Monday 3rd January 2011: feria
Previous to the snipping away at the calendar in the last preconciliar liturgical reforms, to-day was the Octave Day of St John the Evangelist; which gave place, in the Dominican Rite, to the feast of Blessed Zedislava of Berkiana, Matron! As it is, according to the books in force in 1962 (here we bow the knee to Pope Benedict, unlike some querulous persons), to-day is a Christmastide feria; the Dominican Breviary therefore directs the ferial antiphons and psalms to be said, with all else to be taken from the Circumcision, except for the Lessons at Matins and the Collect, perhaps copied from the Roman books as it is the Marian Deus qui salutis æternæ (though one could hardly repeat the Dominican Collect for the Octave Day, and it does appear as a Marian Memorial from the 2nd of January until the end of the Epiphany Octave). The Matins Responsories for to-day are taken from the 2nd Nocturn of the Octave of the Nativity.
Making a very leisurely start to the day, I had the time and inclination to read Matins as well as Lauds, Prime and Terce – the Matins psalms are old friends too long neglected! I must devote some time to read over the Lessons (Romans ix, 21-23, 24-27 and 28-31).
Truly, verbum abbreviatum faciet Dominus super terram, “a short word shall the Lord make upon the earth” (Rom. ix, 28b): from this and allied texts comes the idea of the Verbum abbreviatum, of the Eternal Word, becoming incarnate, the Uncontainable “contained in little space” – and of the derived notion of lectio divina: reading, marking, learning and inwardly digesting the sacra pagina, the sacred page of Scripture, in devout contemplation of God’s word.
To-day was spent in visiting my dear great-uncle and great-aunt, much beloved and now very elderly, in their house at Pakenham: God bless them.