Monday, October 31, 2016

October 31: Halloween

Irish Halloween party, Daniel Maclise, 1833

Today used to be the Vigil of All Saints (aka Halloween), a night when traditionally the veil between Earth and purgatory thinned, the dead could come back to request prayers, and devils could appear to remind us of the reality of hell.

These days there are endless debates amongst Catholics infected by political correctness as to the appropriateness/catholicity of Halloween celebrations.  Personally, I'm with those who think we do need a reminder of the reality of death, demons and the workers of evil....

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Basilica of Norcia destroyed

Yet another earthquake has hit central Italy, this time totally destroying the basilica that sits over the birthplace of SS Benedict and Scholastica.

It seems that the monks (and noted blogger Hilary White) who lives there are ok, but please pray for the people of Norcia and Italy.

And for the future of monastic life there.

Brush up your rubrics: the privilege of praying liturgically

One of the questions someone posed in response to my last post in this series was, do these rules apply to me?

It is actually a very good question to ponder, so here is my take on the subject.

The public prayer of the Church

One of the key things you need to understand before opening your Diurnal ore breviary is that the monastic Office, or Divine Office, even when said by one person privately, is part of the formal worship of the Church, just like the Mass and sacraments.   

Priests, for example, are praying liturgically when they say the Office in their homes rather than in a Church, and the same is true of laypeople.

This wasn't always the case when it comes to the laity.  

Between the Council of Trent and Vatican II the Church restricted the delegation to pray the Office on its behalf to priests and religious, in the interest of protecting the integrity of the texts used.  Pope Pisu XII, for example explained the reasons for this as follows:
The Church has further used her right of control over liturgical observance to protect the purity of divine worship against abuse from dangerous and imprudent innovations introduced by private individuals and particular churches. Thus it came about -- during the 16th century, when usages and customs of this sort had become increasingly prevalent and exaggerated, and when private initiative in matters liturgical threatened to compromise the integrity of faith and devotion, to the great advantage of heretics and further spread of their errors -- that in the year 1588, Our predecessor Sixtus V of immortal memory established the Sacred Congregation of Rites, charged with the defense of the legitimate rites of the Church and with the prohibition of any spurious innovation. (Mediator Dei)
Vatican II, though aspired to revive the older custom of lay participation in this form of prayer, and the 1983 Code of Canon Law was to make it clear that laypeople can pray the Office liturgically not only when they are present when it is said by monks, nuns or priests, but also when praying by themselves.

Under the 1983 Code of Canon Law, priests and religious are required to say some form of the Divine Office, and laypeople are 'earnestly invited' to participate in the Office as an action of the Church  (take a look also at the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paras 1174-1175).

Efficacy of the liturgy

This a wonderful privilege.  All forms of prayer can be good and effective.  But liturgical prayer has a higher status than other forms of prayer because:
  • it is not our prayer, but prayer made in through and with Christ our high priest, in effect his action, not ours;
  • it unifies us with each other, the saints and angels.,  Through it we participate in the worship in heaven; and
  • it is more effective than any other form of prayer, even the rosary.
Dom Fernard Cabrol, first abbot of Farnborough, writing in 1915, explains it this way:
Private prayer has a personal value, varying according to the degree of faith, fervour, and holiness of he who prays.  The Church's prayer has always, in itself, and independently of the person praying, an absolute value.  It is a formula composed by the Church, and carrying with it her authority...Liturgical prayer is superior to all others not only because it is the Church's prayer but also because of the elements of which is composed...this prayer holds the first rank on account of its efficacy, or the effects it produces in the soul. (Introduction to Day Hours of the Church, vol 1)
The importance and value St Benedict placed on the Office is still upheld by the Church today, at least on paper. The 1983 Code of Canon Law for example says:
In the Liturgy of the Hours, the Church, hearing God speaking to his people and recalling the mystery of salvation, praises him without ceasing by song and prayer and intercedes for the salvation of the whole world. 

Participating in the liturgy of the hours

The privilege of saying the Office liturgically, though, carries obligations with it.  

We can't just make it up as we go along, and muddle through.  We have to make an effort to do it correctly, lest we be guilty of liturgical abuse.

If you actually attend the Office in a monastery, even if you don't say anything, you are participating it in it just by listening, hopefully reverently and actively.

At the other end of the scale, just watching a video or listening to a podcast doesn't mean that we are praying liturgically. It is really no different to watching Mass at home on television - watching or listening to Mass online is a good thing to do, but it is a devotional activity, not the same thing as actually participating in the liturgy.

But if you actually want to say the Divine Office, you need to keep in mind the seriousness and importance of what you are doing, and that includes learning to say the Office properly, and following the rubrics.

Divini Cultus

Let me leave you with some inspiring words of Pope Pius XI on this subject, from the Apostolic Consitutution Divini Cultus, issued in 1928:
Since the Church has received from Christ her Founder the office of safeguarding the sanctity of divine worship, it is certainly incumbent upon her, while leaving intact the substance of the Sacrifice and the sacraments, to prescribe ceremonies, rites, formulae, prayers and chant for the proper regulation of that august public ministry, whose special name is "Liturgy", as being the eminently sacred action.
For the liturgy is indeed a sacred thing, since by it we are raised to God and united to Him, thereby professing our faith and our deep obligation to Him for the benefits we have received and the help of which we stand in constant need. There is thus a close connection between dogma and the sacred liturgy, and between Christian worship and the sanctification of the faithful. Hence Pope Celestine I saw the standard of faith expressed in the sacred formulae of the liturgy. "The rule of our faith," he says, "is indicated by the law of our worship. When those who are set over the Christian people fulfill the function committed to them, they plead the cause of the human race in the sight of God's clemency, and pray and supplicate in conjunction with the whole Church."
These public prayers, called at first "the work of God" and later "the divine office" or the daily "debt" which man owes to God, used to be offered both day and night in the presence of a great concourse of the faithful. From the earliest times the simple chants which graced the sacred prayers and the liturgy gave a wonderful impulse to the piety of the people. History tells us how in the ancient basilicas, where bishop, clergy and people alternately sang the divine praises, the liturgical chant played no small part in converting many barbarians to Christianity and civilization. It was in the churches that heretics came to understand more fully the meaning of the communion of saints; thus the Emperor Valens, an Arian, being present at Mass celebrated by St. Basil, was overcome by an extraordinary seizure and fainted. At Milan, St. Ambrose was accused by heretics of attracting the crowds by means of liturgical chants. It was due to these that St. Augustine made up his mind to become a Christian. It was in the churches, finally, where practically the whole city formed a great joint choir, that the workers, builders, artists, sculptors and writers gained from the liturgy that deep knowledge of theology which is now so apparent in the monuments of the Middle Ages.
No wonder, then, that the Roman Pontiffs have been so solicitous to safeguard and protect the liturgy. They have used the same care in making laws for the regulation of the liturgy, in preserving it from adulteration, as they have in giving accurate expression to the dogmas of the faith. This is the reason why the Fathers made both spoken and written commentary upon the liturgy or "the law of worship"; for this reason the Council of Trent ordained that the liturgy should be expounded and explained to the faithful.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Feast of Christ the King

