Thursday, January 17, 2013

Breviary Questions, Anyone?





There's plenty for Divine Office Newbies (and Oldbies) to find confusing. For example:

Why doesn't the one-volume breviary put the antiphon on both ends of the Psalm?
Why doesn't my Aunt Mary's British breviary (or my Tia Maria's Spanish breviary) have any psalm prayers?
Why is there a don't the Glory Be in the breviary and the Glory Be for the rosary match?
On a saints memorial do I just use the weekday psalter with the concluding prayer for the saint, or do I use the whole  Common of (pastors, martyrs, holy women, etc.)?

These are just a few.

So if something about the Liturgy of the Hours is bothering you, just leave your question in the comment boxes and I'll get back to you with an answer that is guaranteed correct 99.9 percent of the time.




18 comments:

  1. You may have addressed this, but where does the Magnificat publication fit In with the liturgy of the hours? I feel more connected to Catholics I know when i use the Magnificat because so many of them use it.

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    1. I've addressed this in my book, but don't recall whether I've talked about it here. Magnificat is a wonderful daily devotional, and many of its user “graduate” from it to praying the actual Liturgy of the Hours. But praying the selections of daily psalms and prayers in Magnificat is not the same as praying the Liturgy of the Hours. The Magnificat website itself says that the morning and evening psalms and prayers are “drawn from” the Liturgy of the Hours. They are only selections, and on any given day the editors do not even select the psalms that belong to the office of that day.
      Magnificat gives people a taste of praying the LOTH, but is not itself the LOTH. The same applies to Phyllis' Tickle's Divine Hours compilations and any other devotional based on the psalms.

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  2. Why did ewe stop using the old names for the hours (Lauds and Vespers, for example)? Like many things in the Post-Vatican II world, there is not clear explanation given for specific changes.

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    1. We didn't exactly stop, because they are still used in many places, and certainly Pope Benedict has tended to use the terms lauds and vespers when he's spoken about the Liturgy of the Hours/Divine Office. The General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours does use the vernacular terms over the Latin ones, and for two good reasons. First, to emphasize the LOTH's character of sanctifying the various times of the day. It is said that priests, who are obliged to say the entire office each day, often had a tendency to let the hours “pile up” and do them all at once at the end of the day. Which is not forbidden, but neither is it ideal. The Church wanted to emphasize this through naming each hour by the time it is supposed to be said, and not all of the Latin terms reflect those times. Plus one of them, the Office of Readings was changed from “Matins” (morning) because it has now become an office that can be done at any time of day. The second reason was because of the Church's wish to get more laity to become familiar with the LOTH, and it was felt that these time-of-day based terms, in the vernacular, were easier to grasp. As a tradition-minded, Latin loving person, I like the old terms, but mostly use the new ones when I write about the LOTH, for the same reasons the Church does. But as I said, their use is not universal. I think the British breviary sticks with the old names.

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  3. Any advice for those of us dealing with "Breviary Snobs" when praying in a group? We don't all have the same edition. We've gotten the antiphon-before-and-after thing down, but when some people's readings have more sentences than others, the very newest among us get confused. And the 1 or 2 with the 4 Volume Set don't want to dumb it down and use the Shorter Christian Prayer--we've got enough of THAT to go around so we could all have the same. (I guess this isn't a technical but a pastoral question...it's just so frustrating.)

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    1. I look forward to Daria's response, but one thought that helps me is to realize that all of us who pray whatever form of the Office are doing the same thing: praying the Psalter. There may be various translations, arrangements, simplifications, distributions, amplifications, bindings, typefaces, and layouts, but we're united in praying the Psalter, whatever type of scoop we're using to dip into that ocean and from whatever shore. And we can all pray with St. Gertrude:

      O Lord, in union with that divine intention with which you yourself offered your praises to God while on the earth, I now recite this Office to you.

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    2. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I wrote a complete reply once but blogger did something weird and poof! It was gone. Took a while before I had the heart to start over., this time cutting and pasting from Open Office.
      Sorry to hear your liturgical police are at it again. I have some sympathy for this temperament: as you might recall, I'm the one who pastes the new missal collects into my breviary since I obsess about good translations. However, the rule for your group should be charity above all. The tough part is getting some people to see it. You might try simple logic: any edition of the LOTH that is approved for use in the USA is, well, approved. Therefore, the approved edition owned by or available to the greatest number of people is the “default” version for your meetings. And here's another thing. The readings for MP and EP are actually shorter in the 4-volume version than in either the 1-volume Christian Prayer OR the Shorter Christian Prayer. So it's not as if the 4-volume folks are missing anything with the reading.
      One more thing. The General Instruction allows for selecting different texts from the office of the day if there is a good pastoral reason for it. Making it possible for the whole group to pray the hours together (group liturgical prayer is always preferred to individual recitation) is a good pastoral reason. Check the General Instruction tab above, and look at #44-46 and #248-252. These sections, and #252 in particular, ought to carry some weight with your critics who presumably want to do things according to the letter of Church teaching. Good luck.


