An Index to the Non-Scriptural Authors in the Office of Readings

Over my 65 years of praying the Divine Office, I have found myself making an index of the non-scriptural authors to be encountered in the Office of Readings. Beginning with 3 x 5 Index cards, I eventually moved into the computer age. For a number of years I have been so very blessed to have been asked to give pre-ordination retreats to a number of candidates to the Diaconate and Priesthood. When I began sharing some of these notes with these retreatants, a certain amount of interest was raised and I was encouraged to make these available to others.

I am not a Patristic Theologian. I definitely am not a Scriptural Scholar. Thus these notes lack great academic value. They are certainly not the last word in opening the treasure chest of knowledge and devotion to be found in the Office of Readings. However, if these notes help you to drink from this stream of holy wisdom given to us by the Church, they will have fulfilled my purpose in starting them so many years ago for myself.

There are two listings in this collection:

  • Index of Themes. These were arbitrarily selected by myself, based on experience.
  • Index of Authors' comments on these Themes, and a collection of all the Non-Scriptural Readings in the Office of Readings.
These Readings are arranged alphabetically by Authors.

The Index of Authors came about first because I found it difficult to remember in which of the almost 600 readings, spread out in four different volumes, I read something that kept coming back to me. I made an alphabetical listing of the Authors. I then listed their writings according to the Liturgical calendar found in the four volumes of the Breviary and gave a brief summary of the themes found in each of these readings to help me find the reading I was looking for.

The Index of Themes grew from this listing. I noted that many different authors would comment on the same subject. I chose 300 themes and tried to organize them in a logical arrangement. I am sure that my selection is very faulty and perhaps difficult to follow but it is hard to break out of an individual thought pattern. Hopefully this listing will inspire users to work out a better pattern for their personal use.

One of the first suggestions by those using the Index of Authors was to provide a copy of all the Readings so that it would not be necessary to go to the four volumes of the Breviary to find the texts.

I then obtained permission from Catholic Books to use their translations of the Readings as part of this program as long as I do not make this a commercial endeavor. However they do permit free will donations to Madonna House, a registered charitable organization.

I can visualize any number of ways of using this presentation; such as having a collection of all the readings of a given author in one location. However my primary vision begins with the Index of Themes. One can scroll down through this list of Themes and find a subject of interest.

For each entry in the Index of Themes there is a page number assigned for the second part of this Index. By going to this page in the Index of Themes you will find a number of comments by different authors about the subject you have chosen. One or more of these short quotations will pique your interest and you will be directed to a page in the Second Section (the Index of Authors) where the entire reading by that same author is given. 

Because the text is copied from the ICEL text used in the Breviary, the key for finding the text in the Liturgy of the Authors is the text itself. In order to make it easier to find a given text, all of the Non-Scriptural writings are presented alphabetically by Author; beginning with Aelred and ending with Zeno. Under each author the texts are arranged by the Liturgical year. The Non-Scriptual readings from the Feast days of Saints are added to the Readings of the Liturgical Year.

I hope that this amateurish presentation proves helpful to you. Please pray for me that I may prayerfully serve the Lord all the days of my life.

About Monseigneur Thomas Rowland (1926-2015)

Msgr. Rowland, a priest of Madonna House Apostolate, was ordained on 17 December 1949 for the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, and this past December celebrated his 65th anniversary of Priesthood. After serving in varied pastoral situations, he studied for Masters of Arts Degrees in Liturgical Theology [U. of Notre Dame, 1975], Pastoral Theology [U. of Notre dame, 1977], and Archaeology [U. of Texas at El Paso, 1984]. He was active for many years in the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions and was one of the founders of the Southwest Liturgical Conference. He is the author of a well-respected text on Liturgical Prayer, entitled "God Acts - We React" which has been used in a number of seminaries throughout North America, and even as far afield as Africa to teach seminarians how to celebrate the Liturgy with appropriate dignity, reverence, and correctness. As well, Fr. Rowland has given retreats to priests in many Dioceses, and was gifted with a love of God, selfless love for others, and a deep understanding and love of liturgical prayer that was contagious. His love of Christ and unflagging apostolic zeal come to the fore in his book, and his pastoral experience as well is reflected in the index of themes in this internet project.

Fr. Thomas served as a beekeeper and house father at Vianney House, a residence for visiting priests. Even in his eighties, he helped out in Parishes in the Pembroke diocese. He was assigned to Marian Centre in Edmonton and from 1999 to 2002 he served at Madonna House in Ghana, West Africa, where he travelled throughout its territories preaching Priests’ Retreats and teaching at the Seminary in Accra. In 2013, Fr. Rowland was assigned to MH Carriacou, West Indies, where he served in Windward for nine months bringing Communion to "the old people", until acute leukaemia required he return to Combermere, where he continued to polish this index project.

Finally, at 9:30 on Tuesday, July 7, 2015, Msgr. Thomas Rowland went home to his beloved Saviour.

For more details about Fr. Thomas’s life and legacy, please see Fr. Denis Lemiux's blog "Getting to the Point". It also contains a link to his book, "God Acts - We React".


Copyright Restrictions:

"Permission was granted by ICEL to Fr. Rowland to use the text as long as it is not sold and as long as only free-will offerings are obtained from visitors [to the site]. The text is to be reproduced exactly as it appears in the official edition of the Liturgy of the Hours, and the following copyright notice must be included:

The English translation of the non-biblical readings are from The Liturgy of the Hours © 1974, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved."

This Index is copyrighted by the Priests of the Madonna House Apostolate, 2888 Dafoe Rd, R.R.#2, Combermere, ON  KOJ 1L0  Canada
August 5, 2009. The Dedication of St. Mary Major