Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Traditional Benedictine Ordo for December 2010 - upgraded!

Herewith the Benedictine Ordo according to the general calendar for the Order, and rubrics approved in 1961/2, with page references to the Monastic Diurnal (MD) published by Farnborough Abbey, 2004.

  The rubrics for Advent

I've added a lot more detail to the notes for Advent, as the rubrics are quite complex in this period, and made a couple of corrections to the version previously posted.

In particular, for the first three weeks of Advent this year:
  • there are particular antiphons for the minor hours for each week;
  • the canticle antiphons at Lauds and Vespers are for each day of the respective week of Advent; and
  • the 'ordinary of Advent' is used for chapters, hymns etc.
From 17 December onwards the Office becomes much more complex to navigate:
  • the antiphons for Lauds to Vespers are specific to the days preceeding Christmas for the day of the week;
  • the Benedictus antiphons are for week of Advent, with special antiphons for December 21 and 23;
  • the Magnificat 'o' antiphons are for the date.
The separate notes on Advent provide additional details, and  with the Ordo notes below you should be fine!

You can either print them out from here, or join the TradBen Group for access to word files of the Ordo.

You will of course need to add in any local feasts celebrated in your monastery, parish, diocese and country. Where appropriate, cross-references have been made to the Roman Extraordinary Form calendar (REF) - note however that these references are not comprehensive, but merely intended as aids for those attending the EF mass.

Please do let me know if you have any queries or corrections.

Wednesday December 1 Cl 3 **In some places, Blessed Richard, Hugo, John, Abbots and companions, martyrs; 3 cl

Collect of Sunday I of Advent, MD 11*; Ordinary of Advent, MD 9*ff with week I antiphons; Canticle antiphons MD 18*:

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon, hymn, versicle, chapter; readings for Wed. week I of Advent.

Lauds: Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*; Benedictus antiphon, MD 18*; MD 11*

Prime: Antiphon for Advent Wk I (Iucundare/Be glad), MD 13*

Terce to None: Antiphons for Advent Wk I, MD 13*-15*; Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter); Collect of the week, MD 11*.

Vespers: Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*- 17*; Magnificat, MD 18*; Collect MD 11*

Compline: Marian antiphon Alma Redemptoris Mater

For Blessed Richard et al see MD 1**

Thu 2: Cl 3, St Peter Chrysologus, Bp, Conf, Doctor; Memorial

Collect of Sunday, MD 11*; Ordinary of Advent, MD 9*ff with week I antiphons; Canticle antiphons MD 18*; for the Commemoration at Lauds, MD [8]:

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon, hymn, versicle, chapter; readings for Thursday week I of Advent.

Lauds: Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*; Benedictus antiphon, MD 18*; MD 11*; for the commemoration of the saint, MD [8]

Prime: Antiphon for Advent Wk I (Iucundare/Be glad), MD 13*

Terce to None: Antiphons for Advent Wk I, MD 13*-15*; Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter); Collect of the week, MD 11*.

Vespers: Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*- 17*; Magnificat antiphon, MD 18*; Collect MD 11*

Fri 3, Cl 3 S Francis Xavier Conf; memorial. **In some places, 1 Cl

Collect of Sunday, MD 11*; Ordinary of Advent, MD 9*ff with week I antiphons; Canticle antiphons MD 19*; for the Commemoration at Lauds, MD [9]; as Class I, see MD 1**/

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon, hymn, versicle, chapter; readings for Friday week I of Advent.

Lauds: Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*; Benedictus antiphon, MD 19*; MD 11* ; for the commemoration of the saint, MD [9]

Prime: Antiphon for Advent Wk I (Iucundare/Be glad), MD 13*

Terce to None: Antiphons for Advent Wk I, MD 13*-15*; Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter); Collect of the week, MD 11*.

Vespers: Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*- 17*; Magnificat antiphon for Friday, Advent Wk I, MD 19*; Collect MD 11*

Sat December 4, Cl 3

Collect of Sunday, MD 11*; Ordinary of Advent, MD 9*ff with week I antiphons; Canticle antiphon MD 19*:

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon etc; readings for Saturday week I of Advent.

