Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stabat Mater

The Bear and his mate have added the Office of Readings to our Morning Prayer from the Divine Office. Has the Bear's frequent mentions of the Liturgy of the Hours (LOTH) piqued your curiosity, friends known and unknown? We began it about three years ago, as it is required for Benedictine Oblates. It takes awhile to learn and become prayerful, but it is worth it. It is available in the following formats:
  • Four-volume complete set of the LOTH
  • One volume "Christian Prayer" that has the full Morning and Evening prayers, plus Night and Daytime prayers, and a large selection of hymns (this is the one we usually use)
  • Four-Week cycle of psalms with hymns, intended to be chanted to the eight tones of St. Meinrad Monastery (the publisher, and the Benedictine monastery to which we are attached)
There are also instructional books, such as the charming Divine Office for Dodos. To pick out the tones (short lines of music for chant) there is the indispensable iChant app for iOS and Android. On the subject of apps:
  • Divine Office is unique in that it has audio in addition to the on-screen material. Audio has been a mixed blessing as some of the volunteer readers have indulged in overwrought interpretative dramatics. Fortunately, they are finally addressing that. It is definitely the easiest way to learn the rubrics and get a feel for how it all is supposed to sound.
  • Universalis is an app that puts everything you need into your hands, although you will have to supply the sound yourself. This is another good way to learn the rubrics, and a very handy way to pray the Hours. You don't have to be tethered to a wireless connection, either, which makes it good for day trips.
 If you should decide to give it a try, feel free to bring any questions to the Bear. It can appear quite formidable, but is really much simpler than it looks.

Today we sang the haunting Stabat Mater from the Adoremus Hymnal. The Bear was struck by one verse:

Who could see from tears refraining
Christ's dear mother uncomplaining,
In so great a sorrow bowed.

The Bear couldn't help but notice the profound difference between this traditional treatment of that dolorous scene and the bitter, raving woman spitting accusations toward a silent sky. These little things matter.

But that's for another time.


  1. Praying the Liturgy of the Hours is complicated. Lots of page turning. There is a reason for those book marks with several ribbons! I have fumbled through figuring out how to do LotH during adoration. I do have the "Christian Prayer" book. I had prior bought a small St Joseph brand "Daily Prayer Book" with a week's worth of morning and evening prayer for the idiot like me. I confess I mostly rely on the St Joseph book. It has hymns, seasonal meditations, excerpts from some saint' writings, and additional prayers to Mary, the stations, etc. It might be good for the starter.
    I concur re: Stabat Mater. I enjoy that hymn during this season.

  2. We're teaching Stabat Mater (in Latin) to the students! The boys especially liked recognizing the word "gladius". :-)

  3. Once you know it, it seems impossible that you ever found it confusing! But it was a jumble of unfamiliar jargon to me for the longest time. We're lucky to have apps like Universalis and Divine Office to make it easy now.

  4. I really like the ibreviary and also the Office is found on Laudate.


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