Nativity Fast and Why am I doing this?

The Eastern Churches began their pre-nativity fast yesterday, western Advent starts on the 27th. I will be observing a penitential season.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written here. I have been considering the purpose of this blog and whether it should even exist. The description in the ‘about’ section says “This is a place I have created to put my thoughts on religious subjects into writing.” I’m not so sure this is something I should be doing, and I kind of abandoned it after I wrote this( https://benjaminiperegrinus.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/narcissism-and-the-internet-a-self-examination-for-christian-bloggers/  ). Why should I publish my thoughts? So, I kind of transitioned into trying to be helpful and informative. I am critical of social media, I tend to think it gives a false illusion of social interaction while actually causing isolation. It also divides people rather than bringing them together, people will tweet all sorts of things they wouldn’t say to someone’s face. So I don’t know where this is going. Also I am dealing with some difficulties in the area of faith. …

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You’ll loose your mind…and your soul

Since it’s October and Halloween is on it’s way…

Younger people are probably most familiar with the British actor Christopher Lee from his roles in Star Wars and the Lord of the Rings films. However earlier in his career Lee was involved with a number of Hammer Films horror movies. Most notably playing Dracula in the 1958 film Horror of Dracula. Being tall and of somewhat dark and distinguished appearance (his mother was an Italian countess) he was perfect for the role. Because of his association with the horror genera  the rumor sprang up that he was involved with the occult. I haven’t been able to find out much concretely but it seems that in actuality he was a believing, if not pious, Catholic or Anglo-Catholic. I came across this clip of him addressing the rumors of his “extensive occult library” and giving a stern warning.

 

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The Life is in the Blood

 

It is October and I’m starting off the month by reposting ‘The Life is in The Blood’.

Under the Mantle

What hath Christ to do with Dracula? Possibly more than you think.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood” Leviticus 17:11

“The blood is the life!” Dracula, Chapter 11

It’s October, and Halloween is right around the corner. So, now is a fitting time for the subject. I’ll admit it, I enjoy vampire stories. Not the new stuff where the vampires are good guys or love interests for middle school girls (these modern romanticized versions are a perversion), but I mean real vampire stories where they are demonic embodiments of corruption. Many cultures have vampire type figures of one sort or another in their folklore. It is the western adaptation, which began in the 19th century, of the eastern European vampire that I’m going to be talking about.

Classic literature of this type would include:

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Happy Michaelmas Day

It is actually the feast of the Archangels, I don’t know exactly why it focuses on St. Michael.

So, with apologies, and requests for intersession to St. Gabriel and St Raphael.

St. Michael Defend us.

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Divine Office for Laymen, Resources

This is the conclusion of a 3 part series – (Part 1 and Part 2)

To pray the Divine Office you need to access it somehow. What books should you buy? How do you use them? This is an overview of the resources available which I personally would recommend (for English speakers).

Laymen who decide to include the Divine Office in their prayer life immediately hit a major obstacle. Navigating the liturgical prayer books causes many, probably most, to give up on this tradition. In order to pray from a traditional breviary one must flip back and forth between the ordinary, psalter, and proper of the day; and that’s after you have consulted the calendar and determined what gets precedence. You’re already confused, aren’t you? Well, I suggest the beginner circumnavigate these pitfalls via 21st century technology. There are apps and websites which eliminate the problem of figuring out what your supposed to be praying.

Now, I should quickly add that I feel there is a place for books.  I do not think digital books should replace real ones in public liturgy (I am not alone). The electric light bulb didn’t, thank God, replace liturgical candles in the last century. Digital displays shouldn’t replace prayer-books in this one. Private prayer is a different matter. For the laymen who carries a smartphone the prayer-books can be placed in their hands and accessed anywhere, anytime without confusion.

My first recommendation is the app ‘Breviarium Meum’  from the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. This is an absolutely stupendous resource. It makes available the 1962 Roman office in Latin with parallel translation available in English, German, Italian or Hungarian. Additionally one can choose from a number of pre 1962 versions of the Office (I use the Monastic). Included in addition to the office, are a number of other prayers. As well as some excerpts from the Roman Ritual. I have had priests bless things for me using excerpts from the app. While vernacular is a provided option, the base language is Latin and there are some things un-translated (such as titles in navigation panes and the calendar), but I don’t feel they are anything overly problematic for users.