When Pope Pius XI instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925 he specified for it the last Sunday of October; Paul VI moved to the last Sunday of the liturgical year.

In the traditional Benedictine calendar however, this Sunday is indeed the feast of Christ the King.

The Kingship of Christ

In Quas primas, Pope Pius XI explained the basis for the feast:

"...these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ; and that We promised to do as far as lay in Our power. In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it seemed to Us that peace could not be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a firmer basis than through the restoration of the Empire of Our Lord. We were led in the meantime to indulge the hope of a brighter future at the sight of a more widespread and keener interest evinced in Christ and his Church, the one Source of Salvation, a sign that men who had formerly spurned the rule of our Redeemer and had exiled themselves from his kingdom were preparing, and even hastening, to return to the duty of obedience....

It has long been a common custom to give to Christ the metaphorical title of "King," because of the high degree of perfection whereby he excels all creatures. So he is said to reign "in the hearts of men," both by reason of the keenness of his intellect and the extent of his knowledge, and also because he is very truth, and it is from him that truth must be obediently received by all mankind. He reigns, too, in the wills of men, for in him the human will was perfectly and entirely obedient to the Holy Will of God, and further by his grace and inspiration he so subjects our free-will as to incite us to the most noble endeavors. He is King of hearts, too, by reason of his "charity which exceedeth all knowledge." And his mercy and kindness which draw all men to him, for never has it been known, nor will it ever be, that man be loved so much and so universally as Jesus Christ. But if we ponder this matter more deeply, we cannot but see that the title and the power of King belongs to Christ as man in the strict and proper sense too. For it is only as man that he may be said to have received from the Father "power and glory and a kingdom," since the Word of God, as consubstantial with the Father, has all things in common with him, and therefore has necessarily supreme and absolute dominion over all things created.

Do we not read throughout the Scriptures that Christ is the King?...Moreover, Christ himself speaks of his own kingly authority: in his last discourse, speaking of the rewards and punishments that will be the eternal lot of the just and the damned; in his reply to the Roman magistrate, who asked him publicly whether he were a king or not; after his resurrection, when giving to his Apostles the mission of teaching and baptizing all nations, he took the opportunity to call himself king, confirming the title publicly, and solemnly proclaimed that all power was given him in heaven and on earth. These words can only be taken to indicate the greatness of his power, the infinite extent of his kingdom...

Let Us explain briefly the nature and meaning of this lordship of Christ. It consists, We need scarcely say, in a threefold power which is essential to lordship. This is sufficiently clear from the scriptural testimony already adduced concerning the universal dominion of our Redeemer, and moreover it is a dogma of faith that Jesus Christ was given to man, not only as our Redeemer, but also as a law-giver, to whom obedience is due. Not only do the gospels tell us that he made laws, but they present him to us in the act of making them. Those who keep them show their love for their Divine Master, and he promises that they shall remain in his love.  He claimed judicial power as received from his Father, when the Jews accused him of breaking the Sabbath by the miraculous cure of a sick man. "For neither doth the Father judge any man; but hath given all judgment to the Son."[26] In this power is included the right of rewarding and punishing all men living, for this right is inseparable from that of judging. Executive power, too, belongs to Christ, for all must obey his commands; none may escape them, nor the sanctions he has imposed.

This kingdom is spiritual and is concerned with spiritual things..."

Reasons for celebrating the feast

If We ordain that the whole Catholic world shall revere Christ as King, We shall minister to the need of the present day, and at the same time provide an excellent remedy for the plague which now infects society....The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God's religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences...the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin.

We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.

When we pay honor to the princely dignity of Christ, men will doubtless be reminded that the Church, founded by Christ as a perfect society, has a natural and inalienable right to perfect freedom and immunity from the power of the state; and that in fulfilling the task committed to her by God of teaching, ruling, and guiding to eternal bliss those who belong to the kingdom of Christ, she cannot be subject to any external power... Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ."

Thursday, October 27, 2016

SS Simon and Jude (Class II)

Image result for ss simon and jude

From a General Audience of Pope Benedict XVI:

Today, let us examine two of the Twelve Apostles: Simon the Cananaean and Jude Thaddaeus (not to be confused with Judas Iscariot). Let us look at them together, not only because they are always placed next to each other in the lists of the Twelve (cf. Mt 10: 3, 4; Mk 3: 18; Lk 6: 15; Acts 1: 13), but also because there is very little information about them, apart from the fact that the New Testament Canon preserves one Letter attributed to Jude Thaddaeus.

Simon is given a nickname that varies in the four lists: while Matthew and Mark describe him as a "Cananaean", Luke instead describes him as a "Zealot".

In fact, the two descriptions are equivalent because they mean the same thing: indeed, in Hebrew the verb qanà' means "to be jealous, ardent" and can be said both of God, since he is jealous with regard to his Chosen People (cf. Ex 20: 5), and of men who burn with zeal in serving the one God with unreserved devotion, such as Elijah (cf. I Kgs 19: 10).

