Divine Office – Divinum Officium

The Divine Office

A Study of the Roman Breviary

Part III.—The Canonical Hours.

Chapter II. Lauds. (Title XIV)

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CHAPTER II.

LAUDS. (TITLE XIV)

Etymology, Definition, Symbolism. The word "Lauds" is derived from the Latin laus, praise. It is applied to this Hour, as it is par excellence, the hour in which God's praises are chanted by His Church. This Hour succeeds Matins and precedes Prime. The name is said to have been given to this Hour on account of the last three Psalms, which formerly formed part of the Office. In these Psalms, 148, 149, 150, the word Laudate recurs several times. Before the eighth century the Hour was called "Matutinum," or morning Office, and sometimes it was called Gallicinum or Galli cantus from being recited at cock-crow. This is the Office of daybreak and hence its symbolism is of Christ's resurrection. "Christ, the light of the world, rose from the tomb on Easter morning, like a radiant sun, trampling over darkness and shedding His brightness upon the earth. The hymns, psalms, antiphons and versicles of Lauds, all proclaim the mystery of Christ's Resurrection, and the light which enlightens our souls. The reform of the Psalter in 1911 has not always preserved this liturgical idea; nevertheless, the character of the Office has not been altered. Lauds remains the true morning prayer, which hails in the rising sun, the image of Christ triumphant—consecrates to Him the opening day. No other morning prayer is comparable to this" (Dom. F. Cabrol, The Day Hours of the Church, London, 1910).

Antiquity. The Christians, in their night vigils, followed the pious practices of the Jews, as to prayers at dead of night and at dawn, Hence, the Hour, Lauds is of great antiquity, coming, perhaps, from Apostolic times. It is found well established in the very earliest accounts of Christian liturgy.

The old writers on liturgy loved to dwell on pious congruities and parallelisms. They ask the questions, why did the early Christians pray at dawn and why is the practice continued? They answer at great length, I will try to summarise their holy themes. The early Christians prayed at dawn, 1. that in the New Law the figures of the Old may be fulfilled; 2. to honour the risen Saviour and to remind us of our resurrection; 3. to glorify Jesus typified by the physical light. "I am the Light of the world" (St. John, viii. 12); 4. because at dawn, after rest, body and soul are refreshed and ready to devote all their powers to God, free from distractions and noise. Each dawn, revealing God's wondrous work, should hear God's praises in the most sublime words ever uttered, the Psalms (e.g., Dominus regnavit, Jubilate Deo, etc., etc.); 5. because God seems more disposed to hear prayers made at that hour. For, He has said, "Yet if thou wilt arise early to God and wilt beseech the Almighty... He will presently awake unto thee and make the dwelling of thy justice peaceable" (Job, viii. 5-6). "I love them that love me; and they that in the morning early watch for me shall find me" (Proverbs viii. 17).

Structure. If Lauds succeeds Matins immediately, Pater Noster and Ave Maria are omitted, and the Hour begins with Deus in adjutorium. At these words it is a practice but not an obligation to make the sign of the cross from head to breast (see Vespers, infra). Then the Gloria Patri, Sicut erat, Amen, Alleluia are said before the antiphons and psalms. But if a notable delay—say, of ten minutes' duration—be made between the end of Matins and the start of Lauds, the Pater Noster and Ave Maria begin Lauds. After the psalms, comes the Capitulum, the Hymn, Versicle and Response, antiphon to Benedictus, Canticle Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel, Gloria Patri, Sicut erat, Antiphon to Benedictus repeated, Dominus vobiscum, Et cum spiritu tuo, Oremus, collect, commemorations preceded by versicle, response and Oremus before each. Then Dominus vobiscum, Et cum spiritu tuo, Benedicamus Domino, Deo Gratias, Fidelium animae, Amen. If another Hour do not succeed immediately, Pater Noster (said silently), Dominus det nobis (with a sign of the cross) suam pacem, Et vitam aeternam. Amen. Then is said the antiphon of the Blessed Virgin, Alma Redemptoris or Ave Regina, or Regina Coeli, or Salve Regina, according to the part of the ecclesiastical year for which each is assigned, with versicle, response, oremus, collect, Divinum auxilium.... Amen.

