Monday, February 1, 2016

Read My Lips! How "Vocal" must our Office Be?

The question comes up from time to time about whether we are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours out loud at least to the extent of whipering or  moving our lips.

This post on Fr. Z's blog, and the comments that follow, discusses just that.

My personal feeling (which has absolutely no authority  behind it) is that one can remain silent so long as one is "saying" the words inside one's head.  This is something I don't do when reading a novel (I'm not a super speed reader but do have a pretty rapid recreational reading speed), but  make the conscious effort to do when reading the LOTH. That is, I can "hear" each word in my mind. I believe this is the practice that Fr. Z. is defending, and finds a hint of support for in the General Instruction.

But it looks like longstanding tradition (by  which I do NOT mean magisterial, sacred Tradition) is against us.

Thank you to Henry Edwards for alerting me to Fr. Z's  post. 

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps vocalization (whether actually audible or not) is more critical with those glittering jewels of the Divine Office, it’s great classical hymns—even richer in the new Liturgy of the Hours than in the older Roman Breviary, as for instance on the Presentation of Our Lord when there are three deep and beautiful hymns prescribed in the (original Latin) LOH, but no proper hymns in the RB for this feast. In the Preface to the book Exultemus—which provides accurate and reverent English translations of all 291 Latin hymns in the LOH—the author says:

    “Traditionally the breviary is to be recited ‘with at least incipient speech, i.e. with some movement of the lips’, as opposed to being merely read with the eyes. I could not prove this, but I suspect that at least part of the reason for that regulation was the hymns, which come across quite differently if vocalized (even if only minimally), rather than being simply read ocularly. For that reason, I encourage any who use the translations in this book to vocalize them, too, even if only incipiently; it will make quite a difference in how the hymns are intended to be understood.”