Thus, it is highly likely that even if this Simon was not exactly a member of the nationalist movement of Zealots, he was at least marked by passionate attachment to his Jewish identity, hence, for God, his People and divine Law.

If this was the case, Simon was worlds apart from Matthew, who, on the contrary, had an activity behind him as a tax collector that was frowned upon as entirely impure. This shows that Jesus called his disciples and collaborators, without exception, from the most varied social and religious backgrounds.

It was people who interested him, not social classes or labels! And the best thing is that in the group of his followers, despite their differences, they all lived side by side, overcoming imaginable difficulties: indeed, what bound them together was Jesus himself, in whom they all found themselves united with one another.

This is clearly a lesson for us who are often inclined to accentuate differences and even contrasts, forgetting that in Jesus Christ we are given the strength to get the better of our continual conflicts.

Let us also bear in mind that the group of the Twelve is the prefiguration of the Church, where there must be room for all charisms, peoples and races, all human qualities that find their composition and unity in communion with Jesus.

Then with regard to Jude Thaddaeus, this is what tradition has called him, combining two different names: in fact, whereas Matthew and Mark call him simply "Thaddaeus" (Mt 10: 3; Mk 3: 18), Luke calls him "Judas, the son of James" (Lk 6: 16; Acts 1: 13).

The nickname "Thaddaeus" is of uncertain origin and is explained either as coming from the Aramaic, taddà', which means "breast" and would therefore suggest "magnanimous", or as an abbreviation of a Greek name, such as "Teodòro, Teòdoto".

Very little about him has come down to us. John alone mentions a question he addressed to Jesus at the Last Supper: Thaddaeus says to the Lord: "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us and not to the world?".

This is a very timely question which we also address to the Lord: why did not the Risen One reveal himself to his enemies in his full glory in order to show that it is God who is victorious? Why did he only manifest himself to his disciples? Jesus' answer is mysterious and profound. The Lord says: "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" (Jn 14: 22-23).

This means that the Risen One must be seen, must be perceived also by the heart, in a way so that God may take up his abode within us. The Lord does not appear as a thing. He desires to enter our lives, and therefore his manifestation is a manifestation that implies and presupposes an open heart. Only in this way do we see the Risen One.

The paternity of one of those New Testament Letters known as "catholic", since they are not addressed to a specific local Church but intended for a far wider circle, has been attributed to Jude Thaddaeus. Actually, it is addressed "to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ" (v. 1).

A major concern of this writing is to put Christians on guard against those who make a pretext of God's grace to excuse their own licentiousness and corrupt their brethren with unacceptable teachings, introducing division within the Church "in their dreamings" (v. 8).

This is how Jude defines their doctrine and particular ideas. He even compares them to fallen angels and, mincing no words, says that "they walk in the way of Cain" (v. 11).

Furthermore, he brands them mercilessly as "waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever" (vv. 12-13).

Today, perhaps, we are no longer accustomed to using language that is so polemic, yet that tells us something important. In the midst of all the temptations that exist, with all the currents of modern life, we must preserve our faith's identity. Of course, the way of indulgence and dialogue, on which the Second Vatican Counsel happily set out, should certainly be followed firmly and consistently.

But this path of dialogue, while so necessary, must not make us forget our duty to rethink and to highlight just as forcefully the main and indispensable aspects of our Christian identity. Moreover, it is essential to keep clearly in mind that our identity requires strength, clarity and courage in light of the contradictions of the world in which we live.

Thus, the text of the Letter continues: "But you, beloved" - he is speaking to all of us -, "build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt..." (vv. 20-22).

The Letter ends with these most beautiful words: "To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen" (vv. 24-25).

It is easy to see that the author of these lines lived to the full his own faith, to which realities as great as moral integrity and joy, trust and lastly praise belong, since it is all motivated solely by the goodness of our one God and the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, may both Simon the Cananaean and Jude Thaddeus help us to rediscover the beauty of the Christian faith ever anew and to live it without tiring, knowing how to bear a strong and at the same time peaceful witness to it.

And to learn the Vespers hymn...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October 25: SS Chrysanthus and Daria, Martyrs, Memorial

According to the Wikipedia:

"Saints Chrysanthus and Daria (3rd century - c. 283) are saints of the Early Christian period. According to legend, Chrysanthus was the only son of an Egyptian patrician, named Polemius or Poleon, who lived during the reign of Numerian. His father moved from Alexandria to Rome. Chrysanthus was educated in the finest manner of the era. Disenchanted with the excess in the Roman world, he began reading the Acts of the Apostles.

He was then baptized and educated in Christian thinking by a priest named Carpophorus. His father was unhappy with Chrysanthus's conversion, and attempted to inculcate secular ways into his son by tempting him with prostitutes, but Chrysanthus retained his virginity.

He objected when his father arranged a marriage to Daria, a Roman Vestal Virgin. Chrysanthus converted his new bride and convinced her to live with him in a chaste state. Since Vestal Virgins take a vow of chastity during their 30-year term of service Daria's agreement to live in a chaste marriage would not be surprising.

They went on to convert a number of Romans. When this illegal act was made known to Claudius, the tribune, Chrysanthus was arrested and tortured. Chrysanthus's faith and fortitude under torture were so impressive to Claudius that he and his wife, Hilaria, two sons named Maurus and Jason, and seventy of his soldiers became Christians. For this betrayal, the emperor had Claudius drowned, his sons beheaded and his wife went to the gallows. Daria was sent to live as a prostitute, but her chastity was defended by a lioness. She was brought before Numerian and ordered to be executed by stoning and then burial alive in a deep pit beside her husband. They were entombed in a sand pit near the Via Salaria Nova, the catacombs in Rome."

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tuesday of St Benedict - Matins in the Office of St Benedict

St Benedict, Servandus and the death of Bishop Germanus (Dialogues ch 35)

I noted a few weeks ago that on 'unimpeded Tuesdays' and Office of St Benedict used to be said, and described First Vespers of that Office. Today I want to look at the Matins of this Office.

