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In Praise of Our King

As a gift to God for His goodness, and in response to many requests, the School Sisters of Christ the King have recorded a CD called “In Praise of our King.” The recording contains portions of the liturgy of the hours beautifully chanted by the sisters.

The CD is available, free of charge, upon request. They may be contacted at School Sisters of Christ the King, Villa Regina Motherhouse, 4100 SW 56th Street, Lincoln, NE 18522-9261.

While you’re at it, you might want to include with your request for the CD a tax-deductible gift to the sisters–not only to offset the cost of the CD, but even more to support the sisters and their apostolic works.

This relatively young community already staffs seven Catholic schools in the Diocese of Lincoln, but needs contributions to continue to train young sisters for this work.

St. Martin de Porres

Today is the feast of St. Martin de Porres, one of the most beloved saints in the history of the Church. I thought I would share with readers the following excerpt from the homily of Blessed John XXIII on the occasion of St. Martin’s canonization in 1962, taken from the Office of Readings for today:

The example of Martin’s life is ample evidence that we can strive for holiness and salvation as Christ Jesus has shown us: first, by loving God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and second, by loving your neighbor as yourself.”

When Martin had come to realize that Christ Jesus suffered for us and that he carried our sins on his body to the cross, he would meditate with remarkable ardor and affection about Christ on the cross.  Whenever he would contemplate Christ’s terrible torture he would be reduced to tears.  He had an exceptional love for the great sacrament of the Eucharist and often spent long hours in prayer before the blessed sacrament.  His desire was to receive the sacrament in communion as often as he could.

Saint Martin, always obedient and inspired by his divine teacher, dealt with his brothers with that profound love which comes from pure faith and humility of spirit.  He loved men because he honestly looked on them as God’s children and as his own brothers and sisters.  Such was his humility that he loved them even more than himself and considered them to be better and more righteous than he was.

He excused the faults of others. He forgave the bitterest injuries, convinced that he deserved much severer punishments on account of his own sins. He tried with all his might to redeem the guilty; lovingly he comforted the sick; he provided food, clothing and medicine for the poor; he helped, as best he could, farm laborers and Negroes, as well as mulattoes, who were looked upon at that time as akin to slaves: thus he deserved to be called by the name the people gave him: ‘Martin of Charity.’”

The virtuous example and even the conversation of this saintly man exerted a powerful influence in drawing men to religion.  It is remarkable how even today his influence can still come us toward the things of heaven.  Sad to say, not all of us understand these spiritual values as well as we should, nor do we give them a proper place in our lives.  Many of us, in fact, strongly attracted by sin, may look upon these values as of little moment, even something of a nuisance, or we ignore them altogether.  It is deeply rewarding for men striving for salvation to follow in Christ’s footsteps and to obey God’s commandments.  If only everyone could learn this lesson from the example that Martin gave us.

St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru in 1579 as the illegitimate son of a Panamanian mother and a Spanish father.  Having inherited the dark color of his mother, he was rejected by his father and was therefore raised in poverty.  He entered the Dominicans and became renowned for his countless works of charity. St. Martin was the friend of another great Dominican Saint from Peru, St. Rose of Lima, and his bishop for a time was St. Turibius of Mogrovejo.

Man Alive!

The following is taken from the Office of Readings for today’s feast of St. Irenaeus, an important second-century bishop and Father of the Church. This selection from St. Irenaeus contains the famous quote that is sometimes translated, “The glory of God is man fully alive, and the life of man is the vision of God.”

The glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life. For this reason God, who cannot be grasped, comprehended or seen, allows himself to be seen, comprehended and grasped by men, that he may give life to those who see and receive him. It is impossible to live without life, and the actualization of life comes from participation in God, while participation in God is to see God and enjoy his goodness. Read the rest of this entry »

Psalmody to Love

Trivia question (answer at end): What would you have if Billie Holliday came back to life and prayed the Liturgy of the Hours?

I still vividly recall entering a religious community in the mid-1980s. A native of Los Angeles and a fairly recent law school graduate, I knew I was stepping into a very different environment. As I settled into this life, I realized that I was doing many of the same things I had been doing before entering this community. I had already become accustomed to daily Mass and Holy Hours. The studies (I was preparing for the priesthood) likewise came naturally to a “professional student” like me. And of course the meals and recreation times were very enjoyably spent with the great guys we had in the community.

The one thing that was markedly different for me was praying the Liturgy of the Hours (aka “Divine Office”) at set times each day with the other seminarians and religious. I had owned and used a breviary (a prayer book containing the Liturgy of the Hours) before entering seminary, but the regularity and fervor of this prayer of the Church was the most distinctive–and in many ways the most enriching–aspect of my seminary journey. This attraction to the Liturgy of the Hours has stayed with me ever since.

Today I want to direct our readers’ attention to a fine article  entitled “On the Psalmody of the Divine Office” from the Vultus Christi blog. Author Dom Mark Daniel Kirby (“Father Mark”), a Benedictine prior from Tulsa, is a sound, learned guide when it comes to the Liturgy of the Hours.

Father Mark makes some fascinating points throughout  the piece. I had never considered the connection between the choral recitation of the office and the evangelical counsels.  His treatment of the Thomistic concept of “tranquility of order” (tranquilitas ordinis) as it applies to liturgical discipline beautifully highlights the peaceful and contemplative qualities of the Divine Office. 

While everyone may participate in the Liturgy of the Hours, it’s part and parcel of the daily life of consecrated men and women. As such, Father concludes his article by affirming three fundamental principles regarding the Liturgy of the Hours for religious:

1. The choral celebration of the Divine Office is for all apostolic religious a path to contemplative prayer .

2. The choral celebration of the Divine Office is, according to the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI, your primary service to the world.

3. The choral celebration of the Divine Office assures the supernatural fruitfulness of your apostolic works.

Okay, here’s the answer to the trivia question: Psalm Sung Blue (Yes, my wife didn’t laugh either.)