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Liturgy of the Hours, Part 14 – Evening Prayer

Recap

The intention of this blog series is to help answer some questions regarding the Liturgy of the Hours and establish good habits for prayer.

Please subscribe to this blog for future updates, and make sure to like this post. Don’t forget to submit questions, or share your experiences with the Liturgy of the Hours. There has not been any feedback on any of the blog posts. I will respond to valid submissions to the site. I want to thank anyone out there that takes the time to read these posts. It takes time to put together this information and it is nice to know that someone may benefit from it.

Most of what we have talked about is help us understand why we are doing things during the Liturgy of the Hours.
Let’s start with a recap of where we are in this mini-series on the Liturgy of the Hours. In Part 1, we have an introduction; Part 2, the background, history, and some theology behind the LOTH; Part 3, covers the Breviary that we use to pray the LOTH. It also helps us to decide which Breviary we want to buy and use; Part 4, the division of the LOTH hours into Offices; Part 5, the Invitatory; Part 6, the Hym; Part 7 – The Psaltar; Part 8 – The Readings; Part 9 – Responsoral and Canticle; Part 10 – Intercessions and Prayer; Part 11 – The Office of Readings; Part 12 – Morning Prayer [Lauds]; and Part 13 – Day Prayer.

In this part we will cover Evening Prayer. We will look at it in an orderly process, and not the theology. For more information about the importance of prayer and the parts of the office, please read the previous blog posts of this series.

Evening Prayer (ordinary)

The term ordinary in the title of this section not to represent Ordinary time, but an ordinary occurrence of the Office. This is important to understand because in some situations the offices may change. We will look at how and when the office may change later. First, we must learn how to perform Evening Prayer normally.

Much of what we will see here will match the other offices. This does not always occur, but similarities will happen.

This instruction will only contain the common text. The text specific to that day in the Liturgical Year are in the Breviary.

Please refer to previous blog posts for descriptions of each of these parts to the Evening Prayer.

There will be bars drawn to break up the sections of this prayer. These sections are important, and it is important to see in the text where the division of these sections occur. When praying from the breviary, these lines will not appear, but the expectation is that we know and understand the division of these parts in the prayer.

It is also sometimes the practice to have groups take turns with reading the strophes. This is acceptable but the leader should explain this before beginning prayer. The leader will always read the leader’s part. The Response will always be the response of everyone in prayer.

As with many Liturgical instructions, the format of this guide matches the standard used by the Church. In standard Liturgical documents we say, sing, or chant the words written in Black. We perform, act, or do the things written in Red. The common adage is, “Say the Black, and Do the Red.”

We start here.

God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen. Alleluia.


Hymn
At this point sing the Hymn. This Hymn should be available in the Evening Prayer, otherwise select one.
Solemnity and Feasts may contain a Hymn, or use one in the Proper of Saints or the Commons.


Psalmology
Note: If Psalm 95 was not used in the Invitatory and one of the other Psalms replaced it. Psalm 100, Psalm 67, or Psalm 24 may be one of the Psalms in the Psalmology. If we used one of these Psalms in the Invitatory and it is in the Psalmology, we replace it in the Psalmology with Psalm 95. We do not repeat the Psalm from the Invitatory, in the Psalmology.

[Leader] Read Psalm 1 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 1

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

Prayer – If there is a prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 1 Antiphon

[Leader] Read Psalm 2 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 2

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

Prayer – If there is a prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 2 Antiphon

[Leader] Read Psalm 3 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 3

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

Prayer – If there is a prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 3 Antiphon


Readings
Leader – or selected person will Read the Reading
The reading in the Psalter is the expected reading. However, if a large group is in prayer a reading may be taken from the current liturgical calendar readings for the day.


Responsoral
Leader starts the Responsoral
— [All] Repeat with a response
Repeat if necessary.

[Leader] Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Stop here, do not finish
Instead of finishing the Glory Be.
— [All] Repeat with a response


Gospel Canticle
Proper Posture is to Stand

[Leader] Reads the Canticle Antiphon
[All] Repeat the Canticle Antiphon

[All recite the Canticle]
My [All make the Sign of the Cross] soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the might from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

[All] Repeat the Canticle Antiphon


Intercessions
[Option 1] The intercessions are the same as at mass. The leader reads the petition, and everyone in prayer gives the designated response. This is the preferred method and the one given below.
[Option 2] The Leader reads the first line of the intercession, the group reads the second line, and the group gives the designated response.

[Leader] Reads the opening to the prayer and follows with the response.
[All] Repeats the response

[Leader] Reads the petition
[All] Gives response

Repeat for all the petitions.


The Lord’s Prayer
[All] Pray the Our Father


Closing Prayer
[Leader] Reads the closing Prayer
[All] Amen


Dismissal
If a priest or deacon leads:
[Leader] The Lord be with you.
[All] And with your spirit.

[Leader] May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
[All] Amen

This last part is the ordinary, but there may be other dismissals related to the season. For example, during Easter this will include an Alleluia
[Leader] Go in peace.
[All] Thanks be to God.