Rubrics. In the paragraphs dealing with the structure of this hour is given the rule for saying Pater Noster and Ave, The Psalms for Lauds in the new Breviary follow these rules:–

General Rule: Psalms of the current day.

Exception: Sunday Psalms on the excepted Feasts.

In applying the general rule to Sundays and week days, it will be seen that the Psalter contains two sets of Psalms for Lauds. The use of the two sets is as follows:–

Sundays: (i) Throughout the year: first set of Psalms.

(ii) Sundays from Septuagesima to Easter: second set of Psalms.

Ferias: The first set of Psalms is to be used on:–

(i) Ferias throughout the year, not including those in Advent, Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima weeks.

(ii) Ferias in Paschal time.

(iii) Feasts at any season of the year.

(iv) Vigils of Christmas and Epiphany.

The second set of Psalms is to be used on:–

(i) Ferias of Advent.

(ii) Ferias from Septuagesima to Wednesday in Holy Week, inclusive.

(iii) Vigils (common) outside Paschal time, when the Office of Vigil is said (New Psalter and Its Uses, p. 188).

On Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the Psalms of the Feria are to be said. But the Canticle of Moses (Deut, 33) is not said on Holy Saturday.

Antiphons. As a general rule antiphons of the current day of the week are to be said.

Exceptions. (1) On excepted Feasts, (2) non-excepted Feasts which have proper antiphons, (3) Holy Week has special antiphons, (4) Six ferias before Christmas have special antiphons.

In Paschal time, all psalms and the canticles are recited under one antiphon.

Antiphon of Benedictus (1) Sunday antiphons are proper. (2) Ferias throughout the year have antiphons of current feria. But Ferias in Advent, and in Lent, in Passiontide, Paschal time and September Ember days have proper antiphons. (3) Feasts have antiphons from proper or from common.

Capitulum (Title XXIX.). Etymology, meaning and synonyms.

The word capitulum comes from the Latin, and means a little chapter, a heading, a beginning, an abridgment, because this little chapter is a little lesson, a brief extract from Sacred Scripture, the head or the beginning of the Epistle of the Mass of the Feast (Gavantus, Bona). It is found in every Hour, except Matins. It is known by other names, the summarium, collectio, collatio, lectio brevis, epistoletto, lectiuncula, Versiculus brevis.

Antiquity. Some authors hold that this usage of reading a brief extract from Sacred Scripture is of Jewish origin. For, the Jews were accustomed to interpose brief readings from Scripture prose in their psalm chanting service. The capitulum is found in Christian services of the fourth century; and St. Ambrose (340-397) is said to have instituted the capitula of Terce, Sext and None. This new practice spread quickly and several councils recommended or ordered the usage—e.g., the Council of Agde In 506 A.D.

Remarks. The Capitulum is said always except from Holy Thursday to the Vespers of Saturday preceding Low Sunday, and in Requiem Offices. In Compline it is said after the Hymn.

The Capitulum of Lauds is ordinarily taken from the beginning of the Epistle of the Mass of the day of the feast. Sext and None generally have their capitula drawn from the middle and end of the same Epistle extract. Terce has generally the same words for the Capitulum, as Vespers and Lauds, because it is the grandest and most sublime of the little Hours. The Capitulum is said without a blessing being sought, because it is (in choir) read by the Hebdomadarius, who there represents the person of Christ, just as the Capitulum does too, and for Whom it would not be consonant to ask a blessing. It concludes without Tu autem, because these words are correlative of Jube. And since it is such a short lesson it is easy to recite it without fault or sin, the more so as it is read by the Hebdomadarius, who should be advanced in perfection. It is short, whilst the lessons of Matins, the night Office, are long, because the day is specially given to toil and the night to contemplation. During the recital of this little lesson all turn to the altar through respect for Christ, figured by the Capitulum. Sometimes the words of the Capitulum are from the Itala version and not from the Vulgate.

Psalms and Canticles of Lauds. The Office of Lauds now consists of four Psalms and a canticle, followed by a little chapter, a hymn, versicle, antiphon, of Benedictus, the canticle, Benedictus and prayer. One of the characteristics of Lauds is the canticle taken from the Old Testament. Fourteen canticles taken from the Old Testament now find a place in our Breviaries. Formerly, only seven canticles from the Old Testament were given in the Psaltery (cf. supra, p. 149).

