Benedictines

Rule of Saint Benedict and Suffering Chapter 17 Psalms to be sung at office

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    “We have already dealt with the order of psalmody for Vigils, and Lauds. Let us proceed to arrange for the remaining hours.

    At Prime three psalms are to be sung, separately and not under the same ‘Glory be’. The hymn at this hour is to follow the opening versicle, O God, come to my assistance (Ps 70: 2), before the psalms are begun. Then at the end of the three psalms, one lesson is to be recited with a versicle, the Lord have mercy, and the dismissal.

    At Terce, Sext, and None prayer is celebrated the same way: that is, the verse, the hymn proper to each hour, three psalms, the lesson and versicle, the Lord have mercy, and the dismissal. If the community is somewhat large, the psalms are to be sung with refrains; if smaller, the psalms are sung straight through.

    The Vespers Office is to consist of four psalms with refrains: after the psalms a lesson is to be recited; then the responsory, the Ambrosian hymn and versicle, the canticle from the Gospel, the litany, and, immediately before the dismissal, the Lord’s Prayer.

    Compline consist of the recitation of three psalms, to be said straight through without refrains; then the hymn for the hour, one lesson, the versicle, the Lord have mercy, the blessing, and the concluding prayer”. These are the words of Chapter 17, Rule of Saint Benedict.

    All these prayers are concise so they can be said, Glory to God is given and no great burden that may be harsh or oppressive is bestowed upon us. The psalms which we have talked about many times are a large part of the prayers. As Saint Benedict intended for the office to be prayed all 150 psalms would be prayed every week. This in time would be found burdensome and restructured so that all 150 psalms are currently prayed every 4 weeks. The Cistertians of the Strict Observance still pray all 150 psalms every week. The hymn for each office and the versicles are also present at at all the office hours. All the office hours are created in such a way that they make their own rhythms in us as we pray. this also creates something special in each office hour that radiates in us. Something that stays with us and brings us back to prayer and god in our days.

    These Office hours help us with our suffering. When life gets difficult there is always something from the previous office hour that remains in me and brings me to God, joy, happiness and love. Sometimes it is the hymn of the office, other times the versicles, or refrain in the psalms, or the dismissal. It often varies what it is from the office hour, but it is always there for when life becomes difficult to bring me back to the hands of God. these office hours makes the uniting of my suffering to the suffering of Jesus Christ real in this world and spiritually. The office hour prayers allow me in my suffering to reach to the souls that are suffering in Purgatory and assist them in there suffering. these same office hours allow me to reach out to the community in which I pray them with and give strength to the Church Militant. The part of the office hour that remains with me really helps me to clean the stain of sin from my soul.

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