Sit,—We are all grateful to Mr. Mortimer for helping to popularise Prime as the morning-prayer of the laity. I think that my C.T.S. pamphlet contains brief explanations of each psalm; but it needs much revision : I hope that the stock may soon be so exhausted as to warrant this revision. Now each Psalm is " interesting " in itself, but certain prayers are repeated daily, and may, despite their beauty, be
come mechanical. They begin with the Pretiosa—Precious in the sight of the Lord is the Death of His Saints; May Holy Mary, and all the Saints, intercede for us, etc. When I say this, I try to unite myself with the Church of the Catacombs, of the Martyrs, and of Mary-Praying, as she was nearly always represented then. Then comes the " 0 God, strain—make speed— towards saving me! 0 Lord, make haste to help me ! ", and the Glory be, thrice repeated. Here, I try to think of the weak, youthful Church crawling out of the Catacombs and almost at once developing into the glorious period of the Fathers who wrote with intelligence never surpassed in ancient Athens herself about the Trinity and the Incarnation. Then comes the Kyrie (as at Mass)—Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy! During the early "Dark Ages," what else was there to say? The barbarians had invaded the Church's domain : Rome, the Holy See itself, were in a state of appalling degradation. We pray now for that period. God in His eternity then " foresaw " our prayers. Time, for Him, is simultaneous. Who knows how many souls our prayers now may "have
saved " then? Then came the amazing re-birth of the Middle Ages, with their intensified understanding of the Fatherhood of God, the Humanity of Christ, and of Mary. Briefly, the Our Father (which we say next) suits this, especially if we try to say it as Our Lady would have said it— as who can doubt that she did, once her
Son had taught it? But it ends with: " And lead us not into temptation—but deliver us for the Evil...." This makes us think of what came next—the Renaissance, with its great gifts of Knowledge, old and new, and their annexed danger of selfsufficiency—of human activity, of StateAbsolutism—of so much that led up directly to our nineteenth century belief in discovery, in salvation by science, in materialist, maybe imperialist, triumph. Hence we desperately implore God to " look back upon " His servants who are His work, and to direct their offspring. Let the splendour of the Lord, our God be upon us—let Him direct the works of our hands " upon " us —let His be the supreme governance of our endeavours : may He direct, put straight " the work of our fumbling but very active hands. And, in the name of the period that led right up to our own—the period of agnosticism (so queerly coupled with self-satisfaction), we again say the " Glory to God." What little remains of Prime. we can, just now, link up—" May the All-Powerful God arrange our days and acts so that they may be within His Peace I " " Peace I leave with you : My Peace I give unto you—not as the world gives, give 1. .. ." This brings us right up to today; and thus we can avoid boredom (if it besets us), and also link ourselves vitally to all the main parts of the Church's history. It is pleasant to know that one is alive and active in the fourth and the fourteenth centuries.
R. I. Hughes's article is one of the best you have ever had. As for me, if for the last ten years I have tried to concentrate on the Mercantile Navy, that was because the R.N. has, with certainty, got something (chaplains, daily prayers, anyway for its boys and youths, if not for all), whereas
many of the world's mercantile navies, our own included, had got next to nothing. or nothing. We wish not to rest till those houses, for which Mr. Hughes makes his plea, exist in every port. It is appalling to us to hear that the Catholic seamen's houses at Leith and Dunedin have had to be closed even " temporarily," even for a week. That simply means that the local laity have not begun to guess their point. The moment we see the point, and display determination, the thing is done! My only quarrel with Mr. Hughes is—" No women!" Such places ought to give chances for dancing. When I said this at Antwerp, some of my listeners seemed blasted as by lightning-flash. But the actual dancing took place in presence of Cardinal Van Roey, who batted not one eyelid. Independently, it seems to me right that men should meet women, and to do so in decent surroundings has its own value. But may Mr. Hughes's invaluable letter arouse amongst us languid folk a fierce determination to create and develop, at all costs, such Catholic Homes for Seamen in all our ports.
cannot end without thanking CATHOLIC HaRAI.n readers—and others—for their prayers during my long-drawn and complicated illness, which seems on its way towards being cured. I cherish especially letters from a Methodist lay-preacher, who, with his congregation, has been daily remembering before God, also my nurses, surgeons and doctors. The HERALD is full of discussions between people who disagree with one another; may everyone who writes a letter " against " anyone also pray for that person, and do so lovingly, for Our Lord loves both of them.
C. C. MARTINDALE.
114. Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, London, W.I.