If there is no priest or deacon leading
[All] May [Make the sign of the cross] the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life
Amen

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Help Topics – What is Lex Orandi Lex Credendi

This appears to be a strange question, what is Lex Orandi Lex Credendi?

The word Lex means Law. Orandi means to pray, or the activity of praying. Credendi means believing, or to have belief.

If we put it all together it is:

Lex Orandi Lex Credendi

Law of Prayer Law of Belief

Or simply,

The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief.

Translated this means what we pray is what we believe. Not just what we pray, but how we pray. How is our prayer life?

Worship is also prayer, the mass is prayer. What we worship is what we believe. How we worship is how we believe. Do we have faith and belief in the Catholic Church? Do we believe in the direction of the church and how it will gain us eternal salvation?

Our life in prayer becomes critical, vital to the define what we believe. If we do not pray at all, what does this say about our beliefs?

Many people attend Mass and do not really participate. The mind wanders, they do not sing. How does this represent our faith life, when we feel this way at Mass?

Many people today want to have Mass changed. They want to have weddings their own way. They want to change the way of giving sacraments so that it aligns more to their belief and their way of life. If we do this how can it still be a Catholic church? Catholic meaning universal. If we perform the rite of Baptism according to Father Jim, or Sue, or Dan, than how is this a Catholic Baptism?

No person has the right to change the sacraments or rites. When something changes it does not represent the Catholic Rite and is not what we the Catholic Church, the Body of Christ believe. This is also explained in the catechism [cc. 1125]. When we change a rite we rob others the ability to receive an authentic Catholic celebration. We rob them of their rite to celebrate in the way the Church intends the sanctity of the rite. If the person changing the rite is an ordained person then they are committing a sin of pride because they place their interests above the Church. If the Church is the presence of Christ on Earth, than this could even be a sin against Christ.

Each Rite in the church has an outline of what to say and do. When necessary there are options identified in the Rite for the minister performing them. It does not allow for people to change the Mass, or any Rite to satisfy any person, or persons, feelings. When we do we stray from the Catholic belief and tradition.

Lex orandi lex credendi is a wonderful old saying. I hope that this discussion has shed some light on why the Catholic Church is so rooted in their practice. We have performed many of our rites the same way for a very long time. Some of what we do in a Rite, or Mass, was instruction given to the Apostles by Jesus. If we lose site of that now and change it, then are we really praying and doing what Christ called us to do? If we change our prayer we change our belief.

Let us hope and pray often. If we pray for hope often, then we will believe in Hope. Let us look internally to ourselves and see if what we expect, matches with what we believe and pray.

Help Topic – Can a Rosary Be Blessed Multiple Times?

When an object has been blessed it becomes for us a symbol of our faith. It becomes a sacramental to aid us in our persuit for holiness. We should always handle blessed objects with care and respect. This means that they are no longer ordinary objects. 

A sacramental has a specific purpose intended in the blessing. This means that we should not use the sacramental for anything other than the intended purpose.

When a blessed item is no longer the same as it was originally [when blessed] it loses the blessing that placed on it. This is because the matter [physical] of the object is no longer the same. 

This is why we burn palms from Palm Sunday. The palms receive a blessing, but after burning them they are no longer a palm and no longer blessed. This is also why we bless ashes, because if we want to use the ashes from the palm on Ash Wednesday they do not retain the blessing from the palm [matter is different]. 

When a blessed Rosary becomes damaged, or repaired, it might need another blessing. This is up to the judgement of the person using the Rosary. 

If there are minor repairs, like reataching beads or straightening out a piece; all of the original matter is still present and there is no need to bless the Rosary. 

However, if we need to replace beads, or even a Cross, on the Rosary than it would be time for another blessing. 

I hope that this post was helpful to anyone with this question. Leave a comment below and remember to like and subscribe to the blog for updates.

Liturgy of the Hours, Part 13 – Daytime Prayer

Recap

The intention of this blog series is to help answer some questions regarding the Liturgy of the Hours and establish good habits for prayer.  

Please subscribe to this blog for future updates, and make sure to like this post. Don’t forget to submit questions, or share your experiences with the Liturgy of the Hours. There has not been any feedback on any of the blog posts. I will respond to valid submissions to the site. I want to thank anyone out there that takes the time to read these posts. It takes time to put together this information and it is nice to know that someone may benefit from it. 

Most of what we have talked about is help us understand why we are doing things during the Liturgy of the Hours.

Let’s start with a recap of where we are in this mini-series on the Liturgy of the Hours. In Part 1, we have an introduction; Part 2, the background, history, and some theology behind the LOTH; Part 3, covers the Breviary that we use to pray the LOTH. It also helps us to decide which Breviary we want to buy and use; Part 4, the division of the LOTH hours into Offices; Part 5, the Invitatory; Part 6, the Hym; Part 7 – The Psaltar; Part 8 – The Readings; Part 9 – Responsoral and Canticle; Part 10 – Intercessions and Prayer; Part 11 – The Office of Readings; Part 12 – Morning Prayer [Lauds].

