Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Only 7 Pony-Eating Days Until Lent! [Photo Update]

Lent is Here [Article Updated 2/17/18]

My, the time flies on the liturgical calendar! Just yesterday, it seems, he was enjoying tasty pony meat with a fairly clean conscience (for a Bear).

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.


  1. Thank you so much for this. Would it be possible for you to scan a few pages so we all can see what it looks like? Sometimes, text layout is important. It would also give us a feel for how it reads compared to other LOTHs.

    Also how big is the book? Size as well as pages. Is it easy to put in a pocket or is it something to lug around?

  2. I wonder what is your opinion of the "Magnificat" monthly prayer books, based on the LOTH? I've been using them for some time and I like them a lot, but what you have written makes me wonder whether they are a very inferior form of LOTH?

    1. I think they're nice, and easy to use. They are not the LOTH. I happened to see the question recently whether they might substitute for those required to say the hours. My personal opinion is that it is better to learn to do the real thing. But if you want a sort of one-stop-shop for prayer, reading and contemplation, and don't care to learn the hours, it's a nice, but very different, publication.

  3. Hey thanks Bear! I will look into this, positively.
    You are a helpful, funny old dear.

    1. Kathleen1031, you said exactly what I thought and I hope the grizzly won't take offense at "old dear" ha, because, well, he is. But I would not trade his wisdom and humor for a younger one. He is encouraging us to pray in an old..tried and true way. God bless him! I enjoy this reading this Bear's thoughts and even more sometimes, the comments, like yours :)

    2. I'd be careful ladies of calling the Bear "old", even if he is over 900 years old. You may end up as dinner.

  4. The Breviary is also available for free online using these apps:
    1. LOTH (Norvus Ordo): iBreviary HD
    2. Divine Office (Tradional Latin Mass): BrevMeum HD
    (It can also be found at the website

    But as the Bear suggests, it's probably good to have hard copy too.


Moderation is On.

Featured Post

Judging Angels Chapter 1 Read by Author

Quick commercial for free, no-strings-attached gift of a professionally produced audio book of Judging Angels, Chapter 1: Last Things, read...