Wednesday, January 13, 2016
The Little Office: My second part of "Mass and office"
So far this year I've hung up the rosary (except when driving) for a form of the office again, a light version of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mimicking the Roman Breviary but not nearly as hard; an office for the laity. Matins (the light option: only one nocturn, changing with the day of the week) & Lauds and Vespers, on my train commute. Book from the Capuchins in '54 featuring Pius XII's clunky new version of the Latin with an English translation. I go back and forth: if I remember a traditional Book of Common Prayer translation I use it; if I remember the Vulgate I sometimes use it. I always do the Marian anthem and its collect in Latin, even though "it's not about Latin." When you do the office, you remember it's still Christmas until Feb. 2! I love the antiphons. O admirabile commercium: creator generis humani, animatum corpus sumens, de virgine nasci dignatus est, et procedens homo sine semine, largitus est nobis suam deitatem.
Monks are an intense, specialized Christian community. (Full-fledged nuns are women monks.) Specializing in the church's other official prayer besides the Mass, the office: psalms, readings, hymns, and Gospel canticles. Through the Little Office, since the Middle Ages, devout Western laity "in the world" have been able in spirit to join them in prayer. Some, oblates/tertiaries, are extended parts of some communities. Oremus.