In this part we will cover Day Prayer. We will look at it in an orderly process, and not the theology. For more information about the importance of prayer and the parts of the office, please read the previous blog posts of this series.

Daytime Breakdown

The Breviary complicates Daytime prayer. The office has three different prayers: Mid-morning [Terce, third-hour], Mid-day [Sext, sixth-hour], and Mid-afternoon [Non, ninth-hour].

A priest that has an obligation to pray the seven offices, would pray each of the Daytime Offices separately. Remember that the purpose of the LOTH is to include time for God and reflection on the Gospel. It is important to spread these prayers out through the day. Giving time to God. 

It is completly understandable that life just does not always allow things to happen the way they should. This blog post will not cover all those situations, we cover the expectation. 

For any other person that prays the LOTH, there is no obligation to pray the Daytime offices. Skipping these prayers is a real shame. They are short and allow for wonderful moments of contemplation that can break up the ordinary day.

Breviary Instructions

The breviary does not provide very good instruction for performing Daytime prayer. It states that the memorial of saints is not celebrated at these hours. What this means is that on days of memorials, feasts, and solemnities the daytime offices usually do not have speacial prayers for the memorial, feast, or solemnity. In other words, we will almost always use what is in the ordinary no matter what the day of the year is. This makes it a little easier to know where we are in the Breviary.

The Breviary instructs, “Two psalmodies are given in the psalter: the one is current; the other is complementary. The current psalmody is comprised of three psalms or three selections from psalms taken from the cycle of the Psalter….Those who say several hours use the current psalmody for one hour; in the other hours they use the complementary psalmody. For solemnities the psalms are taken from the complementary psalmody for each of the three hours. If, however a solemnity occurs on a Sunday, the psalms are taken from Sunday, Week 1.”

Let’s break down the instruction here, to understand what is happening.

Each Daytime Prayer Office contains three Psalms [Psalmody always contains three psalms] and the antiphons for these Psalms.

It will also reference complementary Psalms in the Breviary. 

If a person prays all three of the Daytime offices, they will start with the Psalmody presented on that day. Then for Sext and Non they will use the complementary Psalms. 

If it is a Solemnity on Sunday we use the Psalms from Sunday Week 1. We have not discussed this yet, but all of the Psalms come from Sunday week 1 on a Solemnity. 

With this understanding, let’s take a look at how we might pray mid-morning prayer [terce]. As with many Liturgical instructions, the format of this guide matches the standard used by the Church. In standard Liturgical documents we say, sing, or chant the words written in Black. We perform, act, or do the things written in Red. The common addage is, “Say the Black, and Do the Red.”

Mid-morning Prayer

[Leader] God come to my assistance
[All] Lord, make haste to help me.

[Leader] Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
[All] as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen


Hymn

At this point sing the Hymn. This Hymn should be available in the Office, otherwise select one appropriate for the day. 


 Psalmology

Note: If Psalm 95 was not used in the Invitatory and one of the other Psalms replaced it. Psalm 100, Psalm 67, or Psalm 24 may be one of the Psalms in the Psalmology. If we used one of these Psalms in the Invitatory and it is in the Psalmology, we replace it in the Psalmology with Psalm 95. We do not repeat the Psalm from the Invitatory, in the Psalmology.

Psalm 1
[Leader] Read Psalm 1 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

[Leader] Read Psalm 1

[Leader] Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
[All] As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

[Leader] Prayer – If there is a psalm prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 1 Antiphon

Psalm 2
[Leader] Read Psalm 2 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

[Leader] Read Psalm 2

[Leader] Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
[All] As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

[Leader] Prayer – If there is a psalm prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 2 Antiphon

Psalm 3
[Leader]
Read Psalm 3 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

[Leader] Read Psalm 3

[Leader] Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
[All] As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

[Leader] Prayer – If there is a psalm prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 3 Antiphon


Readings

[Leader – or selected person] Read the Reading for Mid-morning

Pause is provided after the reading for contemplation of the Psalm.


 Closing Prayer
[Leader] Let us Pray
[Leader] Reads the closing Prayer

– IF the closing prayer is to God, or the Father we add:
We ask this [Grant this] through Christ our Lord,

OR

We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord

AND

– IF the closing prayer mentions Jesus, or the son, we add:
Who lives and reigns with you for ever and ever.

– IF the closing prayer is to Jesus, we add:
You live and reign for ever and ever.

[All] Amen


Dismissal

[Leader] Let us praise the Lord
[All] And give him thanks.

Mid-Day and Mid-Afternoon

For the other two daytime offices, the format is the same. Instead of the current Psalms we use the complimentary Psalms.

For the Working Person 

Some may ask, “Well this is interesting, but how do I fit this in during the work day?” I work for a living, and want to include God in my day. This practice has been such a true blessing. It breaks up my day. It includes God. It is Prayer and developes my spiritual growth. It makes me more productive. It helps me to be a more honest person. It allows me to be a good Christian example to others. It is a form of Evangilization.

So how do we do it? Let me start with a disclaimer.