"If, according to the new distribution of the Psalter, the Psalms for Lauds do not refer so directly to the symbolism of sunrise, they are nevertheless more varied and are generally well chosen. The canticles inserted among the Psalms have also been changed. The whole selection is worthy of note. It contains, besides those given in the former arrangement of the Psalter, others which are very beautiful and admirably prayerful.

"The hymns for Lauds, all ancient and varying with the seasons, form a fine collection. Their theme is one: the rising of the sun as a symbol of Christ's resurrection, and the crowing of the cock, which arouses the sluggish and calls all to work. Some of these hymns are of considerable poetical merit: that for Sunday, Aeterne Rerum conditor, is a little masterpiece.

"The 'Benedictus' corresponds with the Magnificat of Vespers. Both are sung with the same solemnity and are of the same importance; they form as it were the culminating point of their respective Hours, and for feast days the altar is incensed while they are chanted.

"The 'Benedictus' or Canticle of Zachary recalls the Precursor's mission of proclaiming the Messiah and the new alliance. It is altogether appropriate to the Office of daybreak, as ushering in the dawn of a new era. The closing verse speaks of the light which the announcement of the Messiah shed upon the nations 'sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death'" (Dom Cabrol, Introduction to Day Hours of the Church). "This Canticle of Zachary (St. Luke i. 68-79) naturally falls into two parts. The first (verses 68 to 75, 'Benedictus Dominus ... diebus nostris') is a song of thanksgiving for the fulfilment of the Messianic hopes of the Jews, to which is given a Christian sentiment. The power, which was of old in the family of David for the defence of the nation, is being restored, and in a higher and more spiritual sense. The Jews mourning under the Roman yoke prayed for deliverance through the house of David. The 'deliverance,' a powerful salvation ('cornu salutis nobis') was at hand so that the Jews were seeing the fulfilment of God's promise made to Abraham, and this deliverance, this salvation was such that 'we may serve Him without fear in holiness and justice, all our days' (St. Luke i. 75).

"The second part of the canticle (verses 76-80, 'Et tu puer ... ad dirigendos pedes nostros') is an address by Zachary to his own son, who was to take an important part in the scheme of the powerful salvation and deliverance by the Messiah. This canticle is known as the canticle of joyous hope, hence its use at funerals at the moment of interment, when words of thanksgiving for the Redemption are specially in place as an expression of Christian hope" (Catholic Encyclopedia, art. "Benedictus").

Oratio (Title XXX.). The word oratio has various meanings. In the liturgy it is translated by the word "collect." The word "collect" means either that the priest who celebrates Mass collects in a short form the needs, the thanksgivings and the praises of the people, to offer them up to God; or most probably "the original meaning seems to have been this: it was used for the service held at a certain church on the days when there was a station held somewhere else. The people gathered together and became a collection at the first church; after certain prayers had been said they went in procession to the station church. Just before they started, the celebrant said a prayer, the oratio ad collectam (ad collectionem populi), the name would then be the same as oratio super populum, a title that still remains in our Missal, in Lent, for instance, after the Post-Communion. This prayer, the collect, would be repeated at the beginning of Mass at the station itself. Later writers find other meanings for the name. Innocent III. says that in this prayer the priest collects all the prayers of the faithful" (De Sacr. Altar. Mystic. ii., 2). See also Benedict XIV. (De SS. Missae Sacr. ii., 5,–Dr. A. Fortescue, Cath. Encyl., art. "collect").

