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Title: The Divine Office
Author: Quigley, Edward J.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Divine Office" ***

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In the studies preliminary to ordination, the greatest time and
attention must be given to the study of Dogmatic and Moral Theology.
Certain subjects, such as liturgy, are always in danger of being
shortened or of occupying a very small space in a college course. After
ordination, priests find that these subjects are things of daily and
hourly interest and importance. Who is it that does not know that the
study of the Mass and the Missal, of the Breviary, its history and its
contents are studies useful in his daily offering of sacrifice
and praise?

I hope that this book may serve as an introductory manual to the study
of the Breviary. It may be useful to junior students in colleges, in
giving them some knowledge of the Church's Hours, which they assist at
in their college choirs. It may assist them to know and love the
official prayers of the Church, and may help to form devout habits of
recitation, so that, when the obligation of the daily office is imposed
on them, they may recite it digne, attente et devote. The "texts and
intentions" may be an aid to them, and to students in Holy Orders, in
the great and glorious work of pious prayer.

Perhaps, this book may be a help to priests. It is an attempt to bring
into one handy volume many matters found in several volumes of history,
liturgy, theology, and ascetic literature. Much of it they have met
before, but some of it may be new and may enable some to pray more
fervently and to aid them in the difficult work of saying each Hour and
each part of an Hour with attention and devotion. Some of the pages may
be to them instructive, and may give them new ideas on such points as
the structure of the Hours, the Collects, the Te Deum, the Anthems of
the Blessed Virgin, etc.

No book is faultless. Of this one, I can say with the Psalmist, "I
studied that I might know this thing, it is a labour in my sight" (Psalm
72). And I can say it with St. Columban, _Totum, dicere volui in breve,
totem non potui_. In the book I quote Cardinal Bona. In his wonderful
_Rerum Liturgicarum_ (II., xx., 6) he wrote what I add as a finish,
to this preface:--

"Saepe enim volenti et conanti vel ingenii vires vel rerum antiquarum
notitia vel alia subsidia defuerunt; nec fieri potuit quin per loca
salebrosa in tenebris ambulans interdum offenderim, Cum aliquid
incautius et neglentius a me scriptum offenderit, ignoscat primum
lector, deinde amica manu corrigat et emendat et quae omisi suppleat."






   I. Idea of the Breviary
  II. Short History of Divine praise in general,
        of the Breviary in particular
 III. The excellence of the Roman Breviary in
        itself and in comparison with others
      Respect due to the sacred volume
  IV. 1. The contents of the Breviary
      2. The ecclesiastical year and its parts; the
      3. General Rubrics of the Breviary
      Title        I. The double office
        "         II. The office of a semi-double
        "        III. The office of a simple
        "         IV. The office of Sunday
        "          V. The ferial office
        "         VI. The office of vigils
        "        VII. Octaves
        "       VIII. Office of the Blessed Virgin for Saturdays
        "         IX. Commemorations
        "          X. The Translation of Feasts
        "         XI. Concurrence of office
        "        XII. The arrangement of the office
        "       XIII. Matins
        "        XIV. Lauds
        "         XV. Prime
        "        XVI. Terce, Sext, None
        "       XVII. Vespers
        "      XVIII. Compline
        "        XIX. The Invitatory
        "         XX. Hymns
        "        XXI. Antiphons
        "       XXII. Psalms
        "      XXIII. Canticles
        "       XXIV. Versicle and responds
        "        XXV. Absolutions and Benedictions
        "       XXVI. The Lessons
        "      XXVII. The responses after the lessons
        "     XXVIII. The short responses after the hours
        "       XXIX. Capitulum
        "        XXX. Oratio, collects
        "       XXXI. The Hymn Te Deum
        "      XXXII. Pater Noster and Ave
        "     XXXIII. The Apostles' Creed and the Athanasian Creed
        "      XXXIV. The Preces
        "       XXXV. The suffrages of the saints
        "      XXXVI. The antiphons of the Blessed Virgin
        "     XXXVII. The little office of the Blessed Virgin



Who are bound to say the office?
Must every holder of a benefice read the office?
What sin is committed by the omission of a notable part?
What sins are committed by the omission of the whole office?
What must a person do who has a doubt about omissions?
Does a person, who recites by mistake, an office other than that
  prescribed fulfil his obligation?
What causes justify an inversion of the hours?
Is it a sin to say Matins of following day before finishing Compline
  of the current day?
What is the time fixed for recitation of the Office?
When may a priest begin the recitation of Matins and Lauds for the
  following day?
What is true time as regards recitation of the office?
Are priests bound to recite Matins and Lauds before Mass?
At what time should the little hours be said?
Where should the office be recited?
What kind of verbal pronunciation should be attended to?
May the recitation be interrupted?
May Matins be separated from Lauds without cause?
Is intention required in reading the hours?
Is attention required? external? internal? superficial attention,
  literal attention?
Opinions of theologians on necessary attention.
Distractions, voluntary and involuntary.
Does a person reciting the hours sin, if he have distractions?
Causes excusing from reading the hours.
Scruples and the direction of the scrupulous.


1. The words read.
2. To whom we speak.
3. We pray in the name of the church.
4. Our associates on earth.
5. The purpose of our prayer.
6. It gives glory to God and draws down his blessings.
7. It brings help to those who recite it fervently.


   A. _Before Recitation_.

1. Purify conscience.
2. Mortification of passions.
3. Guarding the senses.
4. Knowledge of the work that is to be done.


1. Reading the Ordo Recitandi officium.
2. To recollect ourselves.
3. To invoke God's aid.
4. To unite ourselves with Christ.
5. (a) Christ our model in prayer.
   (b) Our prayers to be offered through him.
   (c) Church wishes this and practices it ever.
   (d) Lives of saints show how they united with Christ in prayer.
   (e) Remembrance of the sublime work we engage in.
   (f) To propose general, special and particular intentions.


   (a) Suitable place.
   (b) Respectful and devout attitude.
   (c) Slow, deliberate pronunciation.
   (d) Distractions.
   (e) To apply the mind to what is read.
   (f) To read without critical judgments.
   (g) To think of Christ's Passion.
   (h) To think of the presence of God and of our Angel Guardian.


1. Thanks to God.
2. Ask his pardon for faults.
3. Say the _Sacro-sanctae_.
4. The Sacro-sanctae.




Parts Pater Noster and Ave (Title XXXII)
  Credo (Title XXXIII)
  Domine labia mea--Deus in
  Invitatory  (Title XIX)
  Hymns       (Title XX)
  Antiphons   (Title XXI)
  Psalms      (Title XXII)
  Replies of Biblical Commission on Psalms
  Versicles and responds    (Title XXIV)
  Absolutions and blessings (Title XXV)
  Lessons                   (Title XXIV)
  Responses                 (Title XXIV)
  Rubrics and Symbolism
  Te Deum                   (Title XXXI)
  Texts and Intentions


  Etymology, Definition, Symbolism, Origin, Antiquity.
  Reasons for Hour, Structure, Rubrics
  Antiphons, Capitulum (Title XXX)
  Oratio, Collect (Title XXX)
  Rubrics and explanation of Rubrics
  Texts and Intentions

  Etymology, Origin, Contents, Structure
  Athanasian Creed (Title XXXIII)
  Reasons for the Morning Hour and Rubrics
  Preces (Title XXXIV), Confiteor
  Structure and Short Lesson
  Texts and Intentions


  Etymology, Structure, Antiquity.
  Reasons for Hour
  Texts and intentions

  Etymology, structure, antiquity
  Reasons for Hour
  Texts and intentions

  Etymology, structure, antiquity
  Reasons for Hour
  Texts and intentions


  Etymology, structure, antiquity.
  Reasons for Hour
  Texts and intentions

  Etymology, structure, antiquity
  Reasons for Hour
  Suffrages of the Saints (Title VII)
  Anthems of Blessed Virgin
  Texts and intentions

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin (Title XXVII)




St. Stephen; St. John; Circumcision; Epiphany;
  Septuagesima; Lent; Easter and Paschal Times;
  Ascension; Whit Sunday; Trinity Sunday


December; January; February; March; May;
  June; July; August; October; November


NOTE A. Breviary Hymns.
NOTE B. Particular Examen.
NOTE C. Bibliography.






_Etymology_.--The word, Breviary, comes from an old Latin word,
_Breviarium_, an abridgment, a compendium. The name was given to
the Divine Office, because it is an abridgment or abstract made from
holy scripture, the writings of the Fathers, the lives of the Saints.
The word had various meanings assigned to it by early Christian writers,
but the title, Breviary, as it is employed to-day--that is, a book
containing the entire canonical office--appears to date from the
eleventh century. Probably it was first used in this sense to denote
the abridgment made by Pope Saint Gregory VII. (1013-1085), about the
year 1080.

_Definition_.--The Breviary may be defined as "the collection of
vocal prayers established by the Church, which must be recited daily by
persons deputed for that purpose."

_Explanation of the Definition_.--"Prayers," this word includes not
only the prayers properly so called, but also, the whole matter of the
divine office. "Vocal," the Church orders the vocal recitation, the
pronunciation of each word. "Established by the Church," to distinguish
the official prayers of obligation from those which the faithful may
choose according to their taste. "Which must be recited," for the
recitation is strictly obligatory. "Daily," the Church has fixed these
prayers for every day of the year, and even for certain hours of the
day. "By persons deputed for that purpose," therefore, persons in holy
orders recite these prayers not in their own name, but as
representatives of the universal Church.

_Different Names for the Breviary_.--This book which is, with us,
commonly called the Breviary, has borne and still bears different names,
amongst both Latins and Greeks.

Amongst the Latins, the recitation of the Breviary was called the Office
(_officium_), that is, the duty, the function, the office; because
it is, _par excellence_, the duty, function and office of persons
consecrated to God. This is the oldest and most universal name for the
Breviary and its recitation. It was called, too, the Divine Office
(_officium divinum_), because it has God for its principal object
and is recited by persons consecrated to God. It is called the
ecclesiastical office (_officium ecclesiasticum_), because it was
instituted by the Church. Other names were, _Opus Dei; Agenda; Pensum
servitutis; Horae; Horae Canonicae_.

Which books were employed in olden times in reciting the Office?

Before the eleventh century the prayers of the Divine Office were not
all contained in one book, as they are now in the Breviary, which is an
abridgment or compendium of several books. The recitation of the Office
required the Psaltery, the Lectionary, the Book of Homilies, the
Legendary, the Antiphonarium, the Hymnal, the Book of Collects, the
Martyrology, the Rubrics. The Psaltery contained the psalms; the
Lectionary (thirteenth century) contained the lessons of the first and
second nocturn; the Book of Homilies, the homilies of the Fathers; the
Legendary (before the thirteenth century), the lives of the saints read
on their feast days. The Hymnal contained hymns; the Book of Collects,
prayers, collects and chapters; the Martyrology contained the names with
brief lives of the martyrs; the Rubrics, the rules to be followed in the
recitation of the Office. To-day, we have traces of this ancient custom
in our different choir books, the Psalter, the Gradual, the
Antiphonarium. There were not standard editions of these old books, and
great diversities of use and text were in existence.

_Divisions of the Divine Office_.--How is the daily Office divided?
The Office is divided into the night Office and the day Office. The
night Office is so called because it was originally recited at night.
It embraces three nocturns and Lauds. The day Office embraces Prime,
Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline.

_Parts or Hours of the Office_.--How many parts or hours go to make
up the Office? Rome counts seven, and seven only; and this is the number
commonly counted by liturgists and theologians. They reckon Matins and
Lauds as one hour.

The old writers on liturgy ask the question: "Why has the Church
reckoned seven hours only?" Their replies are summarised well by
Newman: "In subsequent times the hours of prayer were gradually
developed from the three or (with midnight) the four seasons above
enumerated to seven, viz.:--by the addition of Prime (the first hour),
Vespers (the evening), and Compline (bedtime) according to the words of
the Psalm--'Seven times a day do I praise thee, because of thy righteous
judgments.' Other pious and instructive reasons existed, or have since
been perceived, for this number. It was a memorial of the seven days of
creation; it was an honour done to the seven petitions given us by our
Lord in His prayer; it was a mode of pleading for the influence of that
Spirit, who is revealed to us as sevenfold; on the other hand, it was a
preservative against those seven evil spirits which are apt to return to
the exorcised soul, more wicked than he who has been driven out of it;
and it was a fit remedy of those successive falls which, scripture says,
happen to the 'just man' daily." (_Tracts for the Times_, No. 75.
"On the Roman Breviary.")

     "Matutina ligat Christum qui crimina purgat,
      Prima replet sputis. Causam dat Tertia mortis.
      Sexta cruci nectit. Latus ejus Nona bipertit.
      Vespera deponit. Tumulo completa reponit.
      Haec sunt septenis propter quae psallimus horas."

        "At Matins bound; at Prime reviled;
           Condemned to death at Tierce;
         Nailed to the Cross at Sext; at None
           His blessed Side they pierce.
         They take him down at Vesper-tide;
           In grave at Compline lay,
         Who thenceforth bids His Church observe
           The sevenfold hours alway."

                      (_Gloss. Cap. I. De Missa_)

Thus, this old author connects the seven hours with the scenes of the
Passion. Another author finds in the hours a reminder and a warning that
we should devote every stage of our lives to God. For the seven
canonical hours, he writes, bear a striking resemblance to the seven
ages of man.

_Matins_, the night office, typifies the pre-natal stage of life.
_Lauds_, the office of dawn, seems to resemble the beginnings of
childhood. _Prime_ recalls to him youth. _Terce_, recited when
the sun is high in the heavens shedding brilliant light, symbolises
early manhood with its strength and glory. _Sext_ typifies mature
age. _None_, recited when the sun is declining, suggests man in his
middle age. _Vespers_ reminds all of decrepit age gliding gently
down to the grave. _Compline_, night prayer said before sleep,
should remind us of the great night, death.



From all eternity the Godhead was praised with ineffable praise by the
Trinity--the three divine Persons. The angels from the first moment of
the creation sang God's praises. _Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus
Deus, Sabaoth. Plena est omnis terra gloria ejus_ (Isaias vi. 3).

Cardinal Bona writes that Adam and Eve blessed and praised God, their
Creator. For God created the first human beings, and "created in them
the knowledge of the Spirit of God that they might praise the name which
He has sanctified and glory in His wondrous acts" (Ecclesiasticus xvii.
6-8), Every page of the Old Testament tells how the chosen race
worshipped God. We read of the sacrifices of Cain, Abel, Enoch, Noe; of
the familiar intercourse which the great patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob had with God. Recorded, too, are the solemn songs and prayers of
Moses thanking God for His guidance in the freedom from the slavery of
Egypt (Exodus xv.). David, under God's inspiration, composed those noble
songs of praise, the Psalms, and organised choirs for their rendering.
He sings "Evening and morning and at noon I will speak and declare and
He shall hear my voice" (Psalm 54, v. 18); "I rose at midnight to give
praise to Thee" (Psalm 118, v. 162); "Seven times a day I have given
praise to Thee" (Psalm 118, v. 164).

The Prophet Daniel, a captive in Babylon, prayed thrice daily, his face
turned to Jerusalem. The Israelites, captives in Babylon with Nehemias,
"rose up and read in the book of the Law of the Lord their God, four
times in the day, and four times they confessed and adored the Lord
their God" (II. Esdras ix. 3). Hence, the Jewish day, made up as it was
with sacrifices, libations, oblations, purifications, and public and
private prayer, was a day of prayer. In these public meetings they sang
God's praises, sang of His glory and of His mercy. Sometimes they spoke
with loving familiarity, sometimes they prayed on bended knee, sometimes
they stood and pleaded with outstretched hands, pouring out the prayers
inspired by God Himself.

In the New Law our Saviour is the model of prayer, the true adorer of
His Father. He alone can worthily adore and praise because He alone has
the necessary perfection. Night and day He set example to His followers.
He warned them to watch and pray; He taught them how to pray; He gave
them a form of prayer; He prayed in life and at death. His apostles,
trained in the practices of the synagogue, were perfected by the example
and the exhortations of Christ. This teaching and example are shown in
effect when the assembled apostles were "at the third hour of the day"
praying (Acts ii. 15); when about the sixth hour Peter went to pray
(Acts x. 9). In the Acts of Apostles we see how Peter and John went at
the ninth hour to the temple to pray. St. Paul in prison sang God's
praises at midnight, and he insists on his converts singing in their
assembly psalms and hymns (Ephes. v. 19; Col. Iii. 16; I. Cor. xiv. 26).

What form did the public prayers, which we may call the divine office,
take in the time of the Apostles? It is impossible to say. But it is
certain 10 that there were public prayers, 20 that they were offered up
daily in certain determined places and at fixed hours, 30 that these
public prayers consisted principally of the Psalms, hymns, canticles,
extracts from Sacred Scripture, the Lord's Prayer, and probably the
Creed, 40 that these public prayers varied in duration according to the
will of the bishop or master who presided.

"The weekly commemoration of Christ's resurrection, the yearly
recurrence of the memory of the great facts of Christ's life, the daily
sanctification of the hours of the day, each led the Christian to draw
upon the hours of the Psalter, and when, gradually, fixed hours for
daily prayer passed beyond the home circle and with groups of ascetics
entered the public churches, it was from the Psalter that the songs of
praise were drawn, and from the Psalms were added a series of canticles,
taken from the books of the Old and the New Testaments, and thus, long
ages before any stereotyped arrangement of the Psalms existed, assigning
particular Psalms to particular days or hours, the Psalms were feeding
the piety of the faithful and teaching men to pray" (_The New
Psalter_--Burton and Myers). In this matter of public prayer, it is
hard for us to realise the "bookless" condition of the early Christians
and their difficulties. It was twenty-five years after the Ascension
before the first books of the New Testament were written, and many years
must have elapsed before their wide diffusion; hence, in their bookless
and guideless condition the early Christians were advised to use the
Psalms in their new devotional life (Ephes. v. 19; Col. iii. 16; St.
James, v. 13).

The first clear evidence of a division of the Psalter for use in the
Western Church is found in the work of St. Benedict (480-543). He had
spent his youth near Rome, and keeping his eye on the Roman usage he
assigned the Psalms to the various canonical hours and to different days
of the week. The antiphons he drew from existing sources, and of course
the canonical hours were already in existence. In his arrangement, the
whole Psalter was read weekly, and the whole Bible, with suitable
patristic selections, was read every year. He also arranged the Sunday,
Festal and Ferial offices. For the recitation of the offices of a
saint's day, St. Benedict arranged that the Matins shall have the same
form as a Sunday office--_i.e._, three nocturns, twelve lessons and
responsories, but the psalms, antiphons and lessons are proper to each
saint. This arrangement interrupted the weekly recitation of the whole
psalter, and caused great difficulty in later times; for when the feasts
increased in number the ferial psalter fell almost into complete disuse.

St. Benedict's arrangement of the psalms and his other liturgical
regulations spread rapidly, but the Roman secular office never adopted
his arrangement of the psalms, nor his inclusion of hymns, until about
the year 1145. In some details each office shows its independent
history. It is a matter of dispute among liturgists whether Prime and
Compline were added to the Roman secular office through the influence of
the Benedictines (Baudot, _The Roman Breviary_, pp. 19-26).

The period following the death of St. Benedict in 543 is a period of
which little is known. "We repeat with Dom Baumer (vol. i., pp. 299-300)
that the fifth century, at Rome as elsewhere, was a period of great
liturgical activity, while the seventh and eighth centuries were, viewed
from this point of view, a period of decline" (Baudot, _op. cit._,
p. 53). The labours of St. Benedict probably were continued and perfected
by St. Gregory the Great (590-604). His labours are summed up by Dom
Baumer (_Histoire du Breviare_, vol. i., pp. 289, 301-303): "It is
he who collected together the prayers and liturgical usages of his
predecessors and assigned to each its proper place, and thus the liturgy
owes its present form to him. The liturgical chant also bears his name,
because through his means it reached its highest state of development.
The canonical hours and the formulary of the Mass now in use were also
carefully arranged by him." "The whole history of the Western liturgy
supports us in maintaining that these books received from the great Pope
or from one of his contemporaries a form which never afterwards
underwent any radical or essential alteration." The Roman office spread
quickly through Europe. The enthusiasm of Gregory became rooted in the
monasteries, where the monks learned and taught, with knowledge and
with zeal, his liturgical reforms. Two important reforms of monastic
practice are interesting as showing further progress in the evolution of
the Roman Breviary. St. Benedict of Aniane (751-821), the friend and
adviser of Louis the Pious, became a reformer of Benedictine rule and
practice. His rule aimed at a rigid uniformity, even in detail. And the
Council of Aix-la-Chapelle (817) helped him to establish his reforms. As
a result of the saint's exertions the Penitential Psalms and Office of
the Dead were made part of the daily monastic office. The Abbey of
Cluny, founded in 910, supplied a further reform tending to guard the
office from further accretions.

Did Hildebrand, Pope Gregory VII. (1073-1086), labour for liturgical
reform? Liturgical writers give very different replies. Monsignor
Battifol (_History of the Roman Breviary_, English edition, p. 158)
maintains that Gregory made no reform, and that "the Roman office such
as we have seen it to be in the times of Charlemagne held its ground at
Rome itself, in the customs of the basilicas, without any sensible
modification, throughout the tenth and eleventh centuries and even down
to the close of the twelfth." Dom Gueranger holds that Gregory abridged
the order of prayers and simplified the liturgy for the use of the Roman
curia. It would be difficult at the present time to ascertain accurately
the complete form of the office before this revision, but since then it
has remained almost identical with what it was at the end of the
eleventh century. Dom Baumer agrees with his Benedictine brother that
Gregory wrought for liturgical reform. Probably Pope Gregory VII.,
knowing the decadence which was manifest in liturgical exercises in Rome
during the tenth and eleventh centuries, decided to revise the old Roman
office which, although it had decayed in Rome, flourished in Germany,
France, and other countries. Hence, in his Lenten Synod, 1074, he
promulgated the rules he had already drawn up for the Regular Canons of
Rome, ordering them to return to the old Roman rite. Thus he may be
counted as a reformer, but not as an innovater nor an abridger. But his
reform fell on evil days. The great struggle between Church and State
about lay investitures had a baneful influence on liturgy, even in Rome
itself. The times seemed to call for a modernised (i.e., a shortened)
office. The "modernisers" respected the psalter, the curtailment was in
the Lectionary. The modernising spirit showed itself in the arrangement
and bulk of the office books. The Psalter, Antiphonary, Responsorial,
Bible and Book of Homilies were gradually codified. Even then, a very
large volume was the result. After a time the chant, which absorbed much
space, was removed from the volume, but the resulting volume, noticeably
smaller, was not yet small enough. In time, only the opening words of
the antiphons, responsories and versicles were printed, and to the
volume thus turned out was given the name _Breviary_. The Curial
Breviary was drawn up in this way to make it suitable for persons
engaged in outdoor pursuits and journeys. It gradually displaced the
choir office in Rome, and Rome's example was universally followed.

This Curial Breviary was adopted by the Franciscans in their active
lives. They changed the text of the Psalter only, _Psalterium
Romanum_, to the more approved text, the _Psalterium Gallicanum_.
The improved Curial Breviary was imposed on the churches of Rome by the
Franciscan Pope, Nicholas III. (1277-1280), and henceforth it is called
the Roman Breviary. Thus we see that the book used daily by priests got
its name in the thirteenth century, although the divine office is almost
from Apostolic times.

