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

Archive for March, 2023

March 2023 newsletter

Posted by universalis on 11 March 2023

Happy Lent!

We are getting up to the middle of Lent now, so it seems a good time to be recommending some sources of spiritual nutrition to keep the momentum going. There are three in this newsletter: the Creed in Slow Motion videos, the longer passages in the Readings at Mass page, and the Spiritual Readings page in the apps and programs.

The Creed in Slow Motion

Father Sean Doggett in Grenada has recorded a series of videos which follow the themes of The Creed in Slow Motion. The videos are quite short, so it is not a burden to watch them, and they are presented with great charm and simplicity. Apart from their value in themselves you could find it useful to watch them with young people and use them as a starting-point for conversation. There are 53 videos, and you can either watch them one a day by following the link in our About Today page – about a thousand people a day are doing this – or look up the complete list here.

Longer passages

The First and Second Readings at Mass are decently short. They have to be, because anything else would unbalance an occasion which is centred not on scripture but on the encounter with the Lord in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist.

On the other hand, if you are looking at the readings at home then you are studying, not participating in a sacrament, and the wider picture can be useful and interesting.

For instance, next Sunday is the watery Sunday of Lent: as the Gospel gives us the magnificent dialogue with the Samaritan Woman about water welling up to eternal life, so the first two readings quickly give us Moses striking water from the rock and St Paul talking about the Love of God being poured into our hearts.

But those readings are just highlights, because the whole passage from Exodus tells us where and why the Israelites were tormented by thirst, and what happened next, and the whole passage from Romans gives a rounded picture of our justification through Christ.

In the Universalis apps and programs, you can choose to see these longer passages. They are added to the very end of the Readings at Mass page, so you will still see the normal Mass readings in the normal place and won’t be distracted.

The “Show longer passages” option is in the Settings screen of the mobile apps, in Tools > Options in Windows, and in Universalis > Preferences > Translations on the Mac. Universalis won’t give you those longer passages on every single day (it is “borrowing” them from the scriptural readings in the Office of Readings) but you will see them more often than not, and they are well worth a try.

Spiritual Reading

The Office of Readings is often thought of as being something for specialists. Perhaps it is the slightly obscure name it has been given, or perhaps it is its length – it does sometimes seem to have the most tedious historical psalms! But the Second Readings in the Office of Readings are one of the glories of the Liturgy of the Hours (they are what first drew me into it) and it is a pity to miss them.

The Spiritual Reading page in Universalis gives you just the Second Readings and nothing else. Have a look at it when you have a moment. Sometimes there is only one Second Reading, so that for instance this Sunday it is (fittingly) St Augustine’s commentary on the gospel of the Samaritan Woman. But quite often there are more. On Wednesday we had not only Wednesday’s reading but also the reading for St John of God (a humbling one, that), and even one for St Felix, whom you may not have heard of otherwise because he is celebrated only in East Anglia. In a sense the Spiritual Reading page is richer than the proper Office of Readings because it gives you the chance to see all these readings wherever you are.

“Spiritual Reading” comes in the same Hours menu as the Readings at Mass and all the Hours. Give it a go.

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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