Antiquity of collects. No one can say with certainty who the composers of the collects were. All admit the antiquity of these compositions. In the fourth century certain collects were believed to come from apostolic times; indeed, the collects read in the Mass on Good Friday, for Gentiles, Jews, heretics, schismatics, catechumens and infidels bear intrinsic notes of their antiquity. Other liturgical collects show that they were composed in the days of persecution. Others show their ages by their accurate expression of Catholic doctrine against, and their supplications for, heretics, Manicheans, Sabbelians, Arians, Pelagians and Nestorians. St, Jerome in his Life of St. Hilarion (291-371) writes, "Sacras Scriptures memoriter tenens, post orationes et psalmos quasi Deo praesente recitabat." It is said that St. Gelasius (d. 496), St. Ambrose (d. 397), St, Gregory the Great (d. 604) composed collects and corrected existing ones. The authorship and the period of composition of many of the Breviary collects are matters of doubt and difficulty. Even the date of the introduction of collects into the Divine Office is doubtful. In the early Christian Church there seems to have been one and only one prayer, the Pater Noster, in liturgical use. St. Benedict laid it down in his rule that there should be none other. It is generally held by students of liturgy that the collects were originally used in Mass only and were introduced into the Office at a time much later than their introduction into the Mass books.

In the Masses for Holy Week we see the collects in their oldest existing form. The rite of the Mass has been shortened at all other seasons, and there remains now only the greeting, Oremus, and the collect itself. The Oremus did not refer immediately to the collect, but rather to the silent prayer that went before it. This also explains the shortness of the older collects. They are not the prayer itself, but its conclusion. One short sentence summed up the petitions of the people. It is only since the original meaning of the collect has been forgotten that it has become itself a long petition with various references and clauses (compare the collects for the Sundays after Pentecost with those of modern feasts)–(Cath. Encyl., art. "Collects").

The following examples which are not extreme, may help to make clear and emphatic the matter of the shortness of the old and the length of the new collects.

"Protector in te sperantium, Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil est sanctum: multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam; ut te rectore, te duce, sic transeamus per bona temporalia, ut non amittamus aeterna. Per Dominum."

Translation–"O God, the Protector of all that hope in Thee, without Whom nothing is sure, nothing is holy, bountifully bestow on us, Thy mercy, that Thou being our ruler and our guide, we may so pass through temporal blessings that we lose not the eternal. Through our Lord ..." (Collect for third Sunday after Pentecost.)

"Omnipotens et misericors Deus qui beatam Joannam Franciscam tuo amore succensam admirabili spiritus fortitudine per omnes vitae semitas in via perfectionis donasti, quique per illam illustrare Ecclesiam tuam nova prole voluisti: ejus meritis et precibus concede ut qui infirmitatis nostrae conscii de tua virtute confidimus coelestis gratiae auxilio, cuncta nobis adversantia vicamus. Per Dominum ..."

Translation-"Almighty and merciful God Who inflaming blessed Jane Frances with love, didst endow her with a marvellous fortitude of spirit to pursue the way of perfection In all the paths of life, and wast pleased through her to enrich Thy Church with a new offspring, grant by her merits and intercession that we, who, knowing our own weakness, trust in Thy strength, may by the help of Thy heavenly grace overcome all things that oppose us. Through our Lord" (Collect of St. Jane Frances Fremiot De Chantal, August 21).

Rubrics. In Vespers and Lauds the collect is said after the antiphons of the Magnificat and Benedictus, unless the Preces (q.v.) are to be said in these hours. Then the Preces are said after the antiphons, and the collects follow after them immediately. The collect of a ferial Office is found in Office of the previous Sunday, except in ferias of Lent and Rogation days which have special and proper collects.

At Prime and the other Hours the collect is said after the little respond, unless the Preces be recited. They precede the collect. At Compline the collect is said after the antiphon Salva nos if the Preces be not recited.

At Prime and Compline the collects of the Psalter are never changed except during the last three days of Holy Week. In this triduum, in all hours up to and including None on Holy Saturday the collect is said after the Psalm Miserere.

