February 15, June 16, October 16
Chapter 13: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said on Weekdays
the Morning Office shall be celebrated as follows.
Let Psalm 66 be said without an antiphon
and somewhat slowly,
as on Sunday,
in order that all may be in time for Psalm 50,
which is to be said with an antiphon.
After that let two other Psalms be said according to custom,
on Monday Psalms 5 and 35,
on Tuesday Psalms 42 and 56,
on Wednesday Psalms 63 and 64,
on Thursday Psalms 87 and 89,
on Friday Psalms 75 and 91,
and on Saturday Psalm 142 and the canticle from Deuteronomy,
which is to be divided into two sections
each terminated by a “Glory be to the Father.”
But on the other days let there be a canticle from the Prophets,
each on its own day as chanted by the Roman Church.
Next follow the Psalms of praise,
then a lesson of the Apostle to be recited from memory,
the responsory, the Ambrosian hymn, the verse,
the canticle from the Gospel book,
the litany, and so the end.
What can we take away from today’s reading to apply to our own lives outside monastic walls? I have to admit, the above seems a complicated scheme.
As I look this over and think about it, what strikes me is the diversity of Scripture that is read on a daily basis: Psalms; Hebrew Scriptures, Epistles, and Gospels. What we have here, in fact, is the origin of the modern lectionary, so we have something else to credit St. Benedict for.
I look at it this way. Father Benedict wrote these words for people living in a monastery who helped each other with all of life’s daily maintenance chores. Remember too, a monastic’s job, so to speak, is prayer. So, yes, in monastic communities there is much Scripture upon which to pray and reflect.
Outside of monastic walls, we have resources that break it all down for us in manageable steps. I often refer to the Book of Common Prayer and the Dialy Offices there. Someone else in this group mentioned they find the prayer book of the Northumberland Community a vital part of their daily prayer.
If you use a different prayer book or breviary, please share it and I’ll start a list so maybe we can help each other.