It’s Friday: Salva Me, Sancta Crux

SAVE me, o holy Cross, who art consecrated with the body of Christ and ornamented as if by pearls from this union with his limbs; thou hast been made worthy to carry the price of our salvation and hast held up eternal life to us. O good Jesus, grant to me that through the reparation and mark of Thy holy Cross, Thou willst free me from the incursions of all my enemies, preserve me in Thy goodness, dismiss my sins, and grant me forgiveness: Thou who livest and reignest, God forever and ever. Amen.

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A Layman’s introduction to the divine office: part 2

This is largely a follow up of the initial post, on the Divine Office for Laymen, I wrote way, way back during Lent. I feel that the Divine Office is a lost treasure and am trying to present it in as clear and approachable a way as possible. This, I hope, will be a practical guide, for ordinary people.  In the  future I hope to cover the resources available. There will possibly be follow-ups as well, in the form of reviews of books and resources.

7 times

I will try to keep details of the history of liturgical development to a minimum. While not of interest to everyone, some discussion of the development of this liturgy is helpful for understanding it. I am of the opinion that ordinary Christians can benefit and through this liturgy pray with the Church and in a stream which connects Christians through the centuries. It is helpful I think to have a general understanding of where the Divine Office comes from, so I will give a sparse and somewhat oversimplified overview.

We can divide the different families of liturgy into two basic groups.

1 Eastern (primarily Byzantine but other’s as well) and

2 Western.

Since I’m largely ignorant of the Byzantine form of the Office I won’t be discussing it.

Within the Latin (western) Church their exist a number of different forms of the office. they are all similar and related. Historically different geographical regions developed local forms of liturgy. Additionally different religious orders had their own forms particular to them.

As I mentioned in part 1 the practice of prayers and psalms at different periods of the day is something organically carried into the Church from the temple and synagogue. “Now Peter and John went up into the temple at the ninth hour of prayer.” Acts 3:1. These ‘hours’ of prayer naturally developed over time. In the west, St. Benedict (5th century) gave a great deal of shape to the office through his rule for monks. The Rule of St. Benedict lays out the daily cycle of psalms, distributing them over the course of a week. The importance of Benedictine monasteries as centers of learning and culture in early Europe influenced the development of the local liturgies as well as giving shape to the medieval day. The monastic bells, marking the hours of prayer, served as a sort of communal clock for the communities of Christendom. As other religious orders came into being many of them standardized their own variations of the Office. The Council of Trent (16th century) made the form used in Rome universal, that is, a default standard.

Ok, that’s a pretty brief history and incomplete, but it gets us to today. We have the following forms of the Office in active use-

  • Roman (both the Ordinary post Vatican II and Extraordinary 1962 forms)
  • Monastic
  • Dominican
  • Carthusian
  • Carmelite
  • Ordinariate (Anglican Use in communion with Rome)
  • Ambrosian (Diocese of Milan)

There may be others I am unaware of, as well.

I will not be discussing the Modern (post Vatican II) Liturgy of the Hours. There are several websites and moble apps that put it at the fingertips of anyone who wants to use it. If you like it go ahead. I personally dislike it for a number of reasons I’m not going to go into here.

Some practical considerations.

Clergy and religious are obligated to recite or sing the office. Additionally clerics are obligated to use official texts (which are in Latin) or approved translations. Lay people have no such obligations. Their participation is entirely voluntary and to the extent they choose. There are some people who argue that unless you participate in the office within the same parameters as the clergy “you haven’t participated in the public prayer of the church” and your prayer is “only devotional”. This strikes me as excessively legalistic and stupid. Yes, technically you haven’t canonically fulfilled the Office … but you have no such duty to fulfill. Moot.

So, If we are considering how laity can join in the office the logical place to start is by looking at how laity have always done so. Historically laity participated primarily by attending the offices (the suggestions I gave in part one are a good place to start). Prior to the printing press, literate laymen also, provided they had the means (books were expensive), made use of private “Books of Hours”. These “Books of Hours” typically contained “little offices”, (most commonly the office used on feasts of the Blessed Virgin Mary) which were said each day. These little offices, unlike the full blown Liturgy did not change from day to day. Finally, laymen substituted other prayers in place of the office. You hear the bell ring at the church and pause to say a few brief prayers, it’s not the liturgy but you are spiritually connecting with it. Some religious orders have allowed substitutionary prayers to fulfill obligations when the members could not join in for various reasons (currently for example, the lay order of the Poor Knights of Christ allows any brother to substitute a decade of the Rosary for any office with good reason).