Before reciting the collect in the Office, everyone in deacon's orders or in priesthood says Dominus vobiscum, Et cum spiritu tuo, and this is said even if the Office be said privately. All others reciting the Office say Domine exaudi orationem meam. Et clamor meus ad te veniat. Then the word Oremus is prefixed to the recitation of the collect, and at the end, Amen is said. If there be only one collect, the Dominus vobiscum or the Domine exaudi with the responses Et cum spiritu tuo; Et clamor meus ad te veniat is repeated after the Amen. But if there be more than one collect, before each is said its corresponding antiphon and versicle and also the word, Oremus. After the last collect is said, the Dominus vobiscum and Et cum spiritu tuo are repeated. Then we add Benedicamus Domino; Deo Gratias, Fidelium animae.... This latter verse is not a constant sequel to the Benedicamus, as we see in Prime, where the verse Pretiosa succeeds it; and again in Compline it is succeeded by Benedicat et custodiet. The concluding words of the prayers or collects vary. If the prayer is addressed to God the Father, the concluding words are Per Dominum (see the collects given above). If the prayer be addressed to God the Son, the concluding words are Qui vivis et regnas–e.g., Deus qui in tuae caritatis exemplum ad fidelium redemptionem .... Qui vivis et regnas (Collect for St. Peter Nolasco's feast, 3ist January). If in the beginning of the prayer mention is made of God the Son, the ending should be Per eundem, e.g., Domine Deus noster? qui, beatae Brigittae per Filium tuurn unigenitum secreta coelestia revelasti; ... Per eundem Dominum (collect for feast, 8th October). But if the mention of God the Son is made near the end of the collect, the ending is Qui tecum vivit et regnal, e.g., "Famulorum tuorum, quaesumus, Domine.... Genitricis Filii tui Domini nostri intercessione salvemur: Qui tecum vivit et regnat" (collect of Assumption, 15th August). If the name of the Holy Ghost occur in the prayer, the conclusion is, In unitate ejusdem Spiritus sancti, e.g., "Deus, qui hodierna die corda ... in eodem spiritu recta ... in imitate ejusdem Spiritus" (collect: for Pentecost Sunday).

The following lines, giving the rules for terminations, are well known and are useful, as a help to the memory:–

Per Dominum dicas, si Patrem quilibet oras Si Christum memores, Per eundem, dicere debes Si loqueris Christo, Qui vivis scire memento; Qui tecum, si sit collectae finisin ipso Si Flamen memores ejusdem die prope finem

When there are several collects an ending or conclusion is added to the first and last only. Dominus vobiscum is said before the first collect only, but each collect is preceded by the word Oremus, unless in the Office for the Dead.

Explanation of the Rubric. Where a feast is transferred either occasionally or always and its collect contains words such as Hanc diem, hodiernom diem, it is not allowed to change the wording, without permission of the Congregation of Rites (S.R.C., 7th September, 1916).

If the collect of a commemoration be of the same form as the prayer of the feast, the former is taken from the common of saints, in proper place.

Dominus vobiscum. This salutation is of great antiquity. It was the greeting of Booz to his harvestmen (Ruth, ii. 4). The prophet used the selfsame salutation to Azas. And the Angel Gabriel expressed the same idea, Dominns tecum, to the Blessed Virgin. It was blessed and honoured by our Lord Himself, when to His apostles he said "Ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus" (St. Matt. 28. 20). This beautiful salutation passed into Church liturgy at an early date, probably in apostolic times. Its use in liturgy was mentioned at the Council of Braga (563), and it is found in the Sacramentarium Gelasianum (sixth century). These words are called the divine salutation. They mean that the priest who utters them is at peace with all clergy and people and thus wishes God to remain with them—the highest and holiest of wishes. For the presence of God, Who is the source of every good and the author of every best gift, is a certain pledge of divine protection and of that peace and consolation which the world cannot give. This formula is used even in private recitation of the Office, as the priest prays in union with and in the name of the Church.

The words Et cum spiritu tuo add a new and further significance to the salutation; for it is the spirit, the human soul, that prays, and when the spirit prays in the name of the Church for her children, its work is a work of high spiritual order, demanding the use of all the soul's powers,

Oremus. This exhortation is of very great antiquity, and in this form is found in the liturgies of St. James and of St. Mark. In those days it was said by the priest in a loud voice. The priest, the mediator, following the example of the great Mediator, Christ, calls others to join with him in prayer. St. Augustine tells us, that sometimes after pronouncing the word Oremus, the priest paused for a while and the people prayed in silence, and then the priest "collected" the united prayers of the congregation and offered them to God, hence the name collect (St. Augustine, Epistle 107), (cf. Probst., Abendl Messe, p. 126).