Lauds: Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*; Benedictus antiphon, MD 19*; MD 11*

Prime: Antiphon for Advent Wk I (Iucundare/Be glad), MD 13*

Terce to None: Antiphons for Advent Wk I, MD 13*-15*; Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter); Collect of the week, MD 11*.

Vespers: I Vespers of Second Sunday of Advent, see MD 19*ff:

Antiphons for the day, MD 19* with psalms of Saturday;
chapter for I Vespers of Sunday II;
responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 20*-21*;
Magnificat antiphon for I Vespers, MD 21*

Sunday December 5, Second Sunday of Advent, Cl 1

See MD 22*ff.

Matins: Invitatory antiphon, hymn, versicle, Nocturn III canticles and antiphons of Advent; rest for the second Sunday.

Lauds: Antiphons for Sunday II of Advent, MD 22*, with psalms schema 1 (50, etc); Chapter and other proper texts, MD 23*ff

Prime to None: Antiphons of Lauds with chapter and versicle for Sunday II

Vespers: Antiphons of Lauds with Sunday psalms; chapter, responsory etc as for I Vespers; Magnificat antiphon, MD 26*

Monday December 6, Cl 3, S Nicholas, Bp, Conf; Memorial

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon etc; readings for Monday week II of Advent.

Lauds: Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*; Benedictus antiphon, MD 26*-27*; MD 11* ; St Nicholas, memorial, MD [9]

Prime: Antiphon for Advent Wk II (Ecce in nubibus), MD 13*

Terce to None:
Antiphons for Advent Wk II, MD 13*-15*;
Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter);
Collect of the week, MD 11*.

Vespers: Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*-17*; Magnificat antiphon for Monday, Advent Wk II, MD 27*; Collect MD 11*

Tue 7 S Ambrose, Bp, Conf, Doctor; Cl 3 

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon etc; readings 1&2 for Tuesday week II of Advent with responsories 1&3, reading 3 for the feast.

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms for Tuesday; Rest from Common of a Confessor Bishop, MD (64); After the collect of the feast make a commemoration of the feria with the Benedictus antiphon, MD 26*-27*; versicle of Lauds in Advent and collect for week II, MD 11*

Prime to None: Antiphons and other proper texts from the Common

I Vespers: of the Immaculate Conception, MD [11]ff:
Antiphons of the feast (MD [11] with psalms from Common of BVM, MD (119);
Chapter, responsory etc of the feast, MD [11]
After the collect of the feast, make a commemoration of the feria, MD 27*, 24*, 11*.

Wed December 8 Immaculate Conception of the BVM 1 Cl

Matins: Invitatory, hymn, and readings of the feast with psalms and canticles from the Common of feasts of Our Lady.

Lauds: Antiphons, chapter, responsory, hymn etc of the feast, MD [13], with festal psalms. After the collect make a commemoration of the day, MD 27*, 11*.

Prime to None: Antiphons of Lauds, other texts for the feast, MD [13]ff.

Vespers:
Antiphons of the feast, MD [11] with psalms from Common of BVM, MD (119);
Chapter, responsory etc of the feast, MD [11];
Versicle and Magnifcat antiphon for II Vespers, MD [17];
After the collect of the feast, make a commemoration of the feria, MD 27*, 24*, 11*.

Thursday December 9, Cl 3 

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon etc; readings for Thursday week II of Advent.

Lauds: Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*; Benedictus antiphon, MD 27*
Collect MD 11*.

Prime: Antiphon for Advent Wk II (Ecce in nubibus), MD 13*

Terce to None: Antiphons for Advent Wk II, MD 13*-15*; Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter); Collect of the week, MD 11*.

Vespers: Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*-17*; Magnificat antiphon for Thursday, Advent Wk II, MD 28*; Collect MD 11*.

Fri December 10, Cl 3 **in some places Blessed Mark Barkworth, John Roberts and Companions, Martyrs, 3 Cl

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon etc; readings for Friday week II of Advent.

Lauds: Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*; Benedictus antiphon, MD 28*Collect MD 11*

Prime: Antiphon for Advent Wk II (Ecce in nubibus), MD 13*

Terce to None: Antiphons for Advent Wk II, MD 13*-15*; Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter); Collect of the week, MD 11*.

