Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vague On Vespers? It's Breviary Answer-Lady to the Rescue

Man Confused Sad Clip Art

Time for your weekly chance to ask questions about all things Divine Office. Anything I don't know I'll try to find out for you. But being a breviary geek, there's not a lot I don't know.


  1. How about when to pray the Office of the Dead? When I a friend's father died, I prayed the Vespers of that day from the Office for the Dead, but I didn't know whether to do the whole next day, or what. Basically, in my one volume breviary, there's no help for when it is appropriate, how long to go on, etc. So - help?

    Elaine T

  2. The Office of the Dead has two uses. It is the obligatory office for All Soul's day. Other than that it is a "votive" office. That means you chose when to use it, such as you did when your friend's father died. This office might be used on he day of someone's funeral, or on a regular basis as a way to pray for all the departed among your acquaintance, say, once a month or so on an ordinary weekday. But you should not use the office of the dead on a Sunday, a Solemnity, or an obligatory memorial. Hope this helps.

  3. Daria,

    With the *Midday* prayer, there are three Psalms then a reading depending on what hour of that day it is. If someone decides to pray every hour that is recommended, do we repeat the same three Psalms every time before the recommended reading? Hope that wasn't confusing. Thank you~Theresa

  4. If you want to pray one or both of the other daytime hours, you don't use the same psalter. You use the "complementary psalms" also known as the "gradual psalms" There are two sets of these and they are given, in the one-volume breviary, right after the daytime prayer section. In my edition that's page 1027. Same arrangement in the 4-volume set: page 1255 in the volume currently in use for ordinary time.
    Do you know why they're called "gradual psalms"? It is believed that these are the psalms sung by Jewish pilgrims as they "gradually" approached Jerusalem.

  5. Thanks Daria...extremely helpful. I would like to try to spend time praying more of the Hours and less time on the computer!! ~Theresa