Tuesday, June 18, 2013

St. Joseph in the Eucharistic Prayers

Though I don't know if I've ever just reposted something, I think this is a fantastic event for the Roman liturgy: the addition of the name of St. Joseph by Pope Francis into all the Eucharistic Prayers, not just Eucharistic Prayer I (the Roman Canon), into which his name was added by Pope Bl. John XXIII.

For more information, see Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's post.

St. Joseph the Betrothed, pray for us!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Seminal Holy Week

In some way, liturgically, each week we celebrate Holy Week anew.

The most obvious way this principle is seen is in the liturgical celebration of Sunday, the Lord's Day, the Day of the Resurrection.  Disregarding feasts, Sunday liturgies (in the widest sense: I am not solely referring to Eucharistic Liturgies) are more festive than the liturgies throughout the rest of the week.  "Every Sunday is a little Easter," I have heard it put frequently.  This is why, during Lent, Roman Catholics popularly partake of whatever food or activity they fast from (or "give up") throughout most of the Forty Days.  Every Sunday we celebrate Pascha.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

O Blessed Sabbath!

As we celebrate the Sabbath (still the Greek term for Saturday) each week, how should it draw our minds to Christ?

The Sabbath began as a day of rest, the day on which the Lord "rested" from His work of creation.  In memory of that, it became the Lord's Day, the day when the Jews were likewise called to rest from their work.  Though now Sunday, the Day of the Lord's Resurrection, has taken the place of the Sabbath as the Lord's Day, our day of holy rest, we know that Saturday was originally the day of rest.

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Poem on Christ's Sword and His Peace

"Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth.  I did not come to bring peace but a sword."
--Mt 10:34

Since today's Gospel reading (Mt 10:32-11:1) contains Christ's statement that He brings a sword, and since we frequently call Him "Prince of Peace," I thought today would be a good day to post a poem attempting to reconcile this seeming contradiction in Christ.

He brings peace, yet gives a sword: 
How to reconcile these? 
But one man who's divinized 
will be a sign of conflict: 
Yet a people divinized 
will be truly a race of peace. 
Thus peace He gives to each man 
and 'til ev'ry man has peace 
swords will come on peaceful men: 
from a man goes peace to men.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Will Monasteries Save the World?

 It is hard to doubt that monasteries (and I mean this in a wide use of the term: any community (or even person) who lives apart from the world and prays for the world) have been a key aspect of the Church for millennia, at least since the time of St. Antony the Great.  Monasteries began as hermits who lived near each other and had some community.  Eventually this expanded into communities who lived and prayed together.  In the West, this then expanded into the different religious orders, while in the East the forms of monastic life stayed more or less has they were in the early centuries of the Church.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Octoechos

The Octoechos or "the Book of Eight Tones" (lit. "Eight-Tone") is a liturgical book used in the Byzantine Rite.  It is the book of propers for Matins/Orthros and Vespers each day of the week and for Sunday Divine Liturgy.  Its use is roughly equivalent to times of "Ordinary Time" in the Roman Rite: it is the book used when the two movable seasonal books (the Triodion for Great Lent and its preparation and the Pentecostarion for Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost) are not being used.  It is used in conjunction with the Menaion (the book of immovable feasts, such as Nativity, Theophany, Dormition, and saints' feast days) and the Horologion (the book of the basic texts of the Divine Office/the Hours). 

The only free version of the Octoechos I have found on-line is a copy from the Monastery of the Myrrhbearing Women, a women's monastery of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) in Otego, NY, as adapted for Canada and posted as a PDF on the website of the OCA Archdiocese of Canada.  For my own use, I formatted the text to be used on a Kindle (with nested table of contents), and the webmaster of the Archdiocese of Canada graciously gave me permission to post this formatted file so that others may use it.

Below is the link to my AZW3 file (the current Kindle format) of the Octoechos.  The names of the different sections of each hour are those used in the Horologion of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton.  I use the Greek spelling of different liturgical terms (such as sticheron) rather than the Slavonic spelling (stich) just as a personal preference.  If anyone would like this file in another format (such as the older Kindle format or ePub), please let me know via a comment or e-mail, and I will try my best to make it available.

I hope this document is useful for you, and I hope that it leads you deeper into the prayer of the Church through the sublime liturgical poetry of the Hours.

The Byzantines and the Jesuits

 Fr. Steven Hawke-Steeples, S.J., a Ruthenian Jesuit liturgist

Throughout the world, but especially (I think) in the Americas, the Jesuits are heavily involved in the lives of Byzantine Catholics.  This is not to say that other Roman religious orders do not play a role (after all, His Grace Bishop John Kudrick of Parma was originally a Third Order Franciscan), but I see the Jesuits having a predominantly large role among Roman Catholics assisting Byzantine Catholics.