Wednesday, 5 March 2014

An opportunity par-excellence

As I sit here listening to the Poland V Scotland match live on BBC Radio Scotland it occurred to me I should be reading something edifying as a start to the Lenten season.  It is only a friendly after all and I should start as I meant to go on. Already I have found my "out" in a meaningless football match. Ratzinger's Jesus of Nazareth will have to wait.  (Although I am typing this!)
It was more evident to me this year possibly because of social media how many people actually like and look forward to Lent.  I can relate to that. Maybe not to having a Lent Festival but whatever rocks your boat and it is possible some of the acts are real penances!
In the end I was looking forward to Ash Wednesday the closer it got. Time to start again. Oh that I could treat my repeated Acts of Contrition during the Sacrament of Confession with the same perseverance I do Lenten observances!
There is definitely a special grace to this season. The Old Testament exhortations to repent each day, the Miserere Mei, the fact we are all in it together. Lent is really an opportunity par-excellence.

Friday, 24 January 2014

A Wealth of Devotions ( and numerous Breviaries)

At Christmas I treated myself to the Baronius Press 3 Volume Breviarim Romanum (above). It is a beautiful product and it has been very interesting using it and discovering some new perspectives on the Latin-English translation of the Psalter. I have no problem with what I acquired it is a quality product well presented and packaged.

Because my prayer book of choice before had mostly been the Monastic Diurnal I had no difficulty with the rubrics and finding my way about the different sections.

The Roman Breviary has a greater selection of Psalms for Lauds in a week. The Monastic Diurnal has a set Invitory Psalm (Psalm 66) - as does the Roman Breviary  (Psalm 94) as part of Matins  - but also each ferial at Lauds Psalm 50 is recited, followed by another two variable Psalms, the Old Testament Canticle, and then Psalms 148, 149 and 150. So in effect with the Monastic Diurnal each and every ferial you are reciting the same five psalms out of the seven in total used for Lauds, being Psalms 66, 50, 148, 149 and 150.

There is a different set of daily Psalms for Lauds on penitential days or seasons in the Roman Breviary. Effectively Lauds II which starts with Psalm 50.

In the Monastic Office you would be expected to recite the Kyrie and the Paternoster each day before the Collect for both Lauds and Vespers, but in the rubrics of the Breviary Romanus it is only before the Collect for Lauds II during these penitential days and seasons mentioned above.

Also in the Monastic Diurnal there is only one single Compline which you use each day which doesn't include the Nunc Dimittis. Again the Roman Breviary has a varying selection of Psalms each night.

Vespers on the other hand are very alike in both Breviaries apart from the recitation of the Kyrie and Paternoster before the collect only occuring on penitential days in the Roman Breviary but daily in the Monastic Diurnal.

Finally the Roman Breviary includes Matins. I have a copy of the Night Office for the Benedictine Office. Both offices are probably too much for a lay-person  with the cares of the world pressing at every side to consider committing to  reciting regularly. (Unlike for example the Office of Readings from the modern Divine Office which is an excellent hour of scripture and spiritual reading in my opinion).

So, I wouldn't say I found the Monastic Diurnal repetitive but at the back of my mind as one of the main reasons for investing in the Roman Breviary was the fact that I would be using a wider selection of Psalms for Lauds. I thought when I acquired it I would probably never need another Breviary ever again. That probably remains true but I must admit I am pining for my Monastic Diurnal.

How strange! I feel compelled to pick it up again and put down my much sought after Breviarium Romanum!

At the end of the day it seems like a choice when you pick up your rosary. "Rosary of the Blessed Virgin or the Divine Mercy Chaplet?

The wealth of devotions available to us. If I had my ideal Breviary it would be

1. Lauds - Monastic Diurnal
2 Vespers - Monastic Diurnal but only because I used it for Lauds
3 Compline - Breviarium Romanum
3 Matins (Office of Readings) - Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours

What is your prayer book of choice then?

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Pluscarden Abbey Restoration Mass 1948

                        Lovely wee piece of Scottish Catholic Heritage in this video. Enjoy.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Year of Faith

Where did the Year of Faith go? I feel as if it passed me by. It seemed to get a bit derailed for me when Pope Benedict stepped down. Still, I have managed to stagger on. To “Keep Calm and Pilgrim On!”.

Pope Francis has been more than surprising has he not? Some of his breaking out to his people hasn’t been my cup of tea. I’m not sure why - everyone else loves it - but there is fresh hope that he at least shares Benedict’s vision of the Church post Vatican II. This has been a welcome development after a honeymoon period where I didn’t know who to believe about what he was and was not saying. At least behind the universally popular public image.

I think it is fair to say the end result of the confusion was that I lost interest in which way he faced, or who was in and who was out of his favour. It was possibly in part because of a concern about what I was hearing that I retreated into a period of disinterest, but looking back, if I analyse it more deeply, it was that I couldn’t make up my mind anymore.

So after a sniff of freshening air I’m creeping back out from under the duvet expectantly with little in-depth knowledge of what has really been going on.

That doesn’t bother me any more. What does is living the best life I can. I’m not sure where that Grace came from. Maybe from my increased devotion to our Lady? Or my renewed passion for Scripture perhaps? Possibly the disappointment and emptiness of so many falls finally created a lasting aversion to my frequent self-indulgence? The burden of poor witness? Most likely my repeated prayers for this grace or perhaps an intercession I am unaware of? I don’t know exactly if any of these or if a combination of them all, but I have a firmer purpose of amendment in any case. For that I am grateful for a blessing received.

Deo Gratias! Long may it continue!

You know what? I think it was the Year of Faith!

God Bless Pope Francis!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Real Face of Jesus From the Shroud of Turin

A bit weary of watching leading documentary programs on Christianity? I recommend this balanced You Tube version of the History Channel documentary on the Turin Shroud. Some striking observations. The same length as your average movie but much more edifying. 

"Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed." 
John 20 V 8 DRV