Holy Saturday is the day on which the Church contemplates the rest of Christ in the tomb, after the victorious battle of the cross. She remembers his descent into the world of death to heal the roots of humanity, and she expects his promise to be fulfilled: "The Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, they will condemn him to death and deliver him to the Gentiles..., they will kill him, and in three days he will be resurrected " (Mk 10, 33-34).
"O Redeemer, hear this anthem, as we sing with one accord.
O Redemptor, sume carmen, temet concinéntium."
Antiphon chanted during the Procession of the Oils
The psalms, according to Fr. Garrigou-LaGrange, are a school of contemplation, of self-oblation, and of holiness. These fruits grow and flourish when the psalmody prayed has both body - harmoniously arranged structure bringing the tranquility of order - and soul, the interior devotion rising toward God like a flame. The very parallelism of the psalms when chanted or prayed in the tradition of the Church, two or three phrases punctuated with a pause in the middle, gives a natural body to the prayer. This harmonious body is disrupted by undue haste, depriving the spirit its ability to rest in God. Our community takes great care to preserve this body in our prayer so that soul may flourish.
"The Liturgy of the Hours... was seen as a kind of necessary complement to the fullness of divine worship that is contained in the Eucharistic sacrifice, by means of which that worship might overflow to reach all the hours of daily life."
- Apostolic Constitution promulgating the Liturgy of the Hours
Each day, the community gathers to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the Church. In keeping with the Church's emphasis on Lauds and Vespers as the principle Hours and in accord with our manner of life as contemplative-active religious, we pray with loving care the Hours of Lauds, Vespers, and Compline.
The Blessing of the Candles
Filled with holy joy. radiant with the mystic light, excited, like the venerable Simeon, by the impulse of the Holy Spirit - the Church goes forth to meet her Emmanuel. The Church wield imitate that wondrous Procession, which was formed in the Temple of Jerusalem the day of Mary's Purification. Let us listen to St. Bernard:
As a community steeped in the traditions of the Church, her sacred music is held especially dear by each of the Sisters. Our communal Office is lovingly chanted each day, and the sacred music of the Church is prayed at each liturgy celebrated in our Convent. Two of our Sisters were blessed to be able to attend Musica Sacra's Winter Sacred Music Workshop for Chant and Sacred Polyphony in New Orleans, LA this month.
In spite of the full conference schedule, the Sisters were able to re-connect with a dear community friend who is a Pastor of the Diocese. As the Sisters were walking one afternoon, a generous guide offered them a free bike tour, enabling them to see some unique parts of New Orleans and feel like real tourists.
Divine Infant King Jesus, come down into our hearts!
Sweet Infant Jesus, teach us to love Thee!
O Clavis David... O Key of David, come and lead us out of darkness!
Our good Bishop presided over Solemn Vespers at the Cathedral of St. Eugene on December 20, the fourth day of the O Antiphons in preparation for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. Our Chaplain, Father Keyes directed the Men's Scola in leading the congregation in chanting Vespers. The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the Church, the very voice of the Bride speaking to the Bridegroom, and it was a honor to enter into this dialogue with such solemnity and beauty.
Bishop's Reflection on the O Antiphons
"And then we conclude, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, O Emmanuel, Come! Come be God in our midst. And then, the day after, we rejoice in the completion, a response by God on high, sending Him Whom we have called upon to come for the previous seven days. When we do that in this more formal, liturgical rite, we lend dignity, we lend a seriousness to the completion of our Advent preparation, and we lend ourselves to kindling in our hearts this eagerness for a response to our prayer "O come! Come! Come to Thy people, O come, Lord, come Emmanual!"