Friday, 30 January 2009

Practicalities: Prime - A dissection

Returning to the series of 'dissections' of the Hours begun before Advent the Hour of Prime will now be considered. Prime is more complex at first sight that either Lauds or Vespers and the Little Hours of Terce, Sext and None. We will give several examples over the next few days.

Prime for today's semi-double feast of St. Martina:

(Aperi, Domine;)

Pater noster, Ave Maria & Credo (said inaudibly);

Deus in adjutorium.., Domine, ad adjuvandum..., Gloria Patri..., Sicut erat..., Alleluia (or Laus tibi... in Septuagesima and Lent);

The hymn at Prime is (always) Jam lucis orto sidere.

After the hymn the fragment of the first antiphon, Ne discedas a me, from the ferial pslater (Feria sexta ad Primam) is sung as far as the asterisk. Then the Psalm fragment 21(i) is sung Deus, Deus meus. At the end of the psalm fragment the Doxology is sung and but the antiphon is NOT repeated here. Instead the next psalm fragment 21(ii) is intoned Circumdederunt... then its Doxology and then the third psalm fragment 21(iii) Qui timetis then its Doxology and then the antiphon Ne discdedas a me is sung in full, ending with ..non est qui adjuvet.

After the singing of the antiphon the chapter, Regi saeculorum is sung, the choir responding Deo gratias, followed by the short responsory Christe, Fili Dei vivi... then the versicle Exsurge, Christe.. and its response Et libera nos..

Then as today is a semi-double the Domincal preces are sung. Kyrie... Christe... Kyrie... Pater noster (secretly until) Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, then Credo in Deum (secretly until) Carnis resurrectionem and a series of versicles and responses ending with Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui and Et spiritu principali confirma me.

Adjutorium nostrum.. is then sung followed by its response Qui fecit... The Hebdomodary then says Confiteor Deo and the choir responds with Misereatur. The Choir then says Confiteor Deo and the Hebdomadarius responds with Misereatur and Indulgentiam. A further short series of versicles and responsories follow, beginning with Dignare, Domine... followed by the collect Domine, Deus omnipotens... Then after a greeting Benedicamus Domino is sung followed by Deo gratias.

Then, in the full Office (although often omitted in private) the Martyrology is read. In the Martyrology the following day's office is always announced (with the exception of anticipated Vigils). Taking today as an example: Pridie Kalendas Februarii. Luna quarta. Then the entries for the day beginning with St. John Bosco. At the end of the list of entries Et alibi aliorum plurimorum sanctorum Martyrum et Confessorum, atque sanctarum Virginum with the Choir responding Deo gratias.

The versicle Pretiosa.. and its response, Mors Sanctorum ejus, is followed (without the usual Oremus) by the collect Sancta Maria... Deus in adjutorium and its response is then sung three times. A Doxology is then sung followed by Kyrie...Christe..., Kyrie.. a secret Pater noster and further short series of versicles and responses a second Doxlogy and the collect Dirigere et sanctificare... The cantor then asks a blessing Jube, domne benedicere, the Hebdomodary responds with Dies et actus... and the cantor reads the short lesson Domine, Deus meus..(for a Virgin Martyr) ending with Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis and Deo gratias.

Concluding the Hour of Prime Adjutorium nostrum... and its response then Benedicite and its response Deus and the blessing Dominus nos benedicat... Amen. Then if no other hour follows (which in practice is hardly going to happen) a final secret Pater noster.

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