It would be lovely to see this custom revived, not least because one can't help but think its abolition contributed to the loss of any sense of St Benedict as a real person and founder of the Order in so many monasteries in the twentieth century. At Matins, for example, the readings included a series of extracts from the Life of St Benedict by St Gregory the Great.

At the very least, we can say some of its prayers, or say it devotionally - and if you do, can I urge you to offer it for the new Benedictine foundation being established in Australia?

Matins of St Benedict on Tuesdays

 The invitatory antiphon (for Psalm 94) is Regem confessorum Dominum Venite Exsultemus Iie from the Common of Confessors).

The hymn is Quidquid antiqui, which you can listen to below.  The text can be found in the Liber Hymnarius for the feast of St Benedict on 21 March.

The psalms and antiphons are of Saturday, and there are three readings with responsories.

The three responsories are:

1. R.  Sanctus Benedictus plus appetiit mala mundi perpeti quam laudes atque pro deo laboribus fatigari *quam vitae hujus favoribus extolli.
V. Divina namque praeventus gratia, magis ac magis ad superna animo suspirabat
*quam vitae hujus favoribus extolli.
(Nb: the chant can be found in the Processionale monasticum)

2. R. O laudanda sancti Benedicti merita gloriosa qui dum pro Christo patriam mundique sprevit pompam adeptus omnium contubernium beatorum *et particeps factus praemiorum aeternorum
V. Inter choros Confessorum splendidum possided locum et ipsum fontem omnium intuetur bonorum.

(Chant in the Liber Responsorialis for the transit of St Benedict)

3. R:Sanctissime confessor Christi Benedicte, monachorum pater et dux * intercede pro nostra omniumque salute.
V. Devote plebi subveni santa intercessione, ut tuis adjuta precibus regna consequatur.
 Intercede pro nostra omniumque salute.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto
Intercede pro nostra omniumque salute.

(Chant in the Liber Responsorialis for the transit of St Benedict)

The readings for the Office were different for each month, and I've put the appropriate ones for October up in full over at my Lectio Divina blog, but they basically consist of 2 Corinthians 12:1-6 (reading 1) and then chapter 35 of St Gregory's Dialogues Bk II, divided into two readings.

The collect is:

Excita Domine, in Ecclesia tua Spiritum, cui beatus Pater noster Benedictus Abbas servivit; ut eodem nos repleti studeamus amare quod docuit.  Per unitate ejusdem Spiritus.

Raise up, O Lord, in thy Church, the Spirit wherewith our holy Father Benedict was animated: that, filled with the same,  we may strive to love what he loved, and to practise what he taught.  Through Christ...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Our Lady of Cana update

Image result for jesus turns water into wine

Just to let you know the website for the new monastery being established in Australia is now live, so do go take a look, and keep those donations rolling in!

You might also want to consider using the contact page to let them know you have made a donation, so that they can acknowledge it, as this note from Fr Pius Mary suggests suggests:
 Over the past few days since I made public the upcoming establishment of monastic life in Tasmania, several persons have already generously sent donations directly to our bank account. 
I have sent out a letter of thanks to all whose names appear on the bank receipts and whom I know, but some contain no name and others a name I am not familiar with. Until can determine the identity of each donor and effectively thank them personally, I would like to here send out a message of thanks to all those who help us financially. 
Every little bit counts, and will make it possible for us to commence our monastic life in the near future. Along with all the aspirants and close collaborators of the community, I thank you and assure you of a special place in our daily Masses and prayers. May Our Lady of Cana and Saint Joseph bless you and yours abundantly.

October 21: St Hilarion

Dominique Papety - Temptation of Saint Hilarion.jpg
The Temptation of Saint Hilarion, by Dominique-Louis-Féréa Papety, 1843–44
Saint Hilarion (291 - 371) was an anchorite.  According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"Hilarion was the son of pagan parents... As a boy Hilarion's parents sent him to Alexandria to be educated in its schools. Here he became a Christian, and at the age of fifteen, attracted by the renown of the anchorite, St. Anthony, he retired to the desert.

After two months of personal intercourse with the great "Father of Anchorites", Hilarion resolved to devote himself to the ascetic life of a hermit. He returned home, divided his fortune among the poor, and then withdrew to a little hut in the desert of Majuma, near Gaza, where he led a life similar to that of St. Anthony. His clothing consisted of a hair shirt, an upper garment of skins, and a short shepherd's cloak; he fasted rigorously, not partaking of his frugal meal until after sunset, and supported himself by weaving baskets. The greater part of his time was devoted to religious exercises.

Miraculous cures and exorcisms of demons which he performed spread his fame in the surrounding country, so that in 329 numerous disciples assembled round him. Many heathens were converted, and people came to seek his help and counsel in such great numbers that he could hardly find time to perform his religious duties.

This induced him to bid farewell to his disciples and to return to Egypt about the year 360. Here he visited the places where St. Anthony had lived and the spot where he had died. On the journey thither, he met Dracontius and Philor, two bishops banished by the Emperor Constantius. Hilarion then went to dwell at Bruchium, near Alexandria, but hearing that Julian the Apostate had ordered his arrest, he retired to an oasis in the Libyan desert. Later on he journeyed to Sicily and for a long time lived as a hermit near the promontory of Pachinum. His disciple, Hesychius, who had long sought him, discovered him here and soon Hilarion saw himself again surrounded by disciples desirous of following his holy example.

Leaving Sicily, he went to Epidaurus in Dalmatia, where, on the occasion of a great earthquake (366), he rendered valuable assistance to the inhabitants. Finally he went to Cyprus and there, in a lonely cave in the interior of the island [site pictured above], he spent his last years. It was during his sojourn in Cyprus that he became acquainted with St. Epiphanius, Archbishop of Salamis. Before his death, which took place at the age of eighty, Hilarion bequeathed his only possession, his poor and scanty clothing, to his faithful disciple, Hesychius. His body was buried near the town of Paphos, but Hesychius secretly took it away and carried it to Majuma where the saint had lived so long. Hilarion was greatly honored as the founder of anchoritic life in Palestine."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Brush up your rubrics: When are the hours properly said?