But liturgy is a progressive study, a progressive practice capable and
worthy of perfecting. And the friars strove for the greater perfection
and beauty of the new Breviary. They added variety to the unity already
achieved and yet did not reach liturgical perfection nor liturgical
beauty. They loaded the Breviary by introducing saints' days with nine
lessons, thus avoiding offices of three lessons. And by keeping octave
days and days within the octave as feasts of nine lessons, they almost
entirely destroyed the weekly recitation of the psalter; and a large
portion of the Breviary ceased to be used at all. The Franciscan book
became very popular owing to its handy form. Indeed its use was almost
universal in the Western Church. But the multiplication of saints'
offices, universal and local, no fixed standard to guide the recital,
and the wars of liturgists, made chaos and turmoil.

Liturgical reform became an urgent need. Everyone reciting the canonical
hours longed for a great and drastic change. The Humanists, Cardinal
Bembo (1470-1549), Ferreri, Bessarion, and Pope Leo X. (1513-1521)
considered the big faults of the Breviary to lie in its barbarous
Latinity. They wished the Lessons to be written In Ciceronian style and
the hymns to be modelled on the Odes of Horace. Ferreri's attempt at
reforming the Breviary dealt with the hymns, some of which he re-wrote
in very noble language, but he was so steeped in pagan mythology that he
even introduced heathen expressions and allusions, His work was a
failure. The traditional school represented by Raoul of Tongres,
Burchard, Caraffa, and John De Arze loved the past with so great a love
that they refused to countenance any notable reforms, A third school,
the moderate school, was represented by Cardinal Pole, Contarini,
Sadolet and Quignonez, a Spanish cardinal who had been General of the
Franciscans. The work of reform of the Breviary was undertaken by
Cardinal Quignonez (1482-1540). He was a man of great personal piety and
possessed a love for liturgy and an accurate knowledge of its history,
its essentials, and its acquired defects. After seven years' labour at
the matter and form of the Breviary, his work, Quignonez's Breviary
(_Brevarium Romanum a Francisco Cardinali Quignonio_) appeared in
1535. It was for private use only, and was not intended as a choir
manual. Yet so popular was his work that, in 1536, six editions had
appeared, and in thirty-three years (until its suppression by St. Pius
V,) it went through no less than a hundred editions. Its immense success
shows how much the need of Breviary change and reform was felt by the
clergy. The book, too, had an important influence on shaping the
Breviary produced by Pius V. (1566-1572). Quignonez's book was
reproduced with the variations of the four earliest editions, by the
Cambridge University Press in 1888. It is an interesting study in itself
and in comparison with later breviaries.

But it was felt by scholars that Quignonez's reforms were too drastic.
Tradition was ignored. The labour for brevity, simplicity and uniformity
led to the removal from this Breviary of antiphons, responses, little
chapters and versicles, and to the reduction of lessons at matins to
three, and the number of psalms in each hour was usually only three. His
work had as a set principle the grand old liturgical idea of the weekly
recitation of the whole psalter. The quick and almost universal demand
for Quignonez's Breviary indicated the need of a reform and the outline
of such a reform. The Pope, who commissioned Quignonez to take up
breviary reform, requested the Theatines to take up similar work. The
Council of Trent (1545-1563) took up the work of reform. But the Council
rose before the work had made headway, and the matter of reform was
finally effected by St. Pius V. (1566-1572), by his Constitution, _Quod
a nobis_ (1568).

The Reformed Breviary of 1568 is, in outline, the Breviary in our hands
to-day. The great idea in the reform was to restore the weekly
recitation of the whole psalter. Theoretically, the Breviary made such
provision, but practically the great number of saints' offices
introduced into the Breviary made the weekly recitation of the psalter
an impossibility. The clergy were constantly reading only a few psalms
out of the 150 in the psalter. The rubrics, too, were in a confused
state. Changes were made in the calendar by suppression of feasts, by
restoring to simple feasts the ferial office psalms, and by reducing the
number of double and semi-double feasts. But in the body of the Breviary
the changes were few and slight. The lives of some saints drawn from
Quignonez's work were used, St. Gregory's canon of scripture lessons was
adopted and the antiphons, verses, responses, collects and prayers were
taken from the old Roman liturgy. The antiphons and responses were given
in the older translation of St. Jerome owing to their suitability for
musical settings. And the text of the psalms was the _Psalterium
Gallicanum_, which had been in use in the Roman Curial Breviary,

But the Pian reform was soon to be followed by a reform of the Breviary
text, in accordance with the Sixtine Vulgate, the Clementine Vulgate,
and the Vatican text. Clement VIII. (1592-1605) published his edition of
the revised Breviary in 1602; and thirty years afterwards Urban VIII,
(1623-1644) issued a new and further revised edition, which is
substantially the Breviary we read to-day. He caused careful correction
of errors which had crept in through careless printing; he printed the
psalms and canticles with the Vulgate punctuation, and he revised the
lessons and made additions. He established uniformity in texts of Missal
and Breviary. But the greatest change made in this new edition was in
the Breviary hymns, which were corrected on classical lines by Urban
himself aided by four learned Jesuits (see Note, Hymns, p. 259).

"The result (of their labours) has always given rise to very different
judgments and for the most part unfavourable. It seemed to be
exceedingly rash to regard as barbarous the hymns of men like
Prudentius, Sedulius, Sidonius, Apollinaris, Venantius, St. Ambrose, St.
Paulinus of Aquileia and Rabanus Maurus and to desire to remodel them
after the pattern of Horace's Odes.... It is only fair to give them the
credit, that out of respect for the wishes of Urban VIII. they treated
these compositions with extreme reserve, and while they made some
expressions clearer they maintained the primitive unction in a large
number of passages" (Baudot, The Roman Breviary, part iii., chap. ii.).

The commission appointed by Clement VIII. in his work of revision and
reform included Baronius, Bellarmine and Gavantus. The commission of
Urban VIII. included, amongst other famous men, the famous Irish friar
minor, Luke Wadding (1588-1657).

The need of revision, rearrangement and reform of the Breviary was in
the mind of every Pope, and nearly every one of them took some step to
perfect the historic book. In the eighteenth century Benedict XIV.
(1740-1758) contemplated Breviary reform in some details, particularly
in improving the composition of some legends and of replacing some
homilies of the Fathers. He entrusted this work to Father Danzetta,
S.J., but when the learned Jesuit's labour was presented to the Pope, so
grave and so contrary were the reasons there put forth, that the Pope
thought it well to abandon the thought of reform. Father Danzetta's
notes are marvels of research and learning. They are to be seen in
Ruskovany's _Coelibatus et Breviarium,_ vol. v. They show to the
ignorant and the sceptical, the dangers and difficulties which all
Breviary reformers have to contend with.

Pope Pius VI. (1775-1799) returned to the project of Breviary reform.
Dom Gueranger tells us that the plan of reform was drawn up and
presented to the Congregation of Rites, but the actual reform was not
entered on. Pope Pius IX. (1846-1878), at the request of Monsignor
Sibour, Archbishop of Paris, appointed a commission to revise the
Breviary, but their report caused the work to be abandoned. Petitions
for reform were sent to the Vatican Council, but very little resulted.
Leo XIII. (1878-1903) enriched the calendar by adding the names of many
saints; he added votive offices, corrected the Breviary lessons for the
feasts of a number of Popes, and, in 1902, he appointed a commission to
deal with the hagiography of the Breviary and with its liturgy; but his
death in the following year ended the work of the commission,

The unsatisfactory condition of the rules for the recitation of the
Divine Office were apparent to everyone. Scholars feared to face
Breviary reform, the difficulties were so innumerable and so immense.
However, with wonderful courage and prudence, Pope Pius X. (1903-1914)
tackled the work. He resolved not to adopt a series of minor changes in
the Breviary, but to appoint an active commission of reform, whose first
work should be a rearrangement of the psalter which must bring back the
recitation of the Divine Office to its early ideal--the weekly
recitation of the whole psalter. The problem which faced Pope Pius X. in
1906 was the very same problem which faced his predecessor St, Pius V.
(1566-1572), more than three hundred years ago. St. Pius tried to solve
the problem by a reform of the calendar, but the solution produced no
permanent effect. Pius X. and his commission went to the root of the
difficulty, and by a redistribution of the psalms have made the ferial
and the festive offices almost equal in length, and have so arranged
matters that the frequent recitation of every psalm, and the possible
and probable recitation of every psalm, once every week, is now an
accomplished fact; and the old and much-sought-after ideal--the weekly
recitation of the whole Psalter--is of world-wide practice.

On the publication of the new Psalter, Pope Pius announced that a
commission would undertake a complete revision of the Breviary, a matter
of great importance and one which must demand long years of care and
study to accomplish. A member of the committee which re-arranged the
Psalter, Monsignor Piacenza, tells us that such revision must embrace:--

1. A reform of the calendar and the drafting of rules for the admission
of feasts into the calendar of the universal Church;

2. The critical revision and correction of the historic and patristic

3. The removal of spurious patristic texts;

4. The remodelling of the rubrics;

5. The institution of a new form of common office for confessors and for
virgins to facilitate the lessening of the number of feasts of saints,
without diminishing the honour due to them (Burton and Myers, _op.
cit._, p. 144).

We may sum up, then, all that has been said in this long section by
stating that from Apostolic times there was public prayer, thrice daily.
The Jewish converts, having the psalms committed to memory needed not,
nor could they have in those bookless days, a psalter script. In the
third century, morning, evening, and night offices are mentioned.
Compline was in existence in the time of St. Benedict. "From the seventh
century onwards, ecclesiastical writers, papal decrees and conciliar
decrees recognise the eight parts of the office, which we have seen took
shape during the sixth century, and regard their recitation by priests
and monks as enjoined by positive law. During this period, or at least
at its commencement, Lauds and Vespers alone had a clearly defined
structure and followed a definite arrangement. As far as we can see, St.
Gregory arranged the little hours for Sunday only, and their arrangement
for week days was left to the care of the bishops and metropolitans, or
even of abbots. This was also the case, in many instances, with regard
to Matins, for the number of psalms to be recited thereat was not
definitely fixed. As regards the little hours--Prime, Terce, Sext, None
and Compline--the freedom of the competent ecclesiastical authorities
was as yet unconfined by canonical restrictions. Chrodegang (766) was
first to follow the usages of the Benedictines of the Roman Basilica,
in prescribing for secular clergy the celebration at Prime of the
_officium Capituli_ (_i.e._, the reunion in the chapter for
reading the rule or, on certain days, the writings and homilies of the
Fathers). The rest of the chapter--_i.e._, all that follows the
_confiteor_ in Prime as a preparation for the work of the day,
seems to have been composed in the ninth century.... Under Charlemagne
and his successors variations in the canonical hours completely
disappeared" (Baudot, _op. cit._, pp. 63-65).

On this foundation was built up the Office, to which additions were
made, and of which reforms were effected, up to our own time.

"For us, traditional liturgy is represented by the Roman Breviary of
Urban VIII., a book which constitutes for us a Vulgate of the Roman
Office.... The thing which renders this Vulgate of 1632 precious to us
is that, thanks to the wisdom of Paul IV., Pius V., and Clement VIII.,
the differences between it and the Breviary of the Roman Curia of the
thirteenth century are mere differences of detail: the substantial
identity of the two is beyond dispute. The Breviary of Urban VIII. is
the lineal descendant of the Breviary of Innocent III. And the latter in
its turn is the legitimate descendant of the Roman canonical Office, as
it was celebrated in the basilica of St. Peter at the end of the eighth
century, such as it had gradually come to be in the course of the
seventh and eighth centuries, a genuinely Roman combination of various
elements, some of them Roman and some not, but of which some, at all
events, go back to the very beginnings of the Catholic religion"
(Battifol, _op. cit._, p. 353).



The Roman Breviary is excellent, firstly, in itself; and, secondly, in
comparison with all other breviaries.

It is excellent in itself, in its antiquity, for in substance it goes
back to the first ages of Christianity. It is excellent, in its author,
for it has been constructed and imposed as an obligation by the supreme
pontiffs, the vicars of Jesus Christ, the supreme pastors of the whole
Church. It is excellent, in its perpetuity, for it has come down to us
through all the ages without fundamental change. It is excellent in its
universality, in its doctrine, in the efficacy of its prayer, the
official prayer of the Church. It is excellent in the matter of which it
is built up, being composed of Sacred Scripture, the words of the
Fathers and the lives of God's saints. It is excellent in its style and
in its form for the parts of each hour; the antiphons, psalms,
canticles, hymns, versicles, follow one another in splendid harmony.

The opinions and praises of the saints who dwelt on this matter of the
Breviary would fill a volume. Every priest has met with many such
eulogies in his reading. Newman's words are very striking. "There is,"
he wrote, "so much of excellence and beauty in the services of the
Breviary, that were it skilfully set before the Protestants, by
Romanistic controversialists, as the book of devotions received by
their communion, it would undoubtedly raise a prejudice in their
favour, if he were ignorant of the case and but ordinarily candid and
unprejudiced.... In a word, it will be attempted to wrest a weapon out
of our adversaries' hands, who have in this, as in many other instances,
appropriated to themselves a treasure" (Newman, _Tracts for the
Times_, No. 275, _The Roman Breviary_). This tract raised a
storm amongst Newman's fellow Protestants. All the old Protestant
objections against the Breviary and its recitation (See Bellarmine,
_Controv_. iii., _de bonis operibus de oratione_ i., i. clx.)
were re-published in a revised and embittered form. What a change has
come amongst non-Catholics! Hundreds of Anglican clergymen are reading
daily with attention and devotion the once hated and despised prayer
book, the Roman Breviary. How old Bellarmine would wonder if he saw
modern England with its hundreds of parsons reading their _Hours_!
How he would wonder to read "The Band of Hope" (1915), an address
delivered by an Anglican clergyman to a society of London clergymen.
It includes a rule of life beginning, "Every day we say our Mass and
our Office." (_Cf_. R. Knox's _Spiritual Aeneid_, p. 102.)

The Roman Breviary is excellent, too, in comparison with every other
breviary (e.g., Aberdeen, Sarum, Gallican). For none of these can show
the antiquity, the authority, the doctrine, the sublime matter, the
beautiful order, which the Roman Breviary presents. It was for these
reasons that the emperors, Pepin (714-768), Charlemagne (742-814),
Charles the Bald (823-888), adapted the Roman rite (Gueranger,
_Institutiones Liturgiques_, tom. i.). And Grandicolas (1772), an
erudite liturgist, but a prominent Gallican with no love for Roman
rites, declared that the Roman Breviary stands in relation to other
breviaries as the Roman Church stands in relation to all other Christian
bodies, first and superior in every way (_Com. Hist. in Brev. Rom._,
cap. 2). St. Francis De Sales applied to his Breviary the words of St.
Augustine on the Psalter, "_Psalterium meum, gaudium meum._"




REFORMATUM. This work is divided into four parts, the first part being
called _Pars Hiemalis_, the winter part; the second part, _Pars
Verna_, the spring part; the third part, _Pars Aestiva_, the
summer part; and the fourth part, the _Pars Autumnalis_, the autumn

The Church, guided by the Holy Ghost, has drawn up these volumes of
liturgical prayer, so that for each season, even for each day, her
official prayer may be suited to the time, to different degrees of
solemnity and of rite, and so that it may be fixed and determined, yet
having great beauty in its wonderful unity and variety. Hence, nothing
in her official prayer is left to chance, nothing is left to the
selection or caprice of the individual who recites this prayer; all is
foreseen, everything is in order, every tittle has a reason for its
existence and its place in the liturgy, and represents the end and the
intentions of the Church. For, every part of the Roman Breviary is
stamped with the wisdom, the zeal and the piety of the Church, which
presents it, as an offering all suitable for and worthy of God's honour
and glory.

Considering, then, the Breviary as a liturgical book, we find that the
Divine Office has four general divisions, corresponding to the divisions
of our Lord's life. First, from Advent to Septuagesima; second, from
Septuagesima to Easter; third, from Easter to Pentecost; fourth, from
Pentecost to Advent. These divisions correspond also to the divisions of
the year, winter, spring, summer and autumn.

The end and object of the Office are to invite us to join in the
infinite praise which the Son of God rendered to His Father during His
life, and which He renders still in Heaven and in the Tabernacle.
"_Domine in unione illius divinae intentionis qua ipse in terris laudes
Deo persolvisti, has tibi Horas persolvo,_" "O Lord, in union with that
divine intention wherewith Thou whilst here on earth Thyself didst
praise God, I offer these Hours to Thee." The life of Christ is divided
into four principal divisions: first, His birth, circumcision, epiphany,
presentation; second, His public life and His death; third, His
resurrection, ascension, and descent of the Holy Ghost; fourth, His
mystic life in the Church and in Heaven. Hence arise the four general
divisions of the Divine Office:--

_First General Division which begins the Church's year_. From Advent
to Septuagesima:--The birth of the Saviour preceded by His life in Mary's
womb, and by the four weeks of Advent, representing (it is said) the
passing of the four thousand years, and embracing the mysteries of the
Holy Infancy, Circumcision, Epiphany, Holy Name of Jesus, and the

_Second General Division, from Septuagesima till Easter_:--The death
of Christ preceded by the events of His public life, His fasting,
temptation, preaching, miracles, passion and death.

_Third General Division, from Easter to Pentecost_:--The
Resurrection, the Ascension, Pentecost.

_Fourth General Division, from Pentecost till Advent_, the
termination of the Church's year. The mystic life of Christ in the
Church, which will end on the Judgment Day.

These divisions make up the four parts of the Roman Breviary.

The first part, _Pars Prima_, contains the Pontifical Bull,
_Quod a nobis_, of Pope Pius V. (1568). It states:--1. That the
cause of the new edition was to remove the regrettable variety in the
public liturgy. 2. It recalls the labours of Pope Paul IV., Pius IV.,
and Pius V. for the same end. 3. It announces the abolition of the
too-abbreviated Breviary of Quignonez and of all those which have not,
for two hundred years preceding 1568, an authentic approbation or a
lawful custom. 4. It gives permission to those using such breviaries
to adopt the Roman Breviary. 5. It withdraws all privileges in respect
to other breviaries. 6. It declares the Roman Breviary obligatory on all
except those mentioned (_vide 3, supra_). 7. Even bishops are
forbidden to make the smallest change in the new Breviary. 8. The
recitation of offices from other breviaries does not fulfil the
obligation of those bound to breviary recitation. 9. Bishops are
requested to introduce the new Breviary. 10. The Pope suppressed the
obligation of reciting on certain days the little Office of the Blessed
Virgin, the Office of the Dead, the Penitential and the Gradual Psalms,
11. But he recommends their recitation on certain fixed days and grants
an indulgence for the practice. 12. Where the custom of reciting the
little Office, in choir, exists, it should be retained. 13. The
appointment of the time for the adoption of the Breviary is obligatory.
14. Prohibition, under pain of excommunication, is made against those
who print, distribute or receive copies of this Breviary without lawful
authority. 15. The authentic publication and obligation of the Bull.

The second document in the _Pars Prima_ of the Roman Breviary is
the Bull _Divino Afflatu_, issued by Pope Pius X, on 1st November,
1911. It tells us:--

1. That the psalms were composed under divine inspiration, and that it
is well known that from the beginning of the Church they were used not
only to foster the piety of the faithful, who offered "the sacrifice of
praise to God, that is to say, the fruit of lips confessing to His name"
(Heb. xiii. 15), but--that retaining the custom of the Old Law--they
held a conspicuous place in both the liturgy and Divine Office of the
New Law. He quotes St. Basil, who calls psalmody the voice of the infant
Church, and Urban VIII., who calls psalmody the daughter of hymnody
which is chanted before the throne of God in Heaven. Two quotations from
St. Athanasius and St. Augustine, in praise of psalmody, are added.

2. In the Psalms there is a certain wonderful power which arouses in
souls a zeal for all virtues. Two quotations from St. Augustine are
added. One says that as it is written that all Scriptures both of the
Old and the New Testaments are divinely inspired and useful for our
instruction.... Nevertheless, the book of the Psalms is, as it were, a
very Paradise containing in itself the fruits of all the other books and
expressing them in hymns; and moreover it joins its own hymns to them
and merges them in the general song of praise. Two further quotations
from St. Augustine, in similar strain, follow. For who will be, asks the
saint, unmoved by those frequent passages in the Psalms in which are
proclaimed the immensity, the omnipotence, the infallible justice, the
goodness, the clemency of God? Or who is not moved by the prayers and
thanksgivings for benefits received by the humble and trustful
petitions, by the cries of souls sorrowing for sin, found in the Psalms?
Whom will the Psalmist not fill with admiration when he recounts the
gifts of the Divine loving kindness towards the people of Israel and all
mankind, and when he sets forth the truths of heavenly wisdom? Who,
finally, will not be inflamed with love by the carefully foreshadowed
figure of Christ, our Redeemer, whose voice St. Augustine heard in the
Psalms, either singing or sighing or rejoicing in Hope or mourning in
present sorrow?

3. In, former ages it was decreed by Popes and Councils and by monastic
laws that the whole Psaltery should be recited weekly. Pope St. Pius
V., Pope Clement VIII., and Pope Urban VIII. in their revisions of the
Breviary ordered this weekly recitation. And even at the present time,
such would be the recitation of the Psalter had not the condition of
things changed.

4. This arose from the multiplication of saints' offices (_officia de
sanctis_), which after the canonization of saints gradually grew to
such a huge number that very often the Dominical and Ferial Office
remained unread, and hence not a few psalms were neglected, which yet
are as the rest, as St. Ambrose says, "the benediction of the people,
the praise of God, the praise offering of the multitude, the acclamation
of all, the expression of the community, the voice of the Church, the
resounding confession of faith, the truly official devotion, the joy of
liberty, the shout of gladness, the re-echoing of joy."

Many complaints from prudent and pious men reached the Pope about the
omission of psalms, which took away from those bound to recite the
Office not only helps, well suited for God's praises and for the
expression of their inmost souls, but also diminished that desirable
variety in prayers which is so appreciated and which so well accords
with and aids our worthy, attentive, and devout praise of God. For St.
Basil says that "in smooth uniformity the soul often grows weary and
while present is yet away, but when in psalmody and chant are changed
and varied in every hour, the fervour is renewed and its attention is

5. This matter of the reform of the order of the psalter was brought
before the Holy See by many bishops and chiefly in the Vatican Council,
where the demand for the old custom of reciting the whole psalter
weekly was renewed, with the provision that any new arrangement should
not impose a greater onus on the clergy, now labouring more arduously in
the vineyard of the sacred ministry on account of the diminution of
toilers. These requests and wishes were repeated to Pope Pius X., and he
took up the matter cautiously, so that the honour due to the cult of the
saints should not be diminished, nor the onus on the clergy increased by
the weekly recitation of the full Psalter. Begging the help of God, the
pontiff formed a commission of learned and industrious men, who with
judgment and care carried out his wishes. The results of their labours
were submitted to the Sacred Congregation of Rites, and after careful
consideration by the members of the Congregation the matter was
submitted to the Pope, who sanctioned the new arrangement, that is, as
regards the order and the division of the Psalms, Antiphons, Versicles
and Hymns, with the rubrics and rules pertaining to the same. And the
Pope ordered an authentic edition of these new arrangements to be
prepared and issued from the Vatican Press.

6. The arrangement of the Psalter has an intimate connection with the
Divine Office and the Liturgy; and by these new decrees regarding the
Office and the Psalms a first step in the improvement of the Breviary
and the Missal has been taken. These matters will be dealt with by a
commission of learned men which is soon to be formed. Amongst other
things that this first step established was that the recitation of the
Scripture lessons with the proper responses according to the rubrics
should receive due honour and more frequent recitation, and that in the
Liturgy the most ancient Masses of the Sundays throughout the year,
especially those of Lent, should be restored to their places.

