Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost


In the Office for this Sunday, the canticle antiphons refer to the Gospel, Matthew Chapter 9:1-8.  Jesus first forgives the sins of the paralytic, prompting accusations of blasphemy, and then physically heals him.

If you are interested in listening to the propers for the EF Mass this week in preparation, go over to Renegoupil. And don't forget the Monastery of Norcia's daily sung Mass and Vespers.

Fourth Saturday and Sunday of September: the Book of Judith

At Matins this Sunday the readings start the book of Judith, one of the deutero-canonical books that have always been part of the Catholic tradition, but were rejected by protestants because they were excluded from the Jewish canon towards the end of the first century AD (along with a number of other books probably excluded because they supported the claims of Christianity too strongly).  Yet the historicity and canonicity of the Book of Judith in early Christianity was never disputed: a quote from it can be found as early as the 1st century AD First Epistle of Clement.


The Wikipedia summarises the book thus:

"The story revolves around Judith, a daring and beautiful widow, who is upset with her Jewish countrymen for not trusting God to deliver them from their foreign conquerors. She goes with her loyal maid to the camp of the enemy general, Holofernes, with whom she slowly ingratiates herself, promising him information on the Israelites. Gaining his trust, she is allowed access to his tent one night as he lies in a drunken stupor. She decapitates him, then takes his head back to her fearful countrymen. The Assyrians, having lost their leader, disperse, and Israel is saved. Though she is courted by many, she remains unmarried for the rest of her life."

For Catholics, Judith can be seen as a type of Our Lady, hence the Magnificat antiphon for Saturday (I Vespers of Sunday) this week says:

" O Adonai, Lord God, great and wonderful, who didst give salvation by the hand of a woman: hear the prayers of Thy servants."

Ember Days


This week the traditional liturgy features the September Ember Days on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.  Ember Days broadly mark the changing of the seasons, and are traditionally days of fast and abstinence "to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy".

The masses for these days are more elaborate than the usual, especially on Saturday, where there are several readings.  In the Office, there is a collect for each Ember Day, which is traditionally said kneeling.

The Golden Legend instructs us on the reasons for Ember Days:

"The fasting of the Quatretemps, called in English Ember days, the Pope Calixtus ordained them. And this fast is kept four times in the year, and for divers reasons.

For the first time, which is in March, is hot and moist. The second, in summer, is hot and dry. The third, in harvest, is cold and dry. The fourth in winter is cold and moist. Then let us fast in March which is printemps for to repress the heat of the flesh boiling, and to quench luxury or to temper it. In summer we ought to fast to the end that we chastise the burning and ardour of avarice. In harvest for to repress the drought of pride, and in winter for to chastise the coldness of untruth and of malice.

The second reason why we fast four times; for these fastings here begin in March in the first week of the Lent, to the end that vices wax dry in us, for they may not all be quenched; or because that we cast them away, and the boughs and herbs of virtues may grow in us. And in summer also, in the Whitsun week, for then cometh the Holy Ghost, and therefore we ought to be fervent and esprised in the love of the Holy Ghost. They be fasted also in September tofore Michaelmas, and these be the third fastings, because that in this time the fruits be gathered and we should render to God the fruits of good works. In December they be also, and they be the fourth fastings, and in this time the herbs die, and we ought to be mortified to the world.

The third reason is for to ensue the Jews. For the Jews fasted four times in the year, that is to wit, tofore Easter, tofore Whitsunside, tofore the setting of the tabernacle in the temple in September, and tofore the dedication of the temple in December.

The fourth reason is because the man is composed of four elements touching the body, and of three virtues or powers in his soul: that is to wit, the understanding, the will, and the mind. To this then that this fasting may attemper in us four times in the year, at each time we fast three days, to the end that the number of four may be reported to the body, and the number of three to the soul. These be the reasons of Master Beleth.

