Grumpy Friday

The Friday after Ash Wednesday is popularly known in community as ‘Grumpy Friday’. The fast is beginning to take its toll (yes, already!); the penances we took on with such enthusiasm two days ago no longer look so attractive; and the loss of alleluia in the Divine Office has caused so many crashes and false starts that one wonders how we ever manage to sing anything right. It is reassuring to find the Rule of St Benedict advising us on the content of Lauds (RB 13.1–11). We can comfortably doze through that, can’t we?

Well, no we can’t. The so-called Liturgical Code, chapters 8 to 20, is vitally important. By which I mean that prayer is truly life-giving, and the way in which our community prayer is ordered matters immensely. The monastic Office is much longer than its Roman equivalent (we say all 150 psalms in the course of the week, for example, and have a good curse on Fridays, i.e. we don’t omit the cursing psalms as being unsuitable for the mouths of Christians) and Lauds or Morning Prayer is, together with Vespers or Evening Prayer, one of the two great hinges of the day.

When we pray Lauds we do so with and on behalf of the whole Church. We welcome the new day as God’s gift and celebrate the salvation which is ours in Christ. The words of the Benedictus (Canticle of Zechariah) remind us that no matter how dark our thoughts, no matter how grumpy we may be feeling, the Son of God will illumine us. Is it any wonder that, after Lauds, for a few minutes at least, Grumpy Friday is no more?


13 thoughts on “Grumpy Friday”

  1. Even without the rigours of liturgy this community /family of 6, including 4 teenagers, managed a great deal of grumpiness for a Friday. Before I head off to work I need to meditate on the words from my mouth I think. No profanities but quite a deal of sacarsm, mostly lost on messy and be-earphoned teenagers. Feeling better that the challenges are not just peculiar to us. Just off to stomp off to work, slightly less grumpy….

  2. I rarely fail to be cheered by the Benedictus when I get to it in Morning Prayer. Your post is a good reminder that we should try to be joyful in The Lord always, even when life is making us grumpy. Thank you, Sister.

  3. I only have just discovered Jim Cotter’s paraphrases of the psalms.
    The two I have read so far (from the Lent course I am following) have proved tremendously enlightening and comforting, so much so, that I have bought the book to delve deeper. I may even read them all in a week…

  4. Not grumpy here, grateful not to have had that meteorite’s sonic boom blow out our windows or cause physical harm as it did in Russia. Speaking for myself, I find that grumpiness is self-indulgent and never ends well. Praying you keep a good Lent.

  5. I’ve been trying to get my head around the concept of a grumpy ‘Benedictine Nun’. Because, so far, everything I’ve learned from your postings is your sense of place, sense of goodness and sense of humour. So, I’ve been finding it difficult to accept you could ever be grumpy. πŸ™

    Obviously, not following your liturgical pattern, but finding myself saying Psalm 51 as part of Morning Prayer, and also engaging with the #Bigbible #Bigread2013 project, was also called to quote a verse (17) from the Psalm, means that I’ve been kept in a suitably contrite mood, with no room for grumpiness.

    Instead, rushing around on Church business and domestic emergencies meant that I had little time for reflection until late afternoon, by which time I was too tired to feel grumpy. Oh, the beauty and restorative qualities of 40 winks πŸ™‚

    So, grumpy Friday isn’t something I experience to often, and as my spouse finishes work early and we go to lunch together it makes it actually a precious day.

  6. “Grumpy Friday” is perfect for that Friday following Ash Wednesday- I shared it with the choir and choristers after reading your post, which led to a concord of agreement of the phenomenon. I must confess, that the reason I did share it was that I had had more than a few of the choristers ask, “Mr. Morse, is everything quite alright? You seem a bit out of sorts today”, or other similar variations. During our break we had great fun in speculating that if “Grumpy Friday” were to make it into the liturgical calendar, what might the propers be? The results were truly “holy hilarity” and ranged the gamut of propers that should make us rejoice, a sort of v. early Laetare, or that give in to the spirit of the day with rather mournful propers. I must share these with you someday! Suffice it to say, that when I had my tea a few minutes later, without the customary milk and sugar, I was smiling, and the “Grumpiness” of the day was quite thoroughly chased away. Thank you for your help in establishing a new chorister tradition!

Comments are closed.