“… if one begins on Saturday it is too late”

Zenit published parts of a Q&A session of seminarians and the pope. His remarks on homily preparation were most instructive of a practical lectio approach:

I have a fairly simple recipe for it: combine the preparation of the Sunday homily with personal meditation to ensure that these words are not only spoken to others but are really words said by the Lord to me myself, and developed in a personal conversation with the Lord.

For this to be possible, my advice is to begin early on Monday, for if one begins on Saturday it is too late, the preparation is hurried and perhaps inspiration is lacking, for one has other things on one’s mind. Therefore, I would say, already on Monday, simply read the Readings for the coming Sunday which perhaps seem very difficult: a little like those rocks at Massah and Meribah, where Moses said: “But how can water come from these rocks?”.

Then stop thinking about these Readings and allow the heart to digest them. Words are processed in the unconscious, and return a little more every day.

Pope Benedict would turn to theological references later in the course of the week. But we’ve heard this kind of talk from him before: keeping rooted in prayer, maintaining the conversation with God. The method would hold true for lectors and psalmists, too. In fact, a sensitive lay person might be able to do a great deal with the spoken or sung interpretation of the text. If prepared from Monday and not just Saturday, or at choir practice.

It wouldn’t do music directors harm to begin praying the hymn texts  either from the Monday. I can’t say I’ve ever practiced this kind of Lectio in conjunction with the upcoming texts of the weekend. But it would seem to be a valuable effort worth trying.


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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to “… if one begins on Saturday it is too late”

  1. At St. Andrew’s, the deacon gives the reading for the epistle on the previous Sunday, and recommends that the reader spend the next week reading and meditating on that reading, in preparation for the coming Sunday. I find it is a good practice.

    Similarly, for the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, I have prepared the fixed stichera music (that is, written it out) in the tones for each week of Lent, and prepare the music which is special for the menaion at least a few days before hand. It is something that helps both me and the director when it comes time to sing the music.

  2. Fred says:

    Finale Notepad (free download) might be useful for cantors who don’t have a piano at home…
    Fred

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