Feast of Mary, Mother of God? (aka New Year, aka Circumcision of Christ aka Octave Day of Christmas)



This Sunday's feast is curious in that it has undergone a number of name changes in recent years - yet retained its key text, viz  St Luke 2:21, which describes the circumcision of Our Lord.

Traditionally, this Sunday would have been the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord. The feast celebrated the first time the blood of Christ was shed, and thus the beginning of the process of the redemption of man. It also serves to demonstrate that Christ was fully human, and his obedience to Biblical law.

In the 1962 Calendar (including the Benedictine Universal Calendar), all of the traditional texts for the feast are retained, but the name is dropped in favour of the Octave Day of the Nativity.

In the Novus Ordo calendar, it has become the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, apparently for reasons of ecumenism (with the Eastern Orthodox).

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...

On calendars and ordos...


For those wanting to say some form of the Benedictine Office in 2012, I thought it might be helpful to include links to various online Ordos and calendars.

There are essentially three (licit) choices as far as calendars and ordos go, but quite a few variants to them, so herewith a guide!

Why calendars and rubrics are important

Once upon a time (essentially between Trent and Vatican II) the delegation to say the Divine Office on behalf of the Church was restricted to priests and religious. 

Current Church law opens up the Office to the laity as well, but that brings with it great responsibility.

The Office is not just some other prayer that you can just toss off - even when said by one person alone, the presumption will normally be that it is part of the official public, liturgical prayer of the Church.   Thus it must be said in line with the rules that go with it.

That means paying attention to the rubrics, and using an approved calendar.

Benedictine 1963 (EF)

The first and easiest approach, open to any Benedictine Oblate, is to use the Benedictine universal calendar for 1963, adding in any local feasts for your region, country, diocese, monastery and parish church.

This calendar is pretty similar to the 1962 Extraordinary Form one, though there are some variations in the number and level of feasts.

The Farnborough Diurnal is keyed to this calendar, and the monthly Ordo on this blog (or if you want it by emails/word file, join the tradben yahoo group) should help you find the appropriate pages in the book.

Adapting the Benedictine to the Extraordinary From calendar

If you are attending daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form some place that is not a Benedictine monastery, you may want to adapt the Office you say to reflect the Mass of the day.  That is actually pretty easy to do, and I think it can be argued, perfectly licit - the liturgical seasons and major feasts are mostly identical; just make use of the 'Commons' of the appropriate type of saint and, if desired, use the collect of the day from your missal.  Some traditional monasteries actually do more or less follow the EF calendar appropriate to their country, one of which is Le Barroux.

Novus Ordo/Ordinary Form calendar

It is of course possible to adapt the traditional Office to one or more variants of the Novus Ordo calendar, and indeed the monastery of Solesmes has published a series of volumes doing just that, including canticle antiphons and collects linked to the novus ordo three year lectionary.  The problem for many is that these volumes are in Latin only, and there are as far as I can discover no authorised English translations.  There are, however, an unauthorized set of translations you could use for study purposes here.

One solution for those praying the Office devotionally rather than liturgically if you want to stick with the traditional psalter but don't have enough Latin (and aren't prepared to learn a little!), would be to start from the Farnborough Diurnal but take the collects and Sunday canticle antiphons, etc from a current edition of the Liturgy of the Hours.

To that you could add the list of the standard Novus Ordo Benedictine feasts for the Order as a whole here.

Note that you will need to be very familiar with the traditional Office though to find the right parts!

Calendars and rubrics for individual monasteries/congregations

As the Benedictine "order' is very loosely connected indeed, most monasteries (or groups of monasteries) actually have the authority (within limits) to set up own calendars and often variants to the rubrics - Le Barroux for example, retains I Vespers for Class II feasts; and some traditional monasteries use the 1963 Office but with what is (more or less) the Novus Ordo calendar.

So if you are an Oblate, try and obtain the Ordo of the monastery you are affiliated to, and adapt the Office accordingly.

Or, if you are affiliated with a monastery of a particular Congregation, use their Ordo in association with the 'Commons of Saints':
  • Norcia in Italy provides a weekly ordo to go along with their broadcasts of the Office;
  • a calendar for the monasteries of the English Congregation is available online;
  • so too, the American Cassinese (note large file).
There may be others, if so do let me know.

Older calendars...

There are of course many older Diurnals and Breviaries around, and so many do use the older calendar that comes with them.

My personal view is that while studying these older variations can be helpful, actually using them is a form of liturgical abuse, an example of the liturgical creativity of recent decades infecting even traditionalists.

It isn't at all hard, after all, to use these older books but apply the 1963 calendar and rubrics.

Still, if you must, you can buy calendars for the Western or Orthodox rites over at Lancelot Andrewes Press...

Fifth Day in the Octave of the Nativity (Dec 29)/St Thomas of Canterbury

Bernadino Luini c1525-30

In the Extraordinary Form calendar today, and in many places, today is the feast of St Thomas of Canterbury, better known as St Thomas a Becket, martyred in his own Cathedral for defending the rights of the Church against the State.

Holy Innocents (December 28)



Giotto, c1304
 The Biblical account of the reasons for this ancient feast of the first martyrs for Christ is St. Matthew 2:16-18:

"Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: A voice in Rama was heard, lamentation and great mourning; Rachel bewailing her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not."

St John the Evangelist (December 27)


c1125
Pope Benedict XVI has given a series of General Audiences on St John.  Here is the first of the series:

"Let us dedicate our meeting today to remembering another very important member of the Apostolic College: John, son of Zebedee and brother of James. His typically Jewish name means: "the Lord has worked grace". He was mending his nets on the shore of Lake Tiberias when Jesus called him and his brother (cf. Mt 4: 21; Mk 1: 19).

John was always among the small group that Jesus took with him on specific occasions. He was with Peter and James when Jesus entered Peter's house in Capernaum to cure his mother-in-law (cf. Mk 1: 29); with the other two, he followed the Teacher into the house of Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue whose daughter he was to bring back to life (cf. Mk 5: 37); he followed him when he climbed the mountain for his Transfiguration (cf. Mk 9: 2).

He was beside the Lord on the Mount of Olives when, before the impressive sight of the Temple of Jerusalem, he spoke of the end of the city and of the world (cf. Mk 13: 3); and, lastly, he was close to him in the Garden of Gethsemane when he withdrew to pray to the Father before the Passion (cf. Mk 14: 33).

Shortly before the Passover, when Jesus chose two disciples to send them to prepare the room for the Supper, it was to him and to Peter that he entrusted this task (cf. Lk 22: 8).

His prominent position in the group of the Twelve makes it somewhat easier to understand the initiative taken one day by his mother: she approached Jesus to ask him if her two sons - John and James - could sit next to him in the Kingdom, one on his right and one on his left (cf. Mt 20: 20-21).

As we know, Jesus answered by asking a question in turn: he asked whether they were prepared to drink the cup that he was about to drink (cf. Mt 20: 22). The intention behind those words was to open the two disciples' eyes, to introduce them to knowledge of the mystery of his person and to suggest their future calling to be his witnesses, even to the supreme trial of blood.

A little later, in fact, Jesus explained that he had not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (cf. Mt 20: 28).

In the days after the Resurrection, we find "the sons of Zebedee" busy with Peter and some of the other disciples on a night when they caught nothing, but that was followed, after the intervention of the Risen One, by the miraculous catch: it was to be "the disciple Jesus loved" who first recognized "the Lord" and pointed him out to Peter (cf. Jn 21: 1-13).

In the Church of Jerusalem, John occupied an important position in supervising the first group of Christians. Indeed, Paul lists him among those whom he calls the "pillars" of that community (cf. Gal 2: 9). In fact, Luke in the Acts presents him together with Peter while they are going to pray in the temple (cf. Acts 3: 1-4, 11) or appear before the Sanhedrin to witness to their faith in Jesus Christ (cf. Acts 4: 13, 19).

