Wednesday, September 17, 2014

St. Augustine Makes Bishops Squirm

picture credit: blacksoil.wordpress.com

If I were a bishop or even a priest,  I might want to use the Office of Readings for every saint's memorial that occurs between September 16th and 28th. It would mean avoiding nine out of twelve days of reading "99 Ways a Bishop is Likely to End up in Hell.", otherwise known as St. Augustine's sermon on Pastors.

As a layperson reading this, I have come to a few conclusions:

1. I'm really glad I'm not a bishop.
2. I can't imagine anyone wanting such a responsibility.
3. Since Augustine's warnings apply, to a lesser degree, to priests as well, it reminds us what an awesome (as in awe-full, or awful) responsibility they have as well, and how we laity have a very serious responsibility to pray for them as well as our bishops. A lot.
4.  I'll bet this yearly dose of Augustine on Pastors, thought not pleasant, does good bishops and priests a lot of good. A yearly reminder to pray hard, work hard, be humble, and daily throw themselves on Christ's mercy.
5. Don't even want to think about not so good bishops and priests who read this and ignore it, or pat themselves on the back imagining that they are in no danger of the faults Augustine describes.
6. Even back in the early centuries, the clergy and hierarchy must have been an extremely mixed bag if this is what St.Augustine felt he had to tell them.
7.St. Augustine gave really long sermons.

this post originally appeared in 2012





Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Checking in. Q&A. Varied and Sundry Remarks.

Lately--like for the last six months--blogging has been like confession. I'm always promising myself to blog twice a week and go to confession once a month. In reality this turns into blogging every two weeks and confessing every six to eight weeks. If Dante was correct, I know which circle in purgatory I'll end up in. The one where people are made to run. A lot. This is to imitate Mary, who "made haste" to do what her vocation demanded of her, unlike us slothful procrastinators.


  • Then again part of my problem is not mere procrastination. I'm running out of new things to say! If any of you would like to comment on a particular day's office, or a particular psalm, reading, or antiphon, I'd love to look it over and publish it here as a guest post, assuming your command of basic English grammar is okay and your piece is not riddled with heresy. :)    


  • The emerging fall weather (emerging in my part of the world since mid-August, for some strange reason) has had me out on my (recently purchased) bike, cruising along the lovely, flat bike trails along the Allegheny river and a local creek or two.   A recent ride reminded me of one of the benefits of regularly praying the Hours: those psalms are always with you, and pop up into one's consciousness in response to all sorts of things. So I'm riding along, thinking what fun it is to be riding a bike again for the first time in decades. Just then, a bald eagle comes gliding up the river, passing within maybe twenty yards of me. After my shock and awe fades a bit, that verse from Psalm 103 about God "renewing your youth like an eagle's" pops up. How perfect for my rediscovery of the childhood joy of bike riding. (Here's an old post about how eagles get their youth renewed, and by the way this psalm will be in the OOR psalter tomorrow)  A bit later, a doe with two fawns crosses my path. Although this regularly freaks me out when I'm driving around here, it's a lovely sight on a bike trail. The threesome was heading down to the river for a drink, presumably. I then reflected that in these parts, a deer need not "yearn" for running streams, since they can find them everywhere they turn. Finally, the raucous noise of several recently fledged crows, still demanding to be fed by their worn out parents, brought to mind the young ravens that call upon God for their food in Psalm 147. Now, I do have to add there was no verse when a porcupine waddled by, nor when I spotted turtles on a river rock, but I guess "all you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord" from the Daniel Canticle would have worked.
  • Last time I blogged here, it was to give a glowing review to the Hymnal for the Hours.  Since then I've been happily wasting lots of time trying out not one, but several different new hymns for each hour.  The hymnal gave many different selections for Sunday's Exaltation of the Holy Cross and yesterday's Our Lady of Sorrows, including several versions of the Stabat Mater, which one doesn't get to sing liturgically outside of lent, so that was exciting. (yeah,I know, the things a liturgy geek gets excited about.)   Gregorian  hymns are written in various modes (musical scales)  other than ones that most modern western music uses (and by modern I mean since the year 1600!) So some of these hymn melodies sound better than others to my modern ears. But when I find one that I like, I like it a whole lot. Anyway, I am continually grateful to Father Weber for the great gift he has given us in arranging, editing, and sometimes translating these hymns. So today when I found out that his his book, Prayer of the Hours, is available as a free download.   I just jumped for joy, and then jumped willingly through the hoops to set up an account at Lulu.com in order to get it. This book is 300 pages of Father's teaching notes on courses he gives about the Liturgy of the Hours. I haven't started it yet, but can't wait. It's sure to be something wonderful.
  • Okay. My son will be home from school shortly, so I have to go.   If you have any questions or comments  about the Liturgy of the Hours the comments section below is the place to put them.