The fifth reason, as saith John Damascenus: in March and in printemps the blood groweth and augmenteth, and in summer coler, in September melancholy, and in winter phlegm. Then we fast in March for to attemper and depress the blood of concupiscence disordinate, for sanguine of his nature is full of fleshly concupiscence. In summer we fast because that coler should be lessened and refrained, of which cometh wrath. And then is he full naturally of ire. In harvest we fast for to refrain melancholy. The melancholious man naturally is cold, covetous and heavy. In winter we fast for to daunt and to make feeble the phlegm of lightness and forgetting, for such is he that is phlegmatic.

The sixth reason is for the printemps is likened to the air, the summer to fire, harvest to the earth, and the winter to water. Then we fast in March to the end that the air of pride be attempered to us. In summer the fire of concupiscence and of avarice. In September the earth of coldness and of the darkness of ignorance. In winter the water of lightness and inconstancy.

The seventh reason is because that March is reported to infancy, summer to youth, September to steadfast age and virtuous, and winter to ancienty or old age. We fast then in March that we may be in the infancy of innocency. In summer for to be young by virtue and constancy. In harvest that we may be ripe by attemperance. In winter that we may be ancient and old by prudence and honest life, or at least that we may be satisfied to God of that which in these four seasons we have offended him.

The eighth reason is of Master William of Auxerre. We fast, saith he, in these four times of the year to the end that we make amends for all that we have failed in all these four times, and they be done in three days each time, to the end that we satisfy in one day that which we have failed in a month; and that which is the fourth day, that is Wednesday, is the day in which our Lord was betrayed of Judas; and the Friday because our Lord was crucified; and the Saturday because he lay in the sepulchre, and the apostles were sore of heart and in great sorrow. "

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost


The first nocturn readings at Matins this Sunday are for the first chapter of the wonderful Book of Tobit. The sermon (by Pope St Leo) in the second nocturn however, is on the coming Ember days of the week, and the necessity of fasting and almsgiving. And it it to this perhaps that the Magnificat antiphon for I Vespers perhaps also points us.

The Gospel this Sunday, to which the canticle antiphons refer, is Matthew 22: 34-46, when the Pharisees ask Our Lord which is the greatest commandment, and he replies with the exhortation to love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul, and goes on to give a short exposition of the Christological meaning of Psalm 110, said at Sunday Vespers.

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost (including I Vespers) - notes on the liturgy


I Vespers

The readings for the first Nocturn (and patristic commentary in the Second Nocturn) at Matins this Sunday continue with the Book of Job, and we are now up to Chapter 9.  The Magnificat antiphon for I Vespers refers to Job's steadfast response to his sufferings.

Lauds and Vespers of Sunday

The Gospel this week is Luke 14:1-11, which relates the story of Jesus dining with a group of Pharisees and discomforting them in debate, first on the question of whether it was lawful to heal someone on the sabbath, and then on the competition for the best seats at the table.  The Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons refer to the two discussions respectively.

The Collect

And you can find a useful discussion of the Collect for this week over at Fr Z.  Here's a taster:

"Tua nos, quaesumus, Domine, gratia
semper et praeveniat et sequatur,
ac bonis operibus iugiter praestet esse intentos.

This is elegance. This is a lovely prayer to sing. Latin’s flexibility, made possible by the inflection of the word endings, allows for amazing possibilities of word order. Latin permits rich variations in rhythm and conceptual nuances. For example, the wide separation of tua from gratia in the first line is a good example of the figure of speech called hyperbaton: unusual word order to produce a dramatic effect. It helps the prayer’s rhythm and emphasizes tua gratia. The use of conjunctions et and ac is very effective, as we shall see below....

Let’s drill into vocabulary. The adjective intentus, means “to stretch out or forth, extend” as well as “to strain or stretch towards, to extend.” Think of English “tend towards”. The packed Lewis & Short Dictionary states that intentus is also “to direct one’s thoughts or attention to.”

...Let’s nitpick some more. Our Collect has two adverbs, semper and iugiter. Semper is always “always”. Iugiter, however, means “always” in the sense of “continuously.” A iugum is a “yoke”, like that which yokes animals together. Iugum (English “juger”, a Roman unit for land measuring 28,800 square feet or 240 by 120 feet), is probably so named because it was plowed by yoked oxen. Moreover, Iugum was the name of the constellation Libra, the Latin for “scale, balance”. Ancient scales had a yoke-shaped bar. Thus, libra is also the Roman the weight measure for “pound”. Ever wonder why the English abbreviation for a pound is “lbs”?

