Electric Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, and other things.

March 2018 Newsletter

Posted by universalis on 16 March 2018

By the time you read this, the moon will be either new or very young.

At this time of year, that is not a whimsical or irrelevant observation. From now on, the fuller the moon is, the closer to Easter we are. All we need to do to see how close we have got is to look up into the sky. When the moon is full, it is Holy Week.

It happens like this because we are Jews, or almost. The Jewish Calendar is a lunar calendar and the Passover is celebrated on the first full moon after the spring equinox. We are Christians as well as Jews, so we celebrate Easter on the Sunday after the Passover.

It is not just Easter that we can see in the heavens. On Ash Wednesday the moon is either very young or precisely new. The Ascension and the Sacred Heart are within half a week of the new moon. And a full moon almost always falls between Pentecost and Trinity Sunday.

Thus, as Genesis will remind us at the Easter Vigil, God made the lights in the sky to indicate festivals, days and years. No longer pagan gods to be worshipped, the sun and moon are hands of a clock that regulates the worship of the true God.

More Latin

The Midwest Theological Forum generously gave us the Latin texts of the Liturgy of the Hours, and the Vatican publishing company equally generously gave us permission to include them in Universalis. Now the MWTF have piled on more generosity, and you can see the readings and psalms at Mass in Latin as well (the Latin prayers and antiphons were added to Universalis a month or two ago). You will find the necessary option in the “Settings” or “Translations” screen.

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina is the practice of reading Scripture slowly and meditatively and thereby entering into a conversation with God. The Manquehue Apostolic Movement, a Chilean lay Benedictine organisation, have been sending missions to Benedictine schools in England to promote Lectio groups among the pupils, an example of how we can never predict how, when, or in what direction the Spirit will choose to flow. At Downside over a third of the pupils in the school participate in these groups, which are entirely voluntary, and the older pupils learn to guide the younger in the practice of Lectio. (The Downside web site has more to say on this).

The Universalis programs and apps now have a Lectio Divina page (next to the About Today page in most of the menus) which gives a Lectio session for the day, including extensive instructions on how to do it best. Do consider trying this for yourself, or, best of all, doing it regularly with a few other people. Persist for a while: the more you do it, the better you get at it – or rather (since the initiative is really coming from the other side) the better you get at not getting in the way of whatever God wants to do with you through it.

If you have any questions about Lectio groups or how to set them up and operate them, please let me know at universalis@universalis.com and I will pass them on to someone who can help.

How to update

Updates are (or should be) automatic on Android and iOS, while on the Mac and Windows Universalis checks for updates from time to time and lets you know when one is available. This page has full details.


Best wishes for a happy, holy Easter full of grace and joy.

Thank you all for using Universalis. If you have trouble or questions, or suggestions, do write to us at universalis@universalis.com or use the Contact Us button in one of the apps. Let us all keep one another in our prayers as always.

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