Lectio divina from the Office: Low Sunday


The Office is an excellent source for lectio divina - the daily Scriptural or homily readings at Matins in Winter and on important feasts; the 'propers' of the season, that constantly remind us of the meaning of Eastertide for example; the psalms; and the other texts of the Office itself are all possible sources for our lectio.

And as we say the Office, we should seek to penetrate ever more deeply into its meaning, something aided by the many repetitions in it, allowing the words to sink ever deeper into us!

Colossians 3

Today, the readings from the first Nocturn of Matins comes from Colossians 3 (verses 1-17) and seem to me to contain some lines worth highlighting as they seem to me to perfectly capture Benedictine spirituality.

Low Sunday was when the newly baptized and confirmed members of the Church put off their white garments, and resumed wearing ordinary clothes. But this text (and we are given one of St Augustine's sermons on it specifically directed at the neophytes in the Second Nocturn) talks about the Christian putting away the old nature dedicated to evil - wrath, malice, and so forth, and putting on the new. St Augustine links this text to the instruction to 'put on the armour of light' - a call to the spiritual warfare.

But the lines that particularly caught my eye were these:

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly...as you sing hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

2 comments:

Kevin said...

A tangential observation, with your permission.

The use of "Low Sunday" in English language books (even on the hyper traditional Breviary.net as well as the MD) never ceases to surprise me. In all the Latin material, Breviaries, Missals, and Ordos, it is of course "Dominica in Albis", the Sunday in White. This was the day when the Neophytes returned to the Church in their Baptismal garments. We lose a lot by changing the name.

Terra said...

Interesting point Kevin.

According to my missal, it is also known even more colourfully as Quasimodo Sunday, from the first words of the Introit to the Mass ('As newborn babes...'), as the Octave Day of Easter, or Pascha Clausum (close of Easter).

They all have some tradition behind them, and the term Low Sunday comes from medieval English tradition, where it is in contrast to the High Sunday of last week.

Given that there aren't too many neophytes around these days who are still wearing their white garments, I have to say that to me at least the alternatives to Dominica in Albis have a little more contemporary relevance (though that may sound ironic coming from a traditionalist!).