Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lights Arise. A Benedictine oblate blog

Yesterday I visited the St. Leo Abbey church for vespers (5:00 pm) and compline (8:00 pm). After vespers I came back inside the church about 7:00 pm and enjoyed the stillness of the quiet church for about an hour.

There are many events to watch in a quiet church. One is the lights of the saints. The afternoon sun coming through the saints’ stained-glass windows located high on the church’s west wall is cast across the church onto the church’s east wall.

The Florida sun was getting lower in the sky in the west, but the light from the saints’ windows was projected onto the church’s east wall and those patches of light slowly got higher and higher. As the sun was setting the church was fairly dark because there were only a few lights on, but I could still see traces of the saints’ light high on the east wall as if getting ready to ascend beyond the church’s interior at the end of the day.

Each time I sit quietly in the stillness of the St. Leo Abbey church I am amazed at how much action and movement there is in the church. The light through the stained-glass windows of the saints powers some of the movement.

It is movement that is just beneath my ability to see while looking directly at it, but if I look away into the stillness for a minute and then look back, I notice that the light from the saints has just moved up a bit on the opposite wall. After an hour in the church — although the process is slow — there is great change from when I arrived.


Picture is "Kenansville,Florida sunset 2" by crossfirecw

Friday, April 3, 2009

Comparing “Benedictine Daily Prayer” and “The Monastic Diurnal.” A Benedictine oblate blog

Larry posted a comment to this blog asking a question about the “Benedictine Daily Prayer — A Short Breviary” and “The Monastic Diurnal.”

Larry thinks that "The Monastic Diurnal" has a better translation and seems more in depth than the BDP. I agree with Larry.

However, the BDP has Vigils (which the MD does not) and for Vigils the BDP has excellent readings many of which are from the early Church Fathers. And in the BDP section on saints, there are also readings from early Church fathers.

When only comparing the elements that are mostly the same in both books, “The Monastic Diurnal” is more to my liking. But in addition “Benedictine Daily Prayer — A Short Breviary” also has Vigils and readings from the early Church fathers and saints which the MD does not have.

If you like the type of readings in the BDP, then I suggest that the order of getting the books is BDP first and then the MD. On the other hand if not having the readings in your breviary is OK or you especially prefer the beauty of the language in the MD, then I suggest getting the MD first and then maybe get the BDP.

To help you make your own decision, here is the new Breviaries page on the Oblate Spring web site with three examples of the readings from the BDP and a link to excerpts from Thursday Lauds from the BDP and the MD. Here is a direct link to the PDF page containing the two excerpts.

Thank you Larry for a super question. I have been wanting to make a page for comparing the BDP and the MD. Your question is what caused me to do it tonight.