ATTENTION! The following instruction is NOT an approved instruction of the Church, and is not provided in the Breviary as the proper method of Praying the LOTH.

With that out of the way, let me provide a nice and easy way to do all three of the Daytime prayers together. It typically takes me about 7 – 10 minutes to pray this way. I can do it during a break at work, but commonly do it during lunch. If possible, I highly encourage an outdoor setting at lunch to perform this prayer. It adds to the moment and can help us to center ourselves in prayer. Plus, by doing this during lunch, it allows me time to contemplate the readings and be closer to God.

Guide for Terce, Sext, and Non Prayed Together

[Leader] God come to my assistance
[All] Lord, make haste to help me.

[Leader] Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
[All] as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen


Hymn
At this point sing the Hymn. This Hymn should be available in the Office, otherwise select one appropriate for the day. 


 Psalmology

Note: If Psalm 95 was not used in the Invitatory and one of the other Psalms replaced it. Psalm 100, Psalm 67, or Psalm 24 may be one of the Psalms in the Psalmology. If we used one of these Psalms in the Invitatory and it is in the Psalmology, we replace it in the Psalmology with Psalm 95. We do not repeat the Psalm from the Invitatory, in the Psalmology.

NOTE: in this method we will only use the Current Psalms provided for the day.

Psalm 1
[Leader] Read Psalm 1 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 1

[Leader] Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
[All] As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

[Leader] Prayer – If there is a psalm prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 1 Antiphon


Readings
[Leader – or selected person] Read the Reading for Mid-morning
Pause is provided after the reading for contemplation of the Psalm.

[Leader] Prayer – If there is a psalm prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer as it is, do not add anything else.


Psalm 2
[Leader] Read Psalm 2 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 2

[Leader] Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
[All] As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

[Leader] Prayer – If there is a psalm prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 2 Antiphon


Readings
[Leader – or selected person] Read the Reading for Mid-day
Pause is provided after the reading for contemplation of the Psalm.

[Leader] Prayer – If there is a psalm prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer as it is, do not add anything else.


Psalm 3
[Leader] Read Psalm 3 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 3

[Leader] Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
[All] As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

[Leader] Prayer – If there is a psalm prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 3 Antiphon


 Readings
[Leader – or selected person] Read the Reading for Mid-afternoon.
Pause is provided after the reading for contemplation of the Psalm.


 Closing Prayer

[Leader] Let us Pray

[Leader] Reads the closing Prayer for Mid-afternoon

– IF the closing prayer is to God, or the Father we add:
We ask this [Grant this] through Christ our Lord,

OR

We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord

AND

– IF the closing prayer mentions Jesus, or the son, we add:
Who lives and reigns with you for ever and ever.

– IF the closing prayer is to Jesus, we add: 
You live and reign for ever and ever.

[All] Amen


Dismissal

[Leader] Let us praise the Lord
[All] And give him thanks.

Conclusion

Daytime prayer is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to have a deeply spiritual moment with God. It allows us to break up the day, and spend time with God. 

There are three daytime prayers: Mid-morning, Mid-day, and Mid-afternoon. 

We may pray these offices separately, or combined. 

We explored a condensed version of the prayer that includes all three readings into one prayer session. Remember to pause after each reading to absorb the reading. Try to contemplate the reading and see how it might apply to our life at this moment. How is God speaking to me? Does this relate to something happening in my life right now? By reflecting and asking these questions we will be often surprised that the readings do speak to us. When this happens let us remember that this message is from God.

Next part in the series will be the Evening Prayer. 

Liturgy of the Hours, Part 12 – Morning Prayer [Lauds]

We have completed our walk-through the parts of the Liturgy of the Hours. The intention of this blog series is to help answer some questions regarding the Liturgy of the Hours and establish good habits for prayer.  

Please subscribe to this blog for future updates, and make sure to like this post. Don’t forget to submit questions, or share your experiences with the Liturgy of the Hours.

Most of what we have talked about is help us understand why we are doing things during the Liturgy of the Hours.

Let’s start with a recap of where we are in this mini-series on the Liturgy of the Hours. In Part 1, we have an introduction; Part 2, the background, history, and some theology behind the LOTH; Part 3, covers the Breviary that we use to pray the LOTH. It also helps us to decide which Breviary we want to buy and use; Part 4, the division of the LOTH hours into Offices; Part 5, the Invitatory; Part 6, the Hymn; Part 7 – The Psalter; Part 8 – The Readings; Part 9 – Responsorial and Canticle; Part 10 – Intercessions and Prayer; Part 11 – The Office of Readings. 

In this part we will cover Morning Prayer [Lauds]. We will look at it in an orderly process, and not the theology. 

Morning Prayer [ordinary]

The term ordinary in the title of this section not to represent Ordinary time, but an ordinary occurence of the Office. This is important to understand because in some situations the offices may change. We will look at how and when the office may change later. First, we must learn how to perform the Office of Readings normally.

Much of what we will see here will match the other offices. This does not always occur, but similarities will happen. 

This instruction will only contain the common text. The text specific to that day in the Liturgical Year are in the Breviary. 