Together with Peter, he is sent to the Church of Jerusalem to strengthen the people in Samaria who had accepted the Gospel, praying for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 8: 14-15). In particular, we should remember what he affirmed with Peter to the Sanhedrin members who were accusing them: "We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4: 20).

It is precisely this frankness in confessing his faith that lives on as an example and a warning for all of us always to be ready to declare firmly our steadfast attachment to Christ, putting faith before any human calculation or concern.

According to tradition, John is the "disciple whom Jesus loved", who in the Fourth Gospel laid his head against the Teacher's breast at the Last Supper (cf. Jn 13: 23), stood at the foot of the Cross together with the Mother of Jesus (cf. Jn 19: 25) and lastly, witnessed both the empty tomb and the presence of the Risen One himself (cf. Jn 20: 2; 21: 7).

We know that this identification is disputed by scholars today, some of whom view him merely as the prototype of a disciple of Jesus. Leaving the exegetes to settle the matter, let us be content here with learning an important lesson for our lives: the Lord wishes to make each one of us a disciple who lives in personal friendship with him.

To achieve this, it is not enough to follow him and to listen to him outwardly: it is also necessary to live with him and like him. This is only possible in the context of a relationship of deep familiarity, imbued with the warmth of total trust. This is what happens between friends; for this reason Jesus said one day: "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.... No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you" (Jn 15: 13, 15).

In the apocryphal Acts of John, the Apostle is not presented as the founder of Churches nor as the guide of already established communities, but as a perpetual wayfarer, a communicator of the faith in the encounter with "souls capable of hoping and of being saved" (18: 10; 23: 8).

All is motivated by the paradoxical intention to make visible the invisible. And indeed, the Oriental Church calls him quite simply "the Theologian", that is, the one who can speak in accessible terms of the divine, revealing an arcane access to God through attachment to Jesus.

Devotion to the Apostle John spread from the city of Ephesus where, according to an ancient tradition, he worked for many years and died in the end at an extraordinarily advanced age, during the reign of the Emperor Trajan.

In Ephesus in the sixth century, the Emperor Justinian had a great basilica built in his honour, whose impressive ruins are still standing today. Precisely in the East, he enjoyed and still enjoys great veneration.

In Byzantine iconography he is often shown as very elderly - according to tradition, he died under the Emperor Trajan - in the process of intense contemplation, in the attitude, as it were, of those asking for silence.

Indeed, without sufficient recollection it is impossible to approach the supreme mystery of God and of his revelation. This explains why, years ago, Athenagoras, Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the man whom Pope Paul VI embraced at a memorable encounter, said: "John is the origin of our loftiest spirituality. Like him, "the silent ones' experience that mysterious exchange of hearts, pray for John's presence, and their hearts are set on fire" (O. Clément, Dialoghi con Atenagora, Turin 1972, p. 159).

May the Lord help us to study at John's school and learn the great lesson of love, so as to feel we are loved by Christ "to the end" (Jn 13: 1), and spend our lives for him."

St Stephen the Protomartyr (Dec 26)

Pope Benedict XVI gave a General Audinece on St Stephen in 2007.  Here are a few extracts:

"St Stephen is the most representative of a group of seven companions. Tradition sees in this group the seed of the future ministry of "deacons", although it must be pointed out that this category is not present in the Book of Acts. In any case, Stephen's importance is due to the fact that Luke, in his important book, dedicates two whole chapters to him.

Luke's narrative starts with the observation of a widespread division in the primitive Church of Jerusalem: indeed, she consisted entirely of Christians of Jewish origin, but some came from the land of Israel and were called "Hebrews", while others, of the Old Testament Jewish faith, came from the Greek-speaking Diaspora and were known as "Hellenists". This was the new problem: the most destitute of the Hellenists, especially widows deprived of any social support, ran the risk of being neglected in the daily distribution of their rations. To avoid this problem, the Apostles, continuing to devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word, decided to appoint for this duty "seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom" to help them (Acts 6: 2-4), that is, by carrying out a social and charitable service.

To this end, as Luke wrote, at the Apostles' invitation the disciples chose seven men. We are even given their names. They were: "Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolaus. These they set before the Apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them" (cf. Acts 6: 5-6).

The act of the laying on of hands can have various meanings. In the Old Testament, this gesture meant above all the transmission of an important office, just as Moses laid his hands on Joshua (cf. Nm 27: 18-23), thereby designating his successor. Along the same lines, the Church of Antioch would also use this gesture in sending out Paul and Barnabas on their mission to the peoples of the world (cf. Acts 13: 3).

...The most important thing to note is that in addition to charitable services, Stephen also carried out a task of evangelization among his compatriots, the so-called "Hellenists". Indeed, Luke insists on the fact that Stephen, "full of grace and power" (Acts 6: 8), presented in Jesus' Name a new interpretation of Moses and of God's Law itself. He reread the Old Testament in the light of the proclamation of Christ's death and Resurrection. He gave the Old Testament a Christological reinterpretation and provoked reactions from the Jews, who took his words to be blasphemous (cf. Acts 6: 11-14).

For this reason he was condemned to stoning. And St Luke passes on to us the saint's last discourse, a synthesis of his preaching. Just as Jesus had shown the disciples of Emmaus that the whole of the Old Testament speaks of him, of his Cross and his Resurrection, so St Stephen, following Jesus' teaching, interpreted the whole of the Old Testament in a Christological key. He shows that the mystery of the Cross stands at the centre of the history of salvation as recounted in the Old Testament; it shows that Jesus, Crucified and Risen, is truly the goal of all this history.

St Stephen also shows that the cult of the temple was over and that Jesus, the Risen One, was the new, true "temple". It was precisely this "no" to the temple and to its cult that led to the condemnation of St Stephen, who at this moment, St Luke tells us, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and seeing heaven, God and Jesus, St Stephen said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God" (cf. Acts 7: 56).

This was followed by his martyrdom, modelled in fact on the passion of Jesus himself, since he delivered his own spirit to the "Lord Jesus" and prayed that the sin of those who killed him would not be held against them (cf. Acts 7: 59-60).

The place of St Stephen's martyrdom in Jerusalem has traditionally been located outside the Damascus Gate, to the north, where indeed the Church of Saint-Étienne [St Stephen] stands beside the famous École Biblique of the Dominicans. The killing of Stephen, the first martyr of Christ, unleashed a local persecution of Christ's disciples (cf. Acts 8: 1), the first one in the history of the Church. It was these circumstances that impelled the group of Judeo-Hellenist Christians to flee from Jerusalem and scatter. Hounded out of Jerusalem, they became itinerant missionaries: "Those who were scattered went about preaching the word" (Acts 8: 4)...

Stephen's story tells us many things: for example, that charitable social commitment must never be separated from the courageous proclamation of the faith. He was one of the seven made responsible above all for charity. But it was impossible to separate charity and faith. Thus, with charity, he proclaimed the crucified Christ, to the point of accepting even martyrdom. This is the first lesson we can learn from the figure of St Stephen: charity and the proclamation of faith always go hand in hand.

Above all, St Stephen speaks to us of Christ, of the Crucified and Risen Christ as the centre of history and our life. We can understand that the Cross remains forever the centre of the Church's life and also of our life. In the history of the Church, there will always be passion and persecution. And it is persecution itself which, according to Tertullian's famous words, becomes "the seed of Christians", the source of mission for Christians to come...."

Happy Christmas!



May all readers of this blog enjoy a happy and holy Christmastide....