Vespers: Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*-17*; Magnificat antiphon for Thursday, Advent Wk II, MD 28*; Collect MD 11*.

**For Blessed Mark et al, MD 2**

Saturday December 11, Cl 3, S Damasus I, Pope, Conf; Memorial

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon etc; readings for Saturday week II of Advent.

Lauds: Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*; Benedictus antiphon, MD 28*;Collect MD 11*; for the commemoration, MD [17]

Prime: Antiphon for Advent Wk II, MD 13*

Terce to None: Antiphons for Advent Wk II, MD 13*-15*; Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter); Collect of the week, MD 11*.

Vespers: I Vespers of Gaudete Sunday, MD 28*ff:

Antiphons for the day, MD 28* with psalms of Saturday;

chapter for I Vespers of Sunday III;
responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 29*-30*;
Magnificat antiphon for I Vespers, MD 30*-31*;
Collect of the Sunday, MD 31*.

Sunday December 12, Third Sunday Of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) 1 Cl

See MD 31*ff:

Matins: Invitatory antiphon Prope est (said now until 23 Dec); hymn, Nocturn III canticles and antiphons of Advent; rest for the third Sunday.

Lauds: Antiphons for Sunday III of Advent, MD 31*, with psalms schema 1 (50, etc); Chapter and other proper texts, MD 32*ff.

Prime to None: Antiphons of Lauds with chapter and versicle for Sunday III, MD 31*, 33*-34*.

Vespers: Antiphons of Lauds with Sunday psalms; chapter, responsory etc as for I Vespers; Magnificat antiphon, MD 35*.

Monday December 13 -  S Lucy, Virgin, Mart; Cl 3 

MD [18]ff:

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon (Prope est), hymn, versicle; readings 1&2 for Monday week III; reading 3 for the feast; responsories of the feast; chapter for a Virgin martyr.

Lauds: Antiphons of the feast, MD [18]-[19] with festal psalms, MD 44ff; proper texts for the feast, MD [19]ff; after the collect make a commemoration of the feria with the Benedictus antiphon, MD 41*; versicle of Lauds in Advent and collect for week III, MD 11*.

Prime to None: Antiphons and other proper texts for the feast, MD [18], [21]ff

Vespers:

Antiphons of the feast, MD [18] with psalms, chapter, responsory and hymn from the Common of Virgins, MD (84);
Magnificat antiphon, MD [22];
after the collect of the feast, make a commemoration of the feria, MD 27*, 24*, 11*.

Tuesday December 14,  Cl 3 

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon (Prope est), hymn, versicle, chapter; readings for Tuesday week III of Advent.

Lauds: Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*; Benedictus antiphon, MD 42; Collect MD 11*

Prime: Antiphon for Advent Wk III, MD 13*

Terce to None: Antiphons for Advent Wk III, MD 13*-15*; Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter);
Collect of the week, MD 11*.

Vespers: Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*-17*; Magnificat MD 42*; Collect MD 11*.

Wednesday December 15  - Ember Day, Cl II

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon (Prope est), hymn, versicle, chapter; readings for Ember Wednesday week III of Advent.

Lauds:
Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*;
Benedictus antiphon, MD 42*
Collect of Ember Day, MD 42*

Prime: Antiphon for Advent Wk III, MD 13*

Terce to None:
Antiphons for Advent Wk III, MD 13*-15*;
Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter);
Collect of the week, MD 42*.

Vespers: Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*-17*; Magnificat MD 43*; Collect MD 42*.

Thursday December 16, Cl 3 

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon (Prope est), hymn, versicle, chapter; readings for Thursday week III of Advent.

Lauds:
Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*;
Benedictus antiphon, MD 43*
Collect MD 11*

Prime: Antiphon for Advent Wk III, MD 13*

Terce to None:
Antiphons for Advent Wk III, MD 13*-15*;
Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter);
Collect of the week, MD 11*.

Vespers: Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*-17*; Magnificat MD 43*; Collect MD 11*.

Friday December 17 - Ember Day, Class 2

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon (Prope est), hymn, versicle, chapter; readings for Friday week III of Advent.