Please refer to previous blog posts for descriptions of each of these parts to the Morning Office.

There will be bars drawn to break up the sections of this prayer. These sections are important, and it is important to see in the text where the division of these sections occur. When praying from the breviary, these lines will not appear, but the expectation is that we know and understand the division of these parts in the prayer. 

It is also sometimes the practice to have groups take turns with reading the strophes. This is acceptable but the leader should explain this before beginning prayer. The leader will always read the leader’s part. The Response will always be the response of everyone in prayer.

As with many Liturgical instructions, the format of this guide matches the standard used by the Church. In standard Liturgical documents we say, sing, or chant the words written in Black. We perform, act, or do the things written in Red. The common adage is, “Say the Black, and Do the Red.”

If Morning Prayer is the first Office prayed for the day we start here. This Invitatory is the same as the one in the Office of Readings. 

If we started with The Office of Readings we skip to the Psalmology below.

Invitatory

Make the sign of the cross over the lips with the thumb.

Lord Open My Lips,
— And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

[Leader] Read the Invitatory antiphon
— [Group] Repeat antiphon

Next Psalm 95 is commonly read, but the leader can substitute with Psalm 100, Psalm 67, or Psalm 24.

Psalm 95

Come, let us sing to the Lord
And shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving
And sing joyful songs to the Lord

Repeat Antiphon

The Lord is God, the mighty God,
The great king over all the gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
And the highest mountains as well.
He made the sea; it belongs to him,
The dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.

Repeat Antiphon

Come, then, let us bow down and worship,
Bending the knee before the Lord, our maker.
For he is our God and we are his people, 
The flock he shepherds.

Repeat Antiphon

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:
Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did in the wilderness,
When at Meriba and Massah
They challenged me and provoked me,
Although they had seen all of my works.

Repeat Antiphon

Forty years I endured that generation.
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
And they do not know my ways.”
So I swore in my anger,
“They shall no enter into my rest.”

Repeat Antiphon

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy 
Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

Repeat Antiphon

If the Office of Readings is not the first office of the day, we start here.
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

In all occurrences of the Office of Readings we continue here.


Hymn

At this point sing the Hymn. This Hymn should be available in the Office, otherwise select one. 


Psalmology

Note: If Psalm 95 was not used in the Invitatory and one of the other Psalms replaced it. Psalm 100, Psalm 67, or Psalm 24 may be one of the Psalms in the Psalmology. If we used one of these Psalms in the Invitatory and it is in the Psalmology, we replace it in the Psalmology with Psalm 95. We do not repeat the Psalm from the Invitatory, in the Psalmology.

[Leader] Read Psalm 1 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 1

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

Prayer – If there is a prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 1 Antiphon

[Leader] Read Psalm 2 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 2

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

Prayer – If there is a prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 2 Antiphon

[Leader] Read Psalm 3 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 3

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

Prayer – If there is a prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

[All] Repeat Psalm 3 Antiphon


Readings

Leader – or selected person will Read the Reading


Responsorial

Leader starts the responsorial
— [All] Repeat with a response

Repeat if more strophes.

[Leader] Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Stop here, do not finish

Instead of finishing the Glory Be.
— [All] Repeat with a response


Gospel Canticle

Proper Posture is to Stand

[Leader] Reads the Canticle Antiphon
[All] Repeat the Canticle Antiphon

[All recite the Canticle]
Blessed [All make the Sign of the Cross] be the Lord, the God of Israel;
He has come to his people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty savior, 
born of the house of his servant David.

Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.

He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear, 
holy and righteous in his sight 
all the days of our life.

You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation 
by the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

[All] Repeat the Canticle Antiphon


Intercessions

[Option 1] The intercessions are the same as at mass. The leader reads the petition, and everyone in prayer gives the designated response. This is the preferred method and the one given below.

[Option 2] The Leader reads the first line of the intercession, the group reads the second line, and the group gives the designated response. 

[Leader] Reads the opening to the prayer and follows with the response.
[All] Repeats the response

[Leader] Reads the petition
[All] Gives response

Repeat for all the petitions.


The Lord’s Prayer

[All] Pray the Our Father


Closing Prayer

[Leader] Reads the closing Prayer
[All] Amen


Dismissal

[Option 1] If a priest or deacon leads:

[Leader] The Lord be with you.
[All] And with your spirit.
[Leader] May almighty God bless you,
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
[All] Amen

This last part is the ordinary, but there may be other dismissals related to the season. For example, during Easter this will include an Alleluia 

[Leader] Go in peace.
[All] Thanks be to God.

[Option 2] If there is no priest or deacon leading

[All] May [Make the sign of the cross] the Lord bless us,
protect us from all evil
and bring us to everlasting life
Amen

Liturgy of the Hours, Part 11 – The Office of Readings (Matins)

We have completed our walk-through the parts of the Liturgy of the Hours. Perhaps now we can appreciate the history and complexity in the LOTH. Hopefully this blog series will help to answer some questions and establish good habits for prayer. 