Vigil of the Nativity (Dec 24)

Enrolment for tax,
mosaic Istanbul

O Emmanuel (December 23)


Today the last of the great O Antiphons for the Magnificat:

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.



Antiphon for the Magnificat: O Rex Gentium (Dec 22)



O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.



December 21: St Thomas, Apostle /O Oriens


Caravaggio: The incredulity of St Thomas

Today is the feast of the apostle Thomas. Pope Benedict devoted a General Audience to the Apostle in 2006:

"Continuing our encounters with the Twelve Apostles chosen directly by Jesus, today we will focus our attention on Thomas. Ever present in the four lists compiled by the New Testament, in the first three Gospels he is placed next to Matthew (cf. Mt 10: 3; Mk 3: 18; Lk 6: 15), whereas in Acts, he is found after Philip (cf. Acts 1: 13).

His name derives from a Hebrew root, ta'am, which means "paired, twin". In fact, John's Gospel several times calls him "Dydimus" (cf. Jn 11: 16; 20: 24; 21: 2), a Greek nickname for, precisely, "twin". The reason for this nickname is unclear.

It is above all the Fourth Gospel that gives us information that outlines some important traits of his personality.

The first concerns his exhortation to the other Apostles when Jesus, at a critical moment in his life, decided to go to Bethany to raise Lazarus, thus coming dangerously close to Jerusalem (Mk 10: 32).

On that occasion Thomas said to his fellow disciples: "Let us also go, that we may die with him" (Jn 11: 16). His determination to follow his Master is truly exemplary and offers us a valuable lesson: it reveals his total readiness to stand by Jesus, to the point of identifying his own destiny with that of Jesus and of desiring to share with him the supreme trial of death.

In fact, the most important thing is never to distance oneself from Jesus.

Moreover, when the Gospels use the verb "to follow", it means that where he goes, his disciple must also go.

Thus, Christian life is defined as a life with Jesus Christ, a life to spend together with him. St Paul writes something similar when he assures the Christians of Corinth: "You are in our hearts, to die together and to live together" (II Cor 7: 3). What takes place between the Apostle and his Christians must obviously apply first of all to the relationship between Christians and Jesus himself: dying together, living together, being in his Heart as he is in ours.

A second intervention by Thomas is recorded at the Last Supper. On that occasion, predicting his own imminent departure, Jesus announced that he was going to prepare a place for his disciples so that they could be where he is found; and he explains to them: "Where [I] am going you know the way" (Jn 14: 4). It is then that Thomas intervenes, saying: "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" (Jn 14: 5).

In fact, with this remark he places himself at a rather low level of understanding; but his words provide Jesus with the opportunity to pronounce his famous definition: "I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life" (Jn 14: 6).

Thus, it is primarily to Thomas that he makes this revelation, but it is valid for all of us and for every age. Every time we hear or read these words, we can stand beside Thomas in spirit and imagine that the Lord is also speaking to us, just as he spoke to him.

At the same time, his question also confers upon us the right, so to speak, to ask Jesus for explanations. We often do not understand him. Let us be brave enough to say: "I do not understand you, Lord; listen to me, help me to understand". In such a way, with this frankness which is the true way of praying, of speaking to Jesus, we express our meagre capacity to understand and at the same time place ourselves in the trusting attitude of someone who expects light and strength from the One able to provide them.

Then, the proverbial scene of the doubting Thomas that occurred eight days after Easter is very well known. At first he did not believe that Jesus had appeared in his absence and said: "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe" (Jn 20: 25).

Basically, from these words emerges the conviction that Jesus can now be recognized by his wounds rather than by his face. Thomas holds that the signs that confirm Jesus' identity are now above all his wounds, in which he reveals to us how much he loved us. In this the Apostle is not mistaken.

As we know, Jesus reappeared among his disciples eight days later and this time Thomas was present. Jesus summons him: "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing" (Jn 20: 27).

Thomas reacts with the most splendid profession of faith in the whole of the New Testament: "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20: 28). St Augustine comments on this: Thomas "saw and touched the man, and acknowledged the God whom he neither saw nor touched; but by the means of what he saw and touched, he now put far away from him every doubt, and believed the other" (In ev. Jo. 121, 5).

The Evangelist continues with Jesus' last words to Thomas: "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe" (Jn 20: 29). This sentence can also be put into the present: "Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe".

In any case, here Jesus spells out a fundamental principle for Christians who will come after Thomas, hence, for all of us.

It is interesting to note that another Thomas, the great Medieval theologian of Aquinas, juxtaposed this formula of blessedness with the apparently opposite one recorded by Luke: "Blessed are the eyes which see what you see!" (Lk 10: 23). However, Aquinas comments: "Those who believe without seeing are more meritorious than those who, seeing, believe" (In Johann. XX lectio VI 2566).

In fact, the Letter to the Hebrews, recalling the whole series of the ancient biblical Patriarchs who believed in God without seeing the fulfilment of his promises, defines faith as "the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb 11: 1).

The Apostle Thomas' case is important to us for at least three reasons: first, because it comforts us in our insecurity; second, because it shows us that every doubt can lead to an outcome brighter than any uncertainty; and, lastly, because the words that Jesus addressed to him remind us of the true meaning of mature faith and encourage us to persevere, despite the difficulty, along our journey of adhesion to him.

A final point concerning Thomas is preserved for us in the Fourth Gospel, which presents him as a witness of the Risen One in the subsequent event of the miraculous catch in the Sea of Tiberias (cf. Jn 21: 2ff.).

On that occasion, Thomas is even mentioned immediately after Simon Peter: an evident sign of the considerable importance that he enjoyed in the context of the early Christian communities.

Indeed, the Acts and the Gospel of Thomas, both apocryphal works but in any case important for the study of Christian origins, were written in his name.

Lastly, let us remember that an ancient tradition claims that Thomas first evangelized Syria and Persia (mentioned by Origen, according to Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History 3, 1) then went on to Western India (cf. Acts of Thomas 1-2 and 17ff.), from where also he finally reached Southern India.

Let us end our reflection in this missionary perspective, expressing the hope that Thomas' example will never fail to strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Our God."

O Oriens...

And today's O antiphon is O Oriens, dayspring, brightness of eternal light and sun of justice....

Another monastery goes live...



The Monastery of Le Barroux, France has announced, with the support of the Archbishop of Avignon, that it will make available four hours of the Office each day available online - Prime, Sext, Vespers and Compline.

You can either listen via the 'Barroux' application on your iphone (you can download the application via their website), or on your computer.

As far as I can see, unlike Norcia, it is a live broadcast only, no archiving, so it will depend what time zone you are in whether or not it is useful to you or not - Prime normally starting at 7.45am translates to 1.45am in New York, and 5.45pm here in Australia (Eastern Summer Time)!

Still, if you can listen, your Diurnal should do the job in allowing you to follow it, as the website points you to the Latin-French version of the same book (very cute marketing!). 

Note that Le Barroux uses its own calendar which differs from the General Benedictine calendar slightly (mainly to align it more closely to the Roman EF one, but also of course to reflect local feasts), and generally sings the 'Prolix Responsories' contained in the Antiphonale Monasticum at I Vespers of major feasts instead of the short responsory provided in the Diurnal.

**Listening to Compline now (1945 French time) - very cool!  Even if I should actually be saying Matins....

The O Antiphons: O Key of David (Clavis David) - December 20



Today's O antiphon is O clavis David:

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death

O Come, O Come Emmanuel...

This week, the Magificat antiphons, the O antiphons, are the verses often sung as part of the hymn O come, O Come Emmanuel.

So here is the modern setting in Latin that you may be more familiar with.

Advent antiphons for the Magnificat: O radix Jesse (Dec 19)

The series of the the great O Antiphons continues today with O Radix Jesse.