I had a query recently about the extent to which it is permissible to join together hours, with a reference to Cardinal Richelieu's infamous practice of saying the entire Office at midnight each night.

Accordingly, this week I thought I might provide a refresher on just what the rubrics are on this subject, and some of the issues around them.

The rules around saying the hours at the proper time

The rules for saying the Benedictine Office using the Diurnal are governed both by overarching Church law, and the rubrics of the 1963 breviary.

In particular, Universae Ecclesiae sets out that breviaries are to be used as they were, so technically the relevant provision of the current Code of Canon law, 1175 arguably doesn't apply:
In carrying out the liturgy of the hours, the true time for each hour is to be observed insofar as possible.
In reality, however, the 1963 rubrics for the Benedictine Office say virtually the same thing, saying that the canonical hours are intended for the sanctification of the hours of the natural day and accordingly should be said as near to their proper time as possible (General Rubrics of the Breviary, Bk II, 137).  There is no provision, as far as I can see, for joining of hours (ie saying more than one under the same set of concluding prayers) other than Matins and Lauds, though this was done in earlier versions of the Office.

There are good reasons for this, as most of the hours have specific associations with the time of day that are mentioned in the hymns, psalms and prayers set for each hour.  Terce, for example, is associated with Pentecost, that took place 'at the third hour', and this connection is alluded to in the hymn.

So what are the proper times?: The rubrics

The general principles for when the hours should be said are set out in the Benedictine Rule in various chapters (both in the liturgical section of the Rule, and in the discussion of the arrangement of the day) and make it clear that St Benedict was fairly flexible (within certain limits) about when most of the hours are said.  As a result, may monasteries do things like say Sext and None one after the other, or join Terce to Mass.

The two absolutes, if you read the Rule, would seem to be that Matins needs to be said in the dark of the night (with an instruction to rise at the eighth hour of the night), and to start Lauds at first light.

Experience has shown, however, that while St Benedict's timetable for the Night Office, of rising at the 'eighth hour of the night' (around 3am depending on the time of sunset), might arguably have worked well in Monte Cassino, at other latitudes with much greater variations in the number of daylight or night hours, adjustments may need to be made.  There are several ways this can be done, including saying Matins the day before (which is permitted in the 1963 rubrics 'for a just cause', but not before 2pm ("Matutinum, ex iusta causa, horis post meridianis diei praecedentis anticipare licet, non tamen ante horam quartamdecimam"); saying Matins at midnight and then going back to bed until Lauds (done by at least one contemporary Benedictine women's monastery); or cutting down or out the gap between Matins and Lauds.

The 1963 rubrics also specify that Lauds should be said first thing in the morning when said in common or in choir (ie cannot be anticipated), but can be said 'when convenient' if said by oneself.

They also allow Vespers in Lent and Passiontide to be said any time after midday (in consideration of the fasting rules set out in the Rule) when said in common or in choir (or a time convenient if said alone).

The final provision is that Compline is always said as the last hour of the day (but in this case the Pater Noster etc in the opening section is omitted, and examen done privately) in, even if Matins is anticipated.


For those with a formal obligation to say the Office, however, there has to be some more flexibility, and the rubrics do provide that it is sufficient to say all of the hours within a twenty-four hour period.

In this light I recently came across some timely advice for hermits on what to do if you sleep in for Matins (I think from St Basil, but I can't currently lay my hands on the reference): viz close the windows and doors (to simulate darkness outside) and get on and say it, however late it may be!

For laypeople though, if you sleep through Matins or Lauds, or can't say the proper hour at more or less the correct time (plus or minus a few hours), I would suggest that the appropriate solution is to just skip the hour: you have no obligation to say any or all of the hours. If you really want to say the psalms, just say them, it doesn't have to be part of the Office.

Best practice?

Either way, we should not, in my opinion, just be ruled by law, but should also consider why we are praying the 'liturgy of the hours' (and the name is not just a modern invention!).

Though St Benedict doesn't set out an explicit rationale for each of the hours, he probably thought he didn't need to: he could assume that his readers were familiar with the expositions of the subject provided by SS Cyprian, Basil, Cassian  and many others of the Fathers.

I've tried to summarise the key associations/rationales often cited in the table below by way of an aid.

Time of day to be said

Matins (not in Diurnal)

Darkness, very early morning

Ps 118: at midnight…;

Anna prayed in the temple day and night (Lk 2:37);

Paul and Silas prayed at midnight;

Watching for the second coming

First light
Psalm 118: Seven times a day

Hour when lamps trimmed, incense offered, morning sacrifice in tabernacle and temple;

Rising of the sun/Son - celebrates the Resurrection.

First hour after sunrise -  before starting work
First hour when workmen recruited for the vineyard (Mt 20:1-6).

Consecrate first thoughts and work of day to Christ the first and last.

 Literally the third hour after sunrise - mid-morning
In honour of the Trinity;

Labourers in the vineyard recruited;

Hour of Pentecost

The sixth hour after sunrise,  
Midday - lunchtime
In honour of the Trinity;

labourers in the vineyard recruited;

Visitors to Abraham (Genesis 18);

Hour Peter prayed, vision of the gentiles (Acts 10);

Time of the crucifixion

The ninth hour after sunrise - mid-afternoon
In honour of the Trinity;

Labourers in the vineyard recruited;

Peter and John prayed at the temple (Acts 3);

Cornelius prayed at this hour (Acts 10);

Death of Jesus on the cross.

 As the sun is setting - early evening
Labourers in the vineyard recruited (11th hour);

Lighting of the lamps and evening sacrifice in tabernacle and temple;

At setting of sun, ask the true Sun/Son to come again.

Before bed
Prayer before sleep, asking for a resurrection from the little sleep that mimics the sleep of death;

Hour Christ prayed with his disciples in the Garden;

Fulfils four night hours of Nehemiah 9:3 (with Vespers, Matins and Lauds)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

St Peter of Alcantara (EF); SS John de Brebeuf and Isaac Jogues, St Paul of the Cross (OF), Oct 19

Today's saints in the Ordinary Form include two North American martyrs.  St Jean de Brebeuf was a Jesuit martyred in 1649, while St Isaac Jogues was martyred in New York State in 1646.

