For some mysterious reason I woke up one pre dawn morning last week with the usual coffee, kratom and a prayerbook, but instead of my battered 2nd Edition Old Orthodox Prayerbook I held in my hands my barely used velvety copy of the Lancelot Andrewes Matins. I admit I felt a tinge of guilt in holding a Western Breviary in my hands after almost two years of being on the Julian Calender and praying in the manner of an Old Believer, but the guilt didn’t stop me from furtively glancing around, opening it up, and praying a full Matins.
It held up, it was everything I remember it was. I recall the first time I ever prayed in the manner of the breviary I had a copy of the little My Daily Prayer Pocket Psalter and the Angelus Press Divine Office which was just Prime and Compline if I remember correctly. I loved the psalms, and the daily and seasonal rhythm of the Western Office. Eventually I got…the Farnborough Monastic Diurnal and became hooked. At a time when I was paralyzed by the cognitive dissonance inherent in being a lover of the Latin Rite Tradition in a Church that has moved on, the Office was a Godsend. It became my life raft apart from the Barque of Peter, a small vessel tossed to and fro in a raging storm yet sustained and guided by the psalms, hymns and seasons of the Breviary. In truth praying some form of Office is still how I am sustained in my Christian Faith apart from any parish, although I still sometimes attend the little Roman Catholic student chapel near here for daily Mass and an occasional confession.
For better or worse I was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church, and despite having serious reservations about papal infallibility, primacy of jurisdiction, the Filioque, Indulgences and the nature of the Reforms of the last 100 or so years I sometimes feel like there’s a part of me that is still Catholic, that still wants to remain in that Church even if it must be on the far flung hinterlands of Rome, kind of like Athanasius Schneider way out in the steppes of Central Asia.
Again, just the other day I found myself exploring the Vultus Christi blog after several years, and all of a sudden I remembered that years ago I had asked Dom Kirby about the Oblateship. My memory of this desire to become an oblate, fueled by both my quiet, introspective nature and my love of the Office made me contemplate this path once again. It’s something I want to explore over the next year or so, following the 12 point list I saw on the Vultus Christi blog, really discerning if I ought to become an oblate or if my Slavic Orthodoxy tendencies will make it impossible for me to take up. Or maybe, just maybe I could be an Oblate praying the Western Office and the Jesus Prayer and looking at the Western Tradition through the Eastern lens.
For now, I’m getting back into the Monastic Office.