard a rumor in September that this subject would be brought up, but feared it would be shelved in favor of giving time to more pressing matters related to the healthcare mandate or the proposed document on employment. But thanks be to God, not so. I leaped for the laptop, when I saw what was about to happen. Today’s session was a presentation of the worship committee’s preliminary decisions. The other bishops were then given the chance to ask clarifying questions. Actual debate on the proposals will take place tomorrow. What follows is from my hastily typed notes with my own reactions in bold. Here we go:
Archbishop Aymond opened by saying that ever since the new missal translation was implemented last year, there were frequent inquiries and requests for a revised translation of the breviary. As a result, the committee requested Rome for permission to pursue a “more up to date” edition of the breviary,and one that would be more in harmony with the Latin edition (editio typica). …