7. The use of the old order of Psalms found in the Roman Breviary is
abolished and interdicted from 1st January, 1913, and the use of the new
Psalter for all clergy, secular and regular, who used the Roman Breviary
as revised by Pius V., Clement VIII., Urban VIII., and Leo XIII., and
those who continue to use the old order do not satisfy their obligation.

8. Ecclesiastical superiors are to introduce the new order of the
Psalter, and chapters are permitted to use it if the majority of the
members agree to its introduction.

9. Establishment and declaration of the validity and efficacy of the
Bull, notwithstanding all previous apostolic constitutions and rulings,
whether general or particular. Any person infringing these papal
abolitions, revocations, etc., sins and merits God's anger.

10. Date and place of promulgation.



The Council of Trent, Sess. XXIII., c. 18, orders "_ut in disciplina
ecclesiastica clerici commodius instituantur grammaticas, cantus,
computi ecclesiastici, aliarumque bonarum artium disciplinam
discant_." The minute study of the ecclesiastical calendar is not
now so necessary for each priest, as it was centuries ago. The _Ordo
Divini Officii recitandi_, issued yearly, and prepared with great
accuracy, relieves priests of much labour and secures them from many
doubts. And the decision of the Congregation of Rites (13th January,
1899) regarding the authority of the _ordo_ gives greater security.
"_Qui probabilius judicat errare Calendarium tenetur eidem Calend.
stare, nec potest proprio inhaerere judicio quoad officium, Missam vel
colorem Paramentorum._" Of course this decision does not apply to
errors which are _openly_ and _plainly_ at variance with the
rubrics of the Missal and Breviary. However, it may be well to revise
and to recall the student days' lessons on the Church's Calendar. The
study is not an easy one, and in labouring to be brief, probably, I may
be obscure and incomplete.

"_Annus menses habet duodecim..._" says the Breviary. The year has
twelve months, fifty-two weeks plus one day, or 365 days and almost six
hours. But these six hours make up a day every four years, and this
fourth year is called bisextile.

In making calculations the six hours were taken as six complete hours,
and not six hours wanting some minutes. And the aggregate miscalculation
continued until the minutes added yearly, amounted to ten days and
changed the date of the spring equinox. Pope Gregory XIII. (1572-1585)
sought to remedy the error. He re-established the spring equinox to the
place fixed by the Council of Nice (787). The year had fallen ten days
in arrear from the holding of the Council until the year of the
Gregorian correction, 1582. He again fixed it to the day arranged by the
Council, the 14th of the Paschal moon. And he arranged, that such a
time-derangement should not occur again. He omitted ten full days in
October, 1582, so that the fourth day of the month was followed
immediately by the fifteenth. He determined that the secular year must
begin on 1st January, that three leap years should be omitted in every
four centuries, e.g., 1700, 1800, 1900, 2100, and his arrangement has
been observed throughout nearly the whole world.

_Quarter Tenses_ fall on the Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays after
the third Sunday of Advent, after the first Sunday of Lent; after
Pentecost Sunday, and after the feast of the exaltation of the Cross.

_The Nineteen Years' Course of the Golden Number_. This course or
cycle was invented by an Athenian astronomer about 433 B.C. It was not
exact, but was hailed with delight by the Greeks, who adorned their
temples with the key number, done in gold figures; hence the name. The
cycle of course is the revolution of nineteen years, from 1 to 19. When
this revolution or course of years is run there is a new beginning in
marking, No. 1, e.g., in the year 1577 the nineteenth number, the golden
number, was 1; the following year it was 2, and so on until in 1597 the
golden number again is 2. A table given in the Breviary shows how the
golden number may be found and a short rule for the finding of it in any
year is given. To the number of the year (e.g., 1833) add 1; then divide
the sum thus resulting by 19 and the remainder is the golden number; if
there be no remainder the golden number is 19.


The Epact (Greek [Greek: epaktos] from [Greek: eapgo] I add) is nothing
more than the number of days by which the common solar year of 365 days
exceeds the common lunar year of 354 days. So that the epact of the
first year is 11, because the common solar year exceeds the common lunar
year by 11 days, and these added to the 11 days of the first, produce 22
as the epact. At the end of the second year the new moon falls 22 days
sooner than in the first year. The epact of the third year is three,
because if 11 be added to the 22, the result is 33, and from this 33 we
subtract 30 days which make up a lunar embolism and the remainder gives
us 3, the epact for the year, and so on.

In the Breviary there is a table (_alia Tabella epactarum_)
corresponding to the golden numbers from the year 1901 to the year 2000
inclusive. To take away all doubt in the use of this table, a new table
of epacts, an example may be quoted. In the year 1901 the epact was X,
which is placed under the golden number 2; and new moons appear on the
21st January, 19th February, and 21st March.... Again, in 1911 the epact
is not marked by a number, but by an asterisk (see Table in Breviary)
which is placed under the golden number 12, and in the calendar for the
whole year will indicate the new moon on January 1st, January 31st (for
in February there is no new moon indicated in the Table; the sign [*] is
not found), on March 1st, March 31st, and on April 29th. In the year
1916 the golden number is 17 and the epact is 25 (written not in Roman
numerals but in ordinary figures), the new moons occur on 6th January,
4th February, 6th March, 4th April, etc. For when the epact is 25,
corresponding with golden numbers greater than the number 11 in the
calendar, we must take in computation the epact 25 (written in modern
figures) but where the epact corresponds with numbers less than the
number 11, in the _tabella, the epact_ XXV. in Roman numerals must be
taken in calendar countings. This change takes place with epact 25 only,
so that the computation of the lunar years may more closely respond to
the solar year. It is for this cause, too, that in six places in the
calendar two epacts, XXV. and XXIV., are given.

The new Breviary contains a _tabella_ of Dominical letters, up to the
year 2000 A.D. It needs no comment.

_Indiction_. Indiction was a cycle of fifteen years, the first of which
dated from the third year of the Christian era. It was usual to indicate
the number of the year in a cycle and no mention was made of the cycles
already completed. Thus, the _indictio sexta_ meant the sixth year of a
cycle and not the sixth cycle or period of fifteen years. Hence, to know
the year of indiction is useless for determining the date in old
documents of State. Indiction was instituted by Constantine in 313 for
fiscal purposes. In papal and imperial documents the name of Pope or
emperor was generally given and the regnal years noted.

_Movable Feasts_. In virtue of the decree of the Council of Nice, in
325, Easter, on which all other movable feasts depend, must be
celebrated on the Sunday which follows immediately the fourteenth day of
the moon of the first month (in the Hebrew year), our March. Easter,
then, is the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon (i.e., the full
moon which happens upon or next after March 21st). If full moon happens
on a Sunday, Easter Sunday is the Sunday after the full moon. The matter
of the arrangement of Easter was for long a subject of very bitter
contention in the Irish and in the English Church. The Irish, clinging
tenaciously to the calendar of St. Patrick, carried it everywhere in
their missionary labours, so that the controversy was not confined to
Ireland and England. It was long and bitter, until at last the Irish
Church agreed to follow the reform. (See Healy, _Ireland's Schools and
Scholars_, p. 592; Moran, _Irish Saints in Great Britain_, "The
Conference at Whitby in 664," pp. 255-261).

Calendar study is interesting, and many valuable contributions on this
matter have been given to us by Father Thurston, S.J., and other English
and Irish scholars.


The next document in the Breviary, Part I., has the title "Rubricae
Generates Breviarii," the general rubrics of the Breviary. They are
called _general_, as they apply to every part of the Breviary and are to
be distinguished from the rubrics dealing with the proper (_proprium_)
of the Breviary, the proper of time or of the saints. The word "rubrics"
was originally applied to the red marking lines used by carpenters on
wood, later it referred to the titles used by jurisconsults in
announcing laws, which were written in red colours. The word appears in
Church literature to refer to signs and directions as early at least as
the fourteenth century (_Cath. Encyclopedia_--word "rubrics").

The general rubrics are divided into thirty-seven Titles. Attention will
be given to each; of these Titles, some of which must be modified by
recent legislation. The order followed may not be the order followed in
the general rubrics as given in the Breviary, as matters treated in the
general rubrics found in the Breviary are treated under other headings
here. However, a look at the table of contents or at the index shows the
pages treating of these Titles.


"Consequently, the civilised peoples already in remote antiquity have
found a call to the worship of God in the changing seasons and times and
so have introduced sacred seasons. Sacred times and places are common to
all religions in general. The change of times bringing with them
corresponding changes in nature made a religious impression upon
mankind. In turn, man sanctified certain times and dedicated them to
God, and these days, thus consecrated to God, became festivals."

The entire number of ecclesiastical holydays and seasons is codified
for us in the different Church calendars. Their contents fall into two
essentially different divisions, each possessing an entirely different
origin and history. The first division consists of festivals of our
Lord, distributed over the year, regulated and co-ordinated in
accordance with certain laws. The second division consists of
commemorations of saints in no wise connected with festivals of our Lord
or with one another. Occupying to some extent an intermediate position
between these two chief divisions come the festivals of our Blessed
Lady, which have this in common with the festivals of the saints, that
they fall on fixed days; but, on the other hand, they are to a certain
extent connected with each other and with some feasts of our Lord. This
is carried out in such a way that they are distributed throughout the
Church year and are included in each of the festal seasons (Kellner,
_Heortology_, Part I.).

From Apostolic times the feasts of Easter, the Ascension and Pentecost
were celebrated. In the second century feasts of the Apostles were
celebrated and the cult of the Martyrs was of speedy and widespread
development. But it was not, probably, till the fourth century, that the
feasts of saints who were not martyrs were celebrated.

_Origin of the different grades of feasts_. To-day, we find Church
festivals arranged in three grades, doubles, semi-doubles and simples,
and it is very difficult, to determine clearly and accurately the origin
and the nature of the arrangements. But from the works of scholars, who
have studied this matter, the following may be considered as a fair and
accurate summing up:--

In the first ages of the Church the Apostles and Martyrs only were
commemorated in public prayers and, above all, in the Mass, perhaps, by
a special prayer. Then, in time, followed the reading of a panegyric in
their honour, and later still hymns and histories of martyrdom were
added to the public recitation of the Office. Still later, there were
added the feasts of the saints with an office resembling our simple
office. Matins were entirely ferial, but had either a biography of the
saint or a long extract from the Fathers added. The other hours were as
in a Sunday office, save that these feasts had no Vesper matter.

In still later times, the Church added to the list of names on her saint
roll, the names of saints who were honoured neither as Apostles nor as
Martyrs. For these, special Masses, offices and feasts were established.
St. Martin of Tours was the first confessor so honoured in the Western
Church. For the more important feasts, an office of nine lessons was
established and this came to be known as a semi-double office, and later
such feasts were called doubles. Hence, before the thirteenth century,
we find celebrations of simple feasts, of semi-doubles and of doubles.
And Durandus, who wrote in the thirteenth century, tells us of the
existence of doubles major and doubles minor. The Breviary of St. Pius
V., published in 1568, gives three classes of doubles: doubles of the
first class, doubles of the second class, and doubles per annum. But, in
the revision by Clement VIII. the doubles per annum were again divided
into doubles major and doubles minor. In the new Pian Breviary (1913)
doubles are divided into Primary Doubles of the First Class, Secondary
Doubles of the First Class; Primary Doubles of the Second Class,
Secondary Doubles of the Second Class, Primary Doubles Major, Secondary
Doubles Major. The list of feasts under each of these six headings may
be seen in the Breviary.

Do double offices differ specifically from each other? No, the form is
the same in all double offices. What then is the difference between
doubles of different classes? The difference is chiefly in the
preference which is given to them in cases of concurrence or occurrence
of feasts of greater or of lesser rite.

The word "double" (_duplex_) is derived, some authors hold, from the
ancient custom of reciting two offices or saying two Masses on the same
day--one for the current feria and one for the feast (_festa_). Other
authors say that the word is derived from the ancient practice of
chanting twice or in repetition the complete responses and versicles.
And, above all, the recitation of the full antiphons before and after
each psalm, at Matins, Lauds and Vespers, was called "duplication," and
this name, it is said, was given to the office (double, duplex) in which
the practice of duplication took place.

It is often asked why are there different grades of feasts. Three
reasons are given by writers on liturgy. First, to mark the diversity of
merit in God's saints, their sanctity and their different degrees of
service to His Church. Second, to mark their different degrees of glory
in Heaven. "One is as the sun; another, the glory of the moon; and
another the glory of the stars. For star differs from star" (1 _Cor_.).
Third, for some special national or local reasons--e.g., patron of
a country.

The rules laid down in the general rubrics in the new Breviary, for
doubles and semi-doubles, are left unchanged almost by the regulations
laid down by the Commission and by the _Variationes_. Their numbers were
reduced, so that there now stand in the new Breviary only seventy-five
doubles, sixty-three semi-doubles, and thirty-six movable feasts.

A reason for the new arrangement of double feasts in the Pian Breviary
is the general one, that the Pope wished above all things the weekly
recitation of the Psalter, and to bring about this weekly recitation and
the restoration of the Sunday Office a mere rearrangement of the Psalms
was quite insufficient, and a rearrangement of the gradation of feasts
of concurrence and of occurrence was necessary.


_Etymology, nature and synonyms_. The word semi-double (_semi-duplex_)
is derived from the Latin; and some writers hold that the word indicates
feasts which are of lower rank and solemnity than double feasts. Others
hold that it means simply, feasts holding a place between double feasts
and simple feasts. Most writers on liturgy hold that on some days a
double office--one of the feast and one of the feria--was held, and that
in order to shorten this double recitation there was said a composite
office, partly of the saint's office and partly of the feria; and they
say that from this practice arose the term semi-double, or half-double.

Synonyms for the term "semi-duplex," are "non-duplex," "office of nine

1. The antiphons are not doubled in a semi-double office.

2. The Sundays of the year, excepting Easter Sunday, Low Sunday,
Pentecost and Trinity, are said according to the semi-double rite. In
the new Breviaries the Psalms for Matins are only nine in number,
instead of the eighteen of the older book.

3. The versicles, antiphons, responses, preces and suffrages of saints,
which are recited in semi-double offices, are given below under their
own titles.


_Etymology, nature_ and _synonyms_. The word _simple_ comes from the
Latin _simplex_, to indicate the least solemn form of office and it is
the direct opposite in meaning to the term "double." It is synonymous
with the term so often found in liturgical works, the office of
three lessons.

This form of office is of great antiquity, going back to the fifth
century. In the early ages of the Church and down to the fourteenth
century the simple office consisted of the ferial office with lessons,
antiphons and prayers. But in the end of the fourteenth century, simples
came to be celebrated in the same manner as semi-doubles, with nine
lessons and their nocturns, and in case of occurrence were transferred.
As a result the offices of Sunday and the ferial offices were
practically crushed out of the Breviary. The Commission of Reform
applied an easy remedy, by restoring simple feasts to their ancient
place and status. Now, they are not to be transferred; but in case of
occurrence with a feast of higher rite they are merely commemorated.

These feasts have first Vespers only. At Matins, the nine psalms and
three lessons are said as one nocturn. The psalms in semi-double feasts
are from the Psalter under the day of the week on which the feast is
celebrated. "_In quolibet alio Festo duplici etiam major, vel semi
duplici vel simplici et in Feriis Tempore Paschali, semper dicantur
Psalmi, cum antiphonis in omnibus Horis, et versibus ad matutinum, ut in
Psalterio de occurrente hebdomadae die" (Tit, I. sec, 3. Additiones et

In commemorations in the Office, the versicle, response, antiphon and
collect of a semi-double is made _after_ the following commemorations
(if they should have a place in the recitation of the day).

(1) Any Sunday, (2) a day within the privileged octave of the Epiphany
or Corpus Christi, (3) an octave day, (4) a great double, (5) a lesser
double. Of course the first commemoration is always of the concurring
office except it be a day within a non-privileged octave, or a simple.
In reckoning the order of precedence between feasts which occur on the
same day, lists given in _The New Psalter and its Use_, p. 108, show
that thirteen grades of feast stand before the feasts of semi-double
rite. And in the order of precedence as to Vespers, between feasts which
are in occurrence, these feasts stand in the eleventh place, being
preceded by (1) doubles of the first class of the universal Church, (2)
lesser doubles.


We translate the Latin _Dies Dominica_ by our word Sunday, for in
English the days of the week have retained the names given to them in
Pagan times. In Irish, too, Deluain, Monday, moon's day, shows Pagan
origin of names of week days.

The literal translation of the Latin _Dies Dominica_, the Lord's Day, is
not found in the name given to the first day of the week in any European
tongue, save Portuguese, where the days of the week hold the old
Catholic names, _domingo, secunda feira, terca feira_, etc. It is said
that the seven days of the week as they stand in numerical order were
retained and confirmed by Pope Silvester I. (314-336): "_Sabbati et
Dominici diei nomine retento, reliquos hebdomadae dies Feriarum nomine
distinctos, ut jam ante in Ecclesia vocari coeperunt appellari voluit;
quo significaretur quotidie clericos, abjecta caeterarum rerum cura, uni
Deo prorsus vocare debere" (Brev. Rom_. in VI. lect. St. Silvester Pope;
31st Dec.).

There is no evidence of the abrogation of the Sabbath by Christ or by
His Apostles, but St. Paul declared that its observance was not binding
on Gentile converts. Accordingly, in the very early days of Christianity
the Sabbath fell more and more into the background, yet not without
leaving some traces behind it (see art. _Sonnabender_ in Kraut's
_Realenzyklop_). Among Christians the first day of the Jewish week, the
_prima Sabbati_, the present Sunday, was held in honour as the day of
our Lord's resurrection and was called the Lord's Day (Apoc. i. 10; I.
Cor, xvi. 2), This name, _dies dominica_, took the place of _dies
solis_, formerly used in Greece and in Rome. This day has many names in
the works of Christian writers. St. Ignatius, M. calls it _Regina omnium
dierum_; St. Chrysostom, _dies pacis; dies lucis_; Alcuin, _dies
sanctus; feria prima_, Baronius tells us, was another name for
our Sunday.

The subject of the liturgical celebration of the Lord's Day has been a
great study and a problem to modern scholars. It appears that in the
first ages of the Church, Sunday was a day of solemn reunion and of
common prayer. St. Justin, in his second apology, writes that on the
Lord's Day town and country met together at an appointed place for
sacrifice, for the hearing of the word of God, for pious readings and
for common prayer. This common, prayer consisted largely in the
recitation of the Psalms, hymns and prayers, of what are called the
Sunday Office. This office was nearly always the same in psalms, in
hymns and in every part; so that Sunday after Sunday, for many years,
there was very little change in the Sunday united-prayer part of the
liturgy, although the preaching on the incidents of the life of our Lord
(Beckel, _Messe und Pascha_, p, 91), the blessings and the thanksgivings
relieved the service from monotonous sameness.

A nocturn, a round of Psalms, was said on Saturday night by the
vigilants preparing for the Sunday services. Before the eighth century
two other short nocturns were added. This addition, which was copied
from the monastic practice, built up the three nocturn form of office
and became the model and form of the office for saints. "There is good
reason for believing that originally the Divine Office formed part of
the Mass. The _synaxis_, for which the early Christians assembled by
night, consisted of the 'breaking of bread,' preceded by the singing of
psalms and hymns, litanies and collects, readings, homilies, invocations
and canticles. This was the whole official liturgical prayer, apart, of
course, from private prayer" (Dom Cabrol, _Day Hours of the Church_,
Introduction, p. xvi).

One of the chief objects of Pope Pius X. in his reform was the
restoration of the liturgical importance of the Sunday office, the
office of the Lord's Day, and, therefore, in its own right, superior to
the saints' feasts by which it had been displaced from its special
office, psalms and lessons. And this could only be effected by a change
in the rules of occurrence, and in Title IV. (_De Festorum occurentia_,
etc., section 2) we find the new rule for restoring Sunday offices to
their proper liturgical rights.

In Title IV., sect, 1 (see Breviary, Additiones and Variationes) there
is no change in the old rubric. The eight Sundays of the first class
exclude every other feast. And the Sundays of the second class only give
place to a double of the first class and then are commemorated at Lauds,
Vespers and Mass, and have the ninth lesson in Matins.

But section 2 (_Dominicis minoribus_)... goes to the root of the matter
of the new change in the rules for Sunday's liturgical office. The
ordinary Sundays ranked as semi-doubles and hence their Mass and Office
was superseded by the Mass and Office of some occurring feast. The
length of the Sunday office, in the breviaries until lately in use, made
many hearts rejoice over the occurring feast. But the almost total
omission of the ancient and beautiful Sunday Masses was a misfortune
and, in a sense, an unbecoming practice, which broke away from ancient
liturgical rule and tradition. The abbreviation of the Sunday office in
the new breviaries and the rule laid down in Title IV., sect. 2, restore
Sunday's office and Sunday's Mass to their old and proper dignity.

The general rule laid down is that on Sundays throughout the year the
proper office of the Sunday shall always be said. The exceptions are (1)
Feasts of our Lord and their octaves, (2) Doubles of the first class,
(3) Doubles of the second class. On these days the office will be the
office of the feast, with commemoration in Lauds, Vespers and Mass.
Henceforth Sundays are divided into:

(1) Sundays of the first class, which exclude all feasts;

(2) Sundays of the second class, which exclude all feasts save doubles
of the first class;

(3) The ordinary Sundays, which exclude all but doubles of the first or
second class, feasts of our Lord, and their octave days.

The date of Easter is the pivot of Calendar construction. Before Easter
come the Sundays of Lent and Quinquagesima, Sexagesima, Septuagesima
Sundays. Septuagesima cannot fall earlier than the eighteenth day of
January, nor later than the twenty-second day of February. Hence, in
some years there are fewer "Sundays after the Epiphany" than in others,
owing to the dates of Easter and Septuagesima. The smaller the number of
Sundays after Epiphany the greater is the number of Sundays after
Pentecost. If the number of Sundays after Pentecost be twenty-five, the
twenty-fourth Sunday will have the office of the sixth Sunday after
Epiphany. If there be twenty-six Sundays after Pentecost, the
twenty-fourth Sunday will have the office of the fifth after Epiphany,
and the twenty-fifth will have that of the fifth Sunday; the
twenty-sixth will be the sixth Sunday's office. It should be remembered
that the Sunday called the twenty-fourth after Pentecost is _always_
celebrated immediately before the first Sunday of Advent, even though it
should not be even the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost.


_Etymology and different signification_ of the word _Feria_. The word is
derived probably from the Latin _feriari_ (to rest). Among the Romans,
the idea of a day of rest and a holy day was intimately united and
received the name of _feria_. But it was amongst the Hebrews that the
day set apart for the worship of God received the most distinctive
character as day of rest (_Heortology_, p. 2). Hence the early
Christians called the days of the week _feriae_.

Why did the Church adopt the word _feriae_? She wished to mark the day
of the week and not to name them by their pagan name (_e.g., dies
lunae_) nor by their Jewish names (_e.g., prima sabbati_), which should
be a sort of recognition of the dead and dying synagogue. Hence she
adopted the word _feria_, to denote the Christian rest in the Lord, the
Christian peace and the abstinence from all sin, and that each and every
day should be consecrated to God. The Christian use of the word is found
in Origen (185-254) and was fully established in the time of Tertullian.