Also in the OF today St Paul of the Cross:

"At Rome, the birthday of St. Paul of the Cross, confessor, founder of the Congregation of the Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, whom Pius IX canonized on account of his remarkable innocence of life and his penitential spirit, assigning the 28th of April as the day of his festival."

And in the EF:

"At Arenas, in Spain, St. Peter of Alcantara, confessor, of the Order of Friars Minor who was canonized by Clement IX on account of his admirable penance and many miracles."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October 18: St Luke the Evangelist

St Luke the Evangelist was a Greek-speaking Syrian physician who lived in the Greek city of Antioch in Ancient Syria. 

He is mentioned in various of St Paul’s epistles and was by profession a physician. He had become a disciple of the apostle Paul and later followed Paul until Paul's martyrdom.

St Luke states at the beginning of the Gospel he wrote that he was not an eyewitness to the events of the Gospel.

He reputedly died at the age of 84 years in Boeotia.  His tomb was located in Thebes (Greece), from whence his relics were transferred to Constantinople in the year 357.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

St Hedwig (EF/OF, Oct 16)

Hedwig von Schlesien.jpg

Saint Hedwig of Silesia (1174 – 1243):

"The Feast of St. Hedwiges, widow, duchess of Poland, who went to her rest in the Lord on the 15th of this month."

In the Ordinary Form today is the feast of St Margaret Mary Alacoque, but it is tomorrow in the EF.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

October 15: St Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, Class III

Alonso del Arco (1635-1704)

Pope Benedict XVI gave a General Audience on St Teresa on 2 February 2011:

"In the course of the Catecheses that I have chosen to dedicate to the Fathers of the Church and to great theologians and women of the Middle Ages I have also had the opportunity to reflect on certain Saints proclaimed Doctors of the Church on account of the eminence of their teaching.

Today I would like to begin a brief series of meetings to complete the presentation on the Doctors of the Church and I am beginning with a Saint who is one of the peaks of Christian spirituality of all time — St Teresa of Avila [also known as St Teresa of Jesus].

St Teresa, whose name was Teresa de Cepeda y Ahumada, was born in Avila, Spain, in 1515. In her autobiography she mentions some details of her childhood: she was born into a large family, her “father and mother, who were devout and feared God”, into a large family. She had three sisters and nine brothers.

While she was still a child and not yet nine years old she had the opportunity to read the lives of several Martyrs which inspired in her such a longing for martyrdom that she briefly ran away from home in order to die a Martyr’s death and to go to Heaven (cf. Vida, [Life], 1, 4); “I want to see God”, the little girl told her parents.

A few years later Teresa was to speak of her childhood reading and to state that she had discovered in it the way of truth which she sums up in two fundamental principles.

On the one hand was the fact that “all things of this world will pass away” while on the other God alone is “for ever, ever, ever”, a topic that recurs in her best known poem: “Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things. Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices”. She was about 12 years old when her mother died and she implored the Virgin Most Holy to be her mother (cf. Vida, I, 7).

If in her adolescence the reading of profane books had led to the distractions of a worldly life, her experience as a pupil of the Augustinian nuns of Santa María de las Gracias de Avila and her reading of spiritual books, especially the classics of Franciscan spirituality, introduced her to recollection and prayer.

When she was 20 she entered the Carmelite Monastery of the Incarnation, also in Avila. In her religious life she took the name “Teresa of Jesus”. Three years later she fell seriously ill, so ill that she remained in a coma for four days, looking as if she were dead (cf. Vida, 5, 9).

In the fight against her own illnesses too the Saint saw the combat against weaknesses and the resistance to God’s call: “I wished to live”, she wrote, “but I saw clearly that I was not living, but rather wrestling with the shadow of death; there was no one to give me life, and I was not able to take it. He who could have given it to me had good reasons for not coming to my aid, seeing that he had brought me back to himself so many times, and I as often had left him” (Vida, 7, 8).

In 1543 she lost the closeness of her relatives; her father died and all her siblings, one after another, emigrated to America. In Lent 1554, when she was 39 years old, Teresa reached the climax of her struggle against her own weaknesses. The fortuitous discovery of the statue of “a Christ most grievously wounded”, left a deep mark on her life (cf. Vida, 9).

The Saint, who in that period felt deeply in tune with the St Augustine of the Confessions, thus describes the decisive day of her mystical experience: “and... a feeling of the presence of God would come over me unexpectedly, so that I could in no wise doubt either that he was within me, or that I was wholly absorbed in him” (Vida, 10, 1).

Parallel to her inner development, the Saint began in practice to realize her ideal of the reform of the Carmelite Order: in 1562 she founded the first reformed Carmel in Avila, with the support of the city’s Bishop, Don Alvaro de Mendoza, and shortly afterwards also received the approval of John Baptist Rossi, the Order’s Superior General.

In the years that followed, she continued her foundations of new Carmelite convents, 17 in all. Her meeting with St John of the Cross was fundamental. With him, in 1568, she set up the first convent of Discalced Carmelites in Duruelo, not far from Avila.

In 1580 she obtained from Rome the authorization for her reformed Carmels as a separate, autonomous Province. This was the starting point for the Discalced Carmelite Order.

Indeed, Teresa’s earthly life ended while she was in the middle of her founding activities. She died on the night of 15 October 1582 in Alba de Tormes, after setting up the Carmelite Convent in Burgos, while on her way back to Avila. Her last humble words were: “After all I die as a child of the Church”, and “O my Lord and my Spouse, the hour that I have longed for has come. It is time to meet one another”.

Teresa spent her entire life for the whole Church although she spent it in Spain. She was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1614 and canonized by Gregory XV in 1622. The Servant of God Paul VI proclaimed her a “Doctor of the Church” in 1970.

Teresa of Jesus had no academic education but always set great store by the teachings of theologians, men of letters and spiritual teachers. As a writer, she always adhered to what she had lived personally through or had seen in the experience of others (cf. Prologue to The Way of Perfection), in other words basing herself on her own first-hand knowledge.