Today's antiphon is, in English:

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

Fourth Sunday of Advent (December 18)



John the Baptist preaching, Brueghel the younger, 1601
  Today's Gospel is St Luke 3: 1-6, outlining St John the Baptist's mission.

And Sunday's O antiphon is O Adonai:

December 17: the start of the great O antiphons

The liturgy enters a new level of intensity from today, with antiphons for Lauds to Vespers for each day of the week, and the singing of the wonderful 'O' antiphons with the Magnificat at Vespers.

Today's antiphon is O Sapientia, the translation of which is:

O Wisdom,who proceeds from the mouth of the Most High, reaching out mightily from end to end, and sweetly arranging all things: come to teach us the way of prudence.

Feasting and fasting: Advent Ember Days

The Church has always advocated that we prepare for our feasting first by fasting, and so the third week of Advent (and week of the feast of St Lucy) traditionally includes the Advent Ember Days.

The days are Class II, with a rather more elaborate mass.

For Advent the focus is particularly on Our Lady. Wednesday's Mass is about the Annunciation. It starts with the beautiful Introit Rorate Caeli (Drop down dew ye heavens) and includes the famous prophesy from Isaiah (Behold a virgin shall conceive) as well as the Gospel from St Luke with the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary.

Friday's Gospel is about the Visitation.

Saturday's ancient and complex Mass is a more general message about the preparation for the coming of Our Lord, with the Gospel on St John the Baptist.

So do try and get to a Mass on these days if there is one that celebrates the Ember Days in your area (they are optional in the Novus Ordo calendar).

And remember that they are also traditionally days of fasting and abstinence.

Ordo for March 2012




Herewith the Benedictine Ordo according to the general calendar for the Order, and rubrics approved in 1961/2, with page references to the Monastic Diurnal (MD) published by Farnborough Abbey, 2004.

You will of course need to add in any local feasts celebrated in your monastery, parish, diocese and country.

Note that EF=Roman Extraordinary Form calendar.

Please let me know if you find any errors, or have any questions on the Ordo.


Ordo for March

Thursday 1 March – Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 197*- 198*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), as noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 198*

Friday 2 March – Ember Friday, Class II

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 198-9*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), as noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 199*

Saturday 3 March – Ember Saturday, Class II

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 199*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), as noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

I Vespers of the Second Sunday of Lent: Psalms and antiphons of Saturday, chapter etc from MD 199* ff

Sunday 4 March – Second Sunday of Lent, Class I

See MD 20*:

Lauds: Antiphons, MD 201* ff with psalm scheme 1 (Ps 50, 117, 62); chapter etc, MD 202*

Prime to None: Antiphons and chapter verses, MD 204-5*

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday; chapter etc as per I Vespers; versicle and Magnificat antiphon, MD 205*

Monday 5 March – Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 206*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), as noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 206*

Tuesday 6 March – Class III; SS Perpetua and Felicitas, memorial

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 206-7*; for the commemoration, MD [74]

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*;Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 207*

Wednesday 7 March – Class III; St Thomas Aquinas, memorial

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 207-8*; for the commemoration, MD [75]

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 208*

Thursday 8 March – Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 208*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 208-9*

Friday 9 March – Class III; St Frances of Rome OSB, Memorial

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 209*; for the commemoration, MD [75-6]

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*;Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 209-10*

Saturday 10 March – Class III; The Forty Holy Martyrs, Memorial [EF St John of God, Memorial]

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 210*; for the commemoration, MD [76]

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*; Collect of Lauds.

I Vespers of the Third Sunday of Lent, MD 210* ff: antiphons and psalms of Saturday, rest from MD 210* ff

Sunday 11 March – Third Sunday of Lent, Class I

See MD 212*ff:

Lauds: Antiphons, MD 212* ff with psalm scheme 1 (Ps 50, 117, 62); chapter etc for the Sunday

Prime to None: Antiphons and chapter verses, MD 215*

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday; chapter etc as per I Vespers; versicle and Magnificat antiphon MD 216*

Monday 12 March - St Gregory the Great OSB, Class II [EF: Memorial only]

See MD [77] ff; with a commemoration of the feria at Lauds and Vespers, MD 217*.

Tuesday 13 March – Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 217-8*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*; Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*;Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 218*

Wednesday 14 March – Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 218*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 218-9*

Thursday 15 March – Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 219*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*; Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 219-20*

Friday 16 March – Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 220*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*as Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, as noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 220*

**Or I Vespers of St Patrick (all from the Common of a Confessor Bishop, collect MD 22**) with a commemoration of the feria

Saturday 17 March – Class III (in some places, St Patrick, Class I)

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 220-1*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*; Collect of Lauds.

For St Patrick, see MD 22**

I Vespers of the Fourth Sunday of Lent: Antiphons and psalms of Saturday, rest from MD 221* ff

Sunday 18 March – Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday), Class I; St Cyril, memorial
MD 223*ff:

Lauds: Antiphons, MD 223* with psalm scheme 1 (Ps 50, 117, 62); chapter etc for the Sunday; for the commemoration, MD [83]

Prime to None: Antiphons and chapter verses, MD 226-7*

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday; chapter etc as per I Vespers; versicle and Magnificat antiphon MD 227* with a commemoration of St Joseph, MD [84]

Monday 19 March – St Joseph, Class I

MD [84] ff, with a commemoration of the feria at Lauds and Vespers, MD 227-8*

Tuesday 20 March – Class III [in some places, St Cuthbert]

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 227*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: I Vespers of St Benedict, MD [91]ff, with a commemoration of the feria, MD 228-9*

Wednesday 21 March – St Benedict Class I

MD [91] ff, with a commemoration of the feria at Lauds and Vespers, MD 229-30*

Thursday 22 March – Class III (in some places St Nicholas of Flue)

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 230*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 230*

For St Nicholas of Flue, MD 23**

Friday 23 March – Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 230-1*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*; Collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 231*

Saturday 24 March – Class III [EF: St Gabriel, memorial]

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 231-2*

Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*

Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*;Collect of Lauds.

I Vespers of Sunday, MD 232*: Psalms and antiphons of Saturday, rest from MD 232* ff

Sunday 25 March – First Passion Sunday, Class I

MD 234*ff:

Lauds: Antiphons for the day, MD 234* ff with psalm scheme 1 (Ps 50, 117, 62); rest from MD 234* ff

Prime to None: Antiphons and chapter verses, MD 238-9*

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday; chapter etc as per I Vespers, MD 234*ff; versicle and Magnificat antiphon MD 239*; commemoration of the Annunciation, MD [100]

Monday 26 March – Annunciation of the BVM, Class I

See MD [102] ff, with a commemoration of the feria at Lauds and Vespers, MD 246-7*

Tuesday 27 March – Class III, St John Damascene, Memorial

Note the rubrics of Passiontide (including propers of the season), MD 240* ff

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 240*ff; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 247-8*; for the commemoration, MD [106]

Prime: antiphon for first Passion week (Libera me), noted in the psalter and MD 242*

Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter and versicle for the first Passion week, noted in the psalter and MD 242-244*, collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 244-6*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 248*

Wednesday 28 March – Class III [EF: Commemoration of St John of Capistran]

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 240*ff; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 248-9*

Prime: antiphon for first Passion week (Libera me), noted in the psalter and MD 242*

Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter and versicle for the first Passion week, noted in the psalter and MD 242-244*, collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 244-6*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 249*

Thursday 29 March – Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 240*ff; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 249-50*

Prime: antiphon for first Passion week (Libera me), noted in the psalter and MD 242*

Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter and versicle for the first Passion week, noted in the psalter and MD 242-244*, collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 244-6*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 250*

Friday 30 March – Class III [EF: Commemoration of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary]

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 240*ff; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 250-1

Prime: antiphon for first Passion week (Libera me), noted in the psalter and MD 242*

Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter and versicle for the first Passion week, noted in the psalter and MD 242-244*, collect of Lauds.

