Thursday, February 23, 2012

7 SuperQuickTakes- Random Thoughts on Lent

1. Byzantine Catholics normally begin the season with Forgiveness Vespers on Monday while Roman-rite Catholics begin on Wednesday with the administering of ashes.

2. The weekdays of the great Lent are aliturgical. During the week we have different services like vespers and the Presanctified Liturgy of St Gregory on Wednesdays and Fridays. This 'communion service' can only be performed by a priest and is just as long as a normal divine Liturgy. A text of this Liturgy (with some Catholic changes) can be found here.
 3. One of my favorite portions of the Presanctified Liturgy is when we make profound bows and sing "Let my prayer rise as incense before you, and let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice." The Byzantine Lent is filled with prostrations and profound bows.

4. Byzantine Catholics sing Alleluia during Lent! This can be quite shocking to a Roman-rite Catholic. It has never disturbed me because the music style tends toward the minor keys, so it is a solemn alleluia.

5. I always miss the Roman-rite Easter vigil. 28 years ago or so, my family entered the Church during this Mass. This is really the only day of the year I wish I could visit a different church, but this week is the busiest of the year besides Christmas. It just isn't possible to get to another Mass. So, if you are Roman-rite, enjoy this Mass for me!

6. Here is a link from a Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church. Scroll down until you get to the descriptions of Holy Week and Easter. I couldn't say it better myself, so I won't. There's some great information there.

7.The fasting guidelines are stricter in the Byzantine rite, but can be changed with the guidance of a spiritual father. But I've talked about that until I am blue in the face...I have got to go soak some beans. ;)

an interesting bonus link: The Courage to be Ourselves- an important message from 1970


find more quick takes at Conversiondiary.com

20 comments:

  1. I love that part of the Presanctified liturgy as well (let my prayer ascend to you like incense)it gives me chills.

    I also love the St. Ephrem prayer and the prostrations. I actually look forward to Presanctified (our priest offers it twice a week!) but lately with busy little 3 and 1 year olds it is so hard at that time of night. My husband and I are switching off this year. We're not sure if it's the right decision (we do like to be together as a family) but for now we don't know what else to do as our kids totally melt down in the evening. :(

    Here is my post on the beginning of Lent this year! http://www.whenkayleengrowsup.blogspot.com/2012/02/random-thoughts-on-great-fast.html :)

    I hope to include more information about the Byzantines this year, as so many of my friends and family wouldn't hear it anywhere else except from me.

    Oh, last thing, have you read Schmemman's book on the Great Fast? I love this book more than I can say.

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    1. My husband and I also switch off, sometimes taking the older children (8 and 9) with us. Sometimes, though, I love to be able to pray by myself, without even the minor distractions of the older kids. ("Where are we in the book?", etc.) The Presanctified liturgy is perfect for being able to pray quietly. It is so solemn and uplifting and the same time.

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  2. does this count as posted for the purposes of our bet with kate? mine have been posted for hours but are scheduled to show up for 10 so i can post the link on conversiondiary.

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  3. as i said on twitter, i have no life and was refreshing the page until the quick takes popped up.

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  4. Interesting! OMG you guys say the A word! Tell it it ain't so! I like to listen to the secular christian radio station (KLOVE) and during LENT I always have to change the channel because they play songs with the A word! When I was in college we had praise and worship Thursday nights and the Thursday after LENT every song would have the A word in it :) we never realized how many of our favorite songs had the A word in it!

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  5. Haha me, Jen and Emily are always racing to be first. I'm slacking I haven't linked up first in a few weeks :(

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  6. Other then praying for the pope what are the "Catholic" changes to the Pre Sanctified Liturgy?

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  7. Anonymous- that's about it! plus- our singing style isn't as slow as the Orthodox recordings that I have heard (but then I have monastic recordings so maybe a 'normal' Orthodox parish would sound like us)

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  8. Across the street from our Roman Catholic Parish church is a Melkite Catholic church, and when I want to feel as I am be completely submerged in heaven I will go across the street and feel at home.

    I am so glad I found you on the Conversation Diary 7 Quick Links

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  9. I feel completely submerged in heaven and at home when I receive the Eucharist
    in my Roman Catholic parish.

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  10. A few comments lately (plus 2 really good ones that I published but Blogger swallowed somehow) seem to allude to a competition between rites. and some hurt feelings that come from that. It is not my intention to hurt anyone even if now I 'prefer' my Byzantine traditions (anyway- I had better prefer worshiping this way! This is my life)

    It is not the intention of this blog to be political- I could go into that fact that being Byzantine Catholic was illegal in my husband's country and even now most of the churches taken by the state are still in the hands of the Orthodox. Or I could talk about Roman-rite Bishop Ireland's contempt for our tradition of a married priesthood led to the formation of the OCA. There needs to be a lot of forgiveness from all sides- as we sing countless times during the Liturgy- Lord have mercy!

    Most of us are sincere in our search for God. If a Roman-rite Catholic enjoys 'supplementing' her spirituality by praying occasionally in a Melkite church- that is lovely. This does not mean that she doesn't worship full-time at her Roman-rite parish and feel at home there. Of course, she feels at home- but perhaps a specific icon at the Melkite church speaks to her. Maybe the emptiness of the Melkite church is comforting. In any case, even the largest of the Eastern churches is so small in the West that I welcome anyone who finds enough from our spirituality to a be a 'permanent visitor supplementing their primary rite'- if that makes sense.

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  11. Sorry if my previous post implied a competition between rites. I probably should have added that I also feel completely submerged and at home when I receive communion at a Byzantine church or any church in communion with the Holy Father. Thanks for your great blog.

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  12. too many anonymous-es around here! :) just a general comment- one can feel protective of what one loves- and that's fine. I can feel 'bummed' that our mission is virtually empty when there is a rather large group of people from the old country here who 'should' be attending- but I have to learn to let go.

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  13. I joined the Roman-rite Church five years ago and I also love the Easter liturgy. We missed the Vigil Mass last year because we have two small children, but this year I'm considering getting a babysitter so that we can attend a midnight vigil Mass somewhere. :)

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  14. Love the prayer language....it's heavenly...

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  15. Your blog is so interesting, reading the perspective of Byzantine Catholics in the US.

    I have strong ties to the Byzantine Catholic Church: I am descended from a line of priests in Romania. My grandfather's father was a priest and his father before him and so on for a few generations. When my grandfather emigrated to the US in 1906 he began attending Roman Catholic services (no Byzantine church near), married a Roman Catholic woman, and the family became Roman-rite. In the 1970s when I was in high school I loved to attend a local Byzantine-rite Church and feel connected to my roots and experience the transcendent beauty.

    I'm not sure what country your husband is from, but we found in Romania that the Orthodox still own nearly all of the former Byzantine-rite churches and the Byzantine Catholics are having to build new churches for the worship of the congregations. In my grandfather's village we were able to visit his father's church - the Orthodox congregation uses it in the winter because it is smaller and easier to heat than their larger church directly across the street.

    Oh, and I love the Easter Vigil also; my husband converted to Catholicism in the early 1990s and we have attended the Vigil nearly every year since then.

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    1. nancyo- My husband is Romanian- all of his side of the family is still there in the NW part of the country- and yes, it is true about the churches. His family built the beautiful Byzantine Catholic church in one of the grandparents' village- it is now owned by the state religion...so it is hard

      I'm glad you stopped by!

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    2. I can see that we could have quite the chat! We were up in the NW, in Maramures, very briefly, on our 2006 visit to Romania and I have been dying to return to explore the region. We spent much of our time in Transylvania, as that is where our roots are.

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