Please subscribe to this blog for future updates and make sure to like this post. Don’t forget to submit questions, or share your experiences with the Liturgy of the Hours.

Most of what we have talked about is background and theology. We want to understand why we are doing things, not just do them.

Let’s have a recap of where we are in this mini-series on the Liturgy of the Hours. In Part 1, we have an introduction; Part 2, the background, history, and some theology behind the LOTH; Part 3, covers the Breviary that we use to pray the LOTH. It also helps us to decide which Breviary we want to buy and use; Part 4, the division of the LOTH hours into Offices; Part 5, the Invitatory; Part 6, the Hym; Part 7 – The Psaltar; Part 8 – The Readings; Part 9 – Responsoral and Canticle; Part 10 – Intercessions and Prayer. 

In this part we will cover The Office of Readings [Matins]. We will look at it in an orderly process, and not the theology. We have already covered this previously. 

The Office of Readings (ordinary)

The term ordinary in the title of this section not to represent Ordinary time, but an ordinary occurance of the Office. This is important to understand because in some situations the offices may change. We will look at how and when the office may change later. First, we must learn how to perform the Office of Readings normally.

Much of what we will see here will match the other offices. This does not always occur, but simularities will happen. 

This instruction will only contain the common text. The other text is in the Breviary, and specific to that season and office. Instructions are for Leader and Group, if praying alone we do both parts.

Please refer to previous blog posts for descriptions of each of these parts to the Morning Office.

As with many Liturgical instructions I have formatted this to match the standard used by the Church. In standard Liturgical documents we say, sing, or chant the words written in Black. We perform, act, or do the things written in Red. The common addage is, “Say the Black, and Do the Red.”

If the office is the first of the day we start here. If it is not we skip the invitatory.

Invitatory

Make the sign of the cross over the lips with the thumb.

Lord Open My Lips,
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

[Leader] Read the Invitatory antaphon
— [Group] Repeat Antaphon

Next Psalm 95 is commonly read, but the leader can substitute with Psalm 100, Psalm 67, or Psalm 24.

Psalm 95

Come, let us sing to the Lord
And shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving
And sing joyful songs to the Lord

Repeat Antiphon

The Lord is God, the mighty God,
The great king over all the gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
And the highest mountains as well.
He made the sea; it belongs to him,
The dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.

Repeat Antiphon

Come, then, let us bow down and worship,
Bending the knee before the Lord, our maker.
For he is our God and we are his people, 
The flock he shepherds.

Repeat Antiphon

Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:
Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did
in the wilderness,
When at Meriba and Massah
They challenged me and provoked me,
Although they had seen all of my works.

Repeat Antiphon

Forty years I endured that generation.
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
And they do not know my ways.”
So I swore in my anger,
“They shall no enter into my rest.”

Repeat Antiphon

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

Repeat Antiphon

If the Office of Readings is not the first office of the day, we start here.

[Leader] God, come to my assistance.
[Group] Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

In all occurrences of the Office of Readings we continue here.

Hymn

At this point sing the Hymn. This Hymn should be available in the Office, otherwise select one. 

Psalmology

(Leader) Read Psalm 1 Antiphon

— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 1

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

Prayer – If there is a prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

(All) Repeat Psalm 1 Antiphon

(Leader) Read Psalm 2 Antiphon
— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 2

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen
Prayer – If there is a prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

(All) Repeat Psalm 2 Antiphon

(Leader) Read Psalm 3 Antiphon

— If this is a group, the group will repeat it

Read Psalm 3

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.
Amen

Prayer – If there is a prayer provided, the leader will read the prayer.

(All) Repeat Psalm 3 Antiphon

Readings

Leader – or selected person will read the First Reading

Leader starts the Responsorial
— Group will repeat with a response

Leader – or selected person will Read the Second Reading

Leader starts the Responsorial
— Group will repeat with a response

Conclusion

Option 1 – If the another Office of Prayer will follow the Office of Readings,

Then we continue to the Psalmology of the next Office – skipping the opening and Hymn of that office

Option 2 – If there is not another Office:

If this is Sunday, we recite the Te Deum:

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
Father, of majesty unbounded,
Your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
And the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
The eternal Son of the Father.

When you became man to set us free
You did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death,
And opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
Bought with the price of your own blood,
And bring us with your saints
To glory everylasting

[Optional conclusion of Te Deum]

[Leader] Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
[Others] Govern and uphold them now and always.
[Leader] Day by day we bless you.
[Others] We praise your name for ever.
[Leader] Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
[Others] Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
[Leader] Lord, show us your love and mercy;
[Others] For we put our trust in you.
[Leader] In you, Lord, is our hope:
[Others] And we shall never hope in vain.

Prayer

The prayer is commonly taken from the Concluding Prayer for the Morning Office of that day.

An alternative prayer may be in the Office. If one is in the Office of Readings than read that prayer instead of morning prayer’s concluding prayer.

Dismissal

If there is an ordained Priest, or Deacon, they may give a final blessing.

Otherwise,

[leader] Let us praise the Lord.
[group] — And give him thanks.