Lauds:
Antiphons for the Friday preceding Christmas, MD 39*-40*
Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*;
Benedictus antiphon, MD 44*
Collect for the Ember Day, MD 44*

Prime: Antiphon 1 from Lauds, MD 39*

Terce to None:
Antiphons 2,3 and 5 respectively, MD 39*-40*;
Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter);
Collect, MD 44*.

Vespers:
Antiphons of the day, MD 39*-40*
Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*-17*;
Magnificat: O Antiphon, MD 35*;
Collect, MD 44*.

Saturday December 18  - Ember Day, Class 2 

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon (Prope est), hymn, versicle, chapter; readings for Ember Saturday of Advent.

Lauds:
Antiphons for the Saturday preceding Christmas, MD 40*
Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*;
Benedictus antiphon, MD 44*
Collect for the Ember Day, MD 45*

Prime: Antiphon 1 from Lauds, MD 40*

Terce to None:
Antiphons as noted, MD 41*;
Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter);
Collect, MD 45*.

I Vespers of Fourth Sunday of Advent:

Antiphons, MD 45*-46* with psalms of Saturday
Chapter, etc, MD 46*;
Magnificat Antiphon, O Adonai, MD 35*;
Collect MD 47*.

Sunday December 19, Fourth Sunday of Advent, Class I 

Matins: Invitatory antiphon, hymn, Nocturn III canticles and antiphons of Advent; rest for the fourth Sunday.

Lauds: Antiphons for Sunday IV of Advent, MD 48*, with psalms schema 1 (50, etc); Chapter and other proper texts, MD 48*ff.

Prime to None: Antiphons of Lauds with chapter and versicle for Sunday IV, MD 50*ff.

Vespers: Antiphons of Lauds with Sunday psalms; chapter, responsory etc as for I Vespers; Magnificat antiphon, O radix Jesse, MD 36*.

Monday December 20, Class II

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon (Prope est), hymn, versicle, chapter; readings for Monday week IV of Advent.

Lauds:
Antiphons for Monday, MD 37*
Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*;
Benedictus antiphon, MD 52*
Collect MD 12*

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Monday, MD 37*

Terce to None:
Antiphons 2,3 and 5 respectively, MD 37*;
Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter);
Collect of the week, MD 12*.

Vespers:
Antiphons of Monday omitting 4;
Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*-17*;
O Antiphon for Magnificat, O Clavis, MD 36*;
Collect MD 12*.

Tuesday December 21, St Thomas Class II 

Matins: From the Common of Apostles except for readings 5-12 and the Gospel, for the feast.


Lauds: All from the Common of Apostles (9)ff except for the Benedictus antiphon and collect for the feast, MD [22] – [23]. After the collect make a commemoration of the feria using the antiphon Nolite timere MD 41*, versicle for Advent Lauds, and collect MD 12*

Prime to None: Antiphon etc from Common, collect of the feast.

Vespers: All as from the Common. After the collect of the feast, make a commemoration of the day using the O antiphon, O Oriens, MD 36*, versicle for Advent Vespers, and collect of the week, MD 12*

Wednesday December 22, Class  II 

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon (Prope est), hymn, versicle, chapter; readings for Wednesday week IV of Advent.

Lauds:
Antiphons for Wednesday, MD 38*-39*
Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*;
Benedictus antiphon, MD 53*
Collect MD 12*

Prime: Antiphon, MD 38*

Terce to None:
Antiphons 2,3 and 5 respectively, MD 38*-39*;
Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter);
Collect of the week, MD 12*.

Vespers:
Antiphons of Wednesday omitting 4;
Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*-17*;
O Antiphon for Magnificat, O Rex Gentium, MD 36*;
Collect MD 12*.

Thursday, December 23, Class II 

Matins: Advent invitatory antiphon (Prope est), hymn, versicle, chapter; readings for Thursday week IV of Advent.

Lauds:
Antiphons for Thursday, MD 39*
Chapter, responsory and hymn for Advent, MD 9*;
Benedictus antiphon: Ecce Completa est, MD 45*
Collect MD 12*

Prime: Antiphon, MD 39*
Terce to None:
Antiphons 2,3 and 5 respectively, MD 39*;
Chapter and versicle for Advent (MD 14* or psalter);
Collect of the week, MD 12*.

