Wednesday, January 18, 2012

80 Followers! plus Weekly Q&A

And I didn't even have to make my usual pathetic  plea as the number crept close to the next decade.

Welcome David, Nicole, and Martha to Coffee and Canticles.  Martha and Nicole both have blogs which anyone may check out by clicking on their pictures, which are the first two on the followers list.

This is your weekly chance to ask any questions related to the Divine Office. Don't be shy.

Alternatively, if you have, in the course of your daily liturgical prayer, received some great insights, feel free to share that as well.


  1. Daria...I find that in the Christian Prayer (which is only one book) that the hymns are limited and I don't know many of them {{blush}}. Is it okay to skip the hymn...*technically*??~Theresa

  2. Theresa,I've spent the afternoon curled up in an armchair going over the General Instruction as well as a commentary on the General Instruction. There is no one spot where it says the hymns are either a.essential and required or b. optional. The section of the General Instruction devoted to hymns does say that hymns have had a place in the Office from earliest times, continue to do so, their lyrical nature makes them well suited to the praise of God, and that they help draw the people into the celebration.
    An entirely different section of the General Instruction, on "Rites to be Observed in Communal Celebration" goes on at length about the importance of singing as the appropriate way to celebrate the LOTH in community settings.
    So, when I combine these two ideas, I tend to think that the hymn is meant mostly for community celebration. And overall, with the Instruction's emphasis on adaptation of the LOTH to the needs of the people of God, it seems reasonable to not use the hymn. What I have given here is my best analysis of the subject--not infallible. It's easy to see in the Instruction, for example, that the psalm prayer ARE optional, because that is spelled out. The hymn situation is not quite as clearly stated.
    One more thing--the hymns chosen for the American breviary are not even from the official liturgical hymn series that is in the Roman breviary. So although the General Instruction did give local bishops conferences permission to choose alternate hymns, my opinion (not church teaching, just my opinion) is that the hymns in Christian prayer are of even less importance. I talk more about this in a recent post about the Mundelein Psalter, which you might have missed.
    Still one more thing. Just as we solitary individuals usually recite, rather than chant the psalms, we also have the option of reciting the hymn if we don't know the melody but still find the lyrics to be edifying as poetry.
    Hope this helps.

  3. Wow! That indeed did help. Thanks so much for your time and effort. I also read that in a communal setting, it is encouraged to sing a hymn that the group is familiar with and not just recite it...that varies with individual recitation though. ~Theresa