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    3. Thank you--both of you. Yes, charity above all should be the key here. And I might be the only one who notices the folks muttering under their breath when someone reads something "different" than what they have in their book. I'll look at the references you noted above in preparation for our next meeting.

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  4. I've been having an ongoing disagreement with my dad, who insists that anyone who continues to use the word "breviary" is wrong. He says that "breviary" only refers to some previous edition and should not be applied to the current Liturgy of the Hours and that to do so is just wrong. But I'm under the impression that not only is "breviary" widely used by the laity but is sometimes used even today in Church documents. Any help on untangling the nomenclature and especially on the history of the various terms would be appreciated.

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  5. I think I know what it going on here. "Breviary" continues to be the correct term for the physical book in which the LOTH appears, just as "missal" is the name of the book where the prayers of the mass are found. I'm pretty sure you can find the word breviary in church documents since vatican II, but I haven't gone and looked yet. On the other hand, it is in correct to refer to the prayer of the Liturgy of the HOurs as "the breviary", and I think this is what your dad's objection is related to. It denigrates the LOTH to equate it with a physical book. Like if a priest were to say "I have to say the missal at 5:15 tonight." Now, plenty of priests do say "I have to go say my breviary now". That might be harmless clerical slang, but it's technically incorrect. To sum up, the breviary is the vehicle or maybe the repository of the LOTH, but it is not the LOTH itself. Hope that makes sense.

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  6. I am not sure if this has been asked before, but had some problems searching the instruction...
    I had read once (I think) that you can do two offices back-to-back (like OOR/DP, OOR/DP, or OOR/EP). My questions are:
    1) Is there an order to that (MP THEN OOR or vice versa?)
    2) Can one do three in a row? {asked this as I had a late morning, did OOR and then MP, but then the 0900 hour approached and wondered if I should just continue on...}
    Thanks. Looking forward to the book, as it is now on pre-order...

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    1. #58-61 talk about this a bit, as well as #99.
      To sum up, if you combine OOR with another hour, choose a hymn that goes with that other hour; say the OOR first, rather than after the other hour; don't say the concluding prayer of the OOR but rather continue with the other hour, starting with the psalmody, and use that second hour's concluding prayer. Of course, you may folllow EP with the next day's OOR (like a vigil)
      I notice that these instructions only refer to how to coming the OOR with another hour. No mention is made of following MP with the daytime midmornng hour. I've done this now and then. Technically there's nothing wrong with it. It just falls short of the ideal of saying each hour at the appropriate time.

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    2. Ah. Thanks for the instruction number.
      I tend not to do the hymns (not a big singer, despite what St. Augustine says).
      Had not seen the instruction about doing the OOR after the EP. Might try that and see how well it fits into my schedule (EP and NP are my most rushed prayers).
      Pax -

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    3. Evening prayer is tough for me to do in a recollected manner, too. Easy to see why. From 4 to 7pm I'm either planning, cooking, or cleaning up after dinner. And back when the kids were young, that hour or two before dinner was always when they were cranky, picking quarrels with each other, etc.
      Night prayer is a little better if and when I think to do it NOT last minute before going to sleep, but maybe 30 minutes to an hour before that. That way sheer exhaustion doesn't cause me to rush through it. But as a natural procrastinator, I don't always take my advice.

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    4. Evening prayer is definitely the hardest one for a mom with little kids. If I say it at all it's listening to the Divine Office podcast while cooking dinner. That is definitely better than not saying it at all. Gets me through the dinner hour with a bit more grace. But sitting down? Ha! We'll see how it works with a nursing infant, though. I tend to use nursing breaks to pray the hours. I'm going to have to remember how to start dinner way earlier than I think I need to to allow time for nursing breaks.

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  7. Hello Daria,

    I find your site useful and fun and I have a question about the 4-volume LOTH, for which I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of from UPS this week. My question, however, involves the DivineOffice.org site. Why do they list two volumes for pages and ribbon placement for Lauds and Vespers? I am somewhat an "old pro" at the Hours but with the single volume and from time to time I'd like to refer to that site in case I get lost in the 4-volume. Thank you for your site and response.

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    1. I just went on divineoffice.org to see what you are talking about. That's very strange, that they would give references in both volume III and volume IV. Technically, you could use either one on a weekday in ordinary time, because all you would use for MP and EP is the four-week psalter. But given that it's the third week of ordinary time, it would make no sense to use volume IV. And you will see, when clicking on Office of Readings, they only reference volume III, because the Office of Readings has elements specific to each day of the year, and so right now you'd have to use volume III, which covers the first 17 weeks of ordinary time. I wish you well with your new 4-volume set. You will love it. Just having the antiphons repeated after each psalm so you don't have to flip back is a huge relief. And the Office of Readings will open a whole new world for you. Have fun, and if you get stuck with anything, just ask.

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