How does one incorporate the Divine Office into ones day or devotional life? How does one get started? For the laity it makes sense to adapt the office to the individual and their situation. Let’s review the different hours, what part of the day they belong to and approximately how long they take to pray.

  • Matins- midnight or very early morning, about an hour long.
  • Lauds- first thing in the morning around sunrise, 20 minutes.
  • Prime- morning 6ish, 15 minutes.
  • Terce- the ‘third hour’ about 9, 15 minutes.
  • Sext- noon ‘the sixth hour’, 15 minutes.
  • None- 3PM ‘the ninth Hour’, 15 minutes.
  • Vespers- evening, 20 minutes.
  • Compline- before bed, 15 minutes.

Realistically, for most laymen, the entire office is probably not practical. For most people Matins is out. Can you pray in the morning? Can you duck out of work during a break? Can you pray before bed? Also, take into consideration the possible combination of offices. It is quite acceptable to join the offices together the times given are not strict. One could say Vespers and Compline together for example.

Now with the historical practice, and understanding of the structure of the Office in mind, I’m going to suggest some options.

  1. Attend public celebrations of the Divine Office (realistically this is limited in availability for most people).
  2. Get a copy of the “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and start using it. (this is essentially the same as a medieval book of hours which laity).
  3. Incorporate the some full form of the Breviary, to the extent possible into ones prayer life. Perhaps just Compline before bed or Prime in the morning.
  4. (This really is an extention of #3 and there are those who would disagree with me) Use the Anglican morning and evening prayer. With the creation of the Ordinariate for former Anglicans the Catholic Church has approved this liturgy.
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This Years Tears

For those in the northern hemisphere the tears of St. Laurence will be most visible in the early morning on August the 11th and 12th (after the moon sets at 12ish and 1ish AM on those days) They are supposed to be extra good this year, with twice the density as usual.

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Fr. Jacques Hamel Ora Pro Nobis

 I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.  –  rev 6:9

 

Father Jacques Hamel, Pray for us.

There are a number of Catholic websites which have posted the prayer for the dead (Eternal rest grant…) for Fr. Hamel, in response to his martyrdom. I would argue that in the case of martyrs they don’t need our prayers, we need theirs. It has always been the faith of the Church that martyrdom makes one an instant saint.

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It’s Friday: Seven Prayers

Seven Prayers attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great.

I. I.
O DOMINE IESU, adoro te in Cruce pendentem, coronam spineam in capite portantem. Deprecor te, ut tua Crux liberet me ab Angelo percutiente. Amen. O LORD JESUS, I adore Thee hanging on the Cross, wearing a crown of thorns upon Thy head. I beg Thee that Thy Cross may free me from the deceiving Angel. Amen.
II. II.
O DOMINE IESU, adoro te in Cruce vulneratum, felle et aceto potatum. Deprecor te, ut vulnera tua sint remedium animae meae. Amen. O LORD JESUS, I adore Thee hanging wounded on the Cross, given vinegar and gall to drink. I beg Thee that Thy wounds may be the remedy of my soul. Amen.
III. III.
O DOMINE IESU, rogo per illam amaritudinem Passionis tuae, quam in hora mortis sustinuisti, maxime tunc, quando anima sanctissima de benedicto corpore est egressa. Miserere animae meae in egressu suo de corpore meo, et perduc eam in vitam aeternam. Amen. O LORD JESUS, I ask by the bitterness of Thy Passion, which Thou didst undergo in the hour of Thy death, so much so when Thy most holy soul left Thy blessed body. Have mercy upon my soul when it leaves my body, and lead it to eternal life. Amen.
IV. IV.
O DOMINE IESU, adoro te in sepulcro positum, myrrha et aromatibus conditum. Deprecor te, ut tua mors sit vita mea. Amen. O LORD JESUS, I adore Thee placed in Thy tomb, anointed with myrrh and aromatic spices. I beg Thee that Thy death may be my life. Amen.
V. V.
O DOMINE IESU, adoro te descendentem ad inferos et tuos inde liberantem captivos. Deprecor te, ut illuc nunquam me patiaris introire. Amen. O LORD JESUS, I adore Thee descending into hell and freeing the captives from there. I beg Thee, that Thou mayest never permit me to enter there. Amen.
VI. VI.
O DOMINE IESU, adoro te a morte resurgentem et in caelum ascendentem, sedentemque ad dexteram Patris. Deprecor te, ut illuc te sequi et tibi praesentari merear. Amen. O LORD JESUS, I adore Thee rising from the dead, ascending into heaven, and sitting at the right hand of the Father. I beg Thee that I may be worthy to follow Thee and be with Thee. Amen.
VII. VII.
O DOMINE IESU, Pastor bone, iustos conserva, peccatores iustifica, omnibus fidelibus miserere, et propitius esto mihi misero et indigno peccatori. Amen. O LORD JESUS, O good Shepherd, preserver of the just, justifier of sinners, have mercy upon all the faithful and be gracious to me, a wretched and unworthy sinner. Amen.
Precatio Prayer
OBSECRO te Domine Iesu Christe, ut passio tua sit virtus mea, qua muniar, protegar, et defendar. Vulnera tua sint mihi cibus et potus, quibus pascar, inebrier atque delecter. Aspersio Sanguinis tui sit omnium peccatorum meorum ablutio. Mors tua sit mihi gloria sempiterna. In his sit mihi refectio, exsultatio, sanitas, studium, gaudium, desiderium corporis et animae, nunc et in perpetuum. Amen. I BESEECH Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, that Thy Passion may be a strength to me by which I may be strengthened, protected and defended. May Thy wounds be to me food and drink by which I may be nourished, inebriated, and delighted. May the sprinkling of Thy Blood be to me an ablution for all my sins. May Thy death be eternal glory to me. In these may my refreshment, joy, health, zeal, delight, and desire of my body and soul, now and forever. Amen.
Alia Precatio Another Prayer
DOMINE Iesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, pone Passionem, Crucem, et Mortem tuam inter iudicium tuum et animam meam, nunc et in hora mortis meae. O LORD Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, place Thy Passion, Cross, and Death between Thy judgment and my soul, now and in the hour of my death.
Largire mihi digneris gratiam et misericordiam, vivis veniam, defunctis requiem, Ecclesiae tuae pacem, cunctisque peccatoribus vitam et gloriam sempiternam. Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Deign to grant me grace and mercy, pardon to the living, eternal rest to the dead, peace to Thy Church, and life and eternal glory to all sinners. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen