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 244-6*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 251-2*

Saturday 31 March – Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle for the season, MD 240*ff; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 252*

Prime: antiphon for first Passion week (Libera me), noted in the psalter and MD 242*

Terce to None: Antiphon, chapter and versicle for the first Passion week, noted in the psalter and MD 242-244*, collect of Lauds.

I Vespers of Second Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday): Antiphons and pslams of Saturday; rest from MD 252* ff

Third Sunday of Advent: Gaudete Sunday

This Sunday's Gospel, John 1:19-28 - At that time the Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and levites to John, to ask him, Who art thou?) is one of my absolute favourites, in large part due to the wonderful English setting of it by Orlando Gibbons - do take the chance to listen it.

The Sunday takes its name though, from the Introit, Rejoice in the Lord always (Phil 4:4-6), a theme that echoes through the Office and Mass for this Sunday.

Today is also the memorial of Pope St Damasus I (305-384), most famous now for appointing St Jerome as his personal secretary and encouraging his Vulgate translation of the bible, and for presiding over the Council of Rome in 382, which set down the canon of scripture.

In two Roman synods (368 and 369) he condemned Apollinarianism and Macedonianism, and sent legates to the First Council of Constantinople that was convoked in 381 to address these heresies. A fierce opponent of the Arians, he did much to promote veneration of the martyrs and enrich the churches and liturgy.



Blog glitch...

Apologies for taking the blog down temporarily overnight, there is a glitch in it which is preventing posts updating in blogrolls and google reader that I'm trying to fix. 

I've tried the google help forum for suggestions to fix, one of which was swapping it to another URL for a period and seeing if that clears caches sitting on servers etc.  Alas, it word fine on another URL, but when swapped back the problem is still there...

Suggestions welcome!

**Finally fixed!  I think. 

***Apparently not.  But I think I've pinned down the problem, which relats to scheduling of posts in advance.  In any case, do check the block as it is being updated!

And if I have to go offline again, I'll swap to saintswillarise.blogspot.com....

December 4: Second Sunday of Advent


Today's first Nocturn readings for Matins are from Isaiah 11:

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord, He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears. But he shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity the meek of the earth: and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.

And justice shall be the girdle of his loins: and faith the girdle of his reins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb: and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: the calf and the lion, and the sheep shall abide together, and a little child shall lead them. The calf and the bear shall feed: their young ones shall rest together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

And the sucking child shall play on other hole of the asp: and the weaned child shall thrust his hand into the den of the basilisk. They shall not hurt, nor shall they kill in all my holy mountain, for the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the covering waters of the sea.  In that day the root of Jesse, who stands for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand the second time to possess the remnant of his people, which shall be left from the Assyrians, and from Egypt, and from Phetros, and from Ethiopia, and from Elam, and from Sennaar, and from Emath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up a standard unto the nations, and shall assemble the fugitives of Israel, and shall gather together the dispersed of Juda from the four quarters of the earth. And the envy of Ephraim shall be taken away, and the enemies of Juda shall perish: Ephraim shall not envy Juda, and Juda shall not fight against Ephraim."

Ordo for February 2012


Herewith the Benedictine Ordo according to the general calendar for the Order, and rubrics approved in 1961/2, with page references to the Monastic Diurnal (MD) published by Farnborough Abbey, 2004.

You will of course need to add in any local feasts celebrated in your monastery, parish, diocese and country.

Note that EF=Roman Extraordinary Form calendar.

Please let me know if you find any errors, or have any questions on the Ordo.

The Ordo

Wednesday 1 February St Ignatius, Bishop and Martyr, Class III

Matins: Lesson 3 is of the feast
At Lauds and Vespers, psalms and antiphons of the Wednesday in the psalter, the rest from the Common of one martyr, MD (31). At all hours, collect of the feast, MD [46]

Thursday 2 February - Purification of the BVM, Class II

All hours: Proper antiphons and texts for the feasts - see MD [49]ff.
At Compline: Antiphon of Our Lady AVE REGINA CAELORUM, MD 266, from today onwards.

Friday 3 February - St Blase, Bishop and Martyr, Memorial

All as in the psalter for Friday with texts for ‘throughout the year’, collect MD149 - 150*.
At Lauds, make a commemoration of the saint, MD [52]

Saturday 4 February – Our Lady on Saturday [EF: ST Andrew Corsini, Cl 3]

Matins: Reading 3 of Our Lady for Saturday 1 in February

Lauds to None: MD (129) ff
I Vespers of Septuagesima Sunday – Psalms and antiphons as in the psalter for Saturday, but with chapter, responsory, hymn etc from MD 153-154*.
At Compline and henceforward, the Alleluia is not said, and in the opening prayers is replaced by ‘Laus tibi Domine…’

Sunday 5 February - Septuagesima Sunday, Class II

Lauds: Antiphons from MD 154*ff, with psalms of Sunday (Ps 50, 117, 62); chapter etc for the day from MD 153*ff
Prime to None: Antiphons etc for the day from MD 158*-159*
Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday from the psalter; chapter, responsory, hymn etc for the day, from MD 159*.

Monday 6 February – Class IV [EF: St Titus, Cl 3]

All as in the Office for Monday with collect MD 157-8*; at Vespers, Magnificat antiphon MD 161*

Tuesday 7 February – St Romuald OSB, Class III

Matins: Lesson 3 of the feast
Lauds to Vespers: psalms and antiphons of Monday, with the rest from the Common of a Confessor, MD (75); collect from MD [58].

Wednesday 8 February - Class IV [EF: St John of Matha]

All as in the Office for Wednesday throughout the year with the collect of Sunday, MD 157-8*; Magnificat antiphon MD 161*

Thursday 9 February - Class IV [EF: St Cyril of Alexandria, Cl 3]

All as in the Office for Thursday with the collect of Sunday, MD 157-8*; Magnificat antiphon MD 162*
If St Scholastica is a Class I feast: I Vespers, see MD [59] ff

Friday 10 February - St Scholastica, sister of St Benedict, Virgin, Class II (Class I for nuns)

Lauds to Vespers: see MD [62] ff

Saturday 11 February - Saturday of Our Lady [EF: Apparition of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, Cl 3]

Matins: Readng 3 of OUr Lady, Saturday 2 in February
Lauds to None: See MD (130)
I Vespers of Sexagesima Sunday – Antiphons and psalms of Saturday, the rest from MD 162*ff

Sunday 12 February – Sexagesima Sunday

Lauds to None: Antiphons and proper texts of Sexagesima, MD 164*ff
Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of Sunday, the rest for the day, from MD 168* ff

Monday 13 February - Class IV

All as in the Office for Monday with collect MD 167*; at Vespers, Magnificat antiphon MD 170*

Tuesday 14 February – St Valentine, priest and martyr, memorial [in Europe: SS Cyril and Methodius, patrons of Europe, Class II]

All as in the Office for Tuesday throughout the year, with the collect of Sunday, MD 170*; At Lauds, commemoration, MD [67]; at Vespers, Magnificat antiphon MD 170*

Wednesday 15 February – Class IV [EF: SS Faustinus and Jovita Commemoration]

All as in the Office for Wednesday throughout the year with the collect MD 167*; at Vespers, Magnificat antiphon MD 170-1*

Thursday 16 February – Class IV

All as in the Office for Thursday with the collect MD 167*; at Vespers, Magnificat antiphon MD 171*

Friday 17 February – Class IV

All as in the Office for Friday with the collect MD 167*; at Vespers, Magnificat antiphon MD 171*