In the time of Amalare (circa 830) the ferial office had taken a
well-defined form, Matins having twelve psalms and six antiphons. In
Lauds of every _feria_ were recited the psalms, _Miserere; Deus, Deus
meus; Deus misereatur nostri_; a canticle drawn from a prophet and
varying each day of the week (_e.g., Confitebor_, Isaias xii., for
Monday's Lauds; _Ego dixi_, Isaias xxxviii., for Tuesday's Lauds,
etc., and the two psalms _Laudate_ (148, 150) and the _Cantate_, psalm
149). In the small hours the Sunday psalms without antiphons were
recited. Vespers had daily, fixed psalms. At each hour the _Kyrie
Eleison_ and ferial _prayers_ were said on bended knees and the hours
terminated--as do the hours of Holy Week still--with _Pater Noster and

Ferias are divided into three classes, major ferias, privileged ferias
and non-privileged. Ash Wednesday and the three last days of Holy Week
are the major ferias which are privileged and exclude all feasts (_vide_
Tit. II., sec. 2). Non-privileged feriae are the feriae of Lent and
Advent, Quarter Tense or Ember days and Rogation Monday. They take
precedence of simple feasts only.

In the ferial office nine psalms are said, and not twelve, as in the
old order of the Breviary. The psalms found arranged in the new Breviary
for three nocturns are to be said with nine antiphons up to the versicle
of third nocturn--the versicle of the first and second being omitted
(Tit. I., sec. 7). Hence the psalms are to be said straight through
(_sine interuptione_) omitting in the first two nocturns, the versicle
and response, Pater Noster, absolutions and all pertaining to the
lessons. This simplifies things and makes the ferial office shorter than
the office of feasts.


_Etymology, nature and synonyms_. The word _vigil_ is from the Latin
_vigilare, to keep awake, to watch_, because in old times the night
before any great event, religious or worldly, was spent in watching.
Thus, the night prior to ordination to the priesthood, the night prior
to a great battle, was spent in watching before the altar. Hence, the
word vigil came to mean the prayers said during the time of watching or
waking, preparatory to the great event. It signified, too, the fast
accompanying the watching, and lastly it came to mean the liturgical
office of Mass and Breviary fixed for the time of vigilance. In the
Roman Church it was sometimes called the nocturn or night office. The
Greeks call the vigil _profesta_, the time before the feast.

The custom existed among the pagans, almost universally, before the time
of Christ. The Jews practised this ancient night prayer, as the
scripture in several places shows, _"in noctibus extollite manus
vestras in sancta"_ (Psalm 133). Our Saviour sanctified this use by His
example, and the early Christians were, on account of these night
assemblies, the objects of fear and dread, of admiration and of hatred.
Organised vigils lasted till the thirteenth century in some countries,
but owing to abuses and discord they became not a source of edification,
but the occasion and cause of grave scandals, and were forbidden
gradually and universally. The Church now retains for the faithful one
congregational vigil, the vigil of Christmas. Formerly, it was customary
to observe a fast on a day or night of a vigil, but that custom was
suppressed sometimes, or fell into disuse. Vigil fasts are now few.
Almost the only relic of the vigil now remaining is the Mass and Office.

When were vigils held? In the early ages they were held only on Saturday
nights and on nights preceding great solemnities or the festivals of the
Martyrs. The early converts, if they had been pagans, knew few or no
prayer formulae, and very little of the psalms was learned by them even
in their Christian practice. But Jews who became Christians knew psalms
and hymns and prayers. So that in the early Christian vigils, there was
no attempt made at reciting the Divine Office, and the custom of such
recitation was not introduced until about 220 A.D. and was not
obligatory (Duchesne, _Christian Worship_, Chap. VIII.).

It is difficult to speak with certainty about the hour of beginning or
the hour of ending these vigil services. Some think that the first
nocturn was said about 9 p.m. Lauds was said before sunrise and hence
was called _Laudes-matutinae_. But "after the middle of the ninth
century, we gather from contemporary documents, that the office of
vigils was, as a whole, regularly constituted and well known" (Baudot,
p.64). These vigils were held in cenacles or upper rooms of houses.
During the days of persecution these meetings were not infrequent and
were held secretly in crypts, catacombs, private houses and at martyrs'
tombs. In times of peace they were held everywhere, in churches,
monasteries, castles.

Vigils are divided into two classes, major and minor; major vigils are
the vigils of Christmas, Epiphany and Pentecost, and they are called
privileged vigils and are celebrated as semi-doubles. The vigils of
Christmas and Pentecost are privileged vigils of the first class. The
vigil of Epiphany is a privileged vigil of the second class. All others
are minor or non-privileged vigils.


_Etymology and nature_. The word "octave" is from the Latin _octavus_
(eighth) because, in the early ages of Christianity, the Church
celebrated the eighth day only after the celebration of the feast
itself; not until the twelfth century was the custom of a commemoration
on each of the eight days introduced. We have, probably, an example of
this still in our Breviaries. The feast of St. Agnes is celebrated on
21st January and on 28th it is mentioned at Vespers and Lauds only, and
the name in old Roman service books is _Octavo, S. Agnetis_. The origin
of the octave is Jewish. We read in the Old Testament that God ordered
that the Feasts of Pasch and Pentecost should be celebrated for eight
days. So, too, the Feast of Tabernacles lasted for eight days, the first
and eighth days being days of special celebration and devotion. The
Christian Church adopted the method of showing great honour and glory to
the principal festivals of the Christian year, to the great saints, the
patrons of countries, dioceses, etc. But just as the calendar became
overcrowded with saints' offices, which excluded almost entirely the
Sunday and ferial offices, so, too, the additions of octaves created
confusion and further tended to the exclusion of the old liturgical use
of the Psalter and the supplanting of the Sunday and ferial offices.
Hence, in the _Motu Proprio Abhinc duos annos_, the octaves of the
calendar are divided into three great classes, privileged, common and
simple. Privileged octaves are further divided into three _orders_.
Those of the first order are the octaves of Easter and Pentecost; the
octaves of Epiphany and Corpus Christi belong to the second order, and
the octaves of the Nativity and Ascension belong to the third. The
Christmas octave admits feasts of saints, but the octaves of Epiphany,
Easter and Pentecost do not admit any feasts (Tit. V., sec, 3). A day
within an octave has a right to first Vespers, and the antiphon and
response should be from first Vespers (S.C.R., June, 1905). But the
feast of the day falling within octave has a right to first and second
Vespers. The exceptions are, when at second Vespers of St. Thomas, the
office of the octave of the Nativity to be observed on 30th December has
to be commemorated again, in octaves like octaves of Epiphany when each
day has its proper antiphon at the _Magnificat_, and again on and July
in second Vespers of Visitation the office of St. Peter and Paul is to
be commemorated. In octaves the suffrages of saints and the Athanasian
Creed are not said. When feasts of the Universal Church, which are
celebrated with an octave are perpetually transferred to the next day,
because of a perpetual impediment, according to the rubrics, the octave
day is not therefore perpetually transferred but ought to be kept as in
the Universal Church on its own day.


"_In omnibus Sabbatis per annum entra Adventum et Quadragesimam, ac nisi
Quatuor Tempora aut Vigiliae ocurrant_," etc. In all Saturdays
throughout the year, except on the Saturdays of Advent, Lent, Ember Days
or occurring Vigils, or unless a feast of nine lessons has to be said on
the Saturday, then it is laid down in the rubrics that the Office of the
Blessed Virgin should always be said with the rite of a simple office.
The rubrics of the New Psalter (Title I., sec. 6) direct, "_In officio
Sanctae Mariae in Sabbato et in festis simplicibus sic officium
persolvendum est; ad matutinum, Invitatorium et hymnus dicuntur de eodem
officio vel de iisdem Festis; Psalmi cum suis antiphonis et versu de
Feria occurente I. et II. Lectis de Feria cum Responsoriis Propriis vel
de Communi. III. vero lectio de officio vel Festo duabus lectionibus in
unum junctis si quando duae pro Festo habeatur, ad reliquas autem Horas
omnia dicuntur, prouti supra num. 5 in Festis Duplicibus expositum est_."
In the Office of the Blessed Virgin for Saturdays (Decree S.C.R., 26th
January. 1916) the antiphons and Psalms at Matins, Lauds and small Hours
are to be said from the Saturday and from the _capitulum_ onwards all is
to be taken from the office of the Blessed Virgin.

This office is not to be confounded with the _officium parvum Beatae
Mariae._ The office _de Sabbato_ is obligatory throughout the Church.
The _officium parvum_ was only for choir use, an addition to the office
of the day. Saturday, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, is of great
antiquity, as the mention of it in the works of St. Peter Damien, St.
Bernard and Pope Benedict XIII. shows, but as to the time of its origin
or a history of its growth, little seems to be known. At first the cult
consisted in various and voluntary prayers and practices. About the
middle of the fourteenth century an office was composed for recital on
Saturdays as dedicated to the Mother of God. The office in our
Breviaries was composed by St. Pius V, (1566-1572).


The rules laid down in the general rubrics of the Breviary for
commemorations were never very simple, and when we read the changes
brought about in _De ratione Divini officii recitandi juxta novum
Psalteri ordinem_, Titles II., III., IV., V., VI., with' the decrees of
the Congregation (January, 1912), and subsequently (_Abhinc duos Annos_)
everyone must fear to tread the maze with certainty and must often fall
back gratefully on the labours of the compilers of the _Ordo_ which he
follows. Or, perhaps, doubts may be dispelled by _The New Psalter_
(Burton and Myers) published in 1912. The chapter on the Calendar in
that book is worth study, but needs now additions and corrections, owing
to the issue of more recent decrees.

In the study of commemorations and translations of feasts there are two
words which have a special meaning and which, being often used in
calendar working, deserve a special note. They are "occurrence" and
"concurrence." _Occurrence_ is the conjunction of two or more offices,
which fall on the same day. It may be accidental when two movable feasts
are concerned or when a movable feast falls on a day which has a fixed
office; or it may be perpetual, when a fixed office falls on a day which
already has a fixed office. The Church does not ask the recitation of a
double or a triple office. She, by her fixed rules, prefers one out of
the two of the "occurring" offices, transfers if possible the others, or
at least commemorates them by an antiphon, versicle and prayer, and
sometimes by a ninth lesson at Matins.

_Concurrence_ is the conjunction of two offices, which succeed one
another, so that a question arises as to which feast the Vespers belong
to; whether to the feast of the day or to the feast of the following
day, or whether the psalms should be of the feast and the remaining part
of the Vespers should be as the _Ordo_ so often notes (_a cap. de
seq._), from the _capitulum_ the office is taken from the following

The new rubrics contain five titles which make certain modifications in
the rules hitherto observed. We thus obtain a ready made division of the

(1) Of the precedence of Feasts (Title II.).
(2) Of the accidental occurrence of feasts and their translation (Title
(3) Of the perpetual occurrence of feasts and their transfer (Title V.).
(4) Of the occurrence of feasts (Title V.).
(5) Of the commemorations (Title VI.) (Myers and Burton, _op. cit._).

The new rubrics without the aid of any commentator give pretty clear
notions of the laws of precedence, occurrence and commemoration. For
students in college these rules are expounded in detail with additions,
changes, exceptions. But for priests, long past the student stage, it is
difficult to undo the fixed liturgy lore of their student and early
priest life; and the need of such a book as _The New Psalter and its
Uses_ is, for those interested, a necessity. Even since the publication
of that book, changes have been made. For example, doubles, major or
minor and semi-doubles, which were perpetually excluded on their own day
were transferred to some fixed day. This is given in _The New Psalter
and its Uses_. But this has now been changed. In the case of feasts of
the universal Church, no translation is allowed now. But feasts proper
to a nation, diocese, order, institute or particular church may still be
transferred to a fixed day, if perpetually impeded on their own day.
Another example of necessary changes in that excellent book is in the
last paragraph of page 136 (see Decree S.C.R., June, 1912). The works of
compilers and liturgists need constant revision to keep pace with new
decisions and decrees.

In making commemorations, the order of the commemoration as laid down in
the _Ordo_ should be followed. Elements of a commemoration are the
Antiphon of the _Benedictus_ or the _Magnificat_ with versicle and
response. These antiphons are considered most excellent, preceding as
they do the Gospel canticles (St. Luke I.). The antiphon, versicle and
prayer of the commemoration at an hour should never be repetitions of
others said in the same hour. Thus, if in the office of a confessor
pontiff having the prayer _Da quaesumus_, another confessor pontiff's
feast, commemorated in the same hour, should not have the same prayer.
About the prayer, or, as it is called, the collect, the following should
be noted: first, the commemoration is omitted if the prayer of the
office which is being recited and the prayer of the feast to be
commemorated have the same object. Thus, a feast of the Blessed Virgin,
falling within the octave of the Assumption, should not be commemorated.
Second, where a commemoration for a saint or saints of title similar to
that of the saints whose office is being said, is to be made, the
Congregation of Rites (5th May, 1736) arranged that not even the
versicles and response be repeated and that the following order be


1st Com. made by Antiphon and Versicle of Lauds.
2nd Com. made by Antiphon of second Vesper and Ver. of II. Nocturn.
3rd Com. made by Antiphon of I. Noct. and Vers. of III. Nocturn.


1st Com. made by Antiphon and Vers. from first Vesp.
2nd Com. made by Antiphon I. Noct., and Ver., III. Noct.
3rd Com. made by Antiphon II. Vesp., Vers., II. Noct.

If it should happen in commemorating a day within an octave that the
versicle from the common had already been taken for the office, then the
rule is "_Sumenda est in laudibus antiphona de secundis Vesperis; et pro
secundis Vesperis antiphona de laudibus in utroque tamen casu cum v. de
primis Vesperis_" (S.C.R., 18th Dec., 1779). In the above given form
of making commemorations it may be noted that the second commemoration
in Lauds is made up from the versicles and response of Matins and not
from second Vespers, so as to avoid repeating in Lauds what was said at
Vespers (Cavalieri).

As regards prayers in the office the reminder that the same formula must
not be repeated in the same hour may be supplemented. Because, prayers
having all words identical, save one single word, are not considered in
liturgy as different prayers (_e.g., Accendamur exemplis; instruamur
exemplis_, Feast of St. Philip and St. James, Feasts of several
martyrs). So, too, prayers which have the same form of petition (e.g.,
the prayers on feast of St. Joseph and on feast of St. Mathew), are not
considered as different and must not be repeated in the same hour. But
where the petition is different, even though all the remainder of the
prayers are similar in wording, they may be repeated in the same hour.

But what is to be done in offices where a commemoration prayer and the
prayer of the office is from the common? What must be done where the
feast is the feast of a Doctor and a commemoration of a Doctor is to be
made? What is to be done when the office of the feast is of a virgin not
a martyr, and a commemoration of a virgin not a martyr is to be made? In
the first case the prayer from the office of a confessor or Pontiff
should be said, adding to it the title of Doctor. In the other case, the
prayer _Indulgentiam_, omitting the word _martyr_, is to be said.

The origin of these commemorations was, that the Popes in removing the
solemn celebrations of certain feasts of Apostles and Martyrs, which
were formerly of precept, provided that their _cultus_ should not be
forgotten, and that their commemoration in the office should remind
priests and the faithful of those servants of God, whom the Church
wishes ever to honour. I have said the order given for commemoration in
the _Ordo_ should be followed; but not to follow this order does not
exceed a venial sin. Even the deliberate omission of a commemoration in
Lauds or Vespers is not a violation of a grave precept.


When several offices fall on the same day, only one office, the one of
highest rank or most important, is said. The others are transferred or
commemorated. The last section dealt with commemorations, and now we
come to the difficult question of the translation of feasts. Title X. of
the general rubrics must be read in connection with the Apostolic
Constitution, _Divino Afflatu_ (1911) and with the _Abhinc duos
Annos_ (1913).

Translation of a feast may mean the removal of a feast from an impeded
day to a day which is free. Thus a feast of higher rank may fall on a
feast day of a saint whose feast is of lower rank; the latter may then
be transferred. Transference is either perpetual or accidental and
temporary. The former applies to feasts which are always impeded by the
meeting with a feast of higher rite on their fixed days. A feast which
would fall on 6th January would suffer perpetual translation. This
translation bears different names in rubrics, decrees and liturgical
writings--_translatio ad diem, fixam, translatio ad diem assignatam,
mutatio, etc._ Accidental translation means occasional transference, a
transfer in one year and not in another.

Title II., section i, of the _Divino Afflatu_ gives the characters of
preferential rank which are to be considered in occurrence, concurrence
or translation of feasts, _Ritus altior, ratio primarii aut secundarii,
Dignitas Personalis, solemnitas externa_.

Although in the General Rubrics of the Breviary, the title _De Festorum
praestantia_ is not found, the four principles, (1)gradation of rite,
(2)classification as a primary or secondary feast, (3)personal dignity,
(4)external solemnity, are mentioned in the sixth section of Title X.,
_De Translatione Festorum_, and the degrees of personal dignity are
added in the second section of Title XL, _de commemorationibus_. Before
1897 precedence, and hence transference, was settled first by the rank
of the rite (Double major, etc.); then, too, between two feasts of the
same rite, transference was settled by dignity and finally by solemnity.
But in 1897 the Sacred Congregation of Rites indicated two further notes
to be observed in the weighing of claims for transference, (1)the
classification into primary and secondary feasts, (2)the distinction
between fixed and movable feasts. This latter distinction--between fixed
and movable feasts--has been suppressed by the new legislation and some
changes made in the others.

I. _Gradation of Feasts_ makes a distinction between doubles,
semi-doubles and simples, and distinguishes the various kinds of
doubles. The order of procedure will be--(1)Doubles of the first class,
(2)doubles of the second class, (3)greater doubles, (4)doubles,
(5)semi-doubles, (6)simples. But as the section shows (Tit. II., sec. i)
this is subject to the privileges of certain Sundays, ferias, and octave
days or even days within an octave. And hence, an ordinary Sunday,
though! only a semi-double, will take precedence of a double; and an
octave day, though only a double, takes precedence of a greater double.

II. Classification as a primary or a secondary feast. Tables of
classification are to be found in the prefatory part of the new
Breviary, under the headings _Tres Tabellae_. They give a revised list
of feasts with their rank and rites. Some feasts are reduced from
primary to secondary rank (e.g., Feast of the Dolours); and the tables
give a new division of primary and secondary doubles and semi-doubles.

III. Thirdly, the order of precedence among feasts will be determined by
the dignity of the person who is the special object of the office that
is to be recited. Hence, in the order set down in General Rubrics (Title
XI, _De Concurrentia officii_, sec. 2) all feasts of our Lord, other
things being equal, take precedence of the feasts of our Lady. And then,
in order, come the festivals of the angels, of St. John the Baptist, of
St. Joseph, of the Apostles and other saints. Amongst the saints who are
honoured as martyrs, confessors or virgins there is no precedence as to
personal dignity.

IV. Lastly, there is the note of "external solemnity," which may give
precedence to one or two feasts, which are equal in the above-mentioned
matters--i.e., in Gradation I., Classification II., Precedence III. But
the main point is that only doubles of first and second class have the
right, as a rule, of transference. Transference is now rather rare.

"From these rules it will be seen that in cases of concurrence,
occurrence, perpetual transfer or translation, precedence between two
feasts will first be decided by gradation of rite, a double of the first
class being preferred to one of the second, and so on. If the feasts are
of equal rank recourse must be had to the second test, the distinction
between primary and secondary feasts. If both happen to be primary, or
both are secondary, then precedence will be granted to the feast which
has the greater personal dignity. And if both feasts should have the
same dignity, then the fact of external solemnity would confer
precedence" (_The New Psalter and its Uses_, p. 79). For practical help,
a look at the first of the _Duae Tabellae_ is a guide to find out which
office is to be said, if more than one feast occur on the same day.

Before discussing new offices it may be well to remember that votive
offices of all kinds, including the votive offices conceded by the
decree of July, 1883, are abolished. These offices were drastic
innovations, introduced to get rid of the very long psalm arrangement of
the ferial office. The new distribution of the psalms got rid of the
onus, and votive offices are no longer given in the Breviary.


_Concurrence_ is the conjunction of two offices which succeed each
other, so that the question arises to which of the two are the Vespers
of the day to be assigned. The origin of this conjunction of feasts was
by some old writers traced to the Mosaic law in which the festivals,
began in the evening, and they quote "from evening until evening you
shall celebrate your sabbaths" (_Leviticus_, xxii. 32). The effect of
concurrence may be that the whole vespers may belong to the feast of the
day or may be said entirely from, the feast of the following day; or it
may be that the psalms and antiphons belong to the preceding festival
and the rest of the office be from the succeeding feast. The General
Rubrics, Title XI, must be read now in conjunction with Titles IV., V.,
and VI. of the _Additiones et Variationes ad norman Bullae "Divino
Afflatu"_. The rules for concurrence are given in Table III. of the
_Tres Tabellae_ inserted in the new Breviary (S.C.R., 23 January, 1912).
These tables supersede the tables given in the old editions of the
Breviary. The first of these two tables shows which office is to be
said, if more than one feast occur on the same day, whether perpetually
or accidentally. The second table is a guide to concurrence--_i.e._,
whether the first vespers of the following feast is to be said entirely
without reference to the preceding feast, or if second vespers of the
preceding feast is to be said entire, without reference to the
following; or, again, first vespers of the following with commemoration
of the preceding, or second vespers of the preceding with commemoration
of the following, or vespers of the more noble feast with commemoration
of the other--any of these may be the liturgical order to follow, and
the _Tabella_ makes things clear.

The "tables" are to be used thus:--Opening the Breviary at the _I
Tabella, "Si occurrat eodem die,"_ first find the number marked in that
square in which the two feasts in question meet, and then read the
direction printed, in column on same page to left-hand side, bearing
the same number. For example: the question is about the occurrence of a
Sunday of the first class and a Double of the first class. _Double of
the first class_ stands first word of page, and _Sunday of first class_
will be found in column beneath the rows of figures. Now the square in
which straight lines drawn from _double of first class_ and _Sunday of
first class_ meet bears the number 6, and reference to number 6 in
column of directions found on same page gives the rule, "_Officium de 2,
Translatio de I_," that is, the office must be of the Sunday of first
class and the double of the first class must be transferred according to
the rubrics. When in these brief directive notes, (1-8), mention is made
of the "first or the preceding," the reference is made to feast or
office printed in the upper part of the Table, e.g., Double of first
class. Reference to "the second" or "following" refers to feast printed
in the lower section of the Table. Where _O_ stands in a square in the
_Tabella_ it signifies that there can be no occurrence or concurrence
between feasts whose "lines" meet in that square. These two tables are
very ingeniously arranged. The lists, given in the Breviary following
these tables, give the lists of greater Sundays and Ferias, privileged
vigils, doubles of first and second class and greater doubles, and tell
whether feasts are primary or secondary.


If any one wish from the rubrics given in the Breviary to arrange the
office, he can see in the calendar and in the tables of movable feasts
which office he is to say on the following day. And when he has found
out the feast he determines, from the rules given, the vespers and the
other hours.