Vespers:
Antiphons of Thursday omitting 4;
Chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle of Advent, MD 15*-17*;
O Antiphon for Magnificat, O Emmanuel, MD 36*;
Collect MD 12*.

Friday, December 24 -  Vigil Of The Nativity, Class I 

Matins: Two nocturns: Invitatory, hymn and readings for the Vigil; psalms and antiphons as in the psalter for the day.
Lauds: Antiphons for the Vigil with festal psalms, proper texts for the day, MD 54*ff
Prime: antiphon1 of Lauds, MD 54*
Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter, versicle and collect for the Vigil, MD 57*
I Vespers of Christmas: see MD58*ff

Christmastide

Saturday December 25 Nativity - Cl I with a class II octave

See MD 61*ff

Sunday December 26 Sunday Within The Octave Of The Nativity Cl II

Matins: All as on Christmas Day except for the readings and responsories, of the day.
See MD 77*ff

Lauds to Vespers: see MD 77*ff.  At Lauds make a commemoration of St Stephen, MD85*

Monday December 27  - S John Ap Evangelist Cl II

Matins: All as in the Common of Apostles except for the readings and responsories, for the feast.

Lauds to Vespers: See MD 90*ff.  At Lauds and Vespers, make a commemoration of the Octave of the Nativity.

Tuesday, December 28 - Holy Innocents Mm, Cl II

Matins: All from the Common of several martyrs except for the invitatory antiphon, hymn, readings and responsories, for the feast.

Lauds to Vespers: See MD 97*ff. At Lauds and Vespers make a commemoration of the Octave.

Wednesday 29  - Fifth Day Within The Octave Of The Nativity, Cl II 

Matins: Invitatory antiphon and hymn of Christmas Day, Antiphons for the day (one per nocturn) with psalms of Wednesday; readings and chapter of the day.

Lauds to Vespers: See MD 103*.

Thursday 30  - Sixth Day Within The Octave Of The Nativity, Cl II 

Matins: Invitatory antiphon and hymn of Christmas Day, Antiphons for the day (one per nocturn) with psalms of Thursday; readings and chapter of the day.

Lauds to Vespers: See MD 103*.

Friday 31  - Seventh Day Within The Octave Of The Nativity, Cl II 

Matins: Invitatory antiphon and hymn of Christmas Day, Antiphons for the day (one per nocturn) with psalms of Friday; readings and chapter of the day.

Lauds to None: See MD 103*.  At Lauds, commemoration of St Sylvester, MD 103*-104*.

I Vespers of the Octave of the Nativity: See MD 104*ff

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Some possible principles for interpreting the Benedictine Rule...

I've been pondering for some time what the appropriate principles for interpreting the Benedictine Rule might be if one approached it from the perspective of a hermeneutic of continuity, as opposed to the evident discontinuity that has largely prevailed for the last several decades. 

And I've finally been spurred into posting on this having seen a commentary which touches on some of these issues.

Let me say that these are a first draft only, and I'd very much appreciate reactions and debate on them.  If there proves to be interest, I may elaborate on each of them in subsequent posts.

May they prove of assistance at least in stimulating thought!

1. The Rule is a providential encapsulation of spirituality and legislation

That St Benedict wrote when he did, and that his Rule came to dominate Europe, was not happenstance, but rather part of God’s providential plan.

As Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly emphasized, God works through history; the history of the Church is the history of his saints.

One can’t therefore properly read the Rule solely in terms of how it differs from other contemporary or prior Rules, or decide that certain parts are in some way contingent since they would have been different if they had been written fifty years earlier or later.  Thus, historico-critical analysis of the Rule may be interesting - but it cannot be the be all and end all of its interpretation.  And above all, it should not be pursued at the expense of the "post-history" of the use of the Rule (or parts of it). 

2. That said, the legislative aspects of the Rule can be modified

The Rule itself allows the abbot to adapt and mitigate its provisions, both to the time and place, and in order to the needs of individual monks.

Canon law and the law of the land have also overridden parts of the Rule – the procedures around the noviciate and priests for example in relation to canon law; the law of the land and corporal punishment.

