Monday, December 29, 2008

The Lengthy Matins of Christmas

On average, the psalmody at Matins extends for 115 verses (and only 87 on Sundays).  Unfortunately, however, the very devout and well-chosen selection of psalms for Christmas Matins extends for 170 verses, including the notoriously long Ps 88 (Misericordias Domini in æternum cantabo), and these psalms are repeated each day of the Octave, except for the three feasts!  (St Stephen's Matins are of One Martyr, and are particularly short, having only 90 verses; those of St John Evangelist and of the Holy Innocents, again from their matching Commons, have a more or less normal 119 and 111 verses respectively.)

I daresay after I've served Mass I'll be on my knees in the chapel for a while, getting through Matins and Lauds, and probably Prime as well.  No rest for the wicked!


I had to rush to get to Carmel in time to tog up and serve Mass...  Fr preached a very devout sermon on the text Simeon took the Child Jesus into his arms (cf. St Luke ii, 28), pointing out what a joy it must have been for this aged priest to hold in his arms the Promised Messiah, and with what tender rapture Our Lady and St Joseph must have cradled the Divine Infant: parents know this inexpressible joy of cradling their own children, their own gifts from God; but how surpassing wonderful to hold the very Word made flesh, made a helpless infant for us - Nobis natus, nobis datus.  Now, Holy Mass is the Divine Sacrifice of Calvary made present, but every Mass is also Christmas, our Jesus coming to us in the Sacrament of the Altar: so the privilege of holy Simeon is extended to us!  We ought pray for suffering families and for children who have not the love of parents, who lack the embrace of love that all human beings truly need, and beg the Lord at Communion time for the grace of a tender devoted love issuing in selfless service.

After Mass (about 40 minutes with sermon), another 40 minutes for Matins, Lauds and Prime!  I sat rather than knelt, I must admit.  (And St Thomas of Canterbury gets but a commemoration at Lauds.)

After Mass and Office - a coffee and the paper at the local café.  

God's in His heaven, all's right with the world.


Anonymous said...

Ach, poor you! I'm sure I've asked before, but don't you anticipate Matins?

Joshua said...

I *should* but don't - maybe I'll do so to-night...