Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New year!



Rule of St Benedict
Codex Sangallensis
I'd like to wish all readers a happy and holy new year - and a reminder to join in the public recitation of the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the year on December 31, and the Veni Creator on January 1 to gain the plenary indulgences attached to them (partial if said privately).

I'd also like to let you know about a couple of projects that I've already started on, but will hopefully push along further in the new year, and am posting elsewhere, that may be of interest.

Matins readings

First, over at my Lectio Divina blog I'm in the process of compiling lists of all the Matins readings for the Benedictine Office, grouped by liturgical season (and there will be a separate post for major feasts of saints).

I'll put indexes of links (masterposts) in the sidebar for future reference, though at the moment I'm also posting weekly lists that also show the readings for any feasts that interrupt the normal seasonal cycle (you can subscribe to these by email through the link on the blog).

In the past over there I've posted English translations of most of the Sunday Gospels, and Third Nocturn readings on them; links to past posts can be found in the masterposts.  Over the course of 2016 I'll try to fill in the gpas, as well as go back and fill in the first and second nocturn readings for the Sunday cycle (where I can find an online version of them).

Lectio divina around the liturgical cycle of readings

I've also previously posted notes over at the Lectio Divina blog on each of the Gospels, spread over a three month cycle (so you can read all of them in a year).  I've put up a masterpost for the notes on St Matthew, and plan to fill out gaps in them over the next quarter.  I'll also try and make the notes on the other Gospels more accessible in the same way, as well as provide brief notes on the books of the Bible being read in the Office (at Matins).

Reading the Rule of St Benedict

Thirdly, I'm planning a series, starting in the new year, offering some reading notes on the Rule of St Benedict, and you find these over at my new Lectio Regula blog (it is easier to keep topics separate rather than clog up this one I think).

Each day I'll provide both the English and the Latin, divided up over four months in the traditional arrangement.  I'll also try and provide some notes of my own on it (though no guarantees that I'll comment on every part of the Rule, though I will certainly do my best).

I'm not planning to provide a complete or polished commentary on the Rule, but rather to focus in on some particular aspects of it, mostly around the way that St Benedict uses Scripture, and the links between the Rule and the shape of the Benedictine Office.  I've written a post that sets out some of the main themes I plan to focus on that you can read here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Notes on the saints and feasts (and former feasts) of January

At various times on this blog I've posted notes on the feasts celebrated in the Benedictine calendar of 1962, so I thought that this year I would attempt to put together links to those notes for each month, so herewith the first installment.

I've also included links to posts and other resources on  saints of particular Benedictine interest, including those whose feasts are celebrated by particular congregations or monasteries (please do point me to any I'm missing).

1 January 

Octave Day of Christmas

The Octave Day of Christmas (aka New Year) is one of those feasts that have gone through a few incarnations in recent years.

Traditionally, today is the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord. The feast celebrates the first time the blood of Christ was shed, and thus the beginning of the process of the redemption of man. It also serves to demonstrate that Christ was fully human, and his obedience to Biblical law.

In the 1962 Calendar (including the Benedictine Universal Calendar), all of the traditional texts for the feast are retained, but the name is dropped in favour of the Octave Day. In the Novus Ordo calendar, the Feast was dropped altogether, and it has become the Feast of Mary, Mother of God...

For more:
Whatever happened to the feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord?

2 January  

St Thomas of Canterbury (Thomas a Becket), bishop & martyr















Once was...Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

3 January  

Once was...Octave Day of St John the Evangelist

4 January 

St Titus, bishop &confessor

St Titus was the addressee of St Paul's epistles of the same name, a bishop ordained by him.

5 January 

Once was...vigil of the Epiphany

Saints of the martyrology: SS Telesphorus, Apollinaris, Emiliana

6 January

Feast of the Epiphany
More on the Epiphany
Twelfth Day

Sunday after Epiphany

Sunday after Epiphany or Holy Family?
Pick your feast

7 January – Class IV

Still Christmastide... But not the Octave of the Epiphany!

8 January

Not the third day of the Octave

St Wulfsin OSB

A tenth century reforming Anglo-Saxon abbot who became bishop of Sherborne.

9 January 

Not the fourth day within the Octave

SS Julian and Basilissa

Early monastic saints from Egypt, their life was one of the sources for chapter 4 of the Benedictine Rule.