And the experience of the Order over the centuries has led to the effective replacement of some of its provisions (through 'declarations' and Constitutions) in accordance with monastic custom and the history of particular monasteries or congregations – the separate kitchen and dining room for the abbot and his guests for example, number and content of meals, use of individual cells instead of a dormitory. 

In addition, the Rule itself provides detailed prescriptions in some areas, mere sketches in others.  The details have always had to be filled in through customaries, liturgical books and so forth.

In the terminology favoured by historians in relation to the period immediately after St Benedict, in practice, all monasteries today, traditionalist, conservative and liberal alike, effectively follow a "mixed Rule" of one type or another.

3. The Rule has to be read as a unified whole

St Benedict prescribed a regimen for his monks that involved a balance between the liturgy (Opus Dei), sacred reading, and work. He certainly emphasizes to the priority of the Opus Dei.

But within the context of that balance.

And within the context of the general principles of moderation and adaptation to the circumstances and place, as well as individual capacities that he reiterates throughout the Rule.

It is important too, to read the Rule against the background of the Life of St Benedict by Pope Gregory I (and see below for Pope Benedict's comments on this).  The Life is traditionally regarded as one of the foundational texts of the Order, and it provides a useful perspective on the way the life is actually to be lived.

4. The primary criterion for interpreting the Rule is how it has been understood down through history.

The Rule should be interpreted in the context of the history of the Benedictine Order, adopting a "hermeneutic of continuity".

The history of monasticism prior to St Benedict will obviously throw light on it, so will the evidence of St Benedict’s contemporaries, as well as later reactions to in the form of the traditions of other religious orders.  Interpretation of the Rule in the light of the great Franciscan or Dominican or Carmelite writers, for example, could well be of interest to members of those Orders as a way of  appropriating a spiritual classic into their tradition.  It may well also throw up insights that will be of interest to Benedictines.

But to learn how to be good Benedictines, the primary lens must surely be the Order’s own patrimony: read the great commentaries of the past on the Rule first and foremost; the great sermons; the great mystical works and so forth.

Pope Benedict XVI has put this point as follows:

“Charisms are bestowed by the Holy Spirit, who inspires founders and foundresses, and shapes Congregations with a subsequent spiritual heritage. The wondrous array of charisms proper to each Religious Institute is an extraordinary spiritual treasury. Indeed, the history of the Church is perhaps most beautifully portrayed through the history of her schools of spirituality, most of which stem from the saintly lives of founders and foundresses.”

5. The way the Rule is approached must be different for those living in community and those in the world

There is something to Dom David Knowles' proposition that the starting point for a monk in interpreting the Rule will be a presumption in favour of a literal reading of the Rule's provisions (but then allowing for changes and adaptations in the light of custom and the times); the starting point for an oblate will be a spiritual reading.

It is an obvious but perhaps often overlooked point, for example, that the Rule clearly states that it is written for monks living in a community under the authority of an abbot. Many of its concrete legislative provisions depend on the judgment of the abbot on a day-to-day basis. A lay person who thinks that he can simply be his own abbot needs to reread Chapter One of the Rule.

Thus, a lay oblate living in the world cannot be considered to be subject to the concrete legislative provisions of the Rule except to the extent that the constitutions or understandings of the community to which he made his oblation bind him (supplemented by any Rule of Life drawn up in consultation with his spiritual director).  It is the spirituality of the Rule they are committing themselves to following, and its practical requirements must be adapted to take account of the duties of state of life and the need to maintain an appropriate balance between the different elements of Benedictine life....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pope Benedict: Five reasons for doing lectio divina....

Lectio Divina is of course central to Benedictine spirituality, with several hours a day of prayerful reading of Scripture and other spiritual texts required of monks in the Rule.

And it is also one of the central themes of Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini.  Scattered through the document are the reasons why lectio is so crucial.  Here is my summation of the reasons he sets out for why we should do lectio divina.

1.  To please God by listening to him. Pope quotes Origen: “Do your reading with the intent of believing in and pleasing God.”

2.  To build the Church as a community.  "While it is a word addressed to each of us personally, it is also a word which builds community, which builds the Church...The reading of the word of God… enables us to deepen our sense of belonging to the Church, and helps us to grow in familiarity with God.”

