The Divine Office

My Short History

Even before my reception into the Roman Catholic Church, I have been praying the Divine Office, in some capacity or another. Beginning with my college friends, we said Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Night Prayer using the Shorter Christian Prayer books in my professor’s chapel.

Upon entering the Church at Easter 2003, my professor, now Fr. John David Ramsey of the Diocese of Richmond and pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Newport News, VA, gifted me a complete four-volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours.

While at Duke Divinity School, a close friend and fellow student, Dr. Ty Monroe, now Visiting Professor at Assumption College in Worchester, MA, and I said Morning Prayer using the larger Christian Prayer breviary with the Liturgy of the Hours volume for that particular season.

At STMA, we say Morning Prayer (Lauds) using the Shorter Christian Prayer breviary, adjusting for the particular memorial, feast, or solemnity.

In the Fall of 2016, Franz Klein, a former colleague of mine, taught me the Divine Office in Latin using his four-volume Liturgia Horarum, with varying success.

In the summer of 2016, I purchased the Breviarium Monastacum (1920), a small four-volume set in Latin alone that had previously belonged to a Sr. Mary Karline, O.S.B., a religious sister in the Benedictine Order, who used this set at early as 1922.

In the winter of 2017, I purchased The Hours of the Divine Office in English and Latin (1963), a three-volume set, which I regularly use to pray on my own.

Lastly, in the summer of 2018, I purchased the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

cropped-ambrosius-benson-22young-woman-in-orison-reading-a-book-of-hours22-1520s.jpg
Ambrosius Benson, “Young Woman in Orison Reading a Book of Hours” (1520s)

My horarium, using Benedictine Breviarium Monasticum (1920),  for June & July 2018:

4:45 – 5:30am, Matins [ad matutinum], also called the Office of Readings
6:00 – 6:25am, Lauds [ad laudes], also called Morning Prayer
7:00 – 7:20am, Prime [ad primam]
9:00 – 9:15am, Terce [ad tertium], also called Midmorning Prayer
12:00 – 12:15pm, Sext [ad sextam], also called Midday Prayer
3:00 – 3:15pm, None [ad nonam], also called Midafternoon Prayer
6:30 – 7:00pm, Vespers [ad vesperas], also called Evening Prayer or Evensong
9:00 – 9:20pm, Compline [ad completorium], also called Night Prayer

I don’t say every hour every day but there is the goal of doing so.

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Quotidian (3)

30 May 2018 | Wednesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
In the traditional Roman Calendar, we remember St. Felix, pope and martyr. Also, in France St. Joan of Arc, who is at the moment my oldest daughter’s patron, is celebrated.

Last night and into the early AM, I kept a vigil alight for my middle daughter. Her temperature has continued above 100, waking up in the wee hours, coughing and sweating. I’ve always enjoyed the late/early hours for reading and for prayer; I just wish my daughters and wife weren’t sick.

My wife went to her Physician’s Assistant and found out she may have Pharyngitis, which sounds, both in the word itself and the way my wife’s voice intones, like Laryngitis. For this reason, she needs more time for rest and less hands-on time with the girls. Deo gratias, it’s summer recess for me, though this is eerily like Christmas Holiday when I came home to a house of Norovirus.

I have had a few minutes of the Divine Office and to begin reading Fr. Guy Bedeouelle, O.P.’s Saint Dominic: The Grace of the Word. The biography, originally penned in French and published in 1982, attempts to sketch the life of the saint in light of his evangelical preaching and apostolic life. In fact, it’s one part biography, one part exhortation to live and preach like the great father of the Order of Preachers.

Tomorrow in the Extraordinary Form is the Feast of Corpus Christi, traditionally celebrated on the Thursday following the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, which was last Sunday. In the Ordinary Form, Corpus Christi will be celebrated this Sunday (3 June). What’s more, the E.F. celebration of Corpus Christi replaces Pope St. Pius XII’s Immaculate Heart of Mary, which has been transferred to June 9 in order to fall the day after the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, my old parish’s titular feast day.

But, in the current calendar, May 31st is the now the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when the Virgin visited her cousin Elizabeth, the Forerunner leaped for joy at the presence of the Savior in the Virgin’s womb. In the old calendar, this feast was celebrated in early July, but “is now transferred to the last day of May, between the solemnities of the Annunciation of the Lord and the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, which agrees more aptly with the Gospel narrative.”*

* Calendarium Romanum (1969), p. 93: Transfertur nunc in ultimam diem mensis maii, inter solemnitates Annuntiationis Domini et Nativitatis S. Ioannis Baptistae, quo aptius consentiat narrationi evangelicae. 

St. Dominic
Fra Angelico, “The Mocking of Christ”