Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Breviary Basics for Lent plus Q&A

If you just started using a breviary recently, you might have some trepidation about lent. You've got to start using the Proper of Seasons every single day, rather than just Sundays. This is not so difficult, but here are some principles to simplify it further. You might want to print and cut out this post and stick it in your book for reference.

1. Each day you will only use the four-week Psalter as far as the end of the psalms--taking care to use the specified Lent antiphons--and then turn to the front of your book (Proper of Seasons.) Keep a ribbon there and in the psalter.

2.For Ash  Wednesday: use week IV of the Psalter for the Office of Readings, although Friday of week III is also an option. For the  the next three days, use week IV of the Psalter (although for Thursday only  week III is also given as an option.) Personally I"m sticking with week IV. On Sunday you will start over with week I, and so on through the rest of lent, going in order and then repeating weeks I and II for the last two weeks.

3. Saints Days. All saint's days in lent are observed as optional memorials. This means you do not use the Common of martyrs, doctors, etc. You use everything for the regular lenten weekday EXCEPT what is in the Proper of Saints. Alternatively, you may ignore the saint's prayers and readings altogether and do everything from the current lenten weekday. (That is what "optional" means).

4. Solemnities. St. Joseph on March 19th and the Annunciation of Our Lady on March 25th are two breaks from lenten liturgy. Do their complete offices from the Proper of Saints and the Commons as the breviary instructs you. Use these days to lighten up on your lenten penances, e.g. eat dessert, drink a cocktail, watch TV or have a chocolate bar. (Or in my case, go to the mall and buy myself some earrings or a pretty top. Shopping fasts are really rough on girls like me.)

Okay, any questions on Lenten offices or anything else related to the Liturgy of the Hours? Fire away!


12 comments:

  1. My LOTH says that for morning prayer today, we use the psalms and responses from Friday of Week III?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My breviary says that we "may" use week III, so that implies it's an option. My understanding is that either III or IV can be used today and tomorrow. I've clarified that a bit more in the post.

      Delete
  2. OK...you mentioned that all memorials during Lent are optional, meaning that you use the Lenten weekdays, plus the Proper of Saints. Based on that explanation, I think I may have been praying the optional memorials incorrectly during the NON-LENTEN season...can you refer me to a reference (whether past blog post, in your book, wherever) that can clarify this for me?

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've probably posted on this several times in the past but am not able to do a search right now. But if you have my book, talk about these things in chapter 7 and memorials on page 90. If you have the single-volume Christian Prayer, there's a chart on page 37 of the precedence and format of the various offices.

      Delete
  3. Hello Daria,

    I was wondering if you knew whether you can pray the LOTH silently in private prayer and have it still be considered as part of the Church's prayer, liturgically speaking, that is? I have heard both opinions offered, but not from any source I would consider definitive.

    Thank you.

    Regards,
    John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never found an official church document stating that one must pray the hour aloud in order for it to be liturgical (public) prayer. I've asked any priests and get varying opinions. I have seen books about the liturgy from the 1920s that say the hours must be recited aloud in the sense of at least moving one's lips or whipsering. I do know that when a priest says mass by himself he is obliged to speak the words rather than just eyeball that page of the missal. Whether this carries over to the LOTH I do not know. to be safe I usually try to move my lips when praying alone unless I find this uncomfortable due to a sore throat. If I do find it necessary to pray in complete silence I take care to "think" each individual word or hear it inside my head rather than speed reading. But really, I don't have a definitive answer for you. Certainly the General Instruction on the LOTH does not address this.

      Delete
    2. In this book: http://www.amazon.com/Documents-The-Liturgy-1963-1979-Conciliar/dp/0814612814 you will find this question was asked, and the answer came back from the competent authorities that the words do not have to spoken out loud. - A priest who prays his breviary siltently!

      Delete
    3. Thank you so much for listing this source, Father! I've been looking for something like this for years. Could you please do me a favor and tell me the name of the document, date, which congregation it comes from, etc. I'd like to look it up on the Vatican website. Or better yet, could you also quote the relevant section here for my benefit and that of readers? I purposely did not address this subject when I wrote my book because I couldn't find anything definitive, and an equal division of opinion among the many priests I'd asked. It would be great to have something that resolves it.

      Delete
    4. SC Divine Worship Note Liturgiae Horarum Interpretationes (Not 9 (1973) 150)
      Query: When a person recites the liturgy of the hours do the readings have to be pronounced or simply read?
      Reply: It is enough to simply read them. The conciliar Constitution on the Liturgy says nothing about an obligation to oral recitation when a person says the office alone, although there was a difference of opinion on this among the conciliar Fathers. They decreed a reform of the breviary not for the purpose of shortening the time of prayer but of giving all who celebrate the liturgy of the hours a better time for prayer…Sometimes a surer guarantee for this objective of the liturgy of the hours in individual recitation may be to omit the oral recitation of each word, especially in the case of the readings.
      Found on page 1098 of Documents on the Liturgy 1963-1979. Conciliar, Papal and Curial Texts. The Liturgical Press, 1982

      Delete
  4. Hello Daria,

    Thank you for your reply. Like you I've been unable to find anything explicit in anything Official. Although, I do think I may have found something that implicitly allows for the silent praying of the Office in the General Instruction on the LOTH.

    In the section speaking about the psalms on page 20 it says: "Therefore, though a psalm may be recited without being sung even by an individual in silence, its musical character should not be overlooked."

    Here we see the term recited linked to the silent praying of the Office.

    Then on page 21 the following is said: "In the Divine Office, however, even someone saying the Hour alone is not praying the psalms privately but recites them in the name of the Church and according to the sequence given in her public prayer."

    Which affirms the private praying of the Hours as being in liturgical unity with the Church's prayer.

    So if I'm reading this correctly, than it would seem that the silent prayIng of the Office is considered to be the same as reciting the Office. At least implicitly as stated above.

    I'm curious to know what you think, as I just noticed this tonight.

    Peace be with you,
    John



    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't. Know if you've seen it yet, but in his Lenten reflection today, Father Barron quotes Bishop N.T. Wright.

    ReplyDelete