If the office be the office of an excepted feast, the whole office is
said from the feast as it is in the Proper or Common of saints; but the
psalms of Lauds and the hours are taken from the Sunday psalms, as they
stand in the new Psaltery, At Prime the psalm _Deus in nomine_ is said
in place of _Confitemini_. Compline is said from the Sunday psalms. If
the office be the ordinary non-excepted office it is recited according
to the rule laid down in the new rubrics. Tit. I., n. 5,:--

"_Ad matut, invit. Hymnus, Lectiones II. et III. nocturni ac responsoria
2 et 3 nocturnorum propria vel de communi; antiphonae vero, psalmi et
versus trium nocturnorum necnon Lestiones I. Nocturni cum suis
Responsoriis de feria occurrente...."_

_"Ad Laudes et ad Vesperas ant. cum Psalm. de Feria; Capit. Hym. Vers.
et Antiph. ad Benedictus vel ad magnificat cum oratione aut in Proprio
aut de Communi ad Horas minores et Complet. aut cum Psalm semper dicitur
de occurrente Feria. Ad Primam pro Lectione breve legitur capit. Nonae
ex Proprio, vel de Communi. Ad Tertiam, sextam et Nonam, capit. Respons.
breve et orat. pariter sumuntur vel ex Proprio vel de Communi_."

(Matins and the other hours are treated of in another section.)






Q. Who are bound to recite the Divine Office?

R. 1. Religious, that is, all those who have made
      Religious Profession, in the Canonical
      sense, and who are bound to Choir recitation
      (Canon 610, Juris Canonici).

   2. Clerics in Holy Orders (Canon 135, Codex).

   3. Beneficed Clergy.

Who are Beneficed Clergy?

Beneficed Clergy are those who hold a Canonically erected benefice.
Canon 1409 of the _Codex Juris Canonici_ defines an ecclesiastical
benefice to be a "Juridical entity constituted or erected by competent
ecclesiastical authority, consisting of a sacred office and the right of
receiving revenues from endowments attached to the office." Hence under
this Canon, as previously three conditions are required for a benefice,
first, a sacred office, second, the right of receiving revenues from
endowment attached to that office, third, erection by ecclesiastical
authority. There never was any doubt in the many discussions on this
subject, that the work and care of a parish is a sacred office, and that
parish priests hold such an office. But the second condition mentioned
above received different interpretations. Some held that it implied a
certain amount of ecclesiastical property set aside, from the revenues
of which the holder of the benefice would derive his income. Hence the
revenues of parish priests in these Kingdoms, arising from certain and
voluntary offerings of the faithful, were not fixed revenues, did not
fulfil the conditions of "endowment," and parishes must not be regarded
as benefices. This opinion is no longer tenable. Canon 1410 says:--"The
endowment of a Benefice is constituted either by property, the ownership
of which pertains to the Juridical entity itself, or by certain and
obligatory payments of any family or moral personality, or by certain
and voluntary offerings of the faithful which appertain to the rector of
the benefice, or, as they are called stole fees, within the limits of
diocesan taxation or legitimate custom, or choral distributions,
exclusive of a third part of the same, if all the revenues of the
benefice consist of choral distributions."

This Canon seems to make it clear that the second condition is fulfilled
in all the parishes of these Kingdoms, since to the sacred office is
attached the right of receiving revenue from the certain and voluntary
offerings of the faithful or from stole fees or from both.

The third condition, erection by ecclesiastical authority, is qualified
by Canon 1418 which prescribes that benefices should be erected by a
legitimate document defining the place of the benefice, its endowment
and the duties and rights of the person appointed.

This law has not an invalidating clause, hence it is not now necessary
nor ever was it necessary to have such a written document. A valid
appointment was and can be made without any writing.

Where these three conditions are fulfilled there is a benefice, true,
real, and canonical. Normally parishes are benefices. (See _Irish
Ecclesiastical Record_, Vol. XIV., No. 623; and _Irish Theological
Quarterly_, October, 1917, p. 209.)

Every cleric in holy orders is bound under pain of mortal sin to recite
daily the Divine Office. No General Council, no Pope, has made such a
law, but the old-established custom has grown, until it has the force of
a law (Bened. XIV., _Instructio Coptharum_). Authors are not agreed as
to the date of the first traces of this old custom. Billuart quotes the
text of the fourth Council of Carthage to prove that it existed in the
fourth century, _Clericus, qui absque corpusculi sui inequalitate
vigiliis deest, stipendiis privatus, excommunicatur_. Gavantus can find
traces of it only as late as the sixth century. Several decrees of
provincial councils regarding this custom are quoted by writers on
liturgy. However, the matter is clearly and definitely dealt with by the
General Council of Lateran (1213) and by the Bulls, _Quod a nobis_ and
_Ex proximo_, of Pope Pius V. (1571). This Pope expressly states that
wilful omission of the Divine Office is a grave sin--"_grave peccatum
intelligat se commissise_."

The obligation of reciting the office binds those in Holy Orders, even
though they may be excommunicated, suspended, degraded or imprisoned.
The obligation binds for the first time when subdeaconship has been
conferred. Subdeacons are bound to recite "the hour" in the office of
the day, corresponding to the time of their ordination. If the
ordination is finished before nine o'clock, the sub-deacon is bound to
begin his recitation with Terce. If the ordination is held between nine
o'clock and mid-day the recitation begins with Sext. The question is
discussed by theologians if the recitation of Terce or Sext may be
lawfully and validly made before the ordination. Some authors deny that
it may be justly and lawfully done, while others, with some probability,
affirm that before ordination the debt may be paid in advance.

Are priests bound to follow the Proper in their own diocese?

They are, if it has been approved by the Sacred Congregation of Rites
(S.R.C., 4597-4746). But a priest travelling (_peregrinus_) should
recite the office according to the calendar of the church to which he is
attached regularly, but the obligation of following the calendar of his
home church was not binding by a grave precept. A reply of the Sacred
Congregation of Rites (Nov., 1831) arranged (1) that beneficed clergy
are always bound to recite the office of their own proper church or
diocese; (2) that simple priests may read either the office as arranged
for the place they tarry in or travel in, or the office of their own
home diocese; (3) for unattached priests (_vagi_) it is the wiser order
to follow the office as laid down in their own diocese.

Must every holder of a benefice read the Divine Office?

Every holder is bound, under pain of mortal sin, to recite the Divine
Office daily, if the benefice be an ecclesiastical benefice fulfilling
the conditions named above. The omission of the recital of the Divine
Office by a beneficed person is a grave sin against the virtue of
religion and a grave sin against the virtue of justice. For the Church
imposes on the beneficiary the duty of the Office recital, on condition
that he may not take the fruits of his benefice if he do not recite
the Office.

What sin is committed by the omission of a notable part of the daily

He who wilfully omits a notable part of the daily Divine Office commits
a mortal sin. A notable part of the Divine Office for any day is held by
some theologians to be the omission of one psalm in one of the small
hours, or a corresponding quantity of matter in lessons, responses, etc.
They hold that such wilful omission is a grave sin. Other theologians
hold--and their opinion is the more common and the more probable
one--that, although one psalm is a notable part of a small hour, in
relation to the whole office it is not a notable part, and its omission
is not a grave matter. These theologians hold that the wilful omission
of an entire small hour or equivalent matter (e.g., Sext, or the third
nocturn of Matins) is an omission of a notable part and cannot be
excused from grave sin.

The omission of the entire office of a day, the seven canonical hours,
is held by some theologians to carry the guilt of seven mortal sins.
Because, there is a different precept for each hour and the omission of
each hour violates a precept. The Salamenticenses think this opinion
probable. The more common and the more correct opinion is that by such
omission only one sin is committed. And the theologians who hold this
opinion say that the recitation of the canonical hours is imposed under
one precept only, and hence there is only one obligation embracing the
seven hours. This is the opinion of St. Alphonsus (n. 148) who quotes
several authors (including Lessius, Sanchez and St. Antoninus) in
support. If a person in Holy Orders omit several hours with a
retractation, or a moral interruption in his sinful intentions, he may
commit several mortal sins, because all the omissions, which in
themselves are grave matter, may become independent of each other by the
interruption and renewal of the intention (St. Alphonsus, n. 148).

What must a person do who has a doubt that he has omitted something in
his recitation of the office? Is he bound to make assurance doubly sure
by reciting the part of which he doubts?

If the doubt be a positive doubt, that is, if he have good reason to
believe that he has recited it, he is not bound to anything further
regarding the part in question. For instance, if a priest remembers
having started the recitation of a lesson, and in a short time finds
himself at the end of it, and cannot be sure if he have recited it, the
presumption is in favour of the priest and of the recitation, because it
is his custom to recite completely whatever part he commences. He has,
thus, moral certainty that he has satisfied the precept, and it is not
necessary to repeat it; if the necessity for repetition be admitted in
such a case, a fruitful source of scruples is opened up.

On the other hand, if the doubt be negative--that is to say, if a person
has no reasonable motive for believing that he has recited the full
office or the full hour, he is bound to recite the part omitted,
because in such a doubt, the precept of recitation is, as the
theologians say, "in possession." (St. Alphonsus, n. 150).

It is not allowed to change anything nor to add anything to the daily
office without permission. The Sacred Congregation of Rites (10 June,
1690, n. 3222) replied to a query, that in saints' offices nothing is to
be added and nothing is to be changed, and this reply applies to all
sorts of offices, old and new.


In reciting the Divine Office two points of order are to be noted: (1)
the order or arrangement of offices, (2) the order or arrangement of
Hours. The order of offices indicates which office is to be said on each
day as laid down in the calendar. The order of the Hours points out
which of the seven hours should be recited, firstly, secondly, etc.,
Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, etc. It is of obligation to observe both
orders. But is it a sin to change wilfully the order of the office? It
is not, if there be a reasonable cause for the change. For instance, if
a priest cannot say the office proper to his diocese on a certain day,
but says some other approved office, the change is not a sin. But if a
priest, _ex industria_, substitute one office for another, it is _per
se_ a venial sin; but if an office be said which is very much shorter
than the calendar office, or if this changing or substituting be so
frequent as to disturb gravely the good order of the year's offices, the
sin may be (and, according to some authors, is) a mortal sin.

It is asked whether a person fulfils his debt to the Church if he has
recited by mistake an office other than the one assigned in the calendar
of the day. Theologians teach that such a recitation fulfils the debt.
The Church does not wish to impose a second recitation, and her axiom
"_officium pro officio valet_" holds, provided always that the order of
the psalms as laid down in the new psaltery is followed. This order is
necessary always for validity. However, if the substituted office be
very much shorter than the omitted office, it is advised to equalise
them by reciting the psalms of Matins, This is a counsel and was not
laid down by theologians as an obligation.

An office thus omitted is not to be transferred to another day (S.C.R.,
June 17th, 1673). The office may be omitted altogether for that year. If
there be leisure the omitted office should be recited. This practice is
in conformity with the spirit of the liturgy and with the right order of
the calendar. The Sacred Congregation of Rites, questioned on this
matter, replied _sic debere fieri_, such should be done. If a priest
recites by mistake one day's office for another (e.g., the Tuesday
office on a Monday) he is bound to recite Tuesday's office on Tuesday
(St. Alphonsus). If, however, after a portion of the office has been
read, it is noticed that a mistake has been made in reading the calendar
or the _Ordo_, and that the office partly recited is not the office of
the current day, what is to be done? If the priest has without fault
made the mistake of reciting some office not ascribed to the current
day, he is not bound to repeat the part already recited (e.g.,
Matins); it is sufficient, valid and lawful to follow the correct
office in the following Hours. The priest reciting is not bound to
repeat even part of an hour, if he finds out his mistake during the
recitation of even a small hour. And he may finish the psalm or hymn or
prayer which he was reciting when he discovered his mistake, and he may
then take up the correct office at the part or hour at which he leaves
off, or he may finish the Hour at which he was engaged. The former
solution of the difficulty seems the better, as it more accurately
agrees with the maxim, _error corrigatur ubi apprehenditur_. If the
error in the selecting of the office has been wilful, say, through gross
carelessness, and is the fault of the priest who changes a notable part
of a canonical Hour, he is obliged--the more probable opinion
teaches--to repeat the full Hour, and this obligation binds under pain
of venial sin--_i.e._, the obligation to recite the office in the
prescribed manner.

What is a person bound to do who forgets part of an Hour--is he obliged
to repeat the full Hour?

He is bound to recite the part forgotten only, unless the mistake be
made through gross carelessness, and unless it be a considerable part
(e.g., two nocturns); in that case he is bound under pain of venial
sin to repeat the full Hour. If a person say the same Hour (e.g.,
Terce) twice, may he compensate for extra labour by the omission of an
equivalent part (e.g., None)? Such omission is unlawful; he must
recite all the Hours without omission (Scavini, 391).

Is there an obligation to repeat the Hours in the order fixed in the
Breviary? Yes, there is such an obligation. And a person may sin
venially by the inversion of the Hours, The obligation binds _sub
veniali_ only. The inversion does not mean any grave breach of order,
which is fixed by a secondary precept and as a circumstance of light
importance. If the whole office be recited, the substance of the
office--which is the main and primary matter--is safeguarded. Several
authors argued that any inversion of the Canonical Hours, if frequent,
is a mortal sin, but the opinion which says that the inversion of the
Hours is only a venial sin is the more probable (St. Alph. 169; Gury,
77; Lehmkuhl II., 621).

Which causes justify an inversion of the Hours? Any reasonable cause
justifies this inversion. Thus, if a friend invite a priest to joint
recitation of an Hour, and the priest have not the preceding canonical
Hours recited, he is justified in accepting the invitation and in
inverting the order of the Hours. Or if a person have a Diurnal only at
hand, he may read the day Hours, although he have not Matins for the day
read. Again, a priest may not have the lessons for Matins at hand, but
he may recite the psalms for Matins, Lauds, and add the lessons at
Matins when they are to hand (Gury, n. 78; St. Alph., n. 170).

Is it a sin to say Matins for following day before finishing office of
current day? Some theologians answer affirmatively, because the office
of the current day should be complete before another office is begun.
Others hold that such recitation is both valid and licit, as the office
of one day and its obligation have no bond with the office of another
day, and that any reasonable cause exempts from all sin or fault (Gury,
n. 79). Not to recite the commemorations in the prescribed order set out
in the _Ordo_ is held by some theologians to be a venial sin, as they
hold that the rubric is preceptive; others hold that it is not any sin,
as they say that the rubric is directive.


The time fixed for the recitation of the entire office of the day is
from midnight to the midnight following, and anyone bound to recite the
Divine Office does not sin gravely if he has recited carefully the
entire office of the day between these limits of time; because, within
these limits, the substance of the obligation binding to time is
fulfilled. Of course, it is lawful in virtue of a privilege granted by
the Church to recite on the previous evening Matins and Lauds for the
following day. In the recitation the times fixed by the Church for each
hour should be observed. But the non-recital at those fixed times is
never a mortal sin and is rarely a venial sin, unless their postponement
or anticipation is without cause.

When may a priest begin the recitation of Matins and Lauds for the
following day? There were two different replies given to this question.
One opinion stated that it was lawful to begin Matins and Lauds after 2
o'clock, p.m., and this could be lawfully done every day in the year,
and in every land. Another opinion--and St. Alphonsus calls it
_sententia verior_--denies that such a course is lawful. The old French
Breviaries gave a _horarium_ arranging the hour of anticipation of
Matins and Lauds, so that no one should, through temerity or ignorance,
begin the anticipation before the sun had passed half way in its course
between mid-day and sunset. On January 20th the time to begin the
anticipation of hours was 2.15 p.m., but on June 8th the anticipation
was not to begin till 4 p.m.

Nowadays, the first opinion is held almost universally. The principal
_internal_ argument for this opinion is the teaching that the
anticipation may begin from the public hour of first vespers, and these
may be recited publicly according to present-day custom at 2 p.m.
Therefore, this time, 2 o'clock p.m., is the beginning of the
ecclesiastical day, and can be taken as the time for private
anticipation of Matins and Lauds. The _external_ argument in favour of
this opinion is the authority of theologians. In 1905, the Sacred
Congregation of Rites was asked the question "_Utrum in privata
recitatione Matutinum sequentis diei incipi possit, 2da pomeriddiane_?".
The reply was, "_Consulantur probati auctores_" (_Acta Sanctae Sedis_
XXXVII., p. 712). Now many approved authors (e.g., Lehmkuhl, II., 793;
Ballerini-Palmieri, IV. 515; Slater I., p. 609) hold that it is lawful,
privately, to anticipate Matins and Lauds at 2 o'clock, p.m. Lehmkuhl,
who previously favoured a stricter view, was compelled, in the latest
editions of his _Moral Theology_, to say of this opinion which allows
anticipation to begin at 2 o'clock, p.m.: "_Quae sententia hodie a
multis usque gravissimis viris tenetur et observatur, ut, spectata
consuetudine, extrinseca saltem probabilitas negari nequit_." We
conclude, accordingly, that always and everywhere the private
anticipation of Matins and Lauds may begin at 2 p.m. (_cf. Irish
Ecclesiastical Record_, Fifth Series, Vol. I., No. 541).

Doubts have arisen in connection with time changes made by various
States in Europe. The various schemes of new time, of daylight saving,
of co-ordinations of time, uniformity of time all through certain
States, have given rise to doubts and queries regarding the time for
fulfilling the precept of the office and also regarding the time for
lawful anticipation of Matins and Lauds. These doubts were solved
several years ago, and now there is no longer any difficulty or anxiety
over "true time," "new time," "legal time," in relation to matters
ecclesiastical. In reply to queries, Dr. M. J. O'Donnell, in the _Irish
Ecclesiastical Record_ (Vol. III., p. 582), explains clearly this time
difficulty and its solution by the Congregation of the Council on 22nd
July, 1893. The Bishop of Trier explained to the Congregation of the
Council that owing to the State legislation in the German Empire all
public clocks should register the same time, and that this meant that in
his diocese the legal computation differs by half an hour from the mean
time. "May clerics follow the legal time in reciting the Divine Office?"
was the bishop's question. The Congregation of the Council answered by a
simple affirmative. In 1892, Greenwich time was introduced for State
purposes into all railway, postal, and Government offices in Holland.
The query was put to the Congregation of the Inquisition if the clergy
and people might, for the purpose of fast and other ecclesiastical
obligations, follow the new time, or were they obliged to retain the
true time? The reply was "_affirmative ad primam: negative ad secundam
partem_." "In a word, the constant Roman answer has been 'Do as you
please'; so far as the approval of the legal time is concerned it
confirms the conclusion of the editor of the _Acta_ (xxxii-251) that in
computing time the Church follows the rule that regulates all business
concerns in different localities....

"In the meantime, taking into account the conventional character of
'time' and the liberal principles of Rome in the past, we have no doubt
that everyone, priest or layman, is fully justified in following the new
time if he feels so inclined." (See _Codex Juris. Canon._, Can. 33).

Are priests bound to recite Matins and Lauds before Mass?

The first sentence of the _Ritus servandus in celebratione Missae_ in
the Missal contains the clause "_saltem Malutino cum Laudibus
absoluto_," The word _saltem_ indicates that the Church notifies the
minimum and expects a further hour, Prime or even others of the small
hours, to be finished before Mass. But theologians hold that there is no
grave obligation for such prior-to-Mass recital, and that any reasonable
cause excuses from the obligation (Lehmkuhl II., 628). In connection
with this matter a very instructive and devotional essay in the _Irish
Ecclesiastical Record_ (Fourth Series XXXI., n. 533) by Father M.
Russell, S.J., is well worth reading. It is entitled "A Neglected
Adverb"; the adverb being _saltem_, from the clause quoted.

At what times should the small hours be recited? Prime may be, and,
probably with more appropriateness, should be used as morning prayer and
said before Mass. Terce and Sext may be said before mid-day, or Sext and
None may be said after mid-day. Vespers should be said after mid-day.
Compline was the night prayer of the monks, who probably instituted the
hour. It should be borne in mind that the substance of the law of
recitation is fulfilled if the whole office of the day be recited before
midnight, and that the obligation for entire and complete recitation is
grave; while the recitation of the hours at set hours of the day is a
light obligation.


Where should the Divine Office be recited? The Divine Office should be
recited in the place intended and set apart by the Church for that
purpose--viz., in the choir or in the Church (Con. Trid., sess. 24).
Canons and religious are bound to recite their office in choir; of
course, this refers to Canons in residence at a cathedral for daily
service, and to religious in the strict application of the term. The
Divine Office may be recited by priests anywhere, in the church, in a
dwelling-house, walking, in the fields, etc.

In reciting the office a priest should observe an attitude in harmony
with the great work in which he is engaged, prayer to God. Hence, his
attitude should be becoming, on his knees, standing, sitting, walking,
but not sprawling or lying. The rubrics which prescribe kneeling,
sitting, standing, apply to choir recitation only. But writers recommend
that in private recitation these directions should not be altogether
omitted, and they say that the practice of these rubrics of kneeling,
bowing, standing, etc., is laudable and an aid to devout recital.


What kind of pronunciation is to be attended to in the recitation of the
Divine Office? The pronunciation should be vocal--that is, there should
be some sound, _aliquis sonitus verborum_, as St. Alphonsus writes (n.
162). Hence, to read the Breviary merely mentally or with the eyes only,
does not satisfy the obligation.[A] Although the reader may not hear the
sound produced, he must be careful to form with his lips every syllable.
This must be done, not necessarily in a throaty way. The formation of
the words clearly with the lips suffices. But writers on this point
emphasise the importance of audible recitation as a preventive of
slurred, mutilated Latinity, which often leads to careless, or even
invalid recitation. They note, too, that the reading with the eye
merely, is a habit which readers bring from the reading of other books
to their reading of the Breviary. German authors dwell at length on the
fact that many priests, very early in their career, contract the habit
of faulty vocalisation of liturgy, and that they never seem to notice
their fault, or at least never seem to attempt an amendment. These
authors attribute the defect to sub-voce recitation and recommend
audible recitation, long and frequent audible recitation, to all priests
reading their hours.

[Footnote A: The privilege of mental recitation was granted to the Friar
Minor by Pope Leo X. and Pius V., but it is probable that the privilege
was withdrawn by Pope Gregory XV. in 1622, in his letter _Romanus
Pontifex_; and Urban VIII., 1635, withdrew all privileges granted _vivae
vocis oraculo_. The text of the document granting the privilege is
obscurely worded. Still, several theologians of repute maintain that the
privilege still exists and extends to the whole office. This is taught
by the Salaraenticenses, _De hor. can. cap._ 3, n. 55; Tamburini,
Rodriguez, etc., others opposed this view of the privilege existing
after Pope Urban's letter _Alias_. This privilege extends to secular
priests who are Franciscan tertiaries, if it exists at all.]

Can a priest fulfil his obligation by reciting the office with a
companion? Yes, he can, for such recitation is the Church's ideal; and
the priest who says his part (alternate verses, etc.), as in choir,
fulfils his obligation, even when his companion is a layman or an
inattentive person. In such recitation a priest should be careful (1)
that his recitation be of alternate verses, (2) that the verse
recitation be successive and not simultaneous, (3) that the verses,
etc., chanted by one companion (or by one choir) be heard by the other
companion or choir. There is no necessity for a priest at such
recitation to say one verse in a loud voice and to say his companion's
verses in a low, inaudible voice. Some priests do this with distressing
results. Imperfect vocal recitation often leads to doubts and scruples
in old age when remedies either cannot be applied or prove useless.

Those who recite the office in choir are bound by the rubrics concerning
kneeling, sitting, standing, etc. Secondly, they are bound to observe
the rules of the liturgy, especially the rule as to the stop in each
verse at the asterisk mark. Thirdly, they are bound to recite clearly
and distinctly; but even if they cannot hear distinctly the alternate
choir, or even if they recite in a low voice, they fulfil the obligation
of recitation; and canons are bound at Cathedral offices to sing and
chant or to lose their manual distributions and the fruits of their
prebends. If a person reciting his office with a companion or in a choir
does not understand the words recited by his companion or by the choir,
he is not bound at the end to repeat the part which he did not
understand, because such a person has the intention of offering prayer
and praise to God, and that intention suffices. Moreover, the Church's
precept of reciting the office should he interpreted benignly, otherwise
it must give rise to many scruples; for, companions in recitation, then,
always, should be anxious as to the duty of repetition or the
non-fulfilled duty of complete recitation.