Saturday 18 February – Saturday of Our Lady [EF: with a commemoration of St Simeon]

Lauds to None: See MD (130)
I Vespers of Quinquagesima Sunday, MD 171* ff

Sunday 19 February – Quinquagesima Sunday, Class II

Lauds to None: Antiphons and proper texts of Quinquagesima, MD 173*ff
Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of Sunday, the rest for the day, from MD 177* ff

Monday 20 February – Class IV

All as in the Office for Monday, with the collect, MD 176; Magnificat antiphon, MD 179*

Tuesday 21 February – Class IV

All as in the Office for Tuesday, with the collect, MD 176; Magnificat antiphon, MD 179*

Wednesday 22 February – Ash Wednesday Class I

[All prayers at the end of the hour are said kneeling from henceforward]
Lauds: All as in the psalter for Wednesday throughout the year, except for the collect and Benedictus antiphon, MD 180*
Terce to None: As for throughout the week and throughout the year, with collect from Lauds.
Vespers: Vespers of Wednesday throughout the year with Magnificat antiphon and collect, MD 180*-181*

Thursday 23 February – Class III, St Peter Damian OSB, memorial

Lauds: All as for Thursday in the psalter, with Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 181*; for the commemoration of the saint, MD [73]
Terce to None: As for throughout the week and throughout the year, with collect from Lauds.
Vespers: Magnificat antiphon and collect, MD 181-2*

Friday 24 February – Class III

Lauds: All as for Friday in the psalter, with Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 182*
Terce to None: As for throughout the week and throughout the year, with collect from Lauds.
Vespers: Magnificat antiphon and collect, MD 182-3*

Saturday 25 February – St Mathias Class II (in some places St Walburga, Class I)

Matins to None: All as in the common of Apostles, MD (9), with collect from MD [73], at Lauds, commemoration of the feria, MD 183*
I Vespers of the First Sunday of Lent: Antiphons and psalms of Saturday, rest MD 184* ff
For St Walburga, MD 21**

Sunday 26 February – First Sunday of Lent, Class I

Lauds: Antiphons from MD 186*ff, with psalms of Sunday (Ps 50, 117, 62); rest from MD 186* ff
Prime to None: Antiphons etc, MD 188* ff
Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday from the psalter; rest from MD 190* ff

Monday 27 February – Class III

[see notes on Ordinary of Ferial Office in Lent]

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn for the season, MD 190* ff; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 195*
Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*
Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*, Collect of Lauds.
Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 195*-196*

Tuesday 28 February – Class III

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 196*
Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*
Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*; Collect of Lauds.
Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 196*

Wednesday 29 February - Ember Wednesday, Class II

Lauds: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn for the season, MD 190*; Benedictus antiphon and collect of the day, MD 197*
Prime: antiphon for the season (Vivo ego), noted in the psalter and MD 192*
Terce to None: antiphon, chapter and versicle for the season, noted in the psalter and MD 192-3*, Collect of Lauds.
Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalm; chapter, responsory and hymn for the season, MD 193-5*; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 197*

Ordo for January 2012



Herewith the Benedictine Ordo according to the general calendar for the Order, and rubrics approved in 1961/2, with page references to the Monastic Diurnal (MD) published by Farnborough Abbey, 2004.

Please let me know if you find any errors, or have any questions on the Ordo.

Note that EF=Roman Extraordinary Form calendar.

You will of course need to add in any local feasts celebrated in your monastery, parish, diocese and country.

The Ordo

Sunday 1 January – Octave of the Nativity of Our Lord, Class I

See MD 108*.

Matins: Proper antiphons etc, psalms of Christmas
Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts for the feast MD 108* with festal (Sunday) psalms, MD 44.
Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds, MD 108*
Terce to None: Antiphons, chapters, versicle and collect of the feast, MD 111*
Vespers: As for I Vespers, MD 104* with Magnificat antiphon Magnum hereditatis, MD 113*.
Compline: Marian Antiphon Alma Redemptoris Mater

Monday 2 January – Class IV (**St Thomas of Canterbury; Holy Name of Jesus)

Note: See rubrics for the Ordinary of the Office after the Octave of the Nativity, MD 119*-115ff

Matins: Readings for 2 January

Lauds: Psalms and antiphons for Monday throughout the year; chapter, responsory, hymn, Benedictus antiphon and collect for the Nativity, MD 120*-121*
Prime: All as for Monday ‘throughout the year and Nativitytide’
Terce to None: All as for Monday in the psalter, with chapter, versicle and collect for nativitytide MD 122*-123*
Vespers: Antiphons and psalms for Monday with chapter, responsory, hymn and Magnificat antiphon for Nativitytide, MD 123*-125*

**for St Thomas, see MD 2**

Tuesday 3 January – Class IV

Matins: Readings for 3 January

Lauds: Psalms and antiphons for throughout the year with chapter, responsory, hymn, Benedictus antiphon and collect for the Nativity, MD 120*-121*
Prime: All as for Tuesday ‘throughout the year and Nativitytide’
Terce to None: All as for Tues to Saturday with antiphons for throughout the year and nativitytide, chapter and versicles for nativitytide
Vespers: Antiphons and psalms for Tuesday with chapter, responsory, hymn and Magnificat antiphon for Nativitytide, MD 123*-125*

Wednesday 4 January – St Titus, Bishop and Confessor, Memorial

Matins: Readings for 4 January
Lauds: Psalms and antiphons for throughout the year with chapter, responsory, hymn, Benedictus antiphon and collect for the Nativity, MD 120*-121*. After the collect make a commemoration of St Titus, using the texts from MD 125*-126*.
Prime: All as for ‘throughout the year and Nativitytide’
Terce to None: All as for throughout the year and nativitytide
Vespers: Antiphons and psalms for Wednesday with chapter, responsory, hymn and Magnificat antiphon for Nativitytide, MD 123*-125*

Thursday 5 January – Class IV [EF: Vigil of the Epiphany]

Matins: Readings for 5 January
Lauds: Psalms and antiphons for throughout the year with chapter, responsory, hymn, Benedictus antiphon and collect for the Nativity, MD 120*-121*
Prime to None: All as in the psalter for ‘throughout the year and nativitytide’

END OF NATIVITYTIDE

Vespers: I Vespers of the Epiphany of Our Lord – see MD 126*ff: Antiphons, chapter, responsory, hymn for the feast, MD 126*-129* with Sunday psalms, MD 203 ff

Friday 6 January – Epiphany of Our Lord: Class I

See MD 129*ff.
Matins: All of the feast
Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts for the feast, MD 129*, with festal (Sunday) psalms, MD 44.
Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds, Ante luciferum, MD 129* with psalms etc of Friday.
Terce to None: Antiphons, chapters, versicle and collect of the feast, MD 132*-133* with hymns and psalms for 'throughout the week'.
Vespers, antiphons for the feast, as at I Vespers, MD 126*ff, with Magnificat antiphon from MD 133*.

Saturday 7 January – Saturday of our Lady

Matins: as for Office of Our Lady throughout the year except for collect for after the Nativity; reading 3 for Saturday I of January
Lauds to None: Office of Our Lady after Christmas, see MD (133) ff
(All as for throughout the year except for the Benedictus antiphon and collect, and antiphons for Prime to None)
I Vespers of the first Sunday after Epiphany: MD 140*
(Psalms antiphons of Saturday, with proper chapter, versicle, hymn etc)

Sunday 8 January – First Sunday after the Epiphany: Class II [EF and in some places: Holy Family**]

For Holy Family see MD 3**
Matins: Invitatory, hymn and versicles of Epiphanytide; antiphons and psalms of Sunday; Canticles (Third Nocturn) of Epiphany.
Lauds: psalm schema 2 – 92, 99, 62; Sunday antiphons with chapter, hymn etc from MD142*ff
Prime: as in the psalter for Sunday
Terce to None: see MD 144*ff – as for Sunday but with chapter, versicle and collect of the First Sunday after Epiphany
Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday with chapter, short responsory and hymn of I Vespers; Magnificat antiphon MD 146*

Monday 9 January – Class IV

EPIPHANYTIDE: Note instructions for the Ordinary of the Epiphany (Epiphanytide), MD 133*ff.