Liturgy of the Hours, Part 10 – Intercessions and Closing

We are moving through the parts of the Liturgy of the Hours. We have almost finished all the parts of the LOTH. We can understand how complicated the LOTH can be. Many people will try to learn this wonderful prayer on their own. Hopefully this blog series will help to answer some questions and establish good habits for prayer. Please subscribe to this blog for future updates and make sure to like this post. There is not a large following of this blog, but with everyones help perhaps more people read and use this information. Don’t forget to submit questions, or share your experiences with the Liturgy of the Hours.

Most of what we have talked about is background and theology. We want to understand why we are doing things, not just do them. 

Let’s have a recap of where we are in this mini-series on the Liturgy of the Hours. In Part 1, we have an introduction; Part 2, the background, history, and some theology behind the LOTH; Part 3, covers the Breviary that we use to pray the LOTH. It also helps us to decide which Breviary we want to buy and use; Part 4, the division of the LOTH hours into Offices; Part 5, the Invitatory; Part 6, the Hym; Part 7 – The Psaltar; Part 8 – The Readings; Part 9 – Responsoral and Canticle.

In this part we will cover the last to sections of the LOTH. These sections are the intercessions and the closing prayer.

Intercessions

The intercessions are not that complicated. They are very similar to the intercessions that we ask God for at Mass. These intercessions are similar but do not follow the same rules of the Universal prayer said at Mass. 

Universal Prayer

At Mass we pray the Universal Prayer, or the Intercessions. These Intercessions follow a specified format. Not all Church’s follow the designated format, but all are supposed to. Some decide to change things up, or perhaps they feel they know better, in most cases they do not understand that there is a formula for it. In all these cases we can only hope that the Holy Spirit will guide them back onto the correct path. 

The Correct format for the Universal Prayer is:

  1. For the needs of the universal church – This includes the Pope, bishops, priests, and yes don’t forget the deacons. It also includes the entire Body of Christ, and prayers for Christian Unity.
  2. For the public authorities and the salvation of the world – This includes the government [local and foreign], and for the salvation of the world. 
  3. For those burdened by any kind of difficulty –  This includes the sick, those stricken by natural disaster, the unborn child and protection of life, prisoners, the dying, exiles and any person or group with difficulties.
  4. For the local community – This is where we can pray for our parishoners, special requests, marriages, for a call to religious life [because we call parishoners to this], baptised, or local support groups.
  5. Silent Prayers – There is usally a moment of silence for people to ask God for their own personnal needs and intentions.

The Universal Prayer has an Antiphon, or Responsoral, given by the community in response to the prayers. This can be something simple like “Lord Hear Our Prayer.” It may even change weekly, or monthly. 

This Universal Prayer creates a dialog between the person that is reciting the prayers and the community. All of these prayers are lifted up to God and offered to Him. They are not just our own prayers, but we offer prayers for the entire Body of Christ. Other Churchs are doing the same for us.

Who Should Read the Universal Prayer?

The deep connection and dialog between the person reading the Universal Prayer and the community is important. The General Instruction for the Roman Mass indicates that a Deacon should help to prepare and Read the Universal Prayer. Why a Deacon? 

First, a deacon has an ordination that leaves a special mark on their soul. This distinction creates a bridge between the Ley people [not ordained] and the ordained community. The Deacon is an ordained, but does not live in a religious community [normally]. They are often regular people, with jobs, and perhaps families. They have a sense for what the community needs are because they are a part of the community.

The Deacon also has a connection to the Ordained. Through their ordination the Deacon has a relationship with Jesus and the other Ordained to serve the people and the Church. In service to the Bishop and the Church it is only proper that they should read the Universal Prayers for the Church. 

Does this mean a Lay person, or Priest cannot read the Universal Prayer? No. The instructions just say, “They are announced from the ambo or from another suitable place, by the Deacon or by a cantor, a reader, or one of the lay faithful.”

Let’s unpack these words, because they are most often misunderstood. Deacon is an easy one to understand. 

Cantor is the person that may sing or chant the Universal Prayer. 

Next in line is a Reader, this is not a lector. The term Reader defines the role of a specific person Installed by a Bishop. A lector is someone trained at a Parish to help with the readings. There is s distinct difference because one the Bishop Installs [Reader] and the Lector is not. A Reader is a minor office in the Church. 

Finally, if none of these other people are available, then we can have a Lay person [or lector] read the Universal Prayers. 

This list is Hierarchial, which means there is a presidence for the order of those called. If there is a Deacon present we should not have a Lector read the Universal Prayer because the Deacon has a higher presidence. Same with the Reader and Lector. They are almost the same, but the Reader the Bishop Installs. This gives the Reader a higher presidence over the Lector. 

We should not concern ourselves with this too much. The Priest [celebrant] and other Ordained present will determine this in advance of the Mass. However, if there is no one present, or the Deacon is sick, we would need to know who to ask next. 