The iugum was the infamous ancient symbol of defeat. The Romans would force the vanquished to pass under a yoke to symbolize that they had been subjugated. Variously, iugum also means a connection between mountains or the beam of a weaver’s loom or even the marriage bond.

Today’s adverb iugiter means “always”, in the continuous sense, because of the concept of yoking things together, bridging them, one after another in a unending chain. We get this same word in the famous prayer written by St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274) used at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament which is the Collect for Corpus Christi:

“O God, who bequeathed to us a memorial of Thy Passion under a wondrous sacrament, grant, we implore, that we may venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood, in such a way as to sense within us constantly (iugiter) the fruit of Thy redemption.” "

11 September: SS Protus and Hyacinth, Martyrs, Memorial


Protus hyacinth.jpg


Butler's Lives of the Saints offers this on these two early martyrs:

"THE SAINTS whose victory the church commemorates on this day are honoured among the most illustrious martyrs that ennobled Rome with their blood, when the emperors of the world attempted, with the whole weight of their power, to crush the little flock of Christ.

Their epitaph, among the works of Pope Damasus, calls them brothers, and informs us that Hyacinthus sustained the first conflict, but that Protus obtained his crown before him....Their martyrdom, and that of Eugenia, is placed in these acts under Valerian, in 257....

What words can we find sufficiently to extol the heroic virtue and invincible fortitude of the martyrs! They stood out against the fury of those tyrants whose arms had subdued the most distant nations; to whose yoke almost the whole known world was subject, and whose power both kings and people revered. They, standing alone, without any preparation of war, appeared undaunted in the presence of those proud conquerors, who seemed to think that the very earth ought to bend under their feet. Armed with virtue and divine grace, they were an over-match for all the powers of the world and hell; they fought with wild beasts, fires, and swords; with intrepidity and wonderful cheerfulness they braved the most cruel torments, and by humility, patience, meekness, and constancy, baffled all enemies, and triumphed over men and devils. How glorious was the victory of such an invincible virtue! Having before our eyes the examples of so many holy saints, are we yet so dastardly as to shrink under temptations, or to lose patience under the most ordinary trials?"

The Catholic Encyclopedia adds that the grave of St. Hyacinth was found undisturbed in 1845, in a crypt of the above- mentioned catacomb. "It was a small square niche in which lay the ashes and pieces of burned bone wrapped in the remains of costly stuffs.  Evidently the saint had been burnt; most probably both martyrs had suffered death by fire. The niche was closed by a marble slab similar to that used to close a loculus, and bearing the original Latin inscription that confirmed the date in the old Roman Martyrology."

When noon really is noon...

One of the things I like about the traditional Office compared to the new is the constant reminder of nature's cycles - the four Ember Days around the change of the seasons (the Spring one is coming up soon), the differences between the winter and summer Benedictine Office, and the reminders of the time of day in many of the hymns for example.

Awareness of these changing cycles is one of the things we tend to lose in the modern world where most people spend 90% of their day inside, so it is nice to get the occasional prompt to look out the window!

Of course these days, monasteries don't really adjust the start time of Lauds each day to coincide with first light as St Benedict instructs in his Rule: to do so would be utterly impractical.  In late antiquity and the medieval period the day and night were divided into twelve equal hours based on the length of the solar day - so a day 'hour' was longer in summer, shorter in winter.  Today of course, the length of an hour these days is fixed regardless of the time of sunrise and sunset.

Still, if you do have some flexibility in your day, it is nice to be able to adjust the time you say your prayers a little to take note of the shifting seasons.

Right now where I live 'solar noon' actually coincides with actual noon for a few days, giving extra meaning to that phrase about the noonday heat (Et ignibus meridiem) in the hymn for Sext.  And in a few weeks, the length of the day will actually be exactly twelve hours, so the old Roman hour will equal the length of our modern ones - so if one said Prime an hour after sunrise, it really will be the same length of hour as those medieval monks used (well for a day or two anyway!).

