Saturday, December 01, 2007

Robbed by the "reform"

Traditional Trappist Divine Office Book

As I had mentioned in a previous post, I got a Monastic Diurnal and have been trying to pray the Benedictine Office from that.

While I can't say all the Hours of the Divine Office, I have been getting a bit more in lately.

I must say that having the Latin/English side by side has really helped me in reading the Psalmody. Not only does the English help me to understand the text more quickly, but since I am reading the Latin, I see the actual words and sometimes see the the fuller meaning that a translation can't quite reveal.

One thing I have also noticed is how the modern Liturgy of the Hours has been "censored."

I cannot believe that the official prayer of the Church has been edited so that certain lines in the Psalms have been removed. (Actually it doesn't surprise me that much with all the improper implementations of the liturgical renewal of Vatican II, the Divine Office being one of the victims).
I was also slightly aware of this ever since I read the General Intruction of the Liturgy of the Hours.
"#131. Three psalms (58, 83, and 109) have been omitted from the psalter cycle because of their curses; in the same way, some verses have been omitted from certain psalms, as noted at the head of each. The reason for the omission is a certain psychological difficulty, even though the psalms of imprecation are in fact used as prayer in the New Testament, for example, Rv 6:10, and in no sense to encourage the use of curses."

I cannot believe this. The word of God has become inappropriate!?!? "Psychological difficulty?" What the heck does that mean? A bit of catechesis can do wonders for the faithful.

For example, probably the most shocking line out of the Psalms comes from Psalm 136 verse 9:
"Beátus, qui tenébit, et allídet párvulos tuos ad petram"
(Blessed is he who takes their babies and dashes them against the rock)

Although this sounds rather frightful, we must look at the spiritual meaning. Saint Benedict says that this refers to how we should deal with temptations: while they are young we should dash them against the Rock of Christ so that they do not grow and harm our souls (Prologue:28). Saint Augustine says that "we dash the little ones of Babylon against the rock, when we mortify our pssions, and stifle the first motions of them, by a speedy recourse to the rock, which is Christ."

I am starting to see why, when Pope Benedict wrote Summorum Pontificum, he not only allowed the old Mass to be said, but also allowed priests to say the traditional Roman Divine Office too.

BTW, I highly recommend this Monastic Diurnal if you are interested in saying (or just learning) the traditional Benedictine Office. This is very helpful in learning the Psalms better and all the rubrics are in English, so it makes figuring things out much easier. I have a full Breviarium Monasticum and an Antiphonale Monasticum, but since they are completely in Latin, I have to struggle with the rubrics. And, although the Abbey is in England, I (in the United States) had no problems purchasing it through their website.



Anonymous said...

As for those who gave us the emasculated Psalter, "I hate them with a perfect hate/ and they are foes to me" (Ps 139:22).

Roman Sacristan said...

Week IV, Wednesday, Evening Prayer is where that should be, but right there it says: "Psalm 139: 1-18,24-25"

Saint Robert Bellarman says this about it: "It is no wonder that he who has his eyes fixed on God, and who cleaves to him with his whole heart, should avow that he hated them who hated Him, and that he should pine away with grief and sadness on beholding Him so insulted by the wicked. And his hatred of them was intense; for it was 'a perfect hatred,' consummate and irreconcilable, but applying to the sin, and not to the sinner [my emphasis-RS] and he, therefore, observes, 'And they are become enemies to me.' I was no enemy of theirs-for I merely sought to correct and reform them-but they became enemies to me, by reason of my having so reproved and sought to reform them."

Matt said...

hey there RS -

I have been paining away here trying to decide whether or not I should jump to the full LOTH from my Christian Prayer, buy the Monastic Diurnal now, or wait for Baronius' Press Breviary from 1961(2).

My issue is this. I hear all the time how great the Office of Readings is. The readings that I have are great so I figured I should upgrade to the full LOTH. But since I'm sort of a trad I appreciate the fuller experience of the older liturgical styles and languages. Not to mention the idea that in the traditional liturgies many of the prayers are ancient.

Pulling pieces out of the psalms brothers the heck out of me too.

But is Matins worth holding off for until Baronius' edition? I would love to hear your commentary on which version of the office you find most edifying.