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Church Daddy's Corner

Night Prayer

As mentioned before, the older girls and I try to pray Night Prayer before bed each night. Also known as Compline, this is the last “office” of the daily Liturgy of the Hours in the Catholic Church. Most commonly associated with monks and whatnot, the Liturgy of the Hours is one of the Church’s ways of fulfilling St. Paul’s mandate to pray without ceasing through regular Psalm-based prayer.

Tonight, we recorded it to share with y’all. With the novel coronavirus with churches closing and a lot of us Catholics turning to live streaming our communal prayer, the girls thought it would be a good idea to share how we do this.

To set the stage, we pray this together after they have dressed for bed, brushed their teeth, and whatnot. They’re in their beds lying down each with their own copy of Fr. Weber, OSB’s version of Compline which has both the English and Latin texts of the Liturgy of the Hours and the musical notation for it. I use my personal copy of the 4-volume set so on regular days, I can tell them about the saint for tomorrow before we begin our prayer.

If you want to try it without buying anything, there are some great resources. A helpful note: While the other parts of Liturgy of the Hours vary a lot over a four-week cycle and based on the saint of the day, Night Prayer is on a weekly cycle. Every Monday is the same as every other Monday with few exceptions. To make things even easier, you can use the psalm from Sunday every day so if teaching your kids to chant a different psalm each night seems like a big step, just learn Sunday’s to start. For Teresa, we started before she could read and she ended up being able to sing along with almost the entire week’s worth of psalms before she could follow along with the text.

Anyhow, how to get the office.

  • Printable: eBreviary has PDF booklets for the next week’s worth of Night Prayer for free.
  • Mobile Apps: Unversalis has a different translation for free on their website, but includes the U.S. version of the translation for those who purchase their desktop or mobile apps.
  • Books: There are a few different ways to get it in printed form.
    • Compline – This is what the girls use and includes musical notation. If you want a beautiful version that includes music, this is it. This is what I suggest for anyone starting off with Night Prayer and wanting to sing it.
    • Liturgy of the Hours – This is the official 4-volume complete Liturgy. If you’re reading this post, this is likely overkill and should use one of the other options. 😃
    • Christian Prayer – This was my first Liturgy of the Hours book. It is a 1-volume version of the Liturgy. It includes complete Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Daytime Prayer, and Night Prayer. One thing it has that the “complete” 4-volume set doesn’t is a hymnal. If you’re interested in starting a broader Liturgy of the Hours experience, this is a great choice. Since the text is the same, you can purchase one of these with copies of Compline and everyone has the same text.
    • Shorter Christian Prayer – Like Christian Prayer above, but with only a one-week cycle. Great for travel.
    • Night Prayer – Same publisher as the three books above, but only Night Prayer. To me, I suppose if a parish or retreat center wanted to provide books for the congregation for Night Prayer, this would be nice. I would go with Shorter Christian Prayer or the Compline book over this one.

You may notice from the video we didn’t sing a hymn. We’re supposed to; hymns are proper to the Liturgy of the Hours. But, I’m tone-deaf and have a really hard time singing songs I don’t know. When the girls were younger, it was a major win to do what we’re doing, so we haven’t.

The twins will soon be joining us for Night Prayer and they love singing. I’m planning on letting them lead us in singing one of the hymns they enjoy during that part of Night Prayer to ease them into it, since their nighttime prayer now is straight singing from the old parish hymnals they gave away when the parish bought new ones.

In short, the Liturgy of the Hours is a great way to pray as a domestic church and Night Prayer, especially, is a great way to include all the members of your family.

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Microblog

Chuck Norris

Today is Chuck Norris is 80 years old. I wonder what he’s going to do for his mid-life crisis.

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Politics

Texas Won't Help

Texas will not be resettling refugees in the new fiscal year, Gov. Greg Abbott told federal officials Friday.

Source: Gov. Greg Abbott Says Texas Won’t Resettle Refugees In 2020

Governor Greg Abbot is not opting Texas into the federal refugees settlement program. Under President Trump, the program changed to require specific opt-in by local officials. After 40+ states opted-in, Texas became the first to opt-out.

I’m very disappointed in our state, in particular our governor. The same day that he celebrates how strong Texas’ economy is, he announces Texas will not opt-in because we have too many needs at home.

We must not create and maintain this fear in “the other”—those who are homeless or those who are being settled into the Unites States. Texas can do better.

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Microblog Reflections

Happy New Year!