For us moderns used to rising at a fixed hour each day, the idea of adjusting everything to the length of the light is hard to imagine.

But if you want to either work out such a schedule for yourself, or at least say the hours at the official times for those few days of the year when the two time systems align, take a look at the schedule of solar noon in time and date.com.

Saturday 4 September I Vespers/Sunday 5 September

The Magnificat antiphon at I Vespers refers to the book of Job: chapter 1:1-11 is read at Matins.



The Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons for Sunday refer to the Gospel, Luke 7:11-16, the raising of the son of the widow of Naim.

Quick Reference Sheet for the Traditional Benedictine Office - Saturday

Summary notes for use in conjunction with the 'How to Say the Office' series - page references are to the psalter section of the Farnborough Monastic Diurnal.

THE OFFICE FOR SATURDAY OF OUR LADY (CLASS IV SATURDAYS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR) (see below for Class III feasts and above)

Saturday Lauds
  • Opening prayers and Psalm 66 as for Monday, MD 58-59;
  • Then go to MD 133; use festal canticle (MD 138);
  • Chapter, responsory, hymn, versicle and Benedictus antiphon for Our Lady from MD (130) for throughout the year, or as per the season;
  • Benedictus from the card, or MD 73;
  • Concluding prayers as for Monday, MD 75;
  • Collect for Our Lady on Saturday (MD (131) or as per season), see Ordo; if there is a commemoration (memorial), the relevant texts are said immediately after the collect of the day.

Saturday Prime

• Opening prayer and hymn, MD 1-2;
• Antiphon (before and after psalms) for Our Lady on Saturday (MD (131) or for the season);
• Psalms MD 32-37;
• Chapter, versicle and concluding prayers MD 7-9.
Saturday Terce

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Nunc Sancte MD 183;
• Starts MD 183 (opening prayer as per MD 1);
• Antiphon of Our Lady on Saturday (MD (132) or for the season);
• Psalms MD 184-186;
• Chapter and versicle of Our Lady on Saturday (MD (132) or season);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of Office of Our Lady on Saturday.
Saturday Sext

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Rector potens MD 190;
• Antiphon of Our Lady on Saturday (MD (132) or season);
• Psalms MD 191-193;
• Chapter and versicle of Our Lady on Saturday (MD (132) or season);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of Our Lady on Saturday.

Saturday None

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Rerum Deus, MD 196-7;
• Antiphon (said before and after psalms) of Our Lady on Saturday (MD (132) or as per season);
• Psalms MD 198-199;
• Chapter and versicle of Our Lady on Saturday (MD 132-133 or as per season);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of Our Lady on Saturday.

I Vespers of Sunday (Saturday Vespers) – Evening prayer

Note: on some Sundays and feasts, the antiphons, psalms, chapter, hymn etc may be specific to the feast – see Ordo.

• Starts MD 249;
• Antiphon for the Magnificat (MD 209) is particular to the day, for the correct page number see the Ordo;
• Magnificat MD 209-210 or from card;
• Concluding prayers MD 210 (from Kyrie) or MD 255-256;
• Collect of the following Sunday (or feast), see Ordo.

Saturday (and every day) Compline (before sleeping)

• Starts MD 257;
• Choose the Marian antiphon to conclude according to the season (throughout the year it is Salve Regina, MD 268).

SATURDAY ON CLASS III OR ABOVE FEASTS

Saturday Lauds

Note: On some feasts, the festal psalms (under Sunday in the psalter) may be used – see Ordo.

• Opening prayers and Psalm 66 as for Monday, MD 58-59;
• Then go to MD 133; use festal (MD 138) canticle;
• Antiphons, chapter, responsory, hymn, versicle and Benedictus antiphon from MD (130) for the feast, Common, day or season, as per Ordo;
• Benedictus from the card, or MD 73;
• Concluding prayers as for Monday, MD 75;
• Collect of the feast, see Ordo; if there is a commemoration (memorial), the relevant texts are said immediately after the collect of the day.