 

‘Breviarium Meum’ is an apple app. What about non apple users? It’s all good. The source of texts for ‘Breviarium Meum’ are the outstanding, and painstaking years of work done by Laszlo Kiss (Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord). His project, continued and maintained after his death, is accessable to all here  http://divinumofficium.com/ .

I really do recommend beginners start with something that sorts and arranges things for them.

Ok, now lets look at what physical books are in print.

1962(1960) Roman Office

Editions of the Extraordenary form Office entirely in Latin are readily available from the various publishers associated with religious orders and priestly society’s dedicated to the traditional liturgy, being entirely in Latin these are generally useless to the average layman.

There are 2 publications which come to mind. I do not have experience with either of them but mention them for those who want to go this route. First, is the 3 volume Latin/English set published by Baronius press. People waited years for them to produce it. it’s fairly expensive. There are reviews out in internet land for those considering buying a copy. More affordable, is the complete one volume Anglican Breviary. It is one volume, containing the entire 1955 Roman Breviary in English, for about $90. This was produced by Catholic minded Anglicans and uses the standard Anglican translations (Coverdale translation of Psalms, King James Version for other scripture, Book of Common Prayer for Collects).

The Monastic Breviary

Those wishing to have a physical copy of the Monastic Breviary, in print are 2 different editions of the Monastic Diurnal. A Diurnal contains only the ‘Day Offices’, in other words everything except Matins. St. Michaels Abbey in  Farnborough England has reprinted the 1963 Diurnal. It can also be purchased from Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey in the USA. It is a beautiful and well made book, with creamy paper and decent leather cover. My copy is older, they have since gone to a heavier paper making the book thicker (if it reduces ‘ghosting’ I’m all for it).

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Also in print is an all English Anglo-Catholic version. The contents are essentially the same but it uses the standard Anglican translations.

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(Matins can be gotten as well.)

Learning to use- the website http://saintsshallarise.blogspot.com/ exists to help people learn to use the Monastic Diurnal.

Little Office

Perhaps you prefer to do as Medieval Laity, and use a simpler unchanging ‘Book of Hours’. The Little office of the blessed Virgin Mary (contents are the same as a Medieval book of Hours) is in print from here or here.

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Anglican Use

If the Anglican use is your preference… well I’m not up to speed on what the Ordinariate is up to as far as getting their liturgical books together. The historic Book of Common Prayer will be the source, but with what changes? Anyway St. Dunstan’s Plainsong Psalter is a very nice book containing the Coverdale psalms, as well as orders for morning and evening prayer, various canticles (and an axillary order of Compline) all with chant settings.

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I hope this series has been of help to laity who want to, in some way, join in this ever ancient ever relevant form of prayer.

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Happy Feast of the Holy Cross

Today is the feast of the Triumph or Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It commemorates the finding of the relic of the Cross (326AD) and it’s recapture from the Persians. (628AD)

Today is traditionally a fast day, along with Friday and Saturday are the fall Ember days.

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Liturgically the Office hymn for today is Vexilla Regis written in the 7th century by Fortunatus.

Abroad the Regal Banners fly, now shines the Cross’s mystery;
Upon it Life did death endure, and yet by death did life procure.

Who, wounded with a direful spear, did, purposely to wash us clear
From stain of sin, pour out a flood of precious Water mixed with Blood.

That which the Prophet-King of old hath in mysterious verse foretold,
Is now accomplished, whilst we see God ruling nations from a Tree.

O lovely and reflugent Tree, adorned with purpled majesty;
Culled from a worthy stock, to bear those Limbs which sanctified were.

Blest Tree, whose happy branches bore the wealth that did the world restore;
The beam that did that Body weigh which raised up hell’s expected prey.

Hail, Cross, thou the only hope of mankind! now On this triumphant day,
Improve religious souls in grace, the sins of criminals efface.

Hail Cross, alone the hope  of all,  we pray! Now, On this triumphant day; 
grant to the just increase of grace, and every sinner’s crimes efface.

Blest Trinity, salvation’s spring, may every soul Thy praises sing;
To those Thou grantest conquest by the holy Cross, rewards apply. Amen.

 

 

 

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All Heaven is Present

How?! How can we restore this understanding of Liturgy in the West? Heaven, Christ and all the angels and saints are present. The heavenly liturgy and earthly liturgy are one.

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