Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spiritual Prepping Continued

A great place to start - and there
are many more words than
So, Michael Voris keeps saying it, and I keep saying it, and I know many agree: we – the laity – need to prepare ourselves to defend the Faith and stand by it, come what may.

The question is: what’s the best way to engage in this spiritual prepping?

In the Vortex from June 25, Michael Voris said that the laity must

…become as educated in the faith as possible – change the way we live our lives so that immersing ourselves in the faith becomes the number one goal of our day – to preserve the integrity of the faith…

But how do we go about “immersing ourselves in the faith”? Well, I would suggest that one way is to attend daily Mass…in the extraordinary form.  However, the problem here is that for many of us, a daily EF Mass is simply not an option. So, will the Novus Ordo Mass do? Generally speaking, I would suggest that it will not do. A priest who has quite a bit of pastoral experience and who says both forms of the Mass on a regular basis has told me that he doesn’t believe that the Novus Ordo, in general, is capable of forming Catholic disciples of the Lord Jesus who are able to resist the lure of today's secular culture. In a way, that is quite an indictment!

This same priest also pointed out to me that the EF Mass is more “difficult” than the Novus Ordo Mass, and today often involves inconvenience: availability, travel, scorn from others, etc. However, he suggests that perhaps these difficulties and inconveniences contribute, even just at the human level, to a better formation of strong Catholics. Certainly those who want to attend the EF Mass often learn to make sacrifices!

Making a spiritual communion is a way to overcome the lack of an EF Mass, though. And I find it edifying to read through the prayers of the usus antiquor, just as if I’m at Mass. To me, it seems that those prayers contain much of our faith that has been jettisoned in the prayers of the Novus Ordo. The EF Mass is much more a part of Catholic tradition than the NO Mass is, and as such, it has much to offer us both intellectually and spiritually.

If you’ve never (or rarely) been to an EF Mass, I challenge you to make an effort to begin attending one, at least now and then, if at all possible.  I believe it will change you, change your perspective on the faith, even if you are a pretty solid (real) Catholic right now. (See my post “7 Reasons Why You Should NOT Go to the TLM” to see 7 reasons why you really should).

If you are not a regular EF Mass attendee, I suggest you actually study it a bit. By that I mean that you can buy the Latin-English booklet, and you can watch EF Masses on You Tube. The training videos that the FSSP (and others) have put out for priests and seminarians is also a good way for the laity to learn about the Mass. (Go here to see a long list of training videos available on You Tube.)

What else can we do to begin to immerse ourselves in the faith? Well, the Mass is the “source and summit” of our Christian life, so daily Mass attendance is important. The Mass is the greatest public prayer of the Church; but let’s not forget the second most important public prayer of the Church – the Divine Office, or the Liturgy of the Hours.

Priests and deacons are required to say the Office daily. There’s a good reason for that. It immerses one in the prayer life of the Church! A major point, historically, of the Divine Office was to keep the scriptural prescription to “pray without ceasing”.  The hours of the day are sanctified by the Divine Office; it keeps us focused on our Catholic pilgrimage, and redirects our steps continually toward our heavenly homeland.  You can buy the books, or you can find the Office online. Go here for the “old” Divine Office, in Latin and English (actually, there are several “old” versions on that site to choose from). If you aren’t praying the Divine Office now, you might start by praying Vespers after (or before) your evening meal, and Compline before you retire for the night. Add in Lauds (morning prayer) after a bit. Pray Sext (noon prayer) on your lunch break. Fit it in as you can. It’s worth it.

Of course, there are other means of immersing ourselves in the faith. A good starting point would be to orient one’s reading and studying toward getting back to the basics…because so many of us were never taught the basics in the first place.  A commenter on this blog suggested:

Aside from the Traditional Mass (if you're so lucky), the Rosary and daily prayer, the trusty Baltimore Catechism read daily can't be too highly recommended for those Catholics like myself that either were woefully formed and/or are subjected to having to worship on Sundays at a Novus Ordo Mass.

She is so right!  But I think we’ll delve into the possibilities there in another post.

And let me remind you that ChurchMilitant.TV has great programming that will edify and enlighten you as you begin (or continue) your spiritual prepping.


  1. Hi Dr. Boyd,

    These are all great suggestions with one problem for the old divine office .... Learning how to use it! There are so many rules about nocturnal and you don't read straight through, and even the guide in my Baronius Press 2010 reprint set is poor at explaining it! It starts off like an academic lecture, losing me the "student". My friend who does it has simply said "oh just spend time with it and you'll learn it as I have, make the guide yourself" which is no help!

    Do you know of a better guide, online or free or book, maybe one you use(d) to learn the "old school" Latin breviary?

  2. Good point, Julian Barkin... Hmm. I will have to think about that. I learned it through praying it with someone who knew how. I realize that's not an option available for many people. I'll have to think about it do a little searching for a good way to learn it.

    I started off with the "Christian Prayer" book, which is a sort of simplified version of the 4-volume Liturgy of the Hours, which I took up after a while. Now I pray the Divine Office, and having had the background of the other "versions" helped, I think.

    I'll try to address this soon! Thanks for the feedback.

  3. Hi Jay:

    I have the Monastic Diurnale. Unfortunately, I didn't keep up with it after spending the time required to learn how to pray it! If Julian Barkin doesn't mind not having Matins, it might be worth looking into. The language is beautiful ~ not a trace of post-VII watered down and changed prayers. This is the real deal.

    I have some handy instructions for each Hour but I can't for the life of me remember where I found it. I have a sheet for each Hour that I printed off on cardstock and they're tucked away in the book. In lieu of that, this website might be helpful to anyone wanting help with it:

    1. Elizabeth, does the dinurial follow the same pattern, order, nocturns, etc. as the breviary? Actually sorry, that is what my friend above uses

    2. Not sure what you mean by following the same pattern. This is from the description on Amazon:

      "A republication of the 1963 edition of the Benedictine hours of Prime, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline, in Latin and English in parallel columns for all the feasts and seasons in the traditional Benedictine calendar, with an updated table of movable feasts and a Benedictus/Magnificat card. The Latin text is the traditional Vulgate psalter. Ideal for novices, monks and nuns when travelling, Benedictine oblates, guests at monasteries, and all who wish to draw upon the riches of the ancient and traditional Benedictine office. Printed in black and red throughout and bound in real Moroccan leather with a flexible cover, gilt edges and six marker ribbons."

      I don't know if it differs from the Breviary (other than it's only the Day Hours). I assumed that it being only the Day Hours (and the special focus on Benedictine Feasts) were the only differences. But I could be wrong about that.

    3. I mean do you each prayer in the same order as the regular breviary (e.g. Start with antiphon, then prayer x, repeat 2nd half of prayer x, first nocturn/reading, psalm, 2nd nocturn/psalm ....)? Because then the guide or advice to pray the dinurial will be the exact same for the breviary.

  4. I second your recommendation of the catechism "My Catholic Faith." It's very much worth investing in a hard-cover copy. This is an excellent short catechism which covers everything in easily understandable terms with --as you point out -- lots of pictures, which serve a necessary function as mnemonic aids. For anyone who is relatively new to traditional Catholicism, this will give them an excellent introduction.
    -John Galvin


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