General Instruction of the…July 14th, 2012
Around 12 years ago, I discovered a great document: the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GRIM). I found this document on the Catholic Liturgical Library website, and read it in its entirety and referred back to it many times. It made the Mass more meaningful to me and, aside from a couple issues, let me know what exactly I should and should not be doing at Mass.
In 2002, the English translation of the GIRM Third Typical Edition for the U.S. was published; however, since I am Canadian and still bound to the 1975 GRIM, I didn’t read it. Two years ago, I made an attempt to get a hold of a working copy of the Canadian 3rd Edition of the GIRM, but nobody would give me one, so I read the U.S. version that had been already in use for 8 years.
The 3rd Edition of the GIRM was so interesting, I read it from beginning to end around 4 or 5 times. It addressed the questions that the 1975 GIRM was vague about, and to which no one had ever given me an authoritative and definite answer. However, it was not Canadian.
I still haven’t read the version approved for Canada, at least not in its entirety. When the 3rd Edition of the GIRM went into effect in Canada last Advent, I found out that the GIRM is found in the beginning of the Sacramentary (the big red book the priest uses at Mass). I’ve looked at it a bit, but not wanting to physically remove it from the church, I haven’t had an opportunity to read it from beginning to end yet. (If anyone knows where I can find an online version of it, let me know.) I will read it one day, but for now I’ve just read the U.S. version, which, I understand, is almost identical to the Canadian version.
When I found out that the GIRM is found in the Sacramentary, I discovered another place it could be found: the beginning of my Daily Roman Missal which I bought in the mid-1990s. Obviously it only has the 1975 GIRM in it, but I was completely unaware that I had a copy of the 1975 GIRM for over 5 years before I even knew it existed.
Today I discovered that I’ve been completely ignorant of the existence of another document that I’ve had in my possession for around 8 years. Earlier today I received a package in the mail that contain the Mundelein Psalter. I’ve been praying the Liturgy of the Hours for almost 12 years, but it has been a slow process in gaining bits and pieces on how to pray it correctly. Most of what I’ve gain was from personally praying it with others. I bought the Mundelein Psalter so I can learn how to chant the Hours like I chanted them at the Sacred Music Colloquium XXII a few weeks ago. When I opened the Mundelein Psalter and looked at the table of contents, the first thing was the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours.
Why did I never find this document before? I looked in my breviary. It wasn’t there. Then I thought, “Maybe it’s in Volume I.” It was! I looked in my one volume Christian Prayer, which I used before I got my four volume Liturgy of the Hours 8 years ago. It had the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours Abridged. Not the whole thing, but some important parts were there.
I wonder how many more documents I have that I don’t know about. I’ve got a lot of books, both in print and on my computer. Many I’ve only referred to specific parts using the index at the back. I wonder what I would find if I look at the table of contents.
The first thing I’m going to read in the Mundelein Psalter is the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours. Not only will the Mundelein Psalter teach me how to chant the Liturgy of the Hours, the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours in it should make the Liturgy of the Hours more meaningful to me and let me know what exactly I should and should not be doing while praying the Hours.
By the way, I also found the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours on the EWTN website, the Catholic Liturgical Library website, the Liturgy Office of England & Wales website, the Lay Dominicans ~ Western Province website, and I’m sure Google will provide a number of others. It’s amazing how much solid information is available, online and in my bookshelf, but I don’t know about it because I never thought to look for it.