Rorate Caeli

The Divine Office is for everyone

From the VIS blog's summary of the Pope's Wednesday audience catechetical address earlier today (the full text is not yet on the Vatican website):

The Psalm invites us to "look to Christ to understand the meaning of true regality which is to be lived as service and the giving of self, following a path of obedience and love 'to the end'. Praying this Psalm, we therefore ask the Lord to enable us to proceed along this same journey, following Christ, the Messiah, willing to ascend with Him on the hill of the cross to accompany Him in glory, and to look to Him seated at the right hand of the Father, the victorious king and merciful priest Who gives forgiveness and salvation to all mankind".

Finally, the Pope explained that, in the course of his catechesis dedicated to the Psalms, he had sought to focus on those "that reflect the different situations in life and the various attitudes we may have towards God. I would like to renew my call to everyone to pray the Psalms, to become accustomed to using the Liturgy of the Hours, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. Our relationship with God can only be enriched by our journeying towards Him day after day".

H/t Fr. Zuhlsdorf.

Photo: Illuminated 15th-century Book of Hours from Valencia


  1. Delphina7:29 PM

    I think I will take Our Holy Father up on this, but I will add my favorite hour, Prime, to his list as well. I never understood why they suppressed it.

    Does anyone here know?

  2. George7:38 PM

    Prime was a monastic hour, added by St. Benedict, as far as I know. It was not originally part of the divine office as chanted in the cathedrals and other churches. Only later in the middle ages, when the monastic office became the basis for the portable breviary, did prime enter into common usage. It was also eliminated because, as one more hour, it added a further time commitment to priests who already have their plates full. (Spend a day with a priest and you'll know what I mean). Prime is still chanted in many monastic houses.

  3. "They" did not supress it - it was supposed to be suppressed as one of the very few concrete measures expressly mentioned in Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    However, it was never supressed for Traditional priests and orders: it is still right there, one of the most beautiful hours of the day, that has to be prayed by those bound to the use of the Office who wish to use the traditional books in place in 1962. It is a beautiful way of praying "as if Vatican II did not exist".


    P.S. The excuse that this little and beautiful hour had to be eliminated because the priest's life is busy is naturally ludicrous - these kinds of excuses could be accepted by naïve men in 1963, today we can be certain that it was a measure, as similar others, pushed by evil forces of the liturgical "intelligentsia" with a malicious and destructive intent. It is a minor hour, quite short, and quite easy - it is, in fact, as I have suggested here, a great way to start praying the Office for those not used to it and who wish to start with a morning prayer. Thank God it remains available for all of us, due to the diligence of the best priests, religious, and lay faithful who preserved it for us.

  4. Delphina7:59 PM

    Decades ago I was told that it was suppressed. That is why I used the word.

    I know that the SSPX priests pray it and that their third order members pray it as well.

    Maybe we can discuss the best Divine Office books. I have a few sets.

    1. The modern one with the stinky translations.
    2. The equally horrid one, though not as bad as the new one, that was published just at the start of VII.
    3. I have the Diurnale used by the SSPX but it doesn't have an English translation along side of the Latin.
    4. I also have a very old set approved during the reign of our beloved Pope St. Pius X.

    Which set would you (plural: you) pray?

  5. "I think I will take Our Holy Father up on this, but I will add my favorite hour, Prime, to his list as well. I never understood why they suppressed it.

    Does anyone here know?"

    Me too.
    The Martyrology is read at Prime and I love doing this.

    No idea why Prime was surpressed. Probably part of the same antilogic that surpressed to many "acretions" to the Mass, saying Lauds and Prime are "redundant".
    Martyrolgy is now said when?

  6. No, Delphina, you are not wrong: it was suppressed (SC 89, d). But then... it wasn't, not for our forefathers in the faith and for us. Because "what was sacred for prior generations, remains sacred and great for us as well, and cannot be suddenly prohibited altogether or even judged harmful," right?... They can try to suppress and obscure it, like flowers, dew, and sunlight - but, like them, it will be with us till the end of time.


  7. How ironic! I opened the Douai-Rheims to Psalm 3 this morning for my mental prayer/meditation. I had never really studied them before, but what a host of treasures of mysteries and praise of God!

  8. Delphina,
    The Benedictine Abbey of Clear Creek offers most of the Hours in Latin/ English format. This is the traditional benedictine arrangement of the liturgical hours. It includes Prime, ;-) The one draw back is that they have several booklets for the different hours, in other words all the hours are not together in the same one booklet but they have a booklet for Matins, one for Vespers, etc. You can order them online at their website.


  9. Delphina10:48 PM

    John, thank you. I will look into it.

  10. In the Western rite--specifically the Roman and Benedictine; don't know about the others--the Martyrology was read in the Capitular office, itself an addendum to Prime.

    I would like to know when the Martyrology is read liturgically now, too.

    FWIW, in the Byzantine rite, we still have First Hour. Its structure is identical to Third, Sixth, and Ninth Hours.

    For that matter, is there an English translation of the latest edition of the Roman Martyrology?

    The Synaxarion (Greek) or Prologue (Slavonic) is read at Matins, ideally. (These correspond to the Martyrology.)

    Most holy Theotokos, save us.

  11. The Clear Creek books are available from Lulu. I have ordered mine.


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