Saturday Prime

• Opening prayer and hymn, MD 1-2;
• Antiphon of the season (MD 31), day, or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 32-37;
• Chapter, versicle and concluding prayers MD 7-9.

Saturday Terce

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Nunc Sancte MD 183;
• Starts MD 183 (opening prayer as per MD 1);
• Select antiphon (said before and after psalms) for the season (MD 184), day or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 184-186;
• Chapter and versicle of season, MD 186ff, or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect for the day (see Ordo).

Saturday Sext

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Rector potens MD 190;
• Select antiphon for the season (MD 190-191), day or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 191-193;
• Chapter and versicle of season, MD 193ff, day or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect for the day (see Ordo).

Saturday None

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Rerum Deus, MD 196-7;
• Select antiphon (said before and after psalms) for the season (MD 197), day or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 198-199;
• Chapter and versicle of season (MD 200ff), day or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect for the day.

I Vespers of Sunday (Saturday Vespers) – Evening prayer
Note: Feasts, the psalms may be specific to the feast – see Ordo.

• Starts MD 249;
• Antiphon for the Magnificat (MD 209) is particular to the day, for the correct page number see the Ordo;
• Magnificat MD 209-210 or from card;
• Concluding prayers MD 210 (from Kyrie) or MD 255-256;
• Collect of the following Sunday (or feast), see Ordo.

Saturday (and every day) Compline (before sleeping)

• Starts MD 257;
• Choose the Marian antiphon to conclude according to the season (throughout the year it is Salve Regina, MD 268)

Text files/email Ordos

A number of people have asked, over the life of this blog, for access to material such as the Ordo and 'how to' posts in more accessible form.

To test the underlying demand for these materials, and as a step (hopefully) in the right direction, I've created a yahoo group called TradBen, or Traditional Benedictine Spirituality, where I will gradually put up the material from here in word document form.  As a starting point, I've put up the September Ordo, and the quick reference sheets I've been putting up this week will be there shortly.

You can join it by going to the group's home page and clicking on the join group button (or if that doesn't work, send me your email address and I'll send you an invitation).

If people are interested, I could also try emailing out the Ordo and any associated liturgical notes daily in advance (as the Roman Breviary group does) - let me know on the group!

I'd also be open to the group being a discussion forum for more traditionally oriented Benedictine spirituality, since the existing groups and fourms (at least the active ones I've come across!) seem to be dominated by a mentality that I do not consider to be in the spirit of the hermeneutic of continuity and emphasis on orthodoxy advocated by the current Pope.  But that's an optional extra!

Friday 3 September: St Pius X, Pope and Confessor, 3rd class



Pope Pius X, whose feast we celebrate today, lived from 2 June 1835 to 20 August 1914, and was Pope from 1903 onwards.  He was the first pope since Pope Pius V to be canonized.

Pope St Piux X is much enamoured by traditionalists for his tough stance against modernism, promotion of traditional devotional practices and Gregorian chant, promotion of Thomism, and authored an excellent catechism. One of his most important reforms was to publish the first consolidated Code of Canon Law.

Some of his pastoral decisions however are of perhaps more debatable value: he reformed the Roman Breviary, taking it away from its previous alignment with the Benedictine; and encouraged First Communion before Confirmation, reversing the traditional order of reception of the sacraments.

A reluctant starter as Pope (the winner of the first result of the conclave was vetoed by the Emperor Franz Joseph), St Piux X had a strong Marian devotion, was considered by some to be too outspoken in his direct style and condemnations.

His charity was noteworthy: he filled the Apostolic Palace with refugees from the 1908 Messina earthquake; rejected any kind of favours for his family; his brother remained a postal clerk, his favourite nephew stayed on as village priest, and his three sisters lived together close to poverty in Rome; and often referred to his own humble origins, taking up the causes of poor people. "I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor."

Pope Benedict XVI gave a recent General Audience on his saintly predecessor, and its well worth a read.

Quick Reference Sheet for the Traditional Benedictine Office - Friday

Summary notes for use in conjunction with the 'How to Say the Office' series - page references are to the psalter section of the Farnborough Monastic Diurnal.

