Daily Archives: June 30, 2004

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PODness Fun with Books of Hours II

It occurs to me that making a prayerbook would be a good activity for Catholic schoolkids or homeschoolers. You could print out a copy of some prayers or one of the offices (unless the kids really needed a lot of penmanship practice chunked into many days). Then you could have the kids decorate the margins however they wished, and draw big pictures at the beginning of major sections. (You could leave pages blank for this.) Finally, you could have the kids make a cover for the book out of cloth, wallpaper samples, etc., then bind the pages into the cover. Voila — a prayerbook of their very own!

Naturally, you could also associate all sorts of subjects with this activity: religion (obviously), history of languages, art history, European history, economics, the Church Year…you name it.

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PODness Fun with Books of Hours

First of all, thanks to Shrine of the Holy Whapping for explaining what POD stands for and where it came from. I understood the definition by context, but didn’t get the rest.

Now, onward. As you know, on this blog I amuse myself by pointing out that the Council of Trent is just as modern as Vatican II. (We’ve got to get back to the good ol’ medieval days, mwhahaha!) So, a couple of interesting sites.

Medieval General Intercessions features some really fascinating info and Mass prayers, as well as the full text and large chunks of translation of a rhymed prayer to Mary written by Christine d’Pisan. And that’s just one page of this liturgical scholar’s site.

The Hypertext Book of Hours presents the text (and translation of Latin bits) of a medieval English book of hours. You can download the whole thing and use it to pray at home. It can also be used as a cheatsheet for other online medieval books of hours, such as The Artz Hours, Les Tres Riches Heures de Duc de Berry, and Brandeis’ Flemish book of hours (which features surprisingly readable medieval calligraphy, btw). So now you can be even more POD than the folks who pray the normal Daily Office over at Universalis.com (mwhahaha!) and learn some nifty new old prayers, too.

Seriously, though, this throws a very different light on the Books of Hours, both as prayerbooks and art objects. It’s worth knowing that the illustrations of the Annunciation are accompanied with a prayer to “open my lips” so one can “announce” the Good News. The juxtaposition of the following “open my lips” prayers with moments in Christ’s life is even more striking. All the calendar pages (like those in the Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry) have always been beautiful, but then, they have to be because otherwise they’re intrinsically kinda boring; we already know the Church Year. It’s the interesting bits that I haven’t known anything about before.

More Books of Hours, mostly showing illo pages only: Wellesley (5 mss), Spalding U, Willamette, U of Pittsburgh, Kirby I at Claremont, an Angers-use ms, Leaves of Gold (a Books of Hours art exhibition), a strewn-border ms, a Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis, and Queen Isabella’s Book of Hours.

There are a lot more illustrations out there. Also people who will sell you single pages of Books of Hours. (I don’t like this practice much more than I like people who frame magazine and comic covers and throw away the rest. Even if the rest is in pretty bad shape, it all ought to stay more or less in the same place.)

Think I’ve justified the “Catholic” part of my blog description now?

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Vain Repetition?

I forget where I ran across it (Disputations, maybe?) but someone was complaining about the “vain repetition” of prayers in the Rosary. Well, hopefully the repetition is not being done in vain, but instead quite purposefully. Repeating prayers is of course a good way to focus and calm your mind for meditation upon the Mysteries of the Rosary (incidents in the life of Jesus, and that of Mary, which are all pretty much her cooperation with things Jesus/God was doing). Beyond that, however, repeating a prayer causes you to focus again and again on the prayer itself and what it really means.

Frex, you might be praying the Our Father. One time, you might say, “Our Father….” and find yourself thinking about how your own father’s love points to the infinitely greater love of God for His creations and adopted children. Another go-round, you might say “give us this day our daily bread” and start thinking about how you really do depend on God for everything, or His faithfulness in continuing to do so. “Deliver us from evil” is always an attention-grabber.

Praying ten Hail Marys at a time gives you time to think about the event associated with the decade and its implications, but the words of the Hail Mary have you returning again and again to the basic mystery of the Incarnation, the communion of the saints, and “now and at the hour of our death”.

Then, at the end of every decade, you come out to the Glory Be — into glory beyond time and space and the eternal contemplation of the Trinity.

In effect (Maureen realizes after a lifetime, being rather slow), the Rosary tells again and again the story of the creation of the world, Jesus’ life and the Christian life, and life forever in Heaven with God. Just as reading the Bible again and again does. Sorta like the Mass does (though that’s got actual sacramental things operating, and the Rosary doesn’t). Hmmmmmmmm.

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Howl’s Moving Picture

Diana Wynne Jones‘ wonderful fantasy novel, Howl’s Moving Castle, has been adapted into a movie by Hayao Miyazaki and the usual suspects at Ghibli. It’ll be out this fall in Japan, so the trailers have started appearing. Nausicaa.net has an 18mb Divx copy of the 2 minute trailer available for download. (They also provide a translation of the Japanese trailer’s script.)

It looks (and sounds) wonderful.

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