10 January 

St Paul the first hermit, confessor



St Paul of Thebes (died circa 341) fled to the desert during the persecution of Decius and Valerianus around 250 AD.  His life was written by St Jerome. 


St Peter Orseleo OSB

St Peter was a Doge of Venice, and lived between 928 and 987, who retired to become a monk in 976, and subsequently a hermit.

Not the fifth day in the Octave of the Epiphany

St Gregory of Nyssa (wiki) (Benedictine Confederation 1975 calendar)

11 January 

Not the sixth day in the Octave of the Epiphany

12 January

St Benedict Biscop OSB - English Congregation



St Benedict Biscop (c628-690) was St Bede the Venerable's first abbot, and worked hard to introduce Benedictne monastic life into Northumbria, importing books, church materials, skilled tradesmen and chant instructors in order to build up his monastery.

13 January

Commemoration of the Baptism of Our Lord

14 January

St Hilary of Poitiers, bishop and doctor

St Hilary (c310 –368) was Bishop of Poitiers.  He has a particular importance to the Western monastic tradition for his patronage and encouragement of St Martin of Tours. 

St Felix Nola

15 January 

Our Lady of Prompt Succor (wiki)

SS Maurus and Placid, disciples of St Benedict (Benedictine Confederation 1975 calendar; 5 October in the 1962 calendar)

16 January 

St Marcellus I (Pope & martyr)

St Honorius of Fondi

St Honorius was an Italian monastic founder mentioned in St Gregory the Great's Dialogues as a precedent for St Benedict's lack of a formal apprenticeship in the monastic life in a monastery.

17 January 



St Antony, abbot

18 January 

St Prisca

St Peter's Chair (see 22 Feb)

19 January 

SS Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum, martyrs

St Wulfstan OSB (wiki) (English Congregation)

20 January 

St Fabian (Pope) and St Sebastian, martyrs

21 January

St Agnes virgin and martyr  

St Meinrad OSB

Saint Meinrad (died 861) was a monk of Reichenau who became a hermit, maintaining a shrine with a wonder-working statue of the Virgin Mary.  He was killed by thieves after the treasures left by pilgrims.

22 January 

from the martyrology: St Vincent of Saragosa and St Anastasius

23 January 

St Emerenthiana

24 January 

St Timothy, bishop & martyr


25 January 

Conversion of St Paul (commemoration of St Peter)
From the martyrology: St Poppo OSB

26 January 

St Polycarp, bishop and martyr
From the martyrology: St Paula

St. Robert, St. Alberic and St. Stephen, Abbots of Citeaux (New Clairvaux website) - Optional Memorial (Benedictine Confederation 1975 calendar)

St Bathildis (wiki), Queen of France (Le Barroux)

27 January 

St John Chrysostom, bishop, confessor & doctor Matins reading on the saint

28 January 

St Cyril of Alexandria, bishop, confessor, doctor Matins reading

29 January

St Frances de Sales, bishop, confessor, doctor Matins reading (Roman Office)

30 January 

St Adelgundis OSB (wiki)

31 January

St John Bosco

St Alban Roe OSB, priest and martyr  (English Congregation)

Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Christmas!

Nativité-Heures-Getty.jpg

May you have a happy and holy Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The O Antiphons

Here in Australia it is 17 December, a date that marks the start of our Christmas novena, a period of increased intensity in the Office.

This is actually the most complex period of the year in terms of saying the Office, since you have to juggle the antiphons for the day, psalms of the day, and the proper texts for Advent.  The reward, though, comes in the richness of the texts, above all in the O Antiphons for the Magnificat.

They are of course most commonly sung in their plainchant form.  But I have to admit I kind of like the idea of an O antiphon flashmob...

Monday, December 14, 2015

Blog reorganisation

Just to let readers know I've done a little tidying up of the blog, and in particular transferred a lot of the links I had in sidebars to new pages, which can be accessed from the links on the top bar (under the blog title).

There are now pages for the Ordo (though I'll keep current month stuff in the sidebar), learning the Office, Benedictine spirituality and Office related resources.

Most of this material is not new, just (hopefully) a bit better organised.

There is one new section of material you want to take a look at though, and that is the Office Resources page.  Contains listings of chant books for the Office available online, books about the hymns of the Office and a lot more.  I'd love to add in any other useful resources you are aware of that I may have missed.

PS Feedback on the org, especially if you hate it and want me to put something back n the sidebars, is welcome!