Monday Musings

2 July 2007

What follows purports to be a post. It’s really just a loose collection of reflections.

* * *

The YF wrote in response to my praying the Little Office of the BVM last Saturday:

Just the thing if the Rosary isn’t enough and you need a break from the Roman Breviary. As you know the Breviary, the Little Office should be cake.

Yeah, the Rosary isn’t enough and the Little Office was cake. The problem is that I still want to pray First Vespers of Sunday, and the Little Office of the BVM (either the default Little Office or the “Office of the BVM on Saturday”, which are distinct) would be superseded by the First Vespers of Sunday.

Oh well, maybe I’ll just forgo a “BVM Vespers” on Saturday. My initial, boutique-Christianity impulse was to include the Canon to the Theotokos into First Vespers of Sunday, but I figure that’s a little too cut-and-paste, even for me.

* * *

I’m finishing up Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking; I’ll be reviewing it on Wednesday. One thing that struck me was how her late husband, John, received Communion quite casually at Saint Sulpice (sp?) in Paris; she says, at one point, that neither John or she believed in the “resurrection of the body” in the Apostles’ Creed.

Why received Communion, then? I’m sure there where other impediments to his reception of the Sacrament, as well. And while I’m not here to judge him, I’m curious why I never hear Catholics talk about the dozens of sacrileges of the Sacrament that go on every week on Sunday at each parish. Most Catholics, I would argue, are like John Gregory Dunne: they receive Communion whenever they are at Mass, casually, because “it’s what you do.”

I have a non-Catholic position on the reception of the Eucharist; why is it that Roman bishops don’t wage a campaign to stop these sacrileges? I don’t mean to sound impudent, but I’m honestly curious as to why this isn’t more seriously addressed. After all, from a Catholic perspective, this is dealing with the most important thing in the world!

* * *

No childcare at MyChurch this past Sunday, so I stayed in the nursery with our son and the pastor’s daughter. They played, put together puzzles, and colored; I picked up The Brothers Karamazov for the umpteenth time. I think I might try to plow through it this summer. Prior Peter reads it every year.

* * *

This past weekend was marked by beautiful weather in Chicago, and it was a very pleasant, enjoyable weekend for our family. Yesterday afternoon at the Botanical Garden, while taxing because of the Little Guy’s no-nappage, was still nice.

The Cubs won their series against the division-leading Brewers, giving me renewed hope for the Cubbies.

Thanks be to God for all these blessings.

* * *

And I forgot whose feast day it is today! St. John the Wonderworker, pray for us!

* * *

And another thing: 87.9 (the default frequency for my iTrip) in Chicago seems to broadcast aroudn the clock police procedural radio shows fromt he ’50s.  Anybody know anything about this.  I hear them whenever I turn off my iPod in the car and the radio is still on.

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One Response to “Monday Musings”


  1. Thanks for quoting me! I think you may do a ‘double office’ like monks traditionally do: read first Vespers for the Sunday and add the Little Office’s Vespers afterwards. (You may add the Office for the Dead the same way.) Derek can confirm or deny this.

    Those sacrilegious Communions are a huge problem, a perfect storm of Modernism and bad or non-existent catechesis. Gallup did a poll a few years ago in which random ordinary Roman Catholics were given four choices to describe what the Eucharist is, only one of which was exactly what Catholicism teaches. The others varied from close (like the Lutheran teaching) to completely off. Only about 30 per cent got it right.

    Traditionally Roman Catholics were like the Orthodox: well taught or not, they didn’t expect to receive at every Mass and only did so after some serious preparation, usually going to Confession before every Communion for example, which makes some sense with relatively infrequent reception. Mediæval people in both churches only received a few times a year, true until recently in continental Roman Catholicism and still true in some Orthodox countries.

    (The Episcopal church used to not have Communion every week in many churches exactly for this reason: after the ‘Reformation’ the English people wouldn’t give up their mediæval custom of receiving only four times a year so most of the English Church ended up having Communion only that often.)

    In Episcopal Café I commented recently on closed Communion, ‘open Communion’ as I understand the term (like the Episcopal and ELCA rules: in practice, but not technically, giving it to all baptised Christians) and ‘CWOB’ (Communion without baptism, against Episcopal rules but hip in some Episcopal circles and tolerated in some places; Derek rightly condemns it on orthodox grounds).

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