Friday, 27 November 2009

How to...Lauds

The structure of Lauds in the post-1911 Office is the same as that of Vespers: introductory rites, five antiphons and psalms (or to be precise, four psalms and an OT canticle), chapter, hymn, versicle and response, antiphon on the Benedictus, collect, commemorations and Suffrage.

Last year examples of Lauds were given here and here. Today's ferial Office will be examined as another example. It should be noted that in Choir Mattins and Lauds are always celebrated as one service with the exception of Christmas when Mattins precedes the first Mass and Lauds follow it. However, the previous examples and today's ferial Office will treat Lauds as a separate service for the purpose of explanation.

The Office is found in the section of the Breviary 'Feria Sexta ad Laudes I'. Lauds begins with (Pater & Ave) the introductory Deus in adjutorium, the response Domine, ad adjuvandum, the Lesser Doxology and Alleluia. The antiphon fragment (only) Exalate is said and then Psalm 98, Dominus regnavit, the Lesser Doxology and then the entire antiphon Exaltate monte sancto ejus is recited. The same pattern, antiphon fragment, psalm, Lesser Doxology and repitition of the entire antiphon is repeated for the remaining three psalms and OT Canticle.

After the repitition of the last antiphon the chapter Nox praecessit, hymn Aeterna caeli gloria and then the versicle Repleti sumus mane and the response Exsultavimus. The fragment (only) of the antiphon on the Benedictus, Per viscera misericordiae is said followed by the Benedictus, Lesser Doxology and the entire antiphon.

The collect from last Sunday is then said Excita, quaesumus. After that the Suffrage of the Saints is said. This is printed in the section of the Breviary 'Ordinarium divini Officii ad Laudes'. It consists of the antiphon Beata Die Genitrix, versicle Mirificavit, response Et exaudivit and the collect A cunctis nos.

Benedicamus Domino and Deo gratias follow. Then Fidelium animae.., Dominus det nobis suam pacem and its response and then Salve Regina, its versicle and collect etc.

Tomorrow we will revisit the Little Hours of Terce, Sext and None which due to the anticipated Vigil of St. Andrew have the ferial preces.


Anonymous said...

By way of dipping my toe into wanting to pray the Divine Office, I was led to your website/blog from Not knowing Latin, I have been trying to locate a Douay version of the psalms in a pre-1962 breviary. I've noticed that appears (?) to use Msgr. Ronald Knox's translation of the psalms of which I am not fond. I'm aghast at the Pian translation of the 1940's / Confraternity translation which sometimes does not even mean what the Vulgate/Douay version translates.

It appears from reading your website that you are 'unhappy', if that's the right word with the Pius X changes to the breviary/psalter. Is my assumption correct? I'm, also, assuming that anyone who is serious about the Divine Office knows Latin. How unfortunate for those of us illiterates.

Can I be so bold as to ask what versions/translation of the Office do you use? And, how do you reconcile Holy Mother Church's authority in matters so important as Her Liturgy with the fact that the current version of the 'Liturgy of the Hours' (ICEL)(NRSV), is so, how can I say this politely, awful ... feed my lambs, feed my sheep, doesn't seem to be the object.

I'm sorry for the long post, but I'm growing into a passionate love affair with the Church's Liturgy, and would like to begin to pray the important Offices of Matins/Lauds, Vespers, and Compline.

Thank you for your website.

Rubricarius said...


Thank you for your comment. There are a number of translations of the Office but all are rather hard to come by. The best, IMHO, was produced by the Marquess of Bute but is for the pre-1911 Office. The next best is the Roman Breviary in English translated by the nuns of Stanbrook Abbey, Worcestershire (UK) published in the mid-1930s.

I think the 1911-13 reform has to be considered on its merits, good or otherwise. It would, I believe, be an artificial argument to criticise revolutionary changes later on in the twentieth century and ignore earlier ones.

The history of liturgy suggests that things were far better when liturgical praxis was controlled at local level and the there was a sense that liturgy was the patrimony of the entire Church. The centralization of the sixteenth century, and the creation of a department of professional experts to control it in the tiniest detail has hardly proven to be a long-term success.

I have mentioned before, and will say it again, that I believe the experience of the imposition of liturgical reform in Russia in the seventeenth century is something that can teach many lessons. The trouble with history is that we rarely learn by the errors of past.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your prompt comment. It may like "burning the stump, and sifting the ashes" to find the Breviary in English by the nuns of Stanbrook Abbey; but, I'm in for the hunt.

I've certainly read that the 1911-13 changes in the Breviary were revolutionary vis-a-vis the prior breviary. However, being the neophyte that I am, I disregarded the discussion. Also, my devotion to Pope St. Pius X, left me regarding most anything that happened during his pontificate as wonderful.

I'd certainly been around some French who were absolutely horrified by his lowering the age of First Communion to the age of reason; usually around 7 years old. This, I suspected, was more a result of Jansenism more than anything else.

During my hunt for the Stanbrook Abbey Breviary, I'm left with printing off the Divine Office from the traditio website (an abolutely abominable site), but was directed there by a friend who said the Office was there is both Latin/English. It appears to be for the festivals of the BVM, but all the days are there, and all the offices are there w/o the Matins readings. It is, however, easy and, at least, will allow me to pray substantially what the Church prays for the Offices I can do.

If I wanted to become a little more familiar with Liturgical History, is there one particular book you have found noteworthy in this genre?

Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

MONTANA SAID:I'm left with printing off the Divine Office from the traditio website (an abolutely abominable site), .....

Hmmmm.....absolutely abominable?.Didn't realise it was run by Ratzinger!

Rubricarius said...

Right, lets stop this. If people want to exchange insults please do so somewhere else.

If I could have editted out the comment 'abominable site' I would have done so. If it is so awful why download the useful texts from it?

I am not interested in people slagging off third party sites or persons. The focus here is the liturgy.