Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Retreat Report

I observed yesterday as a quasi-retreat; I decided to commit myself to a more rigorous schedule of prayer, and so took up the various additional services in the Breviary, such as the Little Office, the Office of the Dead, and so forth:
The Gradual Psalms with their prayers;
Matins & Lauds of the Blessed Virgin;
Matins & Lauds of the Day (Feast of SS Cyril and Methodius, Confessor-Bishops, Apostles of the Slavs);
Preces of Lauds;
Matins (only one Nocturn) & Lauds of the Dead (the "Dirge");
Penitential Psalms & Litanies of the Saints.
Preparation for Mass (incl. the accession office of psalms);
(Mass itself, of course!);
Thanksgiving after Mass & sundry other prayers.
Owing to the time of Mass (7.45am) some of these items got a bit out of their ideal order, which I had carefully looked up and here reproduce! In any case, we were all at our prayers after Mass till 9am, and then went to have some coffee and read the newspapers.
I then had some tasks to fulfil, such as to collect my new pair of spectacles (only $307, after my health insurance took care of the rest). But to continue...
Prime of the Day;
Prime of Our Lady (inserted before the Martyrology);
Athanasian Creed with Anthem & Collect of the Trinity;
Ferial Preces of Prime;
Litany of St Joseph.
Invocation of the Holy Ghost;
Terce of the Day;
Terce of Our Lady;
Ferial Preces of Lauds (repeated, as the Carthusians do);
Litany of the Holy Name.
Lunch - with Grace before and after.
I went to donate blood, but had it rescheduled for Friday. Next, I had to go south of the river to look for some Catholic supplies, and ended up having a pleasant walk around Point Walter...
Sext of the Day;
Sext of Our Lady;
Ferial Preces of Lauds (repeated, as the Carthusians do);
Litany of the Sacred Heart.
None of the Day;
None of Our Lady;
Ferial Preces of Lauds (repeated, as the Carthusians do);
3 o'clock prayers;
Litany of the Precious Blood.
I had to do some grocery shopping, and then make some soup; as relaxation I read the rather nasty life story of Bertolt Brecht, an amoralist if ever there was one.
Dinner - with Grace before and after, and some Scripture reading (Romans viii).
In the evening, I went to Highgate to attend Exposition there, and there said -
Vespers of Our Lady;
Vespers of the Day;
Vespers of the Dead ("Placebo");
Litany of the Blessed Sacrament;
Litany of St Philip Neri.
At night -
De Profundis &c. for the Dead;
Canon to my Guardian Angel (a Byzantine devotion);
Compline of the Day;
Compline of Our Lady;
Preces of Compline;
Commemoration of St Benedict pro bona morte;
Litany of Our Lady.
It would be good to be able to observe such a schedule for a while, even as a hermit; but of course meditation, Rosary, lectio divina and reflection on the last things would have to be added in - Newman, after all, read the Dies irae and all the prayers for the commendation of the soul every day after Mass, to keep death in view and to prepare himself for it. I was going to do the same after Compline but was too tired!


Anonymous said...

Sheesh! And now I feel bad for not always getting the Office said each day...

How do you keep that up all the time? Are there particular ways of thinking that should be absolutely avoided?

Re glasses, I wish there were somewhere like Glasses Direct in your neck of the woods.

Joshua said...

No, no, this was solely a very intense one-off "retreat day" - there's no way this could or should fit in with normal work commitments!

(It worked out to over 100 psalms alone, which if you're not a hermit is really nutty - of course, if you are, it's quite normal.)

Normally I'm really pushing it to say the day's Office, plus the Angelus and some short prayers upon getting up (Acts of faith,hope,charity and contrition).

I find getting Matins said the hardest - once it's done, the rest is OK; my temptation would be to just say the day hours, but I would feel slack if I left Matins out.

BTW, I'm sure there are ways of accessing Glasses Direct here, but this was an emergency after my one and only pair broke last week.