Pronunciation of the words of the office should be _integral_. That is,
the words and syllables are to be repeated fully without mutilation or
abbreviation. Hence, if mutilation of the words occur to such an extent
that the sense or meaning of the words is notably changed, mortal sin
may be committed. But if the mutilation be small in quantity there is
only a venial sin committed, and often no sin at all may be committed,
as the mutilation of words or syllables may be quite involuntary, or may
be done inadvertently, or may arise from an inveterate habit very
difficult to correct, and in the attempt to cure it time and patience
may have been spent (St. Alph., 164-165). This bad habit, if it extend
over a large portion of the recitation and destroy notably the sense of
the words, may bind _sub gravi_ to repetition, as this fault or habit
affects the very substance of recitation. Priests seldom are bound to
such a repetition, as the mutilation is not destructive to the sense of
a notable part of the office and hence does not affect the substance of
the obligation to vocal recital. St. Alphonsus holds (n. 165), that the
obligation is fulfilled as long as the meaning is not destroyed, _quando
servatur aliqua significatio verborum_.

Pronunciation should be _continuous_. That is, the recitation of each
hour should be continuous, non-interrupted, and every notable stoppage
or break in the recitation of a canonical hour is a venial sin, if there
be no excusing cause for such an interruption. Any reasonable cause for
interruption (e.g., to obey a bell call, to see a parishioner who
calls, to hear a confession) excuses from all fault (St. Alph., n. 168).

If the recital of the office for any canonical hour be interrupted,
should the whole hour be repeated? Some theologians say that it should
be repeated. But the more probable opinion denies that there is any such
obligation; it holds that the union of the prayers prescribed by the
Church is not broken, as each psalm, each lesson, each prayer, has a
complete signification and they are united sufficiently in one round of
prayer by the intention formed of continuing the Hour, or even by the
actual continuation. Gury states that a priest interrupting the office
between the verses of a psalm is not bound to repeat the entire psalm on
resuming the recitation, as he says each verse has its own

May Matins be said separately from Lauds without any excusing cause?
Yes, for it was the practice of the early Church to say these parts of
the liturgy at times separated by intervals. But if Matins be said
separately, without Lauds following immediately. _Pater Noster_ with
Dominus Vobiscum and the prayer of the day should be said at the end of
the _Te Deum_, If Lauds follow Matins immediately the _Pater_ and _Ave_
should not be said, for the Congregation (same decree) says "_Laudes
incohandas ut in Psalterio_," but in the Psalter the _Pater_ and _Ave_
are not assigned for the beginning of Lauds.

A notable time may elapse between the nocturns of Matins without any
excusing cause. In the early Church intervals occurred between each
nocturn. Some authors state that an interval of three hours between two
nocturns is quite lawful, even when there be no cause for the delay.
With a reasonable cause the interval may last as long as the excusing
cause requires.


The valid recitation of the Divine Office requires that the priest
should have in his mind an intention of praying, for the Divine Office
is a true and real prayer, not a mere vocal exercise. Hence, a priest
reading his office as a mere study or as a means of remembering the
words of the psalms does not validly recite his office (St. Alph., n.
176). Now, what sort of intention is best and what sort of intention is
necessary? An actual, explicit intention which states expressly when the
Breviary is opened, "I intend to pray," is the best intention. The
devout recital of the prayer "_Aperi Domine_" expresses well the best
form of the actual, explicit intentions of those reciting the office.
But such an express, actual intention is not necessary; a virtual
intention, which finds expression in the opening of the Breviary to
recite the office, suffices. The mere opening of the book, the finding
out of the office, the arrangement of the book markers, are ample
evidence of the existence of a virtual intention quite sufficient for
the valid recitation of the office. St. Alphonsus writes, "_Imo puto
semper adesse exercite, intentionem actualem implendi officium_" (n.
176). This question of intention gives great trouble to the timid and
scrupulous, whose doubts and difficulties seem hard to solve. The common
sense and common practice in everyday affairs seem to desert some people
when they prepare to read the canonical hours. For, who has not seen the
nervous, pious, anxious cleric, stupidly labouring to acquire even a
sufficient intention before beginning his hours?

Attention in reading the hours is a much more discussed and much more
difficult mental effort. It means the application of the mind to the
thing in which we are engaged. When we listen to a conversation or when
we write a letter the mind is fixed and attentive to the matter spoken
or written. Intention is an act of the will; attention is an act of the

Attention may be either external or internal. External attention is
attention of such a kind that it excludes every exterior action
physically incompatible with the recitation of the office--e.g., to
write or type a letter, to listen attentively to those conversing, are
acts incompatible with the simultaneous recitation of the office. But
walking, poking a fire, looking for the lessons, whilst reciting from
memory all the time, are not incompatible with the external attention
required in office recital; because such acts do not require mental
effort which could count as a serious disturbing element. However, in
this matter of external attention no rule can be formulated for all
Breviary readers; for what may lightly disturb and distract one reader
may have no effect on another, and yet may seriously disturb the
recitation of another (St. Alph., n. 176). External attention is
necessary for the valid recitation of the office.

Internal attention is application or advertence of the mind. Is such
internal attention, such deliberate application or mental advertence
necessary for the valid recitation of the office?

There are two opinions on this matter, two replies to the question.
According to one opinion, and this is the more common and the more
probable one, internal attention is required for the valid recitation of
the Hours. 1. Because the Divine Office is a prayer, but there can be no
true or real prayer without internal attention, for prayer is defined as
an elevation of the soul to God, but if there be no internal attention,
there is no elevation of the soul to God, and no prayer. 2. Our Lord
complained of those who had external attention at prayer, but lacked
internal attention or advertence, "This people honour me with their
lips, but their heart is far from me" (St. Matt. xv.). 3. The Church
appears to demand internal attention at prayer, for although she has not
given any positive precept dealing with this kind of attention, she does
the same thing when she commands that the recitation of the Divine
Office take the form of prayer for God's honour, and this recitation of
words cannot be true prayer without internal attention. 4. The Council
of Trent seems to exact this attention when it wishes that the Divine
Office be said reverently, distinctly and devoutly, reverenter,
distincte, devote. 5. If no internal attention be required in reciting
the Hours, it is difficult to see how voluntary distractions are
forbidden by Divine Law.

This is the opinion held by Cajetan (1496-1534), Sa (1530-1596), Azor
(1539-1603), Sanchez (1550-1610), Roncaglai (1677-1737), Concina
(1687-1756), and St. Alphonsus, the great Doctor of prayer (1696-1787).

According to the other opinion, external attention suffices always and
ever to satisfy substantially the obligation of reading the office and
for the avoidance of mortal sin which invalid recitation entails. For,

(1) To pray is to speak to God, to trust in Him, to manifest to Him the
wishes and wants of the soul; but this can be done by a person who has
voluntary distractions of mind, just as a man can read to his king an
address, setting forth the thanks and requests of his subjects, although
the reader's mind is far from dwelling on the words or the meaning of
the sentences before his eyes. But he is careful to read all the words
in a clear, intelligible manner. Now the theologians who maintain this
opinion say that, _a fortiori_, this method of reading the Hours should
be valid; for, in the reading the priest acts principally in the name of
the Church, as her minister, and offers up prayers to God in her name,
and they say that the irreverence of the servant does not render the
prayer of the Church unpleasing to Him,

(2) He who makes a vow, and resolves to do a certain act, fulfils his
vow, even when fulfilling it he acts with voluntary distractions; so, a
pari, with the recitation of the office,

(3) The administration of the sacraments--even the administration of
Extreme Unction, the form of which is a prayer--with full voluntary
distractions is valid; so, too, should be the recital of
Breviary prayers.

(4) In the other opinion it is hard to see how, if voluntary
distractions destroy the substance of prayer, involuntary distractions
do not produce similar effect, and hence, there can be no prayer if
there be distraction of any kind.

This opinion was held by Lugo (1583-1660), Gobat (1600-1679), Sporer
(1609-1683), St. Antonnius (1389-1459), and other eminent men. It is
quoted by St. Alphonsus, as _satis probabilis_. Of it, Lehmkuhl writes,
"Quae ad substantiam divini officii dicamus satis probabiliter
sufficere cum intentione orandi observasse attentionem externam"
(II. 635).

What are the divisions or kinds of internal attention?

I. Objectively they are (1) spiritual attention, (2) literal attention,
(3) superficial or material attention. Spiritual attention is that
advertence of soul which tends towards God, the Term of all prayer, when
the soul meditates on the power, wisdom, goodness of God, on the
Passion, on the Mother of God, on God's saints. Literal attention is
that which strives to lay hold of the meaning of the words said in the
office. Superficial attention is that advertence of soul which applies
itself to the correct recitation of the words, avoiding errors of
pronunciation, mutilation, transposition, etc., etc.

II. Subjectively, virtual attention suffices; habitual is divided into
actual and interpretative. Actual attention is that which exists at the
moment--e.g., the attention paid by a pupil to a question put by a
teacher. Virtual attention is attention which was once actual, but is
not such at the time spoken of, but which lives virtually. Habitual is
attention which once was actual, which does not remain in act, but which
was not retracted. Interpretative attention is that which never existed
at all, but which would have existed if the agent had adverted.

Which kind of internal attention is required in the reading of the
Office? I. Objectively, material, or superficial attention is necessary,
since the Breviary is a vocal prayer, and therefore it is necessary to
pronounce distinctly all the words of the day's office and to observe
the rubrics. But this suffices; it is not necessary that a priest
reciting his Hours should carefully notice each word, it is sufficient
to have general and moral attention to recite every part well, and with
the intention of praying, "Sed sufficere moralem et generalem qua quis
curet bene omnia dicere cum intentione orandi" (St. Alphonsus).

Hence, objectively, neither attention, which is called spiritual,
because it is not easy to attain, nor the literal attention, which
religious who do not understand Latin strive after, is needed for valid
recitation. By this, it is not meant to convey that spiritual attention
is not very excellent and very commendable and praiseworthy.

Subjectively, virtual attention suffices; habitual does not suffice,
neither does interpretative. Best of all is actual attention, but it is
not necessary, because it is not always within the power of mortals.

This want of internal attention is called mental distraction.
Theologians distinguish two kinds of distractions, voluntary and
involuntary. Voluntary distractions are thoughts which the mind freely
and directly embraces to the exclusion of pious thoughts which should
occupy it in prayer, of which the office is a high form; or they may be
thoughts which arise from previous laziness, thoughtlessness,
pre-occupation or some engrossing worldly affair. Involuntary
distractions are those which come unbidden and unsought to the mind, are
neither placed directly, nor by their causes, by the person at prayer.

Does a person reciting the Hours sin if he have distractions?

If the distractions be involuntary there is no sin. But if the
distractions be voluntary there is sin, But, unless the mind be
altogether filled with distractions, not thinking of God, of prayer, of
the words or of the meaning, and unless the distractions are _fully
voluntary_ and _reflective_ during a notable part of the office, there
is no mortal sin. Hence, St. Alphonsus, the great Doctor of Prayer,
wrote, "_ut dicatur aliquis officio non satisfacere, non solum
requiritur ut voluntarie se distrahat, sed etiam ut plene advertat se
distrahi, nam alias iste, licet sponte se divertat non tamen sponte se
divertit a recitatione_" (St. Alphonsus, n. 177). Therefore, before a
person accuse himself of not satisfying the precept of recitation, on
account of inattention or distractions, he must be able to affirm
positively (1)that he was wilfully distracted, (2)he must have noticed
not only his distraction and mental occupation by vain thoughts, but he
must have noticed _also_ that he was distracted in his recitation; (3)he
must be able to state positively that the intention, resolution or
desire to recite piously, which he made at the beginning of his prayer,
was revoked with full advertence and that it did not exist either
actually or virtually during the time of distraction in his recitation.
Seldom, indeed, are these conditions fulfilled, and seldom are there
gravely sinful distractions.

This subject of attention in prayer, in the official prayer of the
Church, is important. Long and learned disputes about its nature and
requirements occupied great thinkers in times long gone by. To-day
theologians argue on different sides; and anxiety, serious, painful and
life-long, reigns in the souls of many who struggle to recite the
office, _digne, attente ac devote_.


Authors generally give six causes which excuse a person from saying the
Hours: lawful dispensation, important work, grave illness, grave fear,
blindness, want of a Breviary. They are recorded in the
well-known lines:--

"Quem Papa dispenset multus labor opprimit aeger Qui timet aut occulus,
officioque caret."

1. The obligation of reading the Office is imposed by the Church and the
Pope can dispense in it even without cause. Bishops can give temporary

2. A grave occupation excuses from the whole or from a part of the
Office. Thus, missioners giving missions or parish retreats are excused
from the whole Office; so, too, are priest combatants in the battle
line; but when in rest camps they are bound to say the Hours. A priest
engaged in saying his Office, if he receive an urgent call to a dying
person may not have time to finish his Office before midnight. He is
exempt from the part of the Office omitted and does not sin by the
omission. The proposition claiming exemption from the Office for those
engaged in great studies was condemned by Pope Alexander VII. The
biographers of Lamennais trace the beginning of his downfall to his
exemption from his daily Office.

A difficulty arises sometimes as regards the full or partial or
non-exemption of those who foresee that serious occupation which cannot
be neglected must arise to prevent the recitation of the Hours. In such
cases priests are bound to recite the Office, or as much of it as
possible, within the limits of the current day. In doing this they may
anticipate the times fixed for the recitation of the small Hours, and
they may anticipate Vespers and Compline by reciting them in the
forenoon. If a priest foresees that he may not be able to recite Matins
for next day he is not bound to anticipate, as there is no obligation to
anticipation; the obligation is "recital between midnight and midnight."
It is becoming to anticipate, if possible, so that the Office may be
full and entire. If before midnight there be a cessation from necessary
professional work (e.g., hearing confessions), a priest is bound to
finish his Office for the day or to say as much of it as time allows.
If, however, there be time merely to take a necessary meal before
midnight (e.g., to prepare for a late Mass on next day, Sunday), and
not time to eat and to recite, the obligation of saying the
Hours ceases.

A grave illness exempts from the saying of the canonical Hours. Hence,
those seriously ill, those who fear the saying of the Office may upset
them in their weak state, and convalescents from a serious illness, are
excused from saying the Hours. In this matter the advice of a spiritual
or a medical adviser should be faithfully carried out by patients. St.
Alphonsus teaches that invalids and convalescents may be allowed to say
Mass and yet not be bound to say the Office, as the saying of Mass does
not fatigue them so much as the saying of the Office (St. Alphonsus,
n. 155).

A grave fear exempts from the saying of the Office. A priest amongst
furious persecutors of the Church should be excused from any recitation
of his Hours which he fears may draw on him cruel or severe punishments.

Blindness makes the recitation of the Office a physical impossibility.
Even very defective sight, although not total blindness, exempts from
the obligation of saying the Office. In all such cases a formal
declaration of exemption should be sought. Some theologians hold that
such priests, if they have committed to memory a notable part of the
psalms, should repeat that part from memory. The new psaltery makes such
memorising an extremely difficult feat and no obligation for such a
repetition from memory can be imposed.

Want of a Breviary excuses from the recitation of the Office. For
example, if a priest setting out on a long journey forgets to take his
Breviary or leaves it in a railway carriage, and cannot procure another,
or cannot procure another without, great inconvenience, he is exempt
from the obligation of his Office; and the omission being involuntary is
sinless. The wilful casting away of a Breviary, as an excuse for not
being able to read the Office, is gravely sinful; and unless the sinful
desire be retracted there may be question of many mortal sins of wilful
omission to fulfil the obligation, as the omissions are then wilful in
cause. Priests travelling are unable sometimes to recite the proper
Office of the day, as their Breviaries lack something (e.g., the
proper prayer or the lessons of the second nocturn). The Sacred
Congregation of Rites (December, 1854) decided "_Sacerdos peregre
profectus cui molesti difficiliorque esset officii recitatio cui et
pauca desunt in libro officii praesentis, nempe oratio et legenda,
valet de communi absque obligatione propria deinde ad supplementum
recitandi... atque ita servari mandavit_." The psalms as arranged
in the new psalter must always be said for a valid recitation of the
Office (_v. Divino Afflatu_).

What is a priest bound to do, who from a grave cause cannot find time to
recite the whole Office but only a part of it?

St. Alphonsus gives the rule, "If you can recite a part equivalent to a
small Hour, you are bound to do so under pain of mortal sin. But if you
cannot read or repeat a part equivalent to a small Hour, you are bound
to nothing, as a part so small--less than a small Hour--taken
separately, is considered inappreciable for the end the Church's law of
recitation has in view."


Persons who are scrupulous about the recitation of the Hours should have
help from their confessors, who should deal specifically with any of the
scruples which arise in the daily task. Scruples generally concern the
necessary intention, the necessary attention, pronunciation, and the
time necessary for a good and faithful recitation of the canonical
Hours. How should a confessor deal with scruples about intention? A
confessor should tell a cleric, scrupulous in this point, that his fear
is groundless and that by the very act of taking up his Breviary he
expresses his intention of praying, of saying his Hours; that it is not
necessary that such intention be actual or reflexive, it is sufficient
if it be virtual, and that such an intention _does_ exist every time one
opens the Breviary to say his Hours. The saying slowly and deliberately
the prayer "_Aperi Domine_" is a great aid to the scrupulous in forming
a right intention and in dispelling their vain fears.

Clerics troubled about attention are helped and comforted by their
confessor repeating to them what they well know themselves, about
voluntary and involuntary distractions, and the telling of the anxious
ones that this very anxiety and anguish show that their fear of losing
attention in their prayer is a true and real sign of its existence. In
dealing with scruples about vocal and integral pronunciation a confessor
should advise that no stopping should be made in the saying of the
psalms, etc., but that the recitation should be continued quietly,
without restraining the voice, without impatience, and without scrutiny
of the pronunciation of the part said, "God is a father, full of
goodness, not an exacting taskmaster, and He is more honoured by
moderate care than by a disturbing solicitude." Above all things, a
confessor should remember that it is important to forbid scrupulous
persons to repeat the whole or even the part of an Hour. An effort
should be made by him to tranquilise the troubled soul with the
principle that the precepts of the Church do not bind him to repeat the
Hours with such inconvenience as leads to bodily and mental illness. The
Church is our mother and does not wish her children to be troubled and
solicitous, but to pray in peace.



There are many reasons why we should recite the Divine Office devoutly,
for (1) the words which we read are holy; (2) He to Whom we speak is
God; (3) we speak in the name of Holy Church; (4) we are the associates
of thousands on earth and in heaven who sing God's praises; (5) the
purpose of our prayer is sublime; (6) it gives glory to God and draws
down His grace and mercy on His Church; (7) and, finally, the recitation
of the Office brings help and strength to those who repeat it fervently.

And, firstly, let us see what are the words of the Office. They are the
words of God or of His Church. In the psalms, scripture lessons, gospel
extracts, responses and antiphons, we have God's inspired word. In the
prayers, sermons, homilies, hymns, and often in the responses and
antiphons, as the Church is guided and assisted by the Holy Ghost, it
may be, in a sense, true to say that these her words are divine. For
what is more worthy of respect than the word of God? St. Augustine says
that it is no less worthy of respect than the body of Jesus Christ. _Non
minus est verbum Dei quam corpus Christi_ (Sermon 300). How very careful
should we be to treat the word of God with respect, worthily,
attentively, and devoutly (_digne, attente ac devote_).

(2) To whom do we speak in our daily service of prayer? We speak to our
Master, Whose very special work we are doing in offering up the great
prayer. His adorable eyes are fixed upon us at this sacred duty. He
listens to us, He reads our thoughts. He judges our intentions, our
efforts and their fulfilment. He is the King of kings, the Almighty God.
Mindful of His presence and majesty should we not try earnestly to bless
His Holy name and to free our hearts from vain, evil and wandering
thoughts? We pray _ad benedicendum nomen sanctum tuum; munda quoque cor
meum ab omnibus vanis perversis et alienis cogitationibus_.

(3) In whose name do we speak? It is a great honour to be an ambassador
for a great king and a mighty kingdom, guarding the interests of the
fatherland in a foreign land. The priest is always such an ambassador.
"For Christ, we are ambassadors," says St. Paul. In this work of daily
recitation of the Office, we are ambassadors, not of some petty king or
tiny state, but we represent the entire Church, the well-beloved spouse
of Christ, to whose prayer He ever hearkens. _Sonet vox tua in auribus
meis; vox enim tua dulcis est_ (Canticle of Canticles, ii. 14). And St.
Bernard says "_Sacerdos publica persona et totius Ecclesie os_." Hence,
every priest is the ambassador of Christ and of His Church, the guardian
of His interests. And as it is the duty of ambassadors to study
carefully, to watch and further the interests of the kings whom they
represent, it is a priest's duty to study carefully and further the
interests of Christ's Church by the devout fulfilment of the great daily
duty, the recitation of the Divine Office. History brands as traitors
those ambassadors who through ignorance of the language of the foreign
court, or through want of vigilant attention, allow the interests of
their royal masters to suffer. What a punishment awaits the days and
years of ignorant, careless or inattentive fulfilment of the great
official work of a priest--the Divine Office.

Who are a priest's associates in this work? They are the thousands of
priests and religious throughout the world who say the Hours, and who
send up daily and nightly the great prayer of praise and thanksgiving to
God. _Secundum nomen tuum, sic et laus tua in fines terrae_ (ps. 47, v.
ii). _Dies diei eructat verbum et nox nocti indicat scientiam_ (ps. 18,
v. 3). In this holy work of reciting the Hours, we are united with the
angels and saints in heaven in honouring our common Creator; for, the
Church herself reminds us of this ineffable honour in the hymn for the
dedication of the Church:--

          "Sed ilia sedes Coelitum
           Semper resultat laudibus
           Dumque trinum el unicum
           Jugi canore jungimur
           Almae Sionis aemuli."

     "That house on high--it ever rings
      With praises of the King of kings;
      For ever there, on harps divine,
      They hymn th' eternal One and Trine
      We, here below, the strain prolong;,
      And faintly echo Sion's song."

What are the ends for which the Office is said? (a) To glorify God, (b)
to help holy Church, and (c) to sanctify ourselves.

(a) "To glorify God," that is, to adore His infinite majesty, to thank
Him for his innumerable and constant blessings, to satisfy His justice
in expiating the sins of the world and to beg His grace and mercy. The
ends for which the Office are said are the same as those for which Mass
is offered, for the Office is the supplement of the Mass (Tronson).

(b) "To help holy Church." The Church militant has many and great needs.
It is her mission to extend the Kingdom of Christ, and to do this great
work she needs freedom from hostile laws, strength and courage to
withstand tyrants and persecution, unity and peace amongst her children
and pastors, zeal in her ministers and recruits for her militant forces.
To obtain these results the Church relies very much on the devout
recitation of the Office. Doubtless, it is for these purposes that the
Church has confided to the care of her chosen ministers this public
official prayer and has laid no such obligation on the laity. St.
Alphonsus did not hesitate to say that if priests and religious said the
Office as they should say it, the Church should not be in the deplorable
state that it then was in. This Doctor of the Church adds "that by
devout saying of the Office many sinners could be drawn from the slavery
of the devil and many souls would love God with more fervour." The wants
of the Church are greater now than they were ever before. Each
devoutly-said Hour draws down God's blessing on His Church. What a vast
number of blessings come from a life of daily recitation offered
worthily, attentively and devoutly (_digne, attente, ac devote_).