Teresa had the opportunity to build up relations of spiritual friendship with many Saints and with St John of the Cross in particular. At the same time she nourished herself by reading the Fathers of the Church, St Jerome, St Gregory the Great and St Augustine.

Among her most important works we should mention first of all her autobiography, El libro de la vida (the book of life), which she called Libro de las misericordias del Señor [book of the Lord’s mercies].

Written in the Carmelite Convent at Avila in 1565, she describes the biographical and spiritual journey, as she herself says, to submit her soul to the discernment of the “Master of things spiritual”, St John of Avila. Her purpose was to highlight the presence and action of the merciful God in her life. For this reason the work often cites her dialogue in prayer with the Lord. It makes fascinating reading because not only does the Saint recount that she is reliving the profound experience of her relationship with God but also demonstrates it.

In 1566, Teresa wrote El Camino de Perfección [The Way of Perfection]. She called it Advertencias y consejos que da Teresa de Jesús a sus hermanas [recommendations and advice that Teresa of Jesus offers to her sisters]. It was composed for the 12 novices of the Carmel of St Joseph in Avila. Teresa proposes to them an intense programme of contemplative life at the service of the Church, at the root of which are the evangelical virtues and prayer.

Among the most precious passages is her commentary on the Our Father, as a model for prayer. St Teresa’s most famous mystical work is El Castillo interior [The Interior Castle]. She wrote it in 1577 when she was in her prime. It is a reinterpretation of her own spiritual journey and, at the same time, a codification of the possible development of Christian life towards its fullness, holiness, under the action of the Holy Spirit.

Teresa refers to the structure of a castle with seven rooms as an image of human interiority. She simultaneously introduces the symbol of the silk worm reborn as a butterfly, in order to express the passage from the natural to the supernatural.

The Saint draws inspiration from Sacred Scripture, particularly the Song of Songs, for the final symbol of the “Bride and Bridegroom” which enables her to describe, in the seventh room, the four crowning aspects of Christian life: the Trinitarian, the Christological, the anthropological and the ecclesial.

St Teresa devoted the Libro de la fundaciones [book of the foundations], which she wrote between 1573 and 1582, to her activity as Foundress of the reformed Carmels. In this book she speaks of the life of the nascent religious group. This account, like her autobiography, was written above all in order to give prominence to God’s action in the work of founding new monasteries.

It is far from easy to sum up in a few words Teresa’s profound and articulate spirituality. I would like to mention a few essential points. In the first place St Teresa proposes the evangelical virtues as the basis of all Christian and human life and in particular, detachment from possessions, that is, evangelical poverty, and this concerns all of us; love for one another as an essential element of community and social life; humility as love for the truth; determination as a fruit of Christian daring; theological hope, which she describes as the thirst for living water. Then we should not forget the human virtues: affability, truthfulness, modesty, courtesy, cheerfulness, culture.

Secondly, St Teresa proposes a profound harmony with the great biblical figures and eager listening to the word of God. She feels above all closely in tune with the Bride in the Song of Songs and with the Apostle Paul, as well as with Christ in the Passion and with Jesus in the Eucharist. The Saint then stresses how essential prayer is. Praying, she says, “means being on terms of friendship with God frequently conversing in secret with him who, we know, loves us” (Vida 8, 5). St Teresa’s idea coincides with Thomas Aquinas’ definition of theological charity as “amicitia quaedam hominis ad Deum”, a type of human friendship with God, who offered humanity his friendship first; it is from God that the initiative comes (cf. Summa Theologiae II-II, 23, 1).

Prayer is life and develops gradually, in pace with the growth of Christian life: it begins with vocal prayer, passes through interiorization by means of meditation and recollection, until it attains the union of love with Christ and with the Holy Trinity. Obviously, in the development of prayer climbing to the highest steps does not mean abandoning the previous type of prayer. Rather, it is a gradual deepening of the relationship with God that envelops the whole of life.

Rather than a pedagogy Teresa’s is a true “mystagogy” of prayer: she teaches those who read her works how to pray by praying with them. Indeed, she often interrupts her account or exposition with a prayerful outburst.

Another subject dear to the Saint is the centrality of Christ’s humanity. For Teresa, in fact, Christian life is the personal relationship with Jesus that culminates in union with him through grace, love and imitation. Hence the importance she attaches to meditation on the Passion and on the Eucharist as the presence of Christ in the Church for the life of every believer, and as the heart of the Liturgy. St Teresa lives out unconditional love for the Church: she shows a lively “sensus Ecclesiae”, in the face of the episodes of division and conflict in the Church of her time.

She reformed the Carmelite Order with the intention of serving and defending the “Holy Roman Catholic Church”, and was willing to give her life for the Church (cf. Vida, 33,5).

A final essential aspect of Teresian doctrine which I would like to emphasize is perfection, as the aspiration of the whole of Christian life and as its ultimate goal. The Saint has a very clear idea of the “fullness” of Christ, relived by the Christian. At the end of the route through The Interior Castle, in the last “room”, Teresa describes this fullness, achieved in the indwelling of the Trinity, in union with Christ through the mystery of his humanity.

Dear brothers and sisters, St Teresa of Jesus is a true teacher of Christian life for the faithful of every time. In our society, which all too often lacks spiritual values, St Teresa teaches us to be unflagging witnesses of God, of his presence and of his action. She teaches us truly to feel this thirst for God that exists in the depths of our hearts, this desire to see God, to seek God, to be in conversation with him and to be his friends.

This is the friendship we all need that we must seek anew, day after day. May the example of this Saint, profoundly contemplative and effectively active, spur us too every day to dedicate the right time to prayer, to this openness to God, to this journey, in order to seek God, to see him, to discover his friendship and so to find true life; indeed many of us should truly say: “I am not alive, I am not truly alive because I do not live the essence of my life”.

Therefore time devoted to prayer is not time wasted, it is time in which the path of life unfolds, the path unfolds to learning from God an ardent love for him, for his Church, and practical charity for our brothers and sisters. Many thanks."

Friday, October 14, 2016

Wonderful news for Australian readers: Flavigny monks establishing a monastery in Hobart!

