Friday, June 8, 2012

7 Quick Takes

Thoughts from my Kindle:

1.  From Mary, Help of Christians:
"We have also the testimony of one of the greatest thinkers and Protestant philosophers, Leibnitz, for the claim that the veneration and invocation of the saints is founded in reason, on Holy Scripture, and on the tradition of the Church.  He writes:  'Because we justly expect great advantage by uniting our prayers with those of our brethren here on earth, I can not understand how it can be called a crime if a person invokes the intercession of a glorified soul, or an angel.  If it be really idolatry or a detestable cult to invoke the saints and the angels to intercede for us with God, I do not comprehend how Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Ambrose, and others, who were hitherto considered saints, can be absolved from idolatry or superstition.  To continue in such a practice would indeed not be a small defect in the Fathers, such as is inherent in human nature -- it would be an enormous public crime.'"

2.  From The Divine Office
"Must the person know the meaning of the words read?  No such knowledge is necessary, for God hears the prayer of the ignorant and illiterate and of the babes.  To the chief priests and scribes, who hearing the children crying out the Saviour's praise in the temple, Christ said  "Yea, have you not read  'out of the mouths of infants and sucklings thou hast perfected praise'" (St. Matth. xxi.  15-16)."

My mother in law once said of my infant, "She's too little to pray."  And I responded, "Who can say how much or how little the soul of a baptized baby is able to pray, before it learns to speak."  I'm not at all sure that my babies don't speak to God in words He understands before they speak to me in words I understand.  And Edward J. Quigley seems to be certain that God hears that mispronounced Our Father as the child begins to speak.

3.   From The Divine Office : giving advice on the fruitful recitation of the Divine Office:
To propose some particular intention before the recitation of the Hours begins, and to renew it during the recitation is an excellent means of guarding against distractions and mechanical routine.  It sustains during the prayer the fervour with which it was begun.  St. Bonaventure said to priests  "Give great attention to the signs (i.e., to the directions about kneeling, standing, sign of cross, etc.), greater attention to the words, and the greatest attention to the (particular) intention."

4.    From The Divine Office, giving a translation of the prayer for use before beginning the Divine Office:
Open Thou, O Lord, my mouth to bless Thy holy name;  cleanse my heart from vain, evil and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding, inflame my will, so that I may worthily, attentively, and devoutly recite this Office and deserve to be heard in the presence of Thy Divine Majesty.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.
O Lord, in union with that divine intention wherewith Thou whilst here on earth didst Thyself praise God, I offer these Hours to Thee.
I think this might be a good response to the question Jen posed about learning to love the psalms.

5.   From The Divine Office
St. Bonaventure recommended that at each Hour some thought of the mysteries of the life and death of Christ should be held in mind.  Thus, Matins, the night office, might be offered up in honour of the birth and infancy of Christ; Lauds, in honour of his resurrection;  Terce, in honour of the coming of the Holy Ghost;  None, in memory of Christ's death;  Vespers, in thanksgiving for the Eucharist.

6.   From The Divine Office 
Deus in adjutorium meum intende.
Domine ad adjuvandum me festina.  
These words, the opening words of Psalm 69, were always and everywhere used by the monks of old, says Cassian, who called this short prayer the formula of piety, the continual prayer.  The Church repeats it often in her Office.  St. John Climacus says it is the great cry of petition for help to triumph over our invisible enemy, who wishes to distract us and to mar our prayer.  It should be said with humility and with confidence in God.  In repeating these holy words we make the sign of the Cross;  for, all grace comes from the sacrifice of the Cross;  and besides, it is a holy and ancient practice to begin all good works with the sacred sign.

7.     From The Divine Office 
The verse which serves at the antiphon text contains the fundamental thought of the psalm to which it is sung and indicates the point of view from which it is to be understood.  In other words, it gives the key to the liturgical and mystical meaning of the psalm, with regard to the feast on which it occurs.

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