(c) "The benefit of the person who recites the Hours." The third end for
which the canonical Hours are offered is for the benefit of the person
who recites them. St. Alphonsus wrote, "If they said the Office as they
ought, priests themselves should not be always the same, always
imperfect, prone to anger, greedy, attached to self-interest and to
vanities.... But if they recited the Office, not as they say it with
distractions and irreverences, but with devotion and recollection,
uniting the affections of the heart with so many petitions which they
present to God, they should certainly not be so weak as they are, but
would acquire fervour and strength to resist all temptations and to lead
a life worthy of priests."

Another blessing springs from the attentive recitation of the
Breviary--viz., the daily withdrawal from the world and its cares which
must be banished from the soul which speaks with God. For, as St.
Alphonsus writes, the saying of the Hours devoutly, gives occasion to
pious souls to elicit many acts of virtue, acts of faith, of hope, of
charity, of humility, etc. For one psalm, says the saint, moves all the
powers of the soul and causes us to elicit a hundred acts. And in the
Breviary are found the most beautiful formulae of adoration and praise,
the psalms above all other parts of the Office being wonderfully rich in
magnificent praise of God's attributes. Where can such sublime forms of
prayer and praise be found as in Psalms, 8, 9, 17, 18, 21, 23, 28, 29,
33, 45, 46, 49, 54--to name but a few?

Finally, the attentive recitation of the Breviary is a source of light
and of grace and of merit. How many lights in prayer spring from these
divine words; how many maxims enter the soul, how many beautiful prayers
are said, and if they be well said, they would obtain for priests
treasures of grace, according to Christ's infallible promise, "Ask and
you shall receive"? A person can merit several degrees of glory by one
devout recitation of the Office, what an abundance of merit may be
gained by the devout recitations in a life of twenty, thirty or forty
years! And it was this thought of lost opportunities and of the great
treasures within the reach of priests, which caused St. Alphonsus when
an old man, to study the Breviary psalms and to write his
well-known work.

Nor was St. Alphonsus alone in his opinion of the great means of
sanctification which the Breviary affords to priests. St. Joseph of
Cupertino (1603-1663) was asked by Monsignor Claver, Bishop of Potenza,
to point out a means for the greater sanctification of the priests of
his diocese. The saint replied, "Monsignor, if you wish to sanctify your
priests strive to procure two things for them, that they say the Office
piously and that they say Mass with fervour. Nothing more is necessary
to ensure their salvation" (_Life of St. Joseph Cupertino_ by Bernini).
The words of the wonderful Franciscan, whose life was a marvel of piety,
were repeated a century later by St. Leonard of Port Maurice (1671-1751)
and are often quoted as his own.

In every age of the Church earnest souls drew great sweetness and
consolation from reading the psalms or from reading the canonical Hours.
Writers dealing with this part of priestly work quote the words of
eminent servants of God, They quote St. Augustine, St. Gregory
Nazianzan, St. Bernard, St. Catherine of Bologna, St. Philip Neri, St.
Francis De Sales and St. Alphonsus. It would make this section of this
book too long to quote the words of these saints. But the words of St.
Francis De Sales seem to have a special force. "Sometimes I am so
low-spirited," wrote the Saint, "by business and events, that I do not
know where to turn nor at what end to begin: but during the Office
nothing annoys me, I have not even distractions, I imagine that I am in
heaven singing with the angels the praises of my Creator; and on leaving
the choir I find often that the mighty problems which had given me
trouble are cleared away and, solved in an Instant." Biographies of
God's servants record many great favours bestowed on priests who recite
the Breviary piously. Cardinal Bona, recording a vision vouchsafed to
St. Bernard, tells how the saint saw an angel beside each choir monk,
recording his disposition of soul. Some angels wrote in letters of gold,
others in letters of silver, others in ink, others in water, and others
held their pens but wrote nothing. Our Lord explained to the saint the
meaning of the vision; the writing in gold typified charity and the
fervour of the recitation; the writing in silver denoted devotion but
little charity or fervour; the words in ink-writing signified careful
attention to the full verbal recitation but to little else; the words
written in water meant distraction and little attention to the meaning
or to the words; and the angels who wrote nothing watched the insolence
of those who were voluntarily distracted. The vision has furnished the
theme of much pious writing and a theme for Christian painters. It shows
how God watches over the daily work of priests, while His angels record
in golden or silvern letters the work of pious recitation, or perhaps
hold their pens at rest.

What means should be used to promote pious recitation?



Preparation is necessary before beginning every prayer, for the Holy
Ghost says, "Before prayer prepare thy soul, and be not as a man that
tempteth God" (Ecclesias. 18. 23). This preparation necessary before
other prayers is above all necessary before the recitation of the Divine
Office, which is the greatest of all prayers. Two kinds of preparation
are necessary, the remote and the proximate.

The remote preparation demands the removal of all obstacles which impede
prayer, and the greatest of all prayers, the Church's official prayer.
The chief or capital obstacles which impede or prevent a pious
recitation of the Breviary are: sin, the passions, the absorbing
thoughts of creatures and the ignorance of the Divine Office. And the
means to remove these obstacles are to purify the conscience, science,
to mortify the passions, to guard the sense and to have an intelligent
knowledge of the duty and requirements of a proper fulfilment of the
daily task of the saying of the Canonical Hours.

The first means is to purify the conscience from sin, for sin hinders
prayer. But what effect has sin on the recitation of the Office? The
Office is a prayer, an elevation of the soul to God, and as all writers
on ascetics teach, sin is a chain that binds us to earth; it is, says
St. Francis, as birdlime which impedes the soul in its flight upwards.
Prayer is a conversation with God, but a soul loving sin cannot converse
with God; "_Peccatores Deus non audit_" (St. John, ix. 31). Prayer is an
intimate union with God, but a soul resting in sin can have no intimate
union with God; there can be no intimate union between light and
darkness, between sanctity and sin, between good and evil; in a word,
between Christ and Belial. _Quae participatio, quae societas lucis ad
tenebras? Quae conventio Christi el Belial?_

The second means of procuring fervent prayer is the mortification of the
passions. It is not enough to secure fervour in prayer that our souls
should be free from sin; we must struggle to master our passions. This
point is important--for a soul upset by its passions, anger, pride,
etc., cannot with fervour recite the Hours, for it cannot converse with
God, it cannot elevate itself to God, it can have no true union with
God. It cannot converse with God, for God will not converse with an
unmortified soul for three reasons. First, He will not speak if there be
no one to listen, for the Holy Ghost tells us "Where there is no
hearing, pour not out words" (Eccli. xxxii. 6). God wishes a soul in
converse with Him to be calm and still, for God is not in the earthquake
(3 Kings, xix. ii.). Again, even if God speaks to an unmortified soul,
it cannot hear Him as the passions fix its attention on worldly matters.
And even when such a soul tries to listen and to understand, the
passions surging and warring drown all sound and sense of holy things.
For, "the animal man perceiveth not these things that are of the spirit
of God, for it is foolishness to him and he cannot understand, because
it is spiritually examined" (I. Cor. ii. 14). The human soul cannot truly
unite itself to God if the passions are not conquered, because by their
very nature they are opposed to God and hence inspire estrangement from,
and disgust for, holy things.

Thirdly, the senses must be guarded. Our five senses can impede the
recitation of the Office because they present to our souls images of the
things which occupy them, and they can draw our will towards the
pleasures which correspond with these objects. It is necessary for the
worthy, attentive and devout saying of the Office that each sense be
guarded. The sense of sight should be guarded from gazing at objects at
hand, persons, books, landscape, etc. The sense of hearing should be
guarded in flying from the company of evil speakers, calumniators,
detractors, those who speak of worldly affairs or who give evil counsel.
It is necessary, too, to guard the tongue from evil speech. "I have set
a guard to my mouth, when the sinner stood against me" (Psalm 38, 2);
and it is well to guard against too frequent or too long conversations,
which fill the soul with thoughts disturbing to a prayerful disposition.
The sense of touch should likewise be guarded, for St. Thomas says that
the sense of touch is the maintenance of the other senses (1 P. q. 76,
a. 75). And when the foundations of a house commence to fall asunder,
the walls, the frame and the roof totter and fall. So it is with the
senses; when the sense of touch is disturbed the other senses quickly
complete the ruin.

What knowledge is needed for the valid and for the licit recitation of
the Hours? Must the person know the meaning of the words read? No such
knowledge is necessary, for God hears the prayer of the ignorant and
illiterate and of the babes. To the chief priests and scribes, who
hearing the children crying out the Saviour's praise in the temple,
Christ said "Yea, have you not read 'Out of the mouths of infants and
sucklings thou hast perfected praise'" (St. Matth. xxi. 15-16), St.
Augustine defended from the sneers of the learned, those who prayed to
God in rude and barbarous words, or words which they did not understand.
"_Noverint non esse vocem ad aures Dei nisi animi affectum_" (_De
Catech._ Rud. C.I.). The Church has bound religious, both men and women,
to say the Office in choir, even though they may not understand Latin.
Nevertheless, it is highly desirable that those who understand Latin
should understand what they read daily in the Breviary. God, the Church,
the practice of the saints, our own intelligence, our spiritual
advantage, demand that every priest should read with knowledge so that
with more certainty he may read attentively and devoutly.

For (1) the Holy Ghost warns us to sing wisely, _Psallite sapienter_
(Ps. 46.8); (2) that priests may sing wisely, may say the daily Office
piously is the reason and end of liturgical studies of the psalms and of
the Breviary in theological colleges; (3) the saints who wrote so
piously and so learnedly on the psalms and on psalmody are for ever
impressing this matter of intelligent recitation. St. Augustine wrote,
"_Et quare dicta sunt, nisi ut sciantur? Quare sonuerunt nisi ut
audiantur? Quare audita sunt nisi ut intelligantur_" (Tract xxxi. in
Joan). Again, commenting on psalm 146, he writes, "David teaches that we
sing wisely; let us not seek the mere sound for the ear, but a light for
the soul." St. Thomas Aquinas commenting on "For I pray in a tongue, my
spirit prayeth, but my understanding is without fruit" (I. Cor. xiv. 14)
wrote "_Constat quod plus lucratur qui orat. Nam, ille qui intelligit
reficitur quantum ad intellectum et quantum ad affectum; sed mens ejus
qui non intelligit est sine fructu refectionis_." And (4) our own
intellect tells us that the Breviary should be read intelligently and
devoutly. One of the ends of the Church in imposing the Divine Office as
an obligation is, that by honouring the holy mysteries, or the holy
memories of the saints, we may raise our hearts and souls to God, as St.
Paul wishes us, "May the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be
of one mind towards one another according to Jesus Christ, that with one
mind and one mouth you may glorify God" (Rom. xv. 5-6), an effect that
cannot be produced by the recital of words which are not understood. It
is almost impossible to avoid very grave distractions and to sustain
attention if there be not a good knowledge of the matter and form of the
Hours recited.

It seems irrational that, priests should spend daily more than an hour
reading words that they understand not at all, or very imperfectly; and
that the beautiful and sublime thought and language of the book of
psalms, which are admired by all educated men, should be, to those who
read them every day for years, nothing but a tinkling cymbal, _vox et
praeterea nihil_. This is often the case even with priests who practise
piously and methodically mental prayer. And yet nowhere are such
beautiful acts of faith and confidence in God's power expressed as in
the Psalms (e.g., 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12, 16, 19, 25, 27, 30, 34, 43, 54,
55, 56, etc.); no more sublime expressions of praise exist than in the
Psalms 8, 9, 17, 18, 20, 21, etc. Time spent in studying the history of
the Breviary, the structure and the growth of the contents of each Hour,
the meanings of the prayers and hymns, is time well spent.


First. It is necessary to foresee from the reading of the _Ordo_ what is
to be said, and to mark all the psalms, lessons, responses, antiphons
and prayers. By this practice, St. Bonaventure says, all is recited and
recited in order. _Libri et alia necessaria ad officium praeparantur et
legenda studiose ante praevisa, quando et quomodo sint dicenda
dicuntur_ (Intit. Novit, p. I., c. 4). Unless this matter be arranged
before the prayer, _Aperi_ is begun, a priest is certain to suffer from
distractions, to run the risk of violating the rubrics and to lose some
of the spiritual profit which arises from preparation. This point of
preparation is attended to by all thoughtful priests and it was ever the
practice of the great students and lovers of liturgy.

Second. It is necessary to recollect ourselves. This is simply to draw
off from profane thoughts the mind and the heart, and to apply them to
the sublime work of conversing with God, which we do in the Divine
Office. This recollecting of our wandering thoughts before prayer is
impressed on us by Holy Scripture, by the example of the saints, and by
our own common sense. Holy Scripture warns us "Before prayer prepare thy
soul and be not as a man that tempteth God" (Ecclus. 18. 23). And as
typical of the preparation made by saintly priests, the example of St.
Charles Borromeo may be mentioned. The saint always spent a quarter of
an hour in preparatory prayer before beginning the Church's official
prayer. The Venerable John D'Avila made the same practice general
amongst his disciples. This holy man narrates, how one day he met a
priest of the Society of Jesus, who asked him to recite the Hours with
him, and that before beginning their prayer the Jesuit fell on his
knees, saying, "There are some who speak of saying the Office as if it
were a trifle. Come, they say, let us say our Hours together, and so
immediately begin. This is showing very little appreciation for so holy
a duty, for it well merits a few moments at least of recollection"
(Bacquez). Our own common sense tells us not to rush heedlessly to begin
any important work. To converse with God is a work of sublime importance
which needs preparation, so that it may be done attentively.

Third. We must invoke God's aid by prayer. No prayer is more suitable
than the prayer given as a preparatory prayer in the Breviary, "_Aperi,
Domine, os meum_ ... Open Thou, O Lord, my mouth to bless Thy holy name;
cleanse my heart from vain, evil and wandering thoughts; enlighten my
understanding, inflame my will, that so I may worthily, attentively and
devoutly recite this Office and deserve to be heard in the presence of
Thy Divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. O Lord, in union with
that divine intention wherewith Thou whilst here on earth didst Thyself
praise God, I offer these Hours to Thee."

Fourth. To unite ourselves with Jesus Christ. In the prefatory prayer
"_Aperi, Domine_," we say "_Domine, in unione_," etc. In Baptism,
Christians are united to Jesus, to His life, to His spirit. He is the
Head of the Church and we are its members. And this union should be a
real, explicit, vivifying union when we fulfil our ministry of social
prayer. This union with Christ is sought for by Himself, by the
Apostles, by the Church, and is practised ever by God's saints. The
words of the prayer should be reduced to action.

1. Christ our model in all things is our model in prayer, and so He
teaches us that when we pray we must say "Our Father, Who art in
Heaven," that is, to use His very words and sentiments. And this desire
of our Lord, that souls should be united to Him in prayer, has often
been manifested by Him to His saints. To St. Gertrude He said, "My
daughter, behold My Heart; look upon It in future as supplying your own
defects. When you would pray, ask It to help you to give My Father the
homage you owe Him. I shall be ever ready to second you as soon as you
call Me to your aid." St. Bernard, schooled in this practice by the Holy
Ghost, knew all its sweetness: "David," he says, "rejoiced of old to
have found his heart to pray to his Master and his God--_Invenit servus
tuus cor tuum ut oraret te oratione hac_ (II. Kings viii. 27). And I,
that I may pray, have found the heart of my King and my Brother, of my
sweet Saviour; shall I not then also pray? Yes, certainly, for I am,
too, happy, as I have, if not the Heart of Jesus in place of mine, at
least have I mine in that of Jesus" (Bacquez, p. 191).

2. St. Paul recommends us to offer our prayers through Jesus Christ. "By
him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise always to God, that
is to say, the fruit of lips confessing to His name" (Heb. xiii. 15).

3. The Church wishes this union with Christ and mentions it several
times in her prayers, _Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum_. She
expresses her wish in the preparatory prayer, _Aperi, Domine_; she
wishes the words and sentiments of the psalms to be applied to Jesus,
the Saviour, whom David typified, and to whom the psalms in great
number relate. And in the frequent repetition of the _Pater Noster_, we
speak Christ's sentiments and words.

4. The lives of the saints furnish many examples and precepts of this
union with Christ in our prayer. To the examples of St. Gertrude and St.
Bernard many others can be added. Several such examples are quoted by
Bacquez in his work on the Office.

5. The remembrance of the sublime work of the Office should aid in its
fervent recitation. Priests should remember the words of St. Alphonsus:
"After the sacrifice of the Mass the Church possesses no treasure so
great as the Divine Office." "It is God's Church, the Spouse of Christ,
who has done me the honour of choosing me for this great work--me, in
preference to a hundred others. She puts into my hand her holy book of
heavenly language, and asks me to read its words before God, to unite
with the angels and saints in honouring God."

6. To propose some particular intention before the recitation of the
Hours begins, and to renew it during the recitation is an excellent
means of guarding against distractions and mechanical routine. It
sustains during the prayer the fervour with which it was begun. St.
Bonaventure said to priests "Give _great_ attention to the signs
(_i.e._, to the directions, about kneeling, standing, sign of cross,
etc.), _greater_ attention to the words, and the _greatest_ attention to
the (particular) intention."

But what intention ought we to have?

We should have general intentions and particular intentions. We must
have the general intentions of the Church, whose ambassadors we are. We
must pray that God be known and adored, loved and thanked and praised.
We must pray that the Church have freedom, that she may be exalted, that
the kingdom of Christ may spread and flourish, that the Pope and clergy
of the world may be blessed and guided by God, that holy souls may be
confirmed in virtue and that sinners may be converted.

We should have also some particular intentions in reading our Hours.
Thus, we may pray to obtain a more lively faith, a greater hope, a more
ardent charity, greater meekness and humility, greater patience,
detachment from the world, greater fraternal charity, help in keeping
vows--in a word, an increase of virtues, especially those in which we
may have great wants. Again, a priest may and should beg God to help him
and guide him by his light and grace, in doubts, in trouble, in crosses,
in his daily work as a priest, in his parish, in his schools, in his
college. Particularly and fervently should a priest pray for success in
his religious instruction in school, in church, in the pulpit. For St.
Augustine tells us that success in this matter depends more on prayer
than on preaching (_De Doc. Christ., Lib_. 4, chap. 15). And at every
Hour a priest should pray for a happy death.

Before saying his Hours, a priest may form a special intention of
praying for others, his superiors, his parents, his brothers and
sisters, his benefactors, his friends, his enemies, for those who have
asked for prayers, for some one in sorrow, for some one in sin, for a
soul in purgatory. Of course, these prayers benefit the priest who
offers them, for as St. Gregory the Great said so well, "_Plus enim pro
se valere preces suas efficit qui has et pro aliis impendit_" (Moral
II. 25).


I. A suitable place should be selected. The Psalmist sang "_In omni loco
dominationis ejus, benedic, anima mea, Domino_" (Ps. 102, 22). Our Lord
wishes us to pray always; St. Paul says (I. Tim. ii.) that we should
pray in every place, and theologians teach that a priest may validly and
licitly say his Hours walking in the fields, in his room, or in any
suitable place. The most suitable place is the church. For it is a house
of prayer (St. Matt. xxi. 43), and the Holy Ghost asks us to go there to
pray, "_in templo ejus omnes dicent gloriam_" (Ps. 28, 9). The Apostles,
going to the temple to pray at the sixth and at the ninth hour, show us
how suitable is the place holier than the temple--the church. The
practice of the saints impresses on us the suitability of the church for
the Church's official prayer. In the life of every modern saint we find
recommended and practised the saying of the Hours at the altar. Perhaps,
the example which is best known to missionary priests, is the example of
the Cure d'Ars, who in the early days of his priestly life always said
his Breviary kneeling in the sanctuary. His parishioners liked from time
to time to slip into the church to watch him. "Often," says an
eye-witness, "he paused while praying, his looks fixed on the
Tabernacle, with eyes in which were painted so lively a faith that one
might suppose our Lord was visible to his gaze. Later, his church being
continually filled with an attentive crowd following his least
movements, he took pains to avoid everything that might excite their
admiration. Yet still, he might be frequently found, after a long day
passed in the sacred tribunal, reciting his Hours on his knees, either
in the sacristy or in a corner of the choir, a few steps from the altar;
so strong was the attraction that drew him to unite his prayer to that
of our Lord, so great was the love and respect inspired by the presence
and infinite majesty of his Divine Master" (_Life of Cure d'Ars_,
by Monnin).

Every priest must feel that the church benches, or the sanctuary, with
their silence, their every part awakening and reminding the soul that
this is the house of God, this is the gate of Heaven, are places most
suitable for prayer and are great aids to fervent prayer. The thought of
the presence of Christ with His adoring angels, to whose songs of praise
the priest should unite himself, should help wonderfully in the devout
recitation of the Hours. St. Alphonsus recommends that priests saying
the Breviary should say it before a crucifix or before a statue or
picture of the Blessed Virgin, so that gazing from time to time on these
holy objects may foster or renew pious thoughts.

II. A great aid to pious recitation of the Hours is to take up a
respectful position. The Office is a prayer, an elevation of the soul to
God, and should be treated as such; and as everyone knows, the union of
soul and body is such that in vocal prayer both are employed. If the
body take up a lazy or unbecoming position in prayer, it is an insult
to God to Whom prayer is offered, and is a certain source of distraction
and faulty prayer. Habit does much in this matter, and where a priest
labours to correct an inclination to take up a too comfortable position
in saying his Hours, he is striving to pray well.

Priests, young and old, say writers on this point, should be vigilant in
this aid to fervent prayer. The well-known words of St. Teresa
recommending a comfortable attitude in prayer do not clash with this
doctrine. In the _Selva_, St. Alphonsus writes: "It is related that
while two religious recited Matins a devil appeared, caused an
intolerable stench, and through mockery said, 'To the prayer which you
offer such incense is suited'--_ad talem orationem tale debetur

Which attitude is the best? Seeing the examples of the saints, St.
Charles Borromeo, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Francis de Sales, St. John de
la Salle, the Cure d'Ars, and of many other saintly men, the best
attitude in reciting the Hours is kneeling. Other saints accustomed
themselves to recite their Hours standing, with head uncovered. Others
followed, in private recitation, all the positions--sitting, kneeling,
standing--required in choir. The practice is said to aid in banishing
distractions, and contributes greatly to attention and devotion. Of
course, in private recitation no one is bound to any of these practices.
But they have proved useful to many in practising devout prayer.
Everyone is bound to pray with fervour, and a respectful attitude is a
big help towards that end.