 

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Mass of St. Gregory with Miraculous Appearance of Christ at the Consecration

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It’s Friday: Five Wounds

 “Then He saith to Thomas: Put in thy finger hither, and see My Hands; and bring hither thy hand, and put it into My side; and be not faithless, but believing. Thomas answered, and said to Him: My Lord, and my God.”  John 20:27-28:

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Act of Contrition

As I kneel before Thee O, most loving Savior of my soul, my conscience reproaches me with having nailed Thee to that cross with these hands of mine, as often as I have fallen into mortal sin, wearying Thee with my base ingratitude. My God, my chief and perfect good, worthy of all my love, because Thou hast loaded me with blessings; I cannot now undo my misdeeds, as I would most willingly; but I loathe them, grieving sincerely for having offended Thee, Who art infinite goodness. And now, kneeling at Thy feet, I try, at least, to give Thee thanks, to ask Thee pardon and contrition for all the sins of my life. Amen

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You Get What You Ask For

Ask, and it shall be given you – Mt 7:7

I just listened to a very interesting, and somewhat terrifying, interview (here https://athanasiuscm.org/2015/04/22/interview-008-fr-chad-ripperger-phd/ )  with Fr. Chad Ripperger. The entire interview was interesting, I recommend it, the first half dealt with exorcism. One of the points he brought up in reference to prayer is that you get what you ask for (beginning at 1:14:00).

In reference to getting what you ask for, since I wrote about the St. Benedict Metal on Friday there is something I would like to point out. There is, in broad circulation, an English version of the blessing of the metal (bearing a 1980 imprimatur) which strikes me as a watering down of the traditional blessing. Contrast the first part of the 1980 version on the left with the (also approved) English of the 1964 Roman Ritual.

In the name of God the Father  who made heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, I exorcise this medal against the power and attacks of the evil one.  May all who use this medal devoutly be blessed with health of soul and body.  In the name of the Father  almighty, of the Son  Jesus Christ our lord, and of the Holy  Spirit the Paraclete, and in the love of the same Lord Jesus Christ who will come on the last day to judge the living and the dead, and the world by fire.  Amen. I cast out the demon from you, creature medals, by God the Father almighty, who made the heavens and the earth and the seas and all that they contain. May all power of the adversary, all assaults and pretensions of Satan, be repulsed and driven afar from these medals, so that they may be for all who will use them a help in mind and body; in the name of the Father almighty, of Jesus Christ, His Son, our Lord, of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, and in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

Now, I’m not saying that metals blessed using the 1980 formula aren’t blessed, they are. However, given the choice, if you get what you ask for, I would prefer the formula on the right be used. What do you think?

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