3.  To nourish and sustain us 'on our journey of penance and conversion': through it, we grow in love and truth.

4.  In order to discern God’s will for us, and convert us: “Contemplation aims at creating within us a truly wise and discerning vision of reality, as God sees it, and at forming within us “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16).

The Pope particularly recommends lectio divina to seminarians because: “It is in the light and strength of God’s word that one’s specific vocation can be discerned and appreciated, loved and followed, and one’s proper mission carried out…”  Lay people to should be trained, he urges, “to discern God’s will through a familiarity with his word, read and studied in the Church under the guidance of her legitimate pastors.”

He goes on: "Saint Paul tells us: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect ” (12:2). The word of God appears here as a criterion for discernment: it is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12).”, and “….by nourishing the heart with thoughts of God, so that faith, as our response to the word, may become a new criterion for judging and evaluation persons and things, events and issues”….”

5.  For the spiritual benefit of others. First, to equip us to fulfill the duty of all Christians to evangelize, contributing to the Churches mission to convert the whole world to Christ. And secondly to aid the souls in purgatory through the Church's offer of indulgences for Scripture reading and certain Scripturally based prayers (such as the Office), which teach us that “to whatever degree we are united in Christ, we are united to one another, and the supernatural life of each one can be useful for the others ”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gueranger's Manual for Oblates - Part III

I've been putting up selections from Dom Gueranger's nineteenth century manual for Oblates.  Here is the next part of Chapter 1.

"In order, therefore, to aid in the preservation and to promote the growth of the Catholic spirit, whose outward expression the foregoing pages have described, an Association has been formed, the members of which, to promote the honour of God and secure their own fidelity, will be attentive to observe the following practices:

Attend High Mass

On Sundays and Festivals they will attend, by preference, High Mass, in the churches where it is celebrated with the ecclesiastical chant and ritual.

Should they find inconvenience in communicating at a late hour, they will make their Communion previously, at an early Mass. They will attentively follow all the rites and ceremonies performed by the priests and attendants at the altar, will do their best by previous study and consideration to enter into their meaning, and thus meritoriously qualify themselves for the fuller reception of the grace implanted in them by the Holy Spirit. [Let them, so to speak, not be satisfied with merely inhaling the fragrance, but let them also gather the honey from these flowers of the garden of the Church.]

They will follow the ecclesiastical chant by the aid, if needful, of translations of the formularies, and they will avoid distracting their attention from the holy mysteries by other books of devotion, etc., which may be excellent, perhaps, at other times, but which at these moments would be harmful, by keeping them apart from the sacred Liturgy.

Attendance at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the act of piety to which, of all others, they will attach the highest importance. There, wherein is renewed the Sacred Passion of Our Lord, they will offer to God the Divine Victim, in union with the Church, for the four ends of Adoration, Thanksgiving, Propitiation, and Petition. On the days when they do not communicate they will make a spiritual Communion at the moment when the priest is making the Sacramental Communion, and for this they will prepare themselves by the act of contrition and offering of themselves to God.

The Divine Office

Next to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, they will esteem nothing so much as the Divine office, by which the Church renders to God her continual homage in the canonical hours. On Sundays and festivals they will gladly be present at Vespers and Compline, and will endeavour, as far as it may be possible for them, to join with Holy Church in the chanting of her psalms and hymns. Let them be especially thankful to God if He should give them grace to take delight in the Psalter, remembering that, in the ages of faith, it was most frequently through the psalms that God was pleased to communicate with souls. They will prefer those churches in which the Divine Office is celebrated according to ecclesiastical rule, such as the cathedral or any other. Even in their private devotions they will take pleasure in using the prayers of the Church to express their needs and aspirations.