Friday Lauds

Note: on some feasts, the antiphons, chapter, hymn etc are specific to the feast and the festal psalms (under Sunday in the psalter) may be used – see Ordo.

• Opening prayers and Psalm 66 as for Monday, MD 58-59;
• Then go to MD 118;
• Select either the ferial (MD 123) or the festal (MD 126) canticle depending on season or class of day;
• Benedictus from the card, or MD 73;
• Concluding prayers as for Monday, MD 75;
• Collect of the previous Sunday or feast, see Ordo; if there is a commemoration (memorial), the relevant texts are said immediately after the collect of the day.

Friday Prime

• Opening prayer and hymn, MD 1-2;
• Antiphon (said before and after the psalms) of the season, MD 24, or see Ordo;
• Psalms MD 25-30;
• Chapter, versicle and concluding prayers MD 7-9.

Friday Terce

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Nunc Sancte MD 183;
• Select antiphon (said before and after psalms) for the season, MD 184, or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 184-186;
• Chapter and versicle of season, MDff, or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the week (from the Sunday) or day (see Ordo).

Friday Sext

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Rector potens MD 190;
• Select antiphon (said before and after psalms) for the season, MD 190-191, or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 191-193;
• Chapter and versicle of season, MDff, or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the week (from the Sunday) or day (see Ordo).

Friday None

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Rerum Deus, MD 196-7;
• Select antiphon (said before and after psalms) for the season, MD 197, or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 198-199;
• Chapter and versicle of season, MD 200ff, or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the week (from the Sunday) or day (see Ordo).

Friday Vespers

Note: on some feasts and seasons, the antiphons, psalms, chapter, hymn etc are specific to the day – see Ordo.

• Starts MD 243 (opening prayer as on MD 1);
• Antiphons for the season or day (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 243-247;
• Magnificat MD 209-210;
• Concluding prayers MD 210-211 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the previous Sunday or feast, see Ordo.

Friday Compline

• Starts MD 256;
• Choose the Marian antiphon to conclude according to the season (throughout the year it is Salve Regina, MD 268).

Quick Reference Sheet for the Traditional Benedictine Office - Thursday

Summary notes for use in conjunction with the 'How to Say the Office' series - page references are to the psalter section of the Farnborough Monastic Diurnal.

Thursday Lauds (at first light)

Note: on some feasts, the antiphons, chapter, hymn etc are specific to the feast and the festal psalms (under Sunday in the psalter) may be used – see Ordo

• Opening prayers and Psalm 66 as for Monday, MD 58-59;
• Then go to MD 102;
• Select either the ferial (MD 108) or the festal (MD 109) canticle depending on season or class of day;
• Benedictus from the card, or MD 73;
• Concluding prayers as for Monday, MD 75;
• Collect of the previous Sunday or feast, see Ordo; if there is a commemoration (memorial), the relevant texts are said immediately after the collect of the day.

Thursday Prime (early morning)

• Opening prayer and hymn, MD 1-2;
• Antiphon (said before and after the psalms) of the season (MD 20-21) or see Ordo;
• Psalms MD 21-23;
• Chapter, versicle and concluding prayers MD 7-9.

Thursday Terce (mid-morning)

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Nunc Sancte MD 183;
• Select antiphon (said before and after psalms) for the season (MD 184) or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 184-186;
• Chapter and versicle of season (MD 186-189) or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the week (from the Sunday) or day (see Ordo).

Thursday Sext (noon)

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Rector potens MD 190;
• Select antiphon (said before and after psalms) for the season (MD 190-191) or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 191-193;
• Chapter and versicle of season (MD 193-196) or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the week (from the Sunday) or day (see Ordo).

Thursday None (mid-afternoon)

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Rerum Deus, MD 196-7;
• Select antiphon (said before and after psalms) for the season (MD 197) or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 198-199;
• Chapter and versicle of season, MD 200ff or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the week (from the Sunday) or day (see Ordo).

Thursday Vespers (early evening)

Note: on some feasts and seasons, the antiphons, psalms, chapter, hymn etc are specific to the day – see Ordo

• Starts MD 235 (opening prayer as on page 1);
• Antiphons for the season (MD 235) or day (see Ordo);
• Magnificat MD 209-210;
• Concluding prayers MD 210-11 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the Sunday (or feast) - see Ordo.

