Monday, 30 March 2009

The Benedictine Office in Holy Week - Part I, Monday - Wednesday

OK, so its going to look as if I'm blogging a lot this week, but in fact most of this is pre-programmed! But if you have any questions or queries on rubrics etc, do ask, and I'll do my best to get back to you.

In any case, I've prepared a little series on the Divine Office for Holy Week, particularly aimed at helping those using the Farnborough Monastic Diurnal. And I'm doing it a week in advance so that everyone can take the chance to look through it and plan and prepare well in advance!

Why you need to plan ahead...

The liturgy of Holy Week is the Church's most solemn offering - and that means its most complex! There are some practical issues here - if you attend some of the ceremonies of Holy Week, you don't need to say some of the hours. Also, it is customary to anticipate some of the hours (such as Tenebrae, or Matins and Lauds of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday), which means you need to be ready for that!

More fundamentally though, when saying the Office, you need to pay attention firstly to the words and body postures - making sure that the words are pronounced properly and so forth. Then to the sense of what you are saying - so it is worthwhile studying the antiphons, hymns and psalms in advance, as translations notwithstading, the sense isn't always immediately obvious, and there is always scope to penetrate further into the meaning of Scripture! And of course above all you need to pay attention to praying to God, and to do that effectively, you need to have sorted out the other two levels of action.

So taking some time to prepare ahead will help make your Holy Week holier hopefully!


Palm Sunday is pretty straightforward, following the normal structure for a Sunday, so I won't go into that for the moment. But for today, some notes on the Office for Monday to Wednesday of Holy Week.

Antiphons for Lauds

The main thing to notice is that at Lauds, there are a special set of antiphons to use each day, even though the normal psalms for each day are used.

So on Monday for example, Lauds goes as follows:

Deus in adjutorium...Laus tibi domine... (normal opening with the Lenten ending), MD 58

Psalm 66 (normal daily invitory psalm), MD 58

Antiphon: Faciem meam... (Antiphon 1 for the Monday of Holy Week, MD 260*)
Psalm 50, (First psalm of lauds) MD 60
Faciem meam..(repeat antiphon 1)

Framea...(Antiphon 2 for the Monday of Holy Week)
Psalm 5 (Second psalm for Monday Lauds), MD62

And so on for each of the five (psalms/canticle/groups of psalms)!

The rest of Lauds

Then once you've said the psalms, you need to turn to the Ordinary of the ferial office for passiontide (MD 240*) - as you will have been doing for the last week in any case - for the chapter, responsory, hymn and versicle.

There is a special antiphon for the Benedictus each day (as has been the case throughout Lent), so MD 261* for Monday. And the ending of the hour is as usual, with the collect for the day also on 261*.

The minor hours

The main thing to remember here is to use the antiphons from lauds - so the first antiphon on Monday at Prime, and so forth up to the fourth antiphon which is used at Nones. Same thing on Tuesday (MD 262*) and Wednesday (MD 263*). Don't forget to use the chapter and versicles set for each hour for Passiontide, and the collect of the day.


Curiously, vespers continues to use the normal, year around antiphons and psalms! So all you have to worry about is using the correct chapter, responsory, hymn etc, from MD 244*, and of course the antiphon for the Magnificat and collect which is set for each day.


expat said...

Thank you so much for this, Terra!!!

CG said...

My thanks too, Terra. The Google groups ordo guide I was previously using has been little use to me since the start of Lent, as the Western Rite Orthodox are one week behind the rest of us. So I really appreciate what you are doing here.