The start of the new year feels often like a natural time to kick off new things. We shouldn’t wait until January 1st to start something new or improve ourselves, but since today is January 1st, might as well start today.

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Daddy's Corner

We Need A Name!

The Delwood Grasshoppers, the tee-ball team that I coach, needs a mascot name! We’re rebranding to use our own mascot, instead of the Minor League Greenboro Grasshoppers logo, and I think it is time for our little grasshopper to be given a proper name.

Look at this little guy—isn’t he cute?

I’m pretty happy with the mascot work, in no small part because he is wearing one of our actual jerseys. Here are my tee-ballers from last season:

But, he doesn’t have a name! A mascot that cute really should be called something! What is your best Grasshopper name?

Categories
Reflections

This Doesn't Make Sense

The weekend before Thanksgiving, my niece passed away. She was 22 years old, leaving behind her husband and two sons.

I officiated the service and offered a reflection on making sense of her death. A friend of her husband’s family is a pastor in town and gave another one that focused on the afterlife. My reflection is below as prepared, slightly edited to remove her name:

This doesn’t make sense. We’ve now had just over a week to try to make some sense of such a sudden and tragic death, and it doesn’t make much more sense than it did a week ago. We cry, yes, because of how much we loved her and the sadness of not having her next to us today, but we also cry because of how surprised and shocked we are to lose her so quickly at such a young age.

It just doesn’t make sense. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children. Husbands aren’t supposed to be balancing two babies in their arms while at their wife’s funeral. But here we are.

In the past week, two things have helped me, not make sense of this, but to help me begin my own personal process of healing. First, what we see here today is not what she sees now. As the Old Testament tells us:

The souls of the just are in the hand of God,
and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead,
and their passing away was thought an affliction
and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.

Wisdom 3

Even as we view her passing with sadness and something that destroyed our world, she has been entrusted to the merciful hands of God and she is now at peace.

And the second is being reminded of how much God loves us, which can be really hard to believe right now. One thing I’ve heard by different friends and loved ones this week is some variation of not understanding how God could have this be his plan, not understanding why God would have done this. Why would such a loving God let such a loving person perish? Why did God’s plan have her taken away from us now?

It wasn’t God’s plan. God didn’t plan out each day of our lives from the beginning and just hoped that we stayed on that path. God’s plan for us is, ultimately, to return to him, he who made us. God so desires this that His plan for us is too powerful—it figures out a way.

I don’t think God plans for us to get sick, to get cancer, to get in that accident. I don’t think God penned a plan that would have us together in this funeral home gathered today around her up here in the front.

God’s plan for us, though, is that we all have the free will to decide for ourselves what we will do today or what we won’t. God’s plan for us is generally for the world will play out with how all of those decisions every day by all of us here impact each other. God’s plan for us is to live in his creation, accepting the scientific rules and realities that have evolved over the eons.

God’s plan for us is to accept the decisions we all make, to accept that what brought us to this point brought us to this point, and then for us to decide to make it better from this moment forward. To use what we have before us—good or bad—and transform it with the grace of the Spirit to something better.

Paul in his letter to the Romans helps us:

If God is for us, who can be against us?
He did not spare his own Son, but handed him over for us all,
will he not also give us everything else along with him?
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish or distress or persecution or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?

No, in all these things, we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God.

Romans 8

God loves us so deeply, so fully, so passionately, so all-consuming. God doesn’t just like you or thinks you’re okay, or tolerates you only when you’re in a good mood. God loves you. God is like fully obsessed-in-love over you.

God’s love for us is something that God wants us to share with each other. God can not but have his love spill out onto each one of us and, in return, being given such full and complete love, we have to share it with those around us.

And that’s how, maybe, while being here today for this reason still doesn’t make any sense, that’s how it can give us purpose and hope.

She had such a beautiful spirit who shared so much love with us and the world is a worse place for her not being here anymore. She is better off — she is at her peace — but we still have less here with us.

While I don’t think God’s plan was to have her life on this earth end a week ago, I think that, maybe, God’s plan for us today moving forward is to take a moment to pause, realize how much love the world lost when it lost her, and then for us to commit to being that love. To be that extra love for each other–her friends and family, for us to be that extra love for the rest of the world who never will get to experience her love this side of heaven, to be that extra love in some small way for her husband, and to be that extra love for her boys so they will always know their mother by her love.

I don’t think her death will ever make any sense to me, but we can accept love, we can show love, and we can love for each other. And through us and through that love, her light will continue to shine.