Adoration

They will earnestly desire to unite themselves to God by mental prayer; and in this they will he powerfully assisted by their union with the Church in the sacred Liturgy. The different seasons of the Church’s year will bring before them the mysteries which are the groundwork of piety and the source of the true spirit of prayer. They will often visit Our Lord in the holy Tabernacle, and will not fail to appreciate their happiness whenever they are able to be present at Benediction, to receive the blessing of the most holy Sacrament."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November 14: Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost


The Scripture readings for Matins this Sunday, to which the Magnificat antiphon for I Vespers alludes (though it is not Scriptural) are from Hosea, the first of the 'minor prophets' in the Bible, and who preached around the year 750 BC.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his encyclical Deus Caritas Est, “The Prophets, particularly Hosea and Ezekiel, described God's passion for his people using boldly erotic images. God's relationship with Israel is described using the metaphors of betrothal and marriage; idolatry is thus adultery and prostitution. … The history of the love-relationship between God and Israel consists, at the deepest level, in the fact that he gives her the Torah, thereby opening Israel's eyes to man's true nature and showing her the path leading to true humanism.”

The Canticle antiphons for Sunday itself come from those for the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, and refer to the Gospel for Sunday, Matthew 13: 31-35, the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Question: Why does the numbering of the psalms in the Diurnal differ from my Bible?

I've had a question from a reader that I suspect puzzles many people, so I thought I'd answer it here.

The question is: Why does the numbering of psalms in the Monastic Diurnal often diverge from that in many contemporary Bibles?

On the psalm numbering, basically the problem is that there isn't really any set numbering or versification in the book of psalms, so later manuscripts have added it in for convenience sake, and there are (at least) two distinct traditions on how to divide up the psalms.

Psalm numbering

In some cases the appropriate divisions between psalms is reasonably obvious, for example because there are 'titles' to the psalms (not used for liturgical purposes).

But the split of a number of psalms differs between the 'Hebrew Bible' (Maseoretic Text manuscript tradition) which forms the basis of many modern translations (and protestant Bibles), and the Greek Septuagint (the translation made a few centuries before Christ).  In some cases the Septuagint provides different titles as well, possibly reflecting different manuscript traditions.

The 'Vulgate' of the traditional psalter basically follows the Septuagint, but most modern Bibles follow the Hebrew Bible, hence the differences in numbering.


There has been debate on which tradition is better going back to the time of St Jerome when he made his series of translations into Latin (St Jerome preferred the Hebrew base texts, but made several versions including from the Greek; St Augustine preferred the Greek).  For centuries the Church stuck with the Greek as its base text for the psalms, partly because of its Greek liturgical tradition in the Church, and partly because of the heavy use of the Septuagint by the NT writers (and the book of psalms is the most quoted of Old Testament books in the New).

The neo-Vulgate now used as the official base text for translations into the vernacular however, has adopted the Hebrew psalm numbering system, presumably for ecumenical reasons.


Aligning psalm numbers

The way it works is as follows:

Psalms numbers 1-8 and 148-150 are the same in both systems.

Vulgate 9, 10 = Hebrew 9

Vulgate 113 = Hebrew 114, 115

Vulgate 146, 147 = Hebrew 147

So for Vulgate psalms 10 – 112, add one number to get Hebrew number (ie 11-113)

So for Vulgate psalms 116-145, add one to get Hebrew number.

Verse references

Note that verse references too vary between versions - the Vulgate of the psalter has been divided up into readily singable lines, but this sometimes cuts across the natural flow of the verses, used in Bible versions intended for other purposes.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

'Third' Sunday of November/Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost

November suffers from the strange phenomenon this year of leaping straight to week three in terms of its Matins readings, and hence I Vespers canticle antiphon.  This is not entirely an artifact of the 1960 rubrics, but rather reflects the fact that the first week of November used to be the Octave of All Saints, which had its own patristic readings.

As a result the winter three readings schema for Matins in the Benedictine Office starts this week rather than last week (thanks to the person who pointed this out to me).

The Scriptural readings for Matins are from the Book of Daniel, but in fact the canticle antiphon this week, 'Muros tuos' (Surround us O Lord with thy impregnable wall) is not scriptural.  It is though a lovely image, and one that was frequently used until modern theologians decided that walls meant not protection but ghettos....



We are also into that slightly odd end of the liturgical year phenomenon when the texts used to make up the requisite number of Sundays are the ones missed from the time after Epiphany last year due to the date of Easter, thus though we are twenty four Sundays after Pentecost, the collect and antiphons for this Sunday are actually those of the fifth Sunday after Epiphany.  Accordingly, the canticle antiphons refer to Matthew 13:24-30, the parable of the sower.