All posts tagged: Liturgy of the Hours

Vision for Young Adults: A Summer Retreat for 20- and 30-Somethings

The goal of Notre Dame Vision for Young Adults (YA) was simple. Bring together a group of individuals for a week of prayer, reflection, and rest. The idea was to set a simple schedule where people gather together to pray Morning and Evening Prayer and attend daily Mass together, to listen to and reflect about professionals living out their faith, and to delight in the company of others and the quiet of a summer on campus at Notre Dame. If I am totally honest, my expectations were pretty modest. Perhaps the modesty of my expectations was due to my doubt about the saints. One of the many spiritual pitfalls is treating the communion of saints as (and only as) historical Christian giants who have made it possible for me to consider the different roads that lead to Christ. Ignatius taught me to consider the experience of God; Francis led me to constant material critique; Blaise to be careful when eating chicken wings; and Cecilia to make music part of my prayer. The litany of the …

An Invitation to Vespers

Each month, a small group of people gathers in the Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy in Geddes Hall to pray Vespers, the evening prayer of the Church. We sing a hymn, we chant the psalms, we hear the words of Scripture, we listen to a homily offered by a member of the Notre Dame community, we offer intercessions for different needs, we celebrate the liturgical cycle of feasts and seasons—in short, we step away from the demands of academia and work in order to enter intentionally into the life and prayer of the Church. The structure of Vespers itself never varies: greeting, hymn, psalms and/or canticles, reading, homily, responsory, Magnificat, intercessions, Lord’s Prayer, closing collect, dismissal, sign of peace. The whole thing takes thirty minutes, tops. The experience of Vespers, though, is different every time we gather. The psalms, antiphons, and readings change. The homilist changes, providing a new person’s perspective as he or she reflects on the Scriptures. The feasts and seasons change: right now, sunlight still fills the chapel when we pray, …

My Heart is Ready

It is the LORD who keeps faith for ever, who is just to those who are oppressed. It is he who gives bread to the hungry, the LORD, who sets prisoners free, the LORD who gives sight to the blind, who raises up those who are bowed down, the LORD, who protects the stranger, and upholds the widow and orphan. It is the LORD who loves the just but thwarts the path of the wicked. The LORD will reign for ever, Zion’s God from age to age. (Psalm 146:6b–10a) Again and again I need to be reminded that in a special way, God is with the childlike, the poor, “the babes” as Gustavo Gutierrez translates from the Greek. When first sitting with and praying with these Scriptures, I realized that I wanted a magical God to swoop in and change the situations described in Psalm 146. How is our God just to those who remain oppressed? How does God give bread to those who remain hungry? How does God protect the stranger? Uphold the widow …

Receiving the One Who Gives

All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David. (Is 55:1–3)­ We are all thirsty. We are all hungry. We are all poor. However, if we heed the Lord we are given water and wine, milk and grain. Indeed, we delight in rich fare; it is the banquet of our God. The prophet’s words to those dispersed to participate in God’s plan for the restoration of Israel need not be locked in a purely historical framing. The prophet extends the promises made to David to the whole of God’s people; a renewed promise to all who are thirsty, to all who are poor—that …

Love in the Peaks and the Valleys

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all just as we about in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (1 Thes 3:12-13) A friend of mine graduated from college and started a volunteer program in a city far from home where she would serve for two years. I remember speaking to her shortly before she left home to start orientation. I was struck by what it was she was most looking forward to for its simplicity and clarity. She said she was just so excited to love—that loving was what she’d be spending her time doing in a thoughtful, intentional way. She would love the people she’d live with in her household community, colleagues, and the children she served. She and I caught up a few times in the first few months of her service, and I listened as …

Preaching at the Liturgy of the Hours

How might we preach at the Liturgy of the Hours? On the one hand, what is unique about preaching in this context? Is there something about this setting which suggests a particular homiletic approach different from preaching at Sunday Eucharist? On the other, what does preaching at the Hours have in common with other forms of liturgical preaching? For the sake of this essay, I will focus on the two “hinges” of the Liturgy of the Hours (LOH)[1]—Morning and Evening Prayer[2]—and will exclude special considerations such as preaching at the LOH in the context of funeral rites or Eucharistic Adoration.[3] Finally, I use the word “homily” to refer to the form of preaching which “flows from and immediately follows the scriptural readings of the liturgy and which leads to the celebration of the sacraments”[4] or to the non-sacramental rite being celebrated, whether the preacher is ordained or not.[5] As in other forms of preaching, I would argue that the preacher at the LOH is challenged to attend to multiple factors in crafting his or her …

Music of Holy Week: Holy Saturday

Recessit Pastor Noster (1585) by Tomás Luis de la Victoria (1548–1611) After the sorrow of the Cross, the Church enters into the silence of Holy Saturday. The Roman Missal states: “On Holy Saturday the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb in prayer and fasting, meditating on his Passion and Death and on his Descent into Hell, and awaiting his Resurrection” (Holy Saturday §1). The Roman Missal goes on to state that “the Church abstains from the Sacrifice of the Mass, with the sacred table left bare until after the solemn Vigil, that is the anticipation by night of the Resurrection” (ibid., §2); thus, the Liturgy of the Hours becomes the way in which she keeps vigil for the Resurrection of her Lord.  Today’s piece, written for a Tenebrae service for Holy Saturday, mourns the death of the Good Shepherd who has laid down his life for his sheep. The play between major and minor tonalities throughout this piece serve as a musical commentary on the interplay between darkness and light. The darkness has seemingly triumphed: …