Invocation and Conclusion. Prayer is addressed generally to God the Father. This practice is in accordance with the example and doctrine of Christ, "Father, I give Thee thanks" (St. John, xi, 41); "Amen, amen, I say to you; if you ask the Father anything in My name, he will give it to you" (St. John, xvi. 23). "And He taught us to say 'Our Father.'" In the early ages of the Church, seldom was prayer addressed to God, the Son. Innocent III. tells us that the reason for the practice was a fear that such prayer might lead the catechumens, the Jews or the Pagans converted to Christianity, to allege or to believe that Christians worshipped several Gods. However, with the advent of the early heresies, it became necessary to formulate prayers witnessing the divinity of Christ and His equality in all things to the Father and the Holy Ghost. In some of the great prayers of the liturgy, the three Persons of the Holy Trinity are named to show their equality and unity of nature and substance. Nearly all the prayers of this kind are the products of the Church during the storms of early heresy against the divinity, nature or personality of Christ.

The conclusions of the prayers generally contain the words Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, because all graces come through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Who pleads, as Mediator between God and Man, as He Himself has said, "No man cometh to the Father but by Me" (St. John, xiv. 6).

Hence, in every collect, we may distinguish five parts: the invocation, the motive, the petition, the purpose, the conclusion.

(1) The Invocation takes some form such as Deus, Domine.

(2) The motive is commonly introduced by the relative qui; e.g., Deus, qui corda fidelium sancti spiritus illustratione docuisti.

(3) The petition, the body or centre or substance of the prayer, is always noted for the solemn simplicity of language, which marks liturgical prayer, e.g., Multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam.

(4) The purpose is an enforcement of the petition. It has reference, generally, to the need of the petitions and is marked usually with the word ut. "Multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam, ut quae, nobis agendis praecipis, te miserante adimplere possimus" (prayer for feast of St. Patrick).

(5) The conclusion varies, e.g., "Per Dominum nostrum," "Per eundem Dominum," etc.

"Those who pay intelligent attention to the liturgical chant at High Mass, and in particular to the chant of the celebrant, will be able to discover for themselves that the intonations used in the singing of the collect and the Post-Communion serve, as a rule, to mark off two at least of the main divisions indicated. Two inflections, a greater and a lesser, occur in the body of the prayer, the greater for the most part coming at the close of the 'motive,' while the lessor concludes the 'petition' and produces the purpose of the prayer. When the prayers are correctly printed, as in the authentic 'Missale Romanum,' the place of the inflexions is indicated by a colon, 'punctum principals,' and a semicolon, 'semi-punctum,' respectively. These steps, it will he observed, indicate, not precisely 'breaks in the sense' (as Haberl incorrectly says) but rather the logical divisions of the sentence, which is not quite the same thing" (Father Lucas, S.J., Holy Mass, chap, vi.).

The question is often asked, why Dominus vobiscum is said after the collect, or prayer. Writers on liturgy reply that it is so placed because Christ frequently used the salutation Pax vobis, and the priest in public prayer holds the place of Christ, and as he, the priest, used this formula of salvation before the collect to obtain the spirit of prayer and the grace of God, he repeats it so that these gifts may be retained.

In the collects, the fatherland of the saints is rarely found, because the saints' true home and fatherland is heaven, where they were born again to life eternal, and their fatherland is not this valley of exile where they spent their temporal life. Nor are their surnames given in the collects (see the collect of St. Jane Frances Fremiot de Chantel given on p. 180). But it is not infrequent in the collects to find certain appellations characterising a saint or noting some special prerogative or wonderful gift of grace. The Church's collects record the wonderful gifts of St. John Chrysostom ("the golden-mouthed"), St. Peter Chrysologus ("qui ob auream ejus eloquentiam Chrysologi cognomen adeptus est") (Rom. Brev.). Sometimes the nation or earthly home of a saint is given in a collect to distinguish one saint from another. This is seen in the case of saints bearing the name of Mary, which if used absolutely or unqualifiedly refers to the Mother of God. See the collects for St. Mary Magdalen, St. Mary of Egypt, etc.