Monks from the Abbey of St Joseph de Clairval, above, pose outside the main entrance of their monastic quarters.

You can find the details in the Catholic Weekly here and in a letter from Fr Pius Mary Noonan OSB who will lead the new monastery.

The Flavigny monks, who offer mass in the Extraordinary Form, have been coming to Australia to run retreats for several years now.  You can read an article I wrote on them several years ago for Oriens Magazine here, though it is a little out of date now.

The monastery will be dedicated to Our Lady of Cana, and is essentially starting from nothing.  The letter says:
"After a longer period of discernment and lengthy negotiations both with the Abbey authorities in Flavigny and with the local Church authorities in Australia, it has been decided that I will be released from the abbey of Flavigny in order to dedicate myself to establishing a community of traditional monastic observance in Australia. The foundation will take place in the archdiocese of Hobart, Tasmania, with the blessing of Archbishop Julian Porteous. 
The community will not be officially established for a couple more months, but we have now reachedthe point where the news can be shared with our friends and benefactors. This is necessary so that you can pray for its success but also so that you can be aware of our need for support as we initiate this project.
At this stage we have nothing except the good will of several candidates to the monastic life."
The monks need help firstly with prayers (they are asking for rosaries for the success of the foundation), vocations and donations to cover basic expenses of establishment, including construction, purchase of land, and operational expenses.

Donations can be directed as follows:

Commonwealth Bank account # : 1024 4562

Cheques may be made payable to “Notre Dame Priory” and sent to:
Notre Dame Priory
℅ P.O. Box 450, PICTON NSW 2571

For those in America, the donation details are:

NOTRE DAME PRIORY, INC. (501 c3 non-profit, tax deductible) Chase Bank account # : 889087032 Cheques may be made payable to “Notre Dame Priory” and sent to: Notre Dame Priory ℅ 1202 Park Hills Court Louisville, KY 40207 USA

October 14: Pope St Callistus I

Pope St Callistus I was pope from around 217 and was martyred in 222.

Most of what we know of him comes from a life by his enemy Tertullian and the anti-pope Hippolytus, so must be regarded as somewaht suspect.  Their main disputes seems to have been over whether or not apostates could be reconciled to the Church, marriage law, and Christology.  Pope Callistus was able to reconcile Hippolytus to the Church however when they were both sentenced to work in the mines, and they both died saints.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Brush up your rubrics - Lauds

Image result for lauds

For those who say Lauds (or are interested in learning to say it), I'm currently posting a series over at Psallam Domino on that hour, including the spiritual and theological context of the hour, as well as notes on the variable psalms (and links to previous more detailed notes on the fixed psalms of the hour).

For those just wanting the quick skinny on the hour, here are a few key summaries to help you.

1.  The structure of Lauds.

The table below summarises the structure of Lauds - note that there are in effect three versions of it: Lauds on Sundays; Lauds for major feasts (festal); and Lauds on normal weekdays.  The table sets out what changes each day and what doesn't.

 SUNDAY                       FEASTS                 WEEKDAYS                     
Opening prayers

Psalm 66


Variable (normally alleluia)
Psalm 50+ Gloria

Psalm 92+variable antiphon
Fixed +variable antiphon

Psalm 117
Psalm 99+variable antiphon
Of the day +variable antiphon

Psalm 62
Psalm 62+variable antiphon
Of the day +variable antiphon

Antiphon for the canticle

OT Canticle

Benedicite Domino (no Gloria)
Festal canticle of the day of the week with Gloria
Ferial or festal canticle of the day of the week  with Gloria

Ps 148+149+150+Gloria





Variable – summer winter and seasons
Of the feast
Of the day of the week or season

Antiphon for the Benedictus



Closing prayers

-          Collect

Of the Sunday
Of the feast
Of the Sunday or day
-          Commemoration (if applicable)
Of the feast
Of the feast or day (ie Lent or Advent days)
Of the feast

2.  Page numbers in the Diurnal

The chants for Lauds can be found in the Antiphonale Monasticum (which can be downloaded from the CCWatershed or purchased through monastic bookshops, including online via Le Barroux); alternatively learn them by ear by listening to the monks of Norcia..

PART OF LAUDS                                 PAGE

Opening prayers – Deus…
MD 1
Psalm 66 – Deus miseratur…
MD 38, 58
of day of the week or feast/season
Antiphon(s), Psalm 50; 2 variable psalms; OT canticle; Laudate psalms Ps 148-150
Sunday, MD 39
Festal (for feasts), MD 44
Monday - MD 59
Tuesday - start MD 76
Wednesday – MD 89
Thursday – MD 102
Friday - MD 118
Saturday - MD 133
See in psalter as above or for season/feast
Short Responsory
See in psalter as above or for season/feast
Of the day of the week (pg nos above) or feast/season
See in psalter as above or for season/feast
Antiphon for the Benedictus
Of the day of the week/feast/season
[on Sundays, of the week of the liturgical year]
MD 56, 73
Antiphon for the Benedictus
 M-S of the day of the week; Sun of the week in the calendar
Closing prayers
 MD 57
-          Collect
Of the week of the liturgical year or day/feast
-          Commemoration of the saint or day
Canticle antiphon, versicle and collect said immediately after the collect of the day

3.  Key points to remember about Lauds

1. The key texts for each day of the week (starting with Sunday) can be found in the Diurnal after Prime (but the hour is said before it) in the psalter section.

2. Lauds is said in the early morning, ideally at first light.

3. Only two (three on feasts) of the psalms change each day – Psalm 66 and 148-150 are normally said every day, and Psalm 50 is said every day except feasts and during some seasons.

4. There is also an Old Testament canticle for each day of the week (including a ‘ferial’ and optional ‘festal’ canticle for Monday-Saturday).

5. The antiphons, chapter, responsory, hymn, versicle can be of the day of the week (Class IV days), season, feast or day.

6. The collect is either of the Sunday of the week (all Class IV days) or of the day, season or feast.

7. The antiphon for the Benedictus is of the day of the week or feast from Monday to Saturday, but on Sunday is normally of the week of the month or liturgical season.