16 February 2009

The Liturgy at Mount St. Bernard's Abbey

With the exception of Vigils, church services were fairly well attended by retreatants and day-visitors. Daily Mass with Terce had the best attendance, but from Lauds to Compline there were at least 15 people besides the community. Attendance at Mass was more like 40.

The abbey uses the Grail Translation of the psalms. This is the translation with which I have the most familiarity... and affection. I learned about the Liturgy of the Hours at Oscott College when I was a student for the Archdiocese of Birmingham. In the British Edition of the Roman Breviary care was taken to retain the poetical/lyrical nature of the psalms, canticles, and even some of the prayers. When praying with some of the other additions, I was taken aback by some more blunt translations. One politically "corrected" edition was just horrible. I prefer biblically correct translations over politically correct translations anyday, no matter how blunt.

During the rest of the day, as I was reading or walking the grounds and surrounding area, the chanting of the psalms would just re-play in my memory. As I stated above, I do have an affection for the Grail Translation. The psalms are like old friends. They stay with me after the liturgy. Sometimes, despite years of saying the same psalms over and over, a new dimension appears to me. The most amazing thing to me about the psalms is how they speak to the age in which they were written, they speak to us about Christ, and they speak to us about our lives today.

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