Lent is Here [Article Updated 2/17/18]
Question on Liturgy of the Hours
Finally, let the Bear make a recommendation about the Liturgy of the Hours, or Opus Dei, as it is called in the Benedictine tradition. The official LOTH you will find entitled "Christian Prayer" (one volume) or the complete multi-volume set, or the "Shorter Christian Prayer" (four-week psalter) have all been bowdlerized by removing the most Bearish parts, such as shattering heads, and piling up bodies.
The advantage of Christian Prayer or the LOTH is that it follows the calendar. You've got saints, and propers, and seasons, oh my! Poor old Bear does not remember what all. It is quite complicated, and the instructions for chanting aren't very clear. But, by investing only slightly more time than it takes to learn to fly a 737, you can master all of it. The Bear did.
But, again, pfft.
Liturgy of the Hours for Benedictine Oblates
Incomplete example of tones. It is very handy. If we go on a day trip, the Bear brings it along. It has 415 pages, and is an inch thick. It is nowhere near as big as Christian Prayer or LOTH. You can see how well broken in this copy is. (You can't see the coffee spills.)
|Here's a psalm (old numbering) that throws a six-line stanza at you, then continues with ordinary four-line stanzas. Oh, it has three ribbons, too, which is plenty for a four-week psalter.|
Let the Bear make a pitch for this little gem from St. Meinrad Archabbey. It is a four-week psalter using the Grail translation, and those nice, hospitable Benedictines don't shy away from the Bearish bits. It is made especially for their oblates, is very clear, and provides a beautiful prayerful experience. It is absolutely meant to be sung. There are eight tones you have to learn. And eight more variants for the occasional five or six stanza psalms.
You don't have to be an oblate!
Yes, it is a bit of an investment of time. You'll have to practice. The Bear ran off a copy of the tones and would practice them in the car, at the dentist (very difficult)
or at the racetrack. Red Death and he would play "name that tone" (no joke). The Bear found an iPhone app called iChant which was very helpful.
The tones occupy two pages at the back, and sometimes the Bear must still flip back for a reminder while praying. It's okay. There are also the beautiful Latin Salve Regina, Ave Maria Caelorum (Lent), Regina Caeli Laetare (Easter) and Alma Redemptoris Mater (Advent and Christmas) that are sung after Compline. (And after Compline, oblates don't speak, which can produce some fun games of charades.)
If a Bear can do it, you can! Lauds in the morning, Midday, Vespers toward evening and Compline at bedtime. Talk about sanctifying your whole day!
It is a beautiful experience, the best way to pray (according to the Benedictines, anyway). The Bear posted a recording of him singing Lauds in its entirety a while back. (An exercise in humility, since Bears are not very good singers.)
The Bear begs you to chant the hours! And your best bet is the four-week psalter from St. Meinrad Archabbey. St. Benedict would put up with a lot from his monks, but skipping the Opus Dei was not tolerated. There is a story of a good enough monk that would nonetheless always find a reason to be someplace else when the community gathered for Opus Dei. St. Benedict immediately saw what the problem was. A demon in the form of a small, black boy had him by the sleeve and was leading him away!
By the way, if you should ever have the experience of visiting St. Meinrad (in southern Indiana) you will be able to sing right along with the monks. At home, you are singing just like the real monks.
And the Bear will let you in on a little secret. Even with an organ, they're not pitch perfect, either.