Thursday, July 31, 2014

IGNORANCE OF THE ZzzzOMBIES: Divine Office Edition

I like making people laugh. That's the primary reason for continuing this blog.  I also like taking the piss out of pretentious people.
I don't enjoy being a jackass, but sometimes I have to. It's part of the job of being a Self Appointed Ecclesiastical Blogger At Large.

One of the regular Zzzzombies who identifies herself as Long-Skirts, a Roman Catholic mother of 10 children, who writes poetry, humorous novels and believes in creation of all kinds who has been mentioned in the comments here at WDTPRDAD cranks out poetry on a regular basis, when commenting on other blogs as well as on her own.  This one happened to catch my eye.

I said a little
Prayer for you,
Today, at morning

At breakfast said
An Ave too,
While eating food
That fattens.

At Lauds I prayed
To give you strength,
And then I had
A snack.

I'd pray for you
At any length
While ordering a

The sun is high,
It's 12-noon time,
For you the
Angels' Psalter.

I pray at Prime,
Though it's lunch time,
That God won't
Let you falter.

Again at three,
It's time for Terce,
Some food I'll need
Till Sext.

My clothes are tight
Oh, what is worse?
To dwell on
Diet text.

So down my supper,
On to None,
Dry mouth from prayer,
I thirst.

I drink a lot,
The Vespers done,
My tummy's 'bout
To burst!

But still for you,
At Compline sat,
I prayed,
More food I ate.

This praying, Father,
Makes me fat...
Now you pray

I lose weight!!!

Okay. Perhaps she had been listening to the local morning radio show and rendered this classic into trad-cath prose.

I really don't know.  What did jump out at me was the seeming ignorance of the actual time the hours of the office are (or used to be) prayed. Granted, the average person in the pews does not need to know this.  Knowing that Matins/Lauds are prayed in the morning and Vespers/Compline are prayed at night is more than most people need or want to know.  There is nothing wrong with this. Unless, of course one begins to advocate for the restoration of the "older form" of the Breviary, or writes a poem about praying throughout the day in-sync with said Office. 

"I pray at Prime,Though it's lunch time."  Prime is the first hour of the day, 6:00 AM.  An odd time for lunch.  
"Again at three, It's time for Terce."  Terce referencing the third hour, which is 9:00 AM and not three o'clock PM which is None, the ninth hour.  And on it goes.  I'm sure you get the drift. 

"But Father, but Father, what's your point?  Why are you picking on this poor woman?" you ask. 

Sometimes, it seems to me, that many people clamoring for tradition are doing so from a position of zeal without knowledge. When we advocate for the preservation or restoration of various aspects of  traditional practices, we should know what we are asking for should we not?


  1. Perhaps "Long Skirts" should try out the traditional Catholic practice of fasting. Her whole poem is about food. She is also constantly complaining about getting her tubes tied so I guess calendar counting isn't working for her.

  2. Cardinal Richelieu (rip) would brag that he was able to do the entire office in some ridiculous record time, though the exact amount of minuets escape me.

  3. I have always imagined that "long-skirts" is actually some male recluse, who suffers from scrupulosity to the max, wears four Rosaries and three scapulars around his neck, living in Mommy's basement, getting a disability check because he is unable to leave the house without having a nervous breakdown.

    1. LOL. Sounds more like Father D.

  4. What jumps out at me is this:

    ". Granted, the average person in the pews does not need to know this. Knowing that Matins/Lauds are prayed in the morning and Vespers/Compline are prayed at night is more than most people need or want to know. There is nothing wrong with this."

    It has always struck me as odd that the daily spirituality of the people in the pews is so different from clergy and religious.

    1. Good point. Perhaps the remnants of my own clericalism blurs my view.

      Prayer books for laity in the Eastern traditions draw portions from the Divine Office (Horologion) which the clergy are obligated to pray. Is this a "dumbing down" of the fullness of the liturgy of the church? Or is it perhaps a way of assisting those NOT bound to praying the full Office to connect to the liturgical life of the rite?

      The traditional Latin Rite Office with all the doubles, semi-doubles, Matins rules was not always a joy to pray. For many it became an obligation rambled off by dashboard lights before time ran out.

      Not so much as a different spirituality for clergy and laity (though for religious it is indeed very different, much more rigorous) as it is a different set of plans-- obligations-- according to their state in life.

    2. Father, do you have a translation for this?

  5. OR perhaps we should be grateful that someone is actually PRAYING? instead of ripping her to pieces? She even says "though it's lunch time". I take that to mean something along the lines of: " hey, I know its not ideal, but I'm trying my best to simply pray it.". Being bound to the office myself, I can attest to the fact that I almost never keep to the specific times of the hours, in EITHER form. What's important is that they are prayed.

  6. Ricilue actually, from what I recall, actually wouldn't say the office in record time. He would say from Matins through Compline just before midnight and then keep right on going into Matins et Al for the next. In so doing he bought himself almost two days without concern for his first obligation. But hey, can we blame him? He has shit to do! He had a COUNTRY to run!