Connecting the Universal Prayer to the Intercessions

Why did we dive so far into the Universal Prayer? Well if we are praying the Liturgy of the Hours alone, then most of this will not matter to us. Except that there is a presidence for the Cantor, above a Lay person. This tells us, that when we pray the Liturgy of the Hours and we can sing the Intercessions, we should. If we cannot sing them, then we do not. 

What about the responses? Some people might have the clever idea that they should not do the responses. Some say, well I am leading myself in private prayer and I don’t feel comfortable responding to myself. It feels weird. Others might say, I am saving time by not doing the parts that are unnecessary. All of these answers are wrong. We do not repond to ourselves, and the responses are very necessary. 

The responses to the Intercessions is not just a response to our prayer of the Intercession, but a response to your neighbor praying the intercession. Perhaps a response to your Paster praying the Intercessions. Maybe even a response to the Pope praying the Intercessions. We pray the LOTH as the Body of Christ. We do not respond to ourselves, but we join in reponse to everyone else praying with us. 

If we are praying in a group the dynamic changes. Ordinarily, we would have the leader read the Intercession prayer, and the group would repeat the response. This dynamic conversation is the same as we do in Church with the Universal Prayer. 

We can also take this a step deeper. If there is a deacon present and they are NOT the leader of the group, then we can ask them to say the Intercessions. This will allow the deacon to read the intercessions for our prayer in the group, but also to read them for the Universal Church. I hope that this is clear, it is a subtle difference that creates a huge spiritual difference in our prayer. Knowing this can help us to appreciate more the importance of the call to religious life. We can always offer prayers for the universal church, but as ley people we can never offer prayers in the name of the Universal Church.

If this is true then why do the Liturgy of the Hours at all? Well simply it is because we have to remove ourselves from the equation. The Liturgy of the Hours is not a prayer we do just for US. It is not about ME. It is about the Universal Church. It is a prayer that is being lifted by the entire Body of Christ, a body that includes the Pope, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, and Ley people all over the globe. We recite the Liturgy of the hours not because we have the authority of the Universal Church, but because we are participants in the Universal Church, the Body of Christ. 

These are subtle differnces that make an incredible difference in the spirituality of what is being done. It creates a beauty beyond words about the prayer that is happening. I cannot offer prayers for the entire church, but I can pray with the Pope and all the Bishops, Priests, and Deacons from all over the world. I can unite myself with them in prayer. I can unite myself with everyone in prayer. 

Last is for the Dead

One important note is during Evening Prayer Intercessions. These are our last Intercessions for the day. There are no Intercessions for Night Prayer. The Office of Readings should be during the day at a point earlier than Evening Prayer.

Evening Prayer intercessions will always end with an intercession for the Dead. This is important to know and understand. We have a final intercession for the dead and this is the last intercession of the day. 

There are a few moments in the Breviary where there can be different intercessions chosen by the reader. What often happens is that they choose one of these intercessions and do not read the Intercession for the Dead. This is important to know so that we do not forget to include the dead in our prayers.

What about my Intentions?

Can I add my own intentions? Yes. Just like in the Universal Prayer there is a moment for us to speak the prayers in the silience of our hearts, we can also share our own intentions with God. There is no hard rule for how to do this. I normally include my intentions, or the intentions of others, after reading the Intercessions for the Office. With one exception, Evening Prayer. Remember that Evening Prayer always must end with a prayer for the dead. If I have personal intercessions for Evening Prayer, I will do them just before this last Intercession for the dead.

Some may ask: You said we should never change the LOTH and you just changed it? No. I have not altered the LOTH, I have not changed the words, and I have not skipped anything that is in the LOTH. All that I have done in this moment is pray to God. All I have done ask for my own intentions, or even more importantly asked for someone else. The LOTH is still done exactly the way written in the Breviary. 

Closing Prayer

After the Intercessions we pray the Our Father. Following the Our Father we will have a closing prayer. This is similar to the closing prayer at Mass. We close the LOTH in one final prayer. The Intercessions followed a theme of the Office we prayed. It does not follow the pattern we use at Mass, not exactly, because it follows the theme of the Office.

The closing prayer will also be a prayer that asks God to guide us, or help us, to live out the words we have prayed in this office. 

Dismissal

The closing prayer will end with a dismissal. This dismissal depends on the office we are praying. Morning and Evening are the same. Night is different from Daytime and the Office of Readings. 

For the specific dismissal for the office, I will give that in the blog posts that will give an overview for each office. 

We may also have a blessing. This is not part of the LOTH. However, because we have just prayed in a group, if an Ordained person is present we might ask them to give a blessing to everyone prior to leaving. 

Conclusion

We have now gone through all the parts of the offices. This means that we can now put all this stuff together. In the next blog we will start to put together the Offices of Readings, Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Daytime Prayer, and Night Prayer. We will take all these parts of the office and put them together. 

We will not speak about the theology, or importance of these parts because we have already explored them. If anyone has questions they can look back at one of the previous parts, or send me a message. 

I want to thank everyone that has taken the time to explore the LOTH with me. I hope that this has been benificial and perhaps inspired someone to give it a try. 

May God continue to bless you and grant you a bright and well lit journey in your spiritual growth and life with Christ.