Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Insecure on the Invitatory? Taking Questions.

Man Confused Sad Clip Art

It's time again to invite questions from anyone who prays the Divine Office but is not quite sure he's doing everything right.

Or maybe you are sure, but just have an academic question about options for celebrating a feastday. '

Or maybe you have seen a new type of breviary out there, and want a second opionion on its merits before buying.

Whatever  your question, this is the place to ask.

As to my title, the appropriate use of the Invitatory Psalm (95) can be a matter for confusion. So here's a distillation of what the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours (GILH) tells us about it.

1. Psalm 95 is to be said before whichever hour of the liturgy begins the day. This would be either The Office of Readings, or Morning Prayer depending on which one you use to begin the day.  (If you sleep til noon and start your day with daytime prayer, or if the only hour you pray each day is Evening Prayer, then you would not say the Invitatory Psalm.)  The invitatory begins with the verse Lord, open my lips/ And my mouth will proclaim your praise. While saying this, trace the cross over your lips with your thumb. Then say the invitatory antiphon as found in the psalter or the proper of seasons, and then the psalm, Glory Be, and antiphon.
2. However, the Invitatory Psalm may be omitted before Morning Prayer. So if you don't feel like praying it, or are short of time, just begin Morning Prayer with the standard opening, "O God, come to my assistance"
3. As an alternative to Psalm 95, Psalms 100, 67, or 24 may be substituted.
4. If you are praying the office with  a partner or a group, it is recommended to repeat the antiphon after each strophe.

For what it's worth, my custom is to pray the Invitatory psalm, without its antiphon, as I'm getting out of bed in the morning (after you've prayed the Divine Office for a while you know Psalm 95 by heart) and then later, after the kids have left for school and I'm sitting down with my coffee, to do Morning Prayer or Office of Readings with the standard opening. If my husband is home and we do Morning Prayer together, we follow #4 above.