Compline (before retiring)

• Starts MD 257;
• Choose the Marian antiphon to conclude according to the season (throughout the year it is Salve Regina, MD 268).

Reading and reflecting on the Rule of St Benedict

In a monastery, a section from the Rule of St Benedict is traditionally read everyday at chapter - the short set of prayers after Prime.  The text has actually been divided into daily chunks to enable the requirement that novices hear the Rule in full three times in the course of a year to be fulfilled.  And today being September 1, the reading of the Rule of St Benedict starts again from the Prologue.

Reading a section of the Rule each day is a good spiritual practice for all interested in Benedictine spirituality (count it towards your spiritual reading for the day), and there are plenty of translations about. The best in book form, in my opinion, is still the one by Abbot Justin McCann (which you can buy with parallel Latin text).  But you can get a daily section of the Boyle translation delivered to your inbox through the official OSB website if that is more convenient.

If you want to dig a little into what the Rule means, you probably need to find a good commentary.  There are lots around.  But just how truly 'Benedictine', insightful or orthodox they are is a matter of debate - be wary!

An excellent starting point, recommended by most of the traditional monasteries (and many of the less traditional ones), is Dom Delatte's classic.  It is fairly detailed in places, but you can skim the parts that don't interest you, and focus in on the gems of spiritual wisdom!

In terms of contemporary commentaries available online, I would recommend that by Abbot Philip Lawrence of Christ in the Desert Monastery.

Quick Reference Sheet for Benedictine traditional Office - Wednesday

Summary notes for use as a supplement to the 'How to Say the Office' series - page references are to the psalter section of the Farnborough Monastic Diurnal.

Wednesday Lauds

Note: on some feasts, the antiphons, chapter, hymn etc are specific to the feast and the festal psalms (under Sunday in the psalter) may be used – see Ordo.

• Opening prayers and Psalm 66 as for Monday, MD 58-59;
• Then go to MD 89ff;
• Select either the ferial (MD 94) or the festal ( MD 96) canticle depending on season or class of day;
• Benedictus from the card, or MD 73;
• Concluding prayers as for Monday, MD 75;
• Collect of the previous Sunday or feast, see Ordo; if there is a commemoration (memorial), the relevant texts are said immediately after the collect of the day.

Wednesday Prime

• Opening prayer and hymn, MD 1-2;
• Antiphon (said before and after the psalms) of the season (MD 15), day or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 16-20;
• Chapter, versicle and concluding prayers MD 7-9.

Wednesday Terce

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Nunc Sancte MD 183;
• Select antiphon (said before and after psalms) for the season, MD 184, or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 184-186;
• Chapter and versicle of season, MD186ff, or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the week (from the Sunday) or day (see Ordo).

Wednesday Sext

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Rector potens MD 190;
• Select antiphon (said before and after psalms) for the season, MD 190-191, or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 191-193;
• Chapter and versicle of season, MD 193ff, or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the week (from the Sunday) or day (see Ordo).

Wednesday None

• Opening prayer (Deus…) as per MD 1;
• Hymn Rerum Deus, MD 196-197;
• Select antiphon (said before and after psalms) for the season, MD 197, or feast (see Ordo);
• Psalms MD 198-199;
• Chapter and versicle of season, MD 200ff or feast (see Ordo);
• Closing prayers as at MD 154 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the week (from the Sunday) or day (see Ordo).

Wednesday Vespers

Note: on some feasts and seasons, the antiphons, psalms, chapter, hymn etc are specific to the day – see Ordo.

• Starts MD 226 (opening prayer as on MD 1);
• Antiphons for the season, MD 226, or day (see Ordo);
• Magnificat MD 209-210;
• Concluding prayers MD 210-211 (from Kyrie);
• Collect of the Sunday (or feast) - see Ordo.

Compline

• Starts MD 257;
• Choose the Marian antiphon to conclude according to the season (throughout the year it is Salve Regina, page 268).