Quotidian (10)

15 June 2018 | Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

Today is the final day of the girls’ Spanish Summer Camp in Wake Forest. After dropping them off, I heard Mass at St. Catherine’s parish and then made my way back to Wake Forest Coffee Company.

Last night I had dinner at Mitch’s Tavern in Raleigh with a friend who is considering the seminary. To encourage him along, I gifted him my set of The Hours of the Divine Hours in Latin and English (1963). I’ve been using my Breviarium Monasticum (1920) and thought I shouldn’t hoard my books, as the Savior teaches: Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old [nova et vetera] (Mt. 13.52). (See here)

From The Life and Labours of Saint Thomas of Aquin by Fr. Roger William Bede Vaughan, O.S.B., Archbishop of Sydney (d. 1883)

The reception of a child in those days was almost as solemn as a profession in our own. His parents carried him to the church; and whilst they wrapped his hand, which held the petition, in the sacred linen of the altar, they promised, in the presence of God and of His saints, stability in his name. There is no hint that the sacrifice was not considered to have been irrevocably offered, after this oblation had been made to God.

The children’s training was in keeping with the holiness of their consecration. They were confided to the care of a large-hearted and God-fearing man. The one object was, to fill their souls with God, to teach them the power of knowledge, and the force of love — to educate the intellect, and to purify the hear (16-17)

And a little later:

Nor was mental culture neglected in the midst of these spiritual influense. Thomas was taught the first elements of knowledge by the monks. The fragmentary Latin Grammar of the period, Donatus, Priscian, or Didymus would, by frequent repetitions, by fixed upon the memory. The the Psalter, and passages from the poets, were learnt by hear. Æsop’s Fables, Theodolus, and the Sentences of Cato, led into the gallery of the ancient Classics. Ovid, Horace, and Persius were favourite authors; while Seneca was treated with special reverence, as one of the most enlightened moralists of ancient times. Then Lucan, Statius, and Virgil, who were looked upon as seers in the midst of heathendom, on account of certain curiously prophetic passages in their writings, prepared the student for his course of rhetoric. Cicero, Quintilian, and the Stagyrite opened the door to the science of God, and of the saints. That S. Thomas passed through a course resembling this, to say the least, is eminently probably.

These were tranquil days for the young Aquino, days of growth —  just as nature rests in the first warm days of early spring, before it bursts into leaf and flower. To breathe at peace under the light of truth, far from the contention of tongues, and then to meditate, and resolve in the presence of one Eternal Witness,  — this has been the education of many a man of iron will, of soaring spirit, and of blameless life (20-21).

Roma Antica
Giovanni Paolo Pannini, “Roma Antica” (1756-57)
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The Divine Office

My Short History

Even before my reception into the Roman Catholic Church, I have been praying the Divine Office, in some capacity or another. Beginning with my college friends, we said Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer using the Shorter Christian Prayer books in my professor’s chapel.

Upon entering the Church at Easter 2003, my professor, now Fr. John David Ramsey of the Diocese of Richmond and pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Newport News, VA, gifted me a complete four-volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours.

While at Duke Divinity School, a close friend and fellow student, Dr. Ty Monroe, now Visiting Professor at Assumption College in Worchester, MA, and I said Morning Prayer using the larger Christian Prayer breviary with the Liturgy of the Hours volume for that particular season.

At STMA, we say Morning Prayer (Lauds) using the Shorter Christian Prayer breviary, adjusting for the particular memorial, feast, or solemnity.

In the Fall of 2016, Franz Klein, a former colleague of mine, taught me the Divine Office in Latin using his four-volume Liturgia Horarum, with varying success.

In the summer of 2016, I purchased the Breviarium Monastacum (1920), a small four-volume set in Latin alone that had previously belonged to a Sr. Mary Karline, O.S.B., a religious sister in the Benedictine Order, who used this set at early as 1922.

In the winter of 2017, I purchased The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin (1963), a three-volume set, which I regularly use to pray on my own.

Lastly, in the summer of 2018, I purchased the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

cropped-ambrosius-benson-22young-woman-in-orison-reading-a-book-of-hours22-1520s.jpg
Ambrosius Benson, “Young Woman in Orison Reading a Book of Hours” (1520s)

My horarium, using Benedictine Breviarium Monasticum (1920),  for June & July 2018:

4:45 – 5:30am, Matins [ad matutinum], also called the Office of Readings
6:00 – 6:25am, Lauds [ad laudes], also called Morning Prayer
7:00 – 7:20am, Prime [ad primam]
9:00 – 9:15am, Terce [ad tertium], also called Midmorning Prayer
12:00 – 12:15pm, Sext [ad sextam], also called Midday Prayer
3:00 – 3:15pm, None [ad nonam], also called Midafternoon Prayer
6:30 – 7:00pm, Vespers [ad vesperas], also called Evening Prayer or Evensong
9:00 – 9:20pm, Compline [ad completorium], also called Night Prayer

I don’t say every hour every day but there is the goal of doing so.