Lauds: Chapter, hymn etc, MD 133*ff; Benedictus antiphon Day II, MD 135*
Prime to None: Antiphons etc of epiphanytide; collect MD 136*

Tuesday 10 January – St Paul the First Hermit, Confessor, Memorial

Lauds: Chapter, hymn etc, MD 133*ff; Benedictus antiphon Day III, MD 135*; after the collect make a memorial of St Paul, MD [23].
Prime to None: Antiphons etc of epiphanytide; collect MD 136*
Vespers: Chapter, hymn, etc, MD 137*; Magnificat antiphon Day III, MD 139*

Wednesday 11 January – Class IV

Lauds: Chapter, hymn etc, MD 133*ff; Benedictus antiphon Day IV, MD 135*; after the collect make a memorial of St Paul, MD [23].
Prime to None: Antiphons etc of epiphanytide; collect MD 136*
Vespers: Chapter, hymn, etc, MD 137*; Magnificat antiphon Day IV, MD 139*

Thursday 12 January – Class IV (**in some places: St Benedict Biscop, Abbot, Class I)

Lauds: Chapter, hymn etc, MD 133*ff; Benedictus antiphon Day V, MD 136*
Prime to None: Antiphons etc of epiphanytide; collect MD 136*
Vespers: Chapter, hymn, etc, MD 137*; Magnificat antiphon Day V, MD 139*
For St Benedict Biscop, see MD 10**

Friday 13 January – Commemoration of Our Lord’s Baptism: Class II

All is said as on the feast of the Epiphany, MD 129*ff, but with collect from MD 140*:

Matins: Three nocturns.
Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts for the feast, MD 129*, with festal (Sunday) psalms, MD 44; collect from MD 140*.
Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds, Ante luciferum, MD 129*with psalms etc of Friday.
Terce to None: Antiphons, chapters, versicle and collect of the feast, MD 132*-133* with hymns and psalms for 'throughout the week' and collect from MD 140*.
Vespers, antiphons for the feast, as at I Vespers, MD 126*ff, with Magnificat antiphon from MD 133*; collect from MD 140*.

Saturday 14 January – Our Lady on Saturday; St Hilary, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor; St Felix, priest: Memorials

Note: From now until Septuagesima, all is said as for ‘throughout the year’ as set out in the psalter

Matins to None: Office of Our Lady after Christmas, see MD (133) ff; for the commemoration, MD [24]; at Matins reading 3 is of second Saturday of January
I Vespers of Second Sunday of Epiphany, MD 146*

Sunday 15 January – Second Sunday after the Epiphany (**Our Lady of Prompt Succour: Class I; EF: St Paul the First Hermit)

All as in the psalter for Sundays throughout the year:
At Lauds, psalm schema 1 – 50, 117, 62 with hymn Aeterne rerum Conditor.
Collect and canticle antiphons from MD 146* -147*

Monday 16 January –St Marcellus I, Pope and Martyr, Memorial

All as for throughout the year for Monday; collect MD 147*; for the commemoration, MD [25]

Tuesday 17 January – St Anthony, Abbot: Class III

Matins: Reading 3 of the feast
Lauds and Vespers, psalms and antiphons of Monday, with the rest from the Common of a Confessor not a bishop, MD (78) and collect MD [26].
Terce to None, chapter and versicle from the Common with collect from MD [26].

Wednesday 18 January – Class IV [EF: Commemoration of St Prisca]

All as in the Office for Wednesday, with the collect of Sunday, MD 147*

Thursday 19 January – SS Marius, Martha, Audifax and Abachum, Martrys, Memorial

All as in the Office for Thursday with the collect of Sunday, MD 147*; at Lauds, make a commemoration after the collect, using the texts from MD [26].

Friday 20 January – SS Fabian, Pope and Sebastian, Martyrs: Class III

At Lauds and Vespers, psalms and antiphons of Friday, with the rest from the Common of Many Martyrs, MD (43). Terce to None, chapter and versicle from the Common.
At all hours, collect from MD [27].

Saturday 21 January – St Agnes, Virgin and Martyr: Class III (Class II for monasteries of nuns) (**St Meinrad, Class I)

See MD [27] – [34].

Matins: Invitatory and hymn from the Common of Virgins, lessons 1&2 of the day, lesson 3 and responsories of the feast.
Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts for the feast, MD [27] ff with festal (Sunday) psalms, MD 44.
Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds, with psalms of Saturday.
Terce to None: Antiphons, chapters, versicle and collect of the feast, MD [30] ff with hymns and psalms [for 'throughout the week'].

For St Meinrad, MD 16**ff

I Vespers of Third Sunday, MD 147*ff

Sunday 22 January –Third Sunday after the Epiphany; St Vincent, Martyr, Memorial (**in some places, St Meinrad)

All as in the psalter for Sundays throughout the year.
At Lauds, psalm schema 1 – 50, 117, 62 with hymn Aeterne rerum Conditor; make a commemoration after the collect, MD [34].
Collect and canticle antiphons from MD 148*-149*.

For St Meinrad, MD 20**

Monday 23 January – St Emerentiana, Virgin and Martyr, Memorial

All as for Monday throughout the year, collect MD 148*; for the commemoration at Lauds, see MD [35].

Tuesday 24 January – St Timothy, Bishop, Martyr, memorial

All as in the Office for Tuesday throughout the year, with the collect of Sunday, MD 148*; at Lauds, make a commemoration after the collect, using the texts from MD [35] – [36].

Wednesday 25 January – Conversion of St Paul, Apostle, Class III

See rubrics from MD [36] – [42]

Matins: Invitatory, hymn, readings and collect of the feast; rest as in the psalter
Lauds: Antiphons and proper texts for the feast, MD [36]ff with festal (Sunday psalms, MD 44), with collects of St Paul and St Peter under one conclusion.
Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds, with psalms of Wednesday.
Terce to None: Antiphons, chapters, versicle and collect of the feast, MD [39] ff with hymns and psalms [for 'throughout the week']. Collect of St Paul, MD [39].
Vespers: Antiphons for the feast, MD [40] with psalms for the Common of Apostles, MD (13). Chapter, responsory etc for the feast, with collects of St Paul and St Peter under one conclusion

Thursday 26 January – St Polycarp, bishop and martyr, Memorial

All as in the Office for Thursday with the collect of Sunday, MD 148*; at Lauds, make a commemoration after the collect, using the texts from MD [42] – [43].

Friday 27 January – St John Chrysostom, bishop, confessor and doctor, Class III

Matins: Readings 1&2 of the day with responsories 1&3; reading 3 of the feast.
Lauds and Vespers: psalms and antiphons of Friday, with the rest from the Common of a Confessor Bishop, MD (64) except for the Magnifcat antiphon at Vespers, from MD [43].
Terce to None: chapter and versicle from the Common.
At all hours, collect from MD [43]

Saturday 28 January – St Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop, Confessor and Doctor, Memorial

Office of Our Lady on Saturday after Christmas, MD (133); make a commemoration after the collect, MD [44]

Sunday 29 January – Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany; St Frances de Sales, bishop, confessor and doctor, Memorial**


All as in the psalter for Sundays throughout the year.
At Lauds, psalm schema 1 – 50, 117, 62 with hymn Aeterne rerum Conditor; make a commemoration after the collect, using the texts from MD [44] – [45].
Collect and canticle antiphons from MD149* - 150*.
Vespers: As for Saturday in the psalter with Magnificat antiphon and collect, MD 149* - 150*.