The collect or prayer is placed at the end of the Hours to collect or gather up the fruits of all the prayers that precede; to beg from God that His grace may follow our actions as it precedes them; that the prayer may be a shield and buckler against all temptations which may be encountered. The prayers at Prime and at Compline never vary, to remind us, the old writers tell us, that all our acts should be invariably referred to God. In the early ages of the Church, all public prayers, both in Mass and in Office were offered up by both priests and people with outstretched arms. This practice is observed still, in a certain way, in Mass.

Benedicamus is the prayer to thank God for all His graces.

Fidelium animae. This prayer is said after every Hour, unless where the hour is said in choir and followed immediately by Mass. It Is omitted, too, before the Litany.

De Precibus (Title XXXIV.). These are prayers which are said at some of canonical Hours, before the collect or oratio. They commence with Kyrie eleison or Pater Noster. They consist of versicles and responses and these differ from other versicles and responses, which are generally historic, e.g., In omnem terram exivit sonus eorum, Amavit eum Dominus et laudavit eum. But the versicles and responses of the preces are always a call to God or an exhortation to praise God (e.g., Fiat misericordia tua, Domine), super nos, Quemadmodum speravimus in te (see Prime, infra, page 193). These prayers are of great antiquity, mention of them being found in the works of Amalare (ninth century).

They are said in some Offices in Vespers, Compline, Lauds, Prime and Little Hours. Before the reform of the Breviary by Pope Pius X,, the Preces at Vespers contained six short prayers and the Psalm, Miserere. In the new Breviary nine short prayers are given in the Preces—the six former prayers being retained and three new ones, Pro Papa; Pro antistite; Pro benefactoribus, being added. The Miserere is omitted. The same additions were made in Lauds and the Psalm, De Profundis omitted.

In Prime and the Little Hours, the preces are unchanged standing in the new Breviary as in the old.

Rubrics. The Preces are recited in the Office of–

(1) Prime and Compline on certain days;

(2) Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline of certain feasts.

The preces feriales at Lauds and Vespers are the same in structure. They have the same structure in Terce, Sext, None, but differ in character. The preces dominicales at Prime and Compline have a form of their own, additions being made in the preces of Prime when said on a feria.

1. The Preces Feriales are said at Lauds on Ferias of Lent, Advent and Passiontide, Ember days, except Ember day at Pentecost and on Vigils (except on Vigil of Christmas, Epiphany, Ascension, Friday after Ascension and Vigil of Pentecost)–when the Office on those days is of the current feria.

2. At Prime (i) Preces Dominicales are said in all semi-doubles, simples, Ferial Offices.

(i) They are said at Little Hours if said at Lauds.

(ii) At Prime, Preces Feriales are said if they have been said at Lauds.

3. At Vespers Preces Feriales are said (1) on ferias of Advent and Lent when office is of feria.

4. At Compline, Preces Dominicales are said on all (i) semi-doubles, (ii) simples, (iii) all Ferias, unless at Vespers a double or an octave was celebrated.

SOME TEXTS AND INTENTIONS WHICH MAY HELP TOWARDS THE DEVOUT RECITATION OF LAUDS.

1. "And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen." They said to one another, "Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the sepulchre?" (St. Mark, xv.).

2. "And looking, they saw the stone rolled back.... And entering the sepulchre they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe; and they were astonished. Who sayeth to them, Be not affrighted; you seek Jesus of Nazareth Who was crucified. He is risen, He is not here" (St. Mark, xv.).

3. "Behold Jesus sayeth to her (Magdalen) 'Woman, why weepest thou?'"

4. "Behold Jesus met them (the women) saying to them 'All hail.'"

(5) "See my hands and feet, that it is I myself, handle and see" (St. Luke, xxiv.).

6. "Bring hither thy hand and put it into My side and be not faithless."

7. "My Lord and my God" (St, John, xx.).

General Intentions. The wants of the Church, peace among nations—vocations to the priesthood—Church students—souls in Purgatory.

Personal Intentions. A glorious resurrection; fervour in saying the Office; fervour in saying Mass; fervour in priestly work; forgiveness of all sin.

Special Intentions. For Catholic Ireland; for the conversion of America; for peace throughout the world.

 

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The Divine Office: A Study of the Roman Breviary

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