Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy
grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much.
February 11, June 12, October 12
Chapter 9: How Many Psalms Are to
Be Said at the Night Office
In winter time as defined above,
first this verse to be said three times:
"O Lord, open my lips,
mouth shall declare Your praise."
To it is added Psalm 3 and the "Glory be to
and after that Psalm 94 to be chanted with an antiphon
even chanted simply.
Let the Ambrosian hymn follow next,
and then six
Psalms with antiphons.
When these are finished and the verse said,
Abbot give a blessing;
then, all being seated on the benches,
lessons be read from the book on the lectern
by the brethren in their
and after each lesson let a responsory be chanted.
Two of the
responsories are to be said
without a "Glory be to the Father"
the third lesson
let the chanter say the "Glory be to the Father,"
soon as he begins it let all rise from their seats
out of honor and reverence
to the Holy Trinity.
The books to be read at the Night
shall be those of divine authorship,
of both the Old and the New
and also the explanations of them which have been made
known and orthodox Catholic Fathers.
After these three lessons with
let the remaining six Psalms follow,
to be chanted with
After these shall follow the lesson from the Apostle,
recited by heart,
and the petition of the litany, that is "Lord,
have mercy on us."
And so let the Night Office come to an
There is an unfortunate and perennial heresy among
liturgists, even some Benedictines, which holds that if it's
its good. Not so, and quite evidently not so to St. Benedict,
The order he prescribes for Vigils is almost exactly half the
of the Roman cathedral Office of his time.
St. Benedict was
very serious about monasticism, but he also wanted
to shorten the Office,
which was obviously of central importance to
him. Why? I think he aimed, once
again, at balance, at moderation and
at gentleness. His monastics were
farmers, not wealthy cathedral
prelates with servants and benefices. They
would have dropped rather
quickly from fatigue had he imposed the Roman
Office of the time on
There is a great message of moderation
here for Oblates. St. Benedict
knew that ALL of one's work and life is
Figuratively speaking, if your life and primary vocation has left
with cows to milk, for heavens sake (literally!) go milk 'em!
Office, for every monastic, from Abbot Primate down to newest
must be a harmonious part of our life. We are not
called to the excesses of
Cluny, whose monks were in choir most of
the time, adding ever more and more
gee-gaws and trinkets to the
Office. If one's children or spouse or work
calls one to do less,
answer that call.
If illness or disability limit
what you can do, do what you can and bless God
for what you cannot! He knows
what He is about. The Fathers taught that
illness or other physical
challenges, even just aging, took the place
of stringent penances performed
by the healthy and well. Whatever the
limits imposed by bodily problems, they
themselves became penance
and asceticism for the monastic.
dealings with Oblates I have frequently heard this issue
raised: saying the
whole Office. That is fine, and some lives,
notably single ones, might make
it possible. Other lives, lives
founded on sacraments like marriage, might
well not. Trying to amend
one's primary, sacramental vocation to be a
monastic in the world
misses the point. That primary vocation is part and
parcel of HOW one
becomes a monastic in the world. Tamper with it and you
mess up the
Love and prayers,