**As Class I, see MD 21**

Monday 30 January – Class IV

All as for Monday throughout the year, collect MD 149-50*

Tuesday 31 January - St John Bosco, Confessor, Memorial

All as for Tuesday throughout the year, with the collect of Sunday, MD149* - 150*. At Lauds, make a commemoration after the collect, MD [45] – [46].

November 30: St Andrew, Class II


St Andrew was the brother of St Peter.  Pope Benedict XVI devoted a General Audience to him on 14 June 2006:

"...Therefore, today we shall speak of Simon Peter's brother, St Andrew, who was also one of the Twelve.

The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name: it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected, but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored. We are in Galilee, where the Greek language and culture are quite present. Andrew comes second in the list of the Twelve, as in Matthew (10: 1-4) and in Luke (6: 13-16); or fourth, as in Mark (3: 13-18) and in the Acts (1: 13-14). In any case, he certainly enjoyed great prestige within the early Christian communities.

The kinship between Peter and Andrew, as well as the joint call that Jesus addressed to them, are explicitly mentioned in the Gospels. We read: "As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men'" (Mt 4: 18-19; Mk 1: 16-17).

From the Fourth Gospel we know another important detail: Andrew had previously been a disciple of John the Baptist: and this shows us that he was a man who was searching, who shared in Israel's hope, who wanted to know better the word of the Lord, the presence of the Lord.

He was truly a man of faith and hope; and one day he heard John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus as: "the Lamb of God" (Jn 1: 36); so he was stirred, and with another unnamed disciple followed Jesus, the one whom John had called "the Lamb of God". The Evangelist says that "they saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day..." (Jn 1: 37-39).

Thus, Andrew enjoyed precious moments of intimacy with Jesus. The account continues with one important annotation: "One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah' (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus" (Jn 1: 40-43), straightaway showing an unusual apostolic spirit.

Andrew, then, was the first of the Apostles to be called to follow Jesus. Exactly for this reason the liturgy of the Byzantine Church honours him with the nickname: "Protokletos", [protoclete] which means, precisely, "the first called".

And it is certain that it is partly because of the family tie between Peter and Andrew that the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople feel one another in a special way to be Sister Churches. To emphasize this relationship, my Predecessor Pope Paul VI, in 1964, returned the important relic of St Andrew, which until then had been kept in the Vatican Basilica, to the Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of the city of Patras in Greece, where tradition has it that the Apostle was crucified.

The Gospel traditions mention Andrew's name in particular on another three occasions that tell us something more about this man. The first is that of the multiplication of the loaves in Galilee. On that occasion, it was Andrew who pointed out to Jesus the presence of a young boy who had with him five barley loaves and two fish: not much, he remarked, for the multitudes who had gathered in that place (cf. Jn 6: 8-9).

In this case, it is worth highlighting Andrew's realism. He noticed the boy, that is, he had already asked the question: "but what good is that for so many?" (ibid.), and recognized the insufficiency of his minimal resources. Jesus, however, knew how to make them sufficient for the multitude of people who had come to hear him.

The second occasion was at Jerusalem. As he left the city, a disciple drew Jesus' attention to the sight of the massive walls that supported the Temple. The Teacher's response was surprising: he said that of those walls not one stone would be left upon another. Then Andrew, together with Peter, James and John, questioned him: "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign when these things are all to be accomplished?" (Mk 13: 1-4).

In answer to this question Jesus gave an important discourse on the destruction of Jerusalem and on the end of the world, in which he asked his disciples to be wise in interpreting the signs of the times and to be constantly on their guard.

From this event we can deduce that we should not be afraid to ask Jesus questions but at the same time that we must be ready to accept even the surprising and difficult teachings that he offers us.

Lastly, a third initiative of Andrew is recorded in the Gospels: the scene is still Jerusalem, shortly before the Passion. For the Feast of the Passover, John recounts, some Greeks had come to the city, probably proselytes or God-fearing men who had come up to worship the God of Israel at the Passover Feast. Andrew and Philip, the two Apostles with Greek names, served as interpreters and mediators of this small group of Greeks with Jesus.

The Lord's answer to their question - as so often in John's Gospel - appears enigmatic, but precisely in this way proves full of meaning. Jesus said to the two disciples and, through them, to the Greek world: "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. I solemnly assure you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit" (12: 23-24).

Jesus wants to say: Yes, my meeting with the Greeks will take place, but not as a simple, brief conversation between myself and a few others, motivated above all by curiosity. The hour of my glorification will come with my death, which can be compared with the falling into the earth of a grain of wheat. My death on the Cross will bring forth great fruitfulness: in the Resurrection the "dead grain of wheat" - a symbol of myself crucified - will become the bread of life for the world; it will be a light for the peoples and cultures.

Yes, the encounter with the Greek soul, with the Greek world, will be achieved in that profundity to which the grain of wheat refers, which attracts to itself the forces of heaven and earth and becomes bread.

In other words, Jesus was prophesying about the Church of the Greeks, the Church of the pagans, the Church of the world, as a fruit of his Pasch.

Some very ancient traditions not only see Andrew, who communicated these words to the Greeks, as the interpreter of some Greeks at the meeting with Jesus recalled here, but consider him the Apostle to the Greeks in the years subsequent to Pentecost. They enable us to know that for the rest of his life he was the preacher and interpreter of Jesus for the Greek world.

Peter, his brother, travelled from Jerusalem through Antioch and reached Rome to exercise his universal mission; Andrew, instead, was the Apostle of the Greek world. So it is that in life and in death they appear as true brothers - a brotherhood that is symbolically expressed in the special reciprocal relations of the See of Rome and of Constantinople, which are truly Sister Churches.

A later tradition, as has been mentioned, tells of Andrew's death at Patras, where he too suffered the torture of crucifixion. At that supreme moment, however, like his brother Peter, he asked to be nailed to a cross different from the Cross of Jesus. In his case it was a diagonal or X-shaped cross, which has thus come to be known as "St Andrew's cross".

This is what the Apostle is claimed to have said on that occasion, according to an ancient story (which dates back to the beginning of the sixth century), entitled The Passion of Andrew:

"Hail, O Cross, inaugurated by the Body of Christ and adorned with his limbs as though they were precious pearls. Before the Lord mounted you, you inspired an earthly fear. Now, instead, endowed with heavenly love, you are accepted as a gift.

"Believers know of the great joy that you possess, and of the multitude of gifts you have prepared. I come to you, therefore, confident and joyful, so that you too may receive me exultant as a disciple of the One who was hung upon you.... O blessed Cross, clothed in the majesty and beauty of the Lord's limbs!... Take me, carry me far from men, and restore me to my Teacher, so that, through you, the one who redeemed me by you, may receive me. Hail, O Cross; yes, hail indeed!".

Here, as can be seen, is a very profound Christian spirituality. It does not view the Cross as an instrument of torture but rather as the incomparable means for perfect configuration to the Redeemer, to the grain of wheat that fell into the earth.

Here we have a very important lesson to learn: our own crosses acquire value if we consider them and accept them as a part of the Cross of Christ, if a reflection of his light illuminates them.

It is by that Cross alone that our sufferings too are ennobled and acquire their true meaning.

The Apostle Andrew, therefore, teaches us to follow Jesus with promptness (cf. Mt 4: 20; Mk 1: 18), to speak enthusiastically about him to those we meet, and especially, to cultivate a relationship of true familiarity with him, acutely aware that in him alone can we find the ultimate meaning of our life and death."