Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year, New Universalis Calendar. A Benedictine oblate blog

Each year around this time I toss out the last page of my Universalis calendar and print a new one for the year. When printed it’s about 16 pages so it folds up nicely and fits well with my stack of books I have for praying the divine office, reading in The Rule of Saint Benedict, and monastic study.

The Universalis calendar has the saints’ and feast days, but many web sites have that. Universalis also has the Psalm Week which is handy if you use Benedictine Daily Prayer (BDP).

Universalis is a leader in electronic versions of the divine office/liturgy of the hours (LOH) see my example of the LOH. You can read the Universalis LOH at their web site, by daily e-mail, on your iphone, and as an e-book on Kindle, Sony Reader, Barnes & Noble, etc. Some parts of Universalis are available as RSS feeds.

While I use a low-tech printed version of the Universalis calendar daily to check what day it is, the wide use of Universalis technology means that it is just a matter of time until we see monks in choir each holding an e-book-type device instead of several sets of liturgical books.

Monks with Kindles? Monasteries will create electronic versions of their liturgy of the hours materials: psalms, readings, and hymns, and download them into all the monks’ devices each week. The devises will have the names of monks beside the parts they are to lead.

I do not know if Universalis will be the first to offer monasteries electronic versions of the entire liturgy of the hours for hand-held devices, but the technology is available and its benefits are becoming more widely accepted.

Whether you enjoy Universalis because you can get a handy paper calendar or enjoy the fact that when sitting at a red light or waiting in line you can read the Office of Readings for the day, take an Internet journey over to the good folks at Universalis and see the future of the liturgy of the hours.


  1. Hey, nice blog!! 

    I too have just printed off this years copy of the Universalis Calendar which is my life-line to all the important parts of my life both as an Oblate [to be] and a Catholic ~ the two cannot be divided really.  It keeps me on the straight and narrow especially which psalter week we're on which always confounds me a few times each year.

    An electronic version of the Liturgy would be just wonderful wouldn't it??  I had a little MP3 from Santa so I shall be on the look out for such a developement.

    Pax to you John and Happy New Year.

    Sharon xx

  2. Hi Sharon, thanks for the comment.  Yes, I am waiting for the liturgy of the hours to be fully linked together and available instantly at the click of a mouse on a Kindle-type device -- with links to the Bible, the Rule of St. Benedict, the Catechism, and General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours among many others basic texts.   Sounds like a good job for medieval monks!  Can you imagine them in a scriptorium filled with computers? 

  3. Thanks for the link to Universalis, which I've bookmarked for further study.  There are also several on-line versions of the Office as set forth in the Book of Common Prayer.  Cyber-ecumenism!

  4. Hi Joe, Happy New Year.

    Cyber-ecumenism: super idea for the online community, thank you.

  5. Hi John:  I can't think of a better way to utilize the latest technologies than to put them to use as spiritual support tools like you have described.  I have a feeling the market for such items would be far larger than businesses realize.  What a great idea you have!  The ease of portability alone would be worth the cost.