Slow, deliberate pronunciation is another aid to the fervent saying of
the Hours of the Breviary. The lives of saintly men show their practice
in this matter. Knowing that they were the ambassadors of the Church in
presenting her praise, thanks and wants to God, they read with care and
attention. From their slow and deliberate reading of the holy words,
their souls drew out the sublime thoughts and sentiments which their
lips expressed. In rapid reading, the mind and heart have not time to
think well on the meaning of the words and of the sentiments, and hence,
no holy thoughts fill the soul, no acts of virtue are elicited, no
prayer of petition is offered, no holy resolutions are formed. Indeed,
very often--to quote the words of a venerable author--priests seem to
say with their lips and to express by their rapid reading, not _Deus in
adjutorium meum intende_, O God, make haste to help me! but _Domine ad
festinandum me adjuva_--"O God, help me to hasten?" Wise old Rodriguez
advises readers of spiritual books to observe a hen drinking and to
imitate her slow and deliberate sipping, by reading in small quantities,
with pauses. Sometimes priests acquire the habit of hurried reading,
quite unconsciously, and afterwards labour hard, and in vain, too, to
correct it. It is important for beginners in the Breviary to go at a
slow pace, as the trot and the gallop are fatal to good and pious
recitation. Sometimes priests excuse this hurried reading, as they wish
to save time! Why do priests wish to save time? "For study," some may
say; but the obligation of the Divine Office precedes all obligations of
study, and its devout recitation is of far greater importance to the
priest and to the Church than is any other or every other study. Some
priests gallop through the Hours, to gain time for other ministerial
work, they say. But they forget that the primary work--after the
celebration of Mass--and the _most important work_ of a priest, is the
great official prayer of the Church. Who amongst priests leads the life
of ceaseless toil which the Cure d'Ars led? And we have read how he said
his Hours. St. Francis Xavier found time to preach to his many
neophytes, to teach them, to baptize them, and yet he did not use the
permission given him to shorten his Breviary prayer. He read the whole
Office daily and added to it prayers to obtain the grace of better
attention and devotion.

Sometimes the reading of the Hours is hurried for a motive less
praiseworthy than the motives of study or of priestly work. _Producitur
somnus, producitur mensa, produncuntur confabulationes, lusus, nugae
nugarum; solius supremae Magestratis, cultus summa qua potest celeritate
deproperatur_ (Kugler, _De Spiritu Eccles_.), "On this, God complained
one day to St. Bridget, saying that some priests lose so much time every
day in conversing with friends on worldly affairs; and afterwards, in
conversing with Him, while they recite the Office, they are so hurried
that they dishonour Him more than they glorify Him" (St. Alphonsus,
_Selva_). In the hurried reading of the Office, time, a few minutes
perhaps, is gained, but what is lost? Does the loss of all the lights
and graces and blessings of the Office compensate for the time gained?
It is important that all who read the Breviary hurriedly, or who may be
tempted to acquire the habit, should weigh well the words read therein
(Friday's Vespers) "_Labor labiorum ipsorum operiet eos; cadent super
eos carbones_" (Ps. 139). "The labour of their lips shall overwhelm
them; burning coals shall fall upon them."

To acquire this important habit, the practice of reading at a slow pace
the words of the Breviary, authors suggest several little hints. One is,
never to start reading the Hours unless there be _ample_ time for
finishing the Hour or Hours intended to be then and there read. The
practice of squeezing the small Hours into scraps of time (e.g., in
the intervals between hearing confessions in the confessional, at a
session) is fatal to careful and pious reading. Another hint is, to read
everything, every word (_e.g., Pater Noster, Ave, Credo_), and to repeat
nothing from memory, because the printed words meeting the eyes and the
spoken words reaching the ears help to fix the attention and there is
less risk of their passing unnoticed. This was the practice of St.
Charles Borromeo. St. Philip Neri never recited from memory even in
saying the small Hours. St. Vincent de Paul always spent a great time in
saying his Breviary. His intense fervour was helped by his careful
reading of every word, and this practice of keeping his eyes fixed
steadily on the printed matter of the book he recommended to his
congregation of priests. Some holy priests maintained that they could
recite from memory with greater fervour than from the reading of the
pages of the Breviary; but the practice is not one for the many. Another
hint to help pious recitation is to _earnestly wish_ to say the Office
worthily, attentively and devoutly. This wish must bring up before the
mind the thought of how displeasing to God and how great is the daily
loss--not to speak of a lifetime's loss-to the soul of a priest who
prays carelessly, tepidly and mechanically. But in spite of all
precautions, it may be noticed during the recitation of the Hours that,
without our own fault, the words are said too quickly. It is advised,
then, to pause and to say mentally what the Venerable Boudon was wont to
say to his soul in similar circumstances: "To punish and mortify thee, I
will go more slowly; I will devote to my office to-day a longer time"

IV. To prevent distractions and to banish them are no easy matters. It
is impossible to avoid all distractions. Involuntary distractions do not
hinder merit; still it is important that an effort be made to diminish
and repress the quality of such disturbing elements in prayer.

First of all, we can never totally avoid all distractions, nor can we
entirely and completely remove them when they enter our souls. The human
soul cannot pray for any notable time without distraction. The greatest
saints knew this well. St. Augustine wrote, "_Vult se tenere ut stet, et
quodammodo fugit a se nec invenit cancellos quibus se includat_" (in
Psalm 95). St. Thomas wrote "_Vix unum Pater noster potest homo dicere
quin mens ad alia fertur_." The author of the _Imitation of Christ_
wrote, "For I confess truly that I am accustomed to be very much
distracted. For oftentimes I am not there where I am bodily standing or
sitting, but am rather there where my thoughts carry me" (Bk. iii. c.
48). The same writer wrote, "And I, a wretch and the vilest of men.... I
can hardly spend one half hour as I ought." St. Teresa wrote, "I am not
less distracted than you are during Office, and try to think that it
arises from weakness of head. Do not fear to think so, too. Does not our
Lord know, that when we perform this duty we would wish to do it with
the greatest possible attention?"

After reading these words we can understand how prayer offered up with
involuntary distractions is true, holy prayer. St. Thomas tells us
"_Dicendum quod in spiritu et veritate orat, qui ex instinctu spiritus
ad orandum accedit, etiamsi ex aliqua infirmitate mens postmodum
evagetur.... Evagatio vero mentis quae fit praeter propositum orationis
fructum non tollat_" (2.2. q. 83, a. 13).

Nevertheless, every effort should be made to avoid and to banish
distractions. The ways of doing this are given in all treatises on
prayer. Every priest knows them well. There are negative means and
positive means. The negative means consist in withdrawing the senses and
the powers of the soul from everything disturbing the soul's converse
with God; in guarding against any too absorbing interest in worldly
affairs, so that the mind is unmanageable and cannot be fixed on sacred
things. St. Francis of Assisi, working at a piece of furniture before
saying Terce, was, during the saying of that hour disturbed by the
thought of his manual work. When he re-entered his cell he took the bit
of work and threw it in the fire saying, "I wish to sacrifice to the
Lord the thing which hindered my prayer to Him."

The positive means of avoiding and of banishing distractions are given
above; they are to read slowly, to read every word, to read in a
becoming position, to observe choir directions, to give ample time to
each Hour. Another rule given by writers on the pious recitation of the
Office, is to pause at certain places in the psalms to renew attention
and elicit affections. Some authors recommend such pauses at the end of
the invitatory, at the end of each hymn, or after each _Gloria_. "Study
well the _Gloria Patri_," said St. Francis of Assisi, "for in it you
find the substance of the scriptures."

V. To apply the mind to what is read is another help to pious
recitation. It seems to be a useless repetition of an obvious fact that
to apply the mind to the prayers read, helps to ward off and to drive
away distractions. Such a practice is natural for a person of
intelligence, and the Church wishes and expects such intelligent and
heartfelt prayer. God said to the Jewish priests what applies to the
Christian priesthood, too: "And now, O ye priests, this commandment is
to you, if you will not hear, if you will not lay it to heart to give
glory to My name, saith the Lord of Hosts, I will curse your blessings,
because you have not laid it to heart" (Mal. ii. 1-2). Christ complained
about the Jewish people who honoured Him with their lips, but had their
hearts far from Him. And God's great servants realized this fully. St.
Paul said, "And he that speaketh by a tongue (the gift of speaking
strange tongues) let him pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a
tongue my spirit prayeth, _but my understanding is without fruit_. What
is it then? I will pray with the spirit. I will pray also with the
understanding. I will sing with the spirit, I will sing also with the
understanding" (I. Cor. xiv. 13-15). St. Gregory the Great said that
true prayer consists not only in the articulation of the words, but also
in the attention of the heart; for to obtain the divine graces our good
desires have greater efficacy than mere words (_Moral, lib_. 22. _cap_.
13). Peter de Blois wrote of the priests of his time, "_Labia sunt in
canticis et animus in patinis_! Their lips are in the psalms, but their
heart is in the dishes!" (_Selva_). "_Age quod agis_," says the
_Imitation of Christ_.

VI. It is advisable not to dwell on the literary excellence of the
Breviary during the recitation of the Office. It is a useful thing that
priests should recognise the authorship of the psalms recited, their
probable dates, the circumstances of their composition, the sublimity of
their thought, the peculiarity of their Hebrew style, the rhythm and
poetry of the Hebrews. But the _dwelling_ on these thoughts leads to
distractions. Again, some priests, like the clerics of the Renaissance
and post-Renaissance times, despise and dislike the Breviary for its
alleged barbarous style. These unworthy and foolish sentiments are met
with, very rarely. They are opposed to the priestly spirit, which should
love and respect the Scripture extracts, God's inspired words. The
homilies from the Fathers are well chosen, and suitable for the greatest
prayer and for the greatest prayerbook the world has ever known. The
hymns are the wonder and study of scholars of every religion. St.
Augustine, after his conversion even, felt a repugnance for the holy
Scriptures as unequal to Cicero in form. But in his mature age and
considered judgment, the saint reversed his judgment; "_non habent_," he
wrote of the Pagan classics, "_illae paginae vultum pietatis, lacrymas
confessionis spiritum contribulatum cor contritum et humiliatum_"
(Confess. Bk. 7, c. 21).

VII. To think of Christ's Passion is another aid to good Breviary
recitation. We have seen in the theological part of this book (page 4)
the seven principal stages of the Passion which correspond with the
seven principal parts of the Office. And this devout thought on some
scene of the Passion is recommended by all writers on the Divine Office,
as an easy and very profitable means and aid to attentive and devout
saying of the Hours. It is a means practised by thousands of priests.

St. Bonaventure recommended that at each Hour some thought of the
mysteries of the life and death of Christ should be held in mind. Thus,
Matins, the night Office, might be offered up in honour of the birth and
infancy of Christ; Lauds, in honour of His resurrection; Terce, in
honour of the coming of the Holy Ghost; None, in memory of Christ's
death; Vespers, in thanksgiving for the Eucharist.

VIII. To remember the presence of God, of our angel guardian, and of the
demons, is a practice recommended by writers on recitation of the Office
in or out of choir. This thought of the presence of God was one of the
aids recommended by St. Benedict to his religious, to aid their devout
fulfilment of the great work of reciting their Hours worthily,
attentively, and devoutly. Centuries after St. Benedict's death we find
St. Bonaventure repeating this advice to his novices. Blessed Peter
Faber, S.J., to make his Breviary prayer more fervent, used to picture
to himself the presence of his guardian angel at his side recording his
pious and holy thoughts, and the demon recording his distractions.
"Dearly beloved priest," wrote St. Alphonsus, "when you take the
Breviary in your hand, imagine that an angel stands on one side to
register your merits in the Book of Life if you say the Office with
devotion, and on the other a devil who, if you recite it with
distraction, writes your faults in the book of death. With this thought
excite yourself to say the Office with the greatest possible devotion.
Endeavour, then, not only at the beginning of the Office, but also at
the beginning of each psalm, to renew your attention, that you may be
able to excite in your heart all the sentiments that you shall read"


1. Give God thanks for His goodness in permitting us to join in the
great work, for hearing our prayer, and for His helps and graces during
its duration.

2. Ask God's pardon for faults committed in the course of this prayer of
His Church.

3. Devoutly recite the "_Sacro-sanctae et Individuae Trinitati_ ...
Amen. V. _Beata viscera_....R. _Et beata ubera_...." This prayer, which
is generally printed in Breviaries immediately before the Psalter, is to
be said kneeling, where this is physically possible. This is necessary
in order to gain the indulgence granted by Pope Pius X. to all persons
obliged to recite the Divine Office. It is not of obligation and its
omission is not sinful. It forms no part of the obligatory Office. "It
must be said kneeling, but at the request of Cardinal Asquini, Prefect
of the Congregation of Indulgences, Pope Pius IX. was pleased to make
one exception (July 12, 1865) in favour of persons who were not able to
say it kneeling--_infirmitatis tantum causa_. Hence, travellers or
persons on a journey are not exempted, for they can say it kneeling at
the end of the journey. It is sufficient to say the '_Sacro-sanctae_'
once only, that is, at the end of Compline, with the intention of
obtaining pardon of all the defects a person may have been guilty of in
saying the entire Office. Yet it may be repeated after each Hour, e.g.,
after Matins, and Lauds, after the small Hours and after Compline; in
each case one would thereby get forgiveness for the faults committed
during the part of the Office recited. This explanation has been given
by the Holy Father (Pius IX.) himself. The usage amongst the chapters at
Rome, as at St. Peter's, St. Mary's, etc., is to recite it every time
they leave the choir" (Maurel, S.J., _Le chretien e claire sur la nature
et l'usage des Indulgences_). The beauty and sublimity of this prayer is
not always appreciated. Its translation here may inspire fresh thoughts
of fervour. "To the most holy and undivided Trinity, to the humanity of
our Lord Jesus Christ crucified, to the fruitful virginity of the most
glorious Mary ever a Virgin, and to the company of all the saints, be
given by every creature eternal praise, honour, power and glory, and to
us the remission of all our sins. Amen. Blessed be the womb of the
Virgin Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father. And blessed be
the breasts which gave suck to Christ, our Lord."

In connection with this prayer an interesting question is discussed in
the _Irish Ecclesiastical Record_ (No. 540. December, 1912). Is this
prayer merely a sacramental? Has it an indulgence attached to it at all?
The querist quotes _The new Raccolta_, in answering the second part of
his query but wishes to know if it be an indulgence how it produces its
effects. "For either the defects committed in reading the Divine Office
are voluntary or involuntary. If voluntary they are sins and
consequently cannot be touched by an indulgence; if involuntary they are
not sinful and therefore stand in no need of an indulgence." In a very
long reply Dr. John M. Harty sums up, "For our part we adhere to the
view which says that the efficacy of the privilege annexed by Leo X. and
Pius X. to the _Sacro-sanctae_ is derived from an indulgence. At the
same time we think that these prayers are also sacramentals, since they
are official prayers of the Church. Under this aspect, they obtain the
ordinary benefits which are attached to sacramentals, and, accordingly
lead to a remission of sin and temporal punishment by means of sorrow
and satisfaction, which are elicited under the influence of the
abundant graces given by God, through the intercession of the Church.
They also placate God, so as to render Him willing to grant His favours
even though defects exist in the recitation of the Office.... Though
these defects are not produced _ex opere operato_, they nevertheless are
real, and are an encouragement to priests, whose human frailty prevents
the perfect performance even of the most sacred functions of their
priestly office."





_Etymology_. The word _Matins_ is derived from _Matuta_, the Latin name
for the Greek goddess of morning. The word used in the Roman Breviary is
_matutinum (i.e., tempus)_. It is the old name for Lauds, _Laudes
matutinae_. The word was also used to denote the office of Vigils.
Hence, the word was used in three senses, to denote the nocturns and
lauds, to denote Lauds only and to denote the vigil office. In
liturgical study the word was confusing, and sometimes it is the context
only which gives the author's meaning. This, the principal Hour of the
Church's public prayer, was, in the early days of Christianity, said at
night, and was called _Nocturnum_ and _Vigiliae_.

_Origin_. The night office of vigils dates from the very earliest days
of Christianity. It derived its name from the vigils or night watches of
the soldiers, who divided the night, from six o'clock in the evening to
six o'clock in the morning, into four watches of three hours each. The
nightly meetings of the Christians came to be called by the name
_vigils_, but the meetings were not begun at the stated hours of
military vigil and did not finish with them. Why these meetings of
Christians were held at night, and in what their religious exercises
consisted in, both in matter and form, is an unsolved problem. But it is
certain that they resembled the services of the Jewish synagogue in the
readings from Scripture, psalm-singing and prayers, and differed from
those services by having readings from the Gospels, the Epistles, and
from non-canonical books, such as the Epistle of St. Clement. The
Eucharistic service always formed part of them. Indeed, the very name,
Synagogue was given to these assemblies of Christians, as we see from
the Pastor of Hermes. In their common prayer, they faced towards the
East, as the Jews did towards Jerusalem. They had precentors and
janitors as in the Jewish rites. Their services consisted of the
readings from the Mosaic law, from Gospels and Epistles, exposition of
Scripture, a set sermon, long and fervent "blessings" or thanksgiving
and psalms. Before there were any written gospels to read, we gather
that the reading of the Old Law, of the Prophets and the Psalms, was
followed by a set sermon on the life and death of Christ (Bickel, _Messe
und Pascha,_ p, 91). From St. Basil (fourth century) it is concluded
that two choirs sang the Psalms. Cassian writes that the monks of the
fifth century celebrated the Night Office with twelve psalms and
readings from the Old and the New Testaments. Hence, "we find the same
elements repeated, the psalms generally chanted in the form of
responses, that is to say, by one or more cantors, the choir repeating
one verse which served as a response, alternately with the verses of the
psalms, which were sung by the cantors, readings taken from the Old and
the New Testaments and, later on, from the works of the Fathers and
Doctors; litanies, supplications, prayers for divers members of the
Church, clergy, faithful, neophytes and catechumens; for emperors,
travellers; the sick; and generally for all the necessities of the
Church, and even for Jews and for heretics. It is quite easy to find
these essentials in our modern Matins" (Dom Cabrol, _Cath.
Encyclopedia_, art. "Matins").

Matins on account of its length and position in the Breviary is the most
important part of the daily Office. And, on account of the variety and
beauty of its elements, is considered the most remarkable.

The prayer _Pater Noster_ begins the Office. It is the Lord's
prayer, _divina institutions formata_, when Christ told His
Apostles "_Sic vos orabitis_" (St. Matt. vi. 9). It is the most
excellent of all prayers, being most excellent in its author, its form,
its depth of meaning, its effects. The prayer consists of a preface,
"Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." And in the body of the
prayer are seven petitions--three for the honour and glory of God, in
and by ourselves, and four for our own wants, spiritual and temporal.
Very excellent matter on the greatest of prayers is to be found in the
_Catechism of the Council of Trent_ (translation, Duffy, Dublin)
and in _A Lapide_ (St. Matt. vi.). Writers on liturgy say that the
recitation of the _Pater Noster_ as the opening prayer of Matins
was _not obligatory_ until the beginning of the twelfth century. It
is said that the monks were wont to say a _Pater Noster_ at each
altar in the church before entering their stalls for Office recitation.
This practice delayed the beginning of the Office in choir, and a rule
was made that those who wished to say this prayer must say it in their
stalls, in a low tone. Of course, in the Breviary of Pius V. (1568) this
practice became obligatory on each person bound to read the Hours.

_Ave Maria_. This is a leading prayer amongst the great prayers of the
Mass and the Office. It, too, is excellent in its authors, its form
(clear, short devotional), in motive (in honouring Mary, Mother of God,
and in begging her intercession). It is divided into three parts, the
words of the angel, of St. Elizabeth and of the Church, Devout thoughts
on this prayer have been penned by countless clients of Mary in every
age. Priests are familiar with many such writings, great and small, but
_A Lapide_ (St. Luke I.) bears reading and re-reading. The prayer, as it
stands in the Breviary to-day, is not of very ancient date. "In point of
fact there is little or no trace of the Hail Mary as an accepted
devotional formula before 1050.... To understand the developments of the
devotion, it is important to grasp the fact that the _Ave Maria_ was
merely a form of greeting. It was, therefore, long customary to
accompany the words with some external gesture of homage, a genuflexion,
or at least an inclination of the head.... In the time of St. Louis the
_Ave Maria_ ended with the words _benedictus fructus ventris tui_: it
has since been extended by the introduction both of the Holy Name and of
a clause of petition.... We meet the _Ave_ as we know it now, printed in
the Breviary of the Camaldolese monks and in that of the Order de
Mercede C. 1514. ... The official recognition of the _Ave Maria_ in its
complete form, though foreshadowed in the Catechism of the Council of
Trent, was finally given in the Roman Breviary of 1568" (Father
Thurston, S.J., _Cath. Encyclopedia_, art. "Hail Mary.")

_Credo_. The Apostles' Creed is placed at the beginning of Matins,
because Matins is the beginning of the whole Office, and faith is the
beginning, the _principium_ of every supernatural work. St. Paul teaches
us that it is necessary for us to stir up our faith when we approach
God, "For he that cometh to God must believe that He is." In reciting
the Creed we should think of the sublime truths of our faith, and our
hearts should feel, what our lips say, "For with the heart we believe
unto justice; but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation"
(Rom. x. 10). We should remember too, that this formula of faith comes
to us from Apostolic times and that it has been repeated millions of
times by saints and martyrs; their sentiments of belief, of confidence
in God and love of God should be ours.

_Domine labia mea aperies_. The practice of this beautiful invocation
dates from the time of St. Benedict (480-553). In his Office it stood
after the words _Deus in adjutorium_. These words _Domine labia mea
aperies_, taken from the Psalm _Miserere_, remind us of God purifying
the lips of Isaias His prophet with a burning coal, of how God opened
the lips of Zachary to bless God and to prophesy. "And immediately his
mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke blessing God" (St.
Luke, i. 64). Very appropriately, does the priest reciting the Divine
Office ask God to open his lips, to fortify his conscience, to touch
his heart.

_Deus in adjutorium_. These words, the opening words of Psalm 69, were
always and everywhere used by the monks of old, says Cassian, who called
this short prayer the formula of piety, the continual prayer. The Church
repeats it often in her Office. St. John Climacus says it is the great
cry of petition for help to triumph over our invisible enemy, who wishes
to distract us and to mar our prayer. It should be said with humility
and with confidence in God. In repeating these holy words we make the
sign of the Cross; for, all grace comes from the sacrifice of the Cross;
and besides, it is a holy and an ancient practice to begin all good
works with the sacred sign.

_Gloria Patri_. This little prayer indicates the purpose and end of the
recitation of the Office, the glory of the Holy Trinity. "Bring to the
Lord glory and honour; bring to the Lord glory to His name" (Psalm 28).
The many repetitions of this formula in the Church liturgy shows the
great honour which she pays to it, and the trust she places in its
efficacy. It was especially loved by St. Francis of Assisi, who said
that it contained all wisdom.

This form of doxology, "Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the
Holy Ghost," was adopted to repel Arianism, by giving to the faithful a
compact theological formula by which they could end every dispute. Some
authors quote St. Ephrem (circa 363) as the originator of this much-used
prayer. The form would seem to be of Syrian origin, translated into
Greek and later into Latin (Dom Cambrol, _Dictionnaire d' Archeologie
Chretienne_, I., 2282, _et seq.,_ word Antienne, Liturgie; _Month_,
May, 1910).

_Invitatory_. _Venite Adoremus_.... The cry of the Church calling on all
to adore and praise God, Who has done all for us, Who is the Great
Shepherd, and we, the sheep of His fold, should not harden our hearts as
did the ungrateful Jews. We should pray for all, Catholics, infidels
and sinners.

"A message from the saints. Let us imagine, like St. Stephen at his
martyrdom, we are privileged to see the heavens opened, and before our
eyes the City of God, with its twelve gates all of pearl, and its
streets of pure gold, as it were transparent glass, is laid bare, and
that we see the angels in their legions, and the redeemed of the Lord
around the throne of God. Thousands of thousands are ministering to
Him," as St. John tells us, "and ten thousand times a hundred thousand
stand before Him," and we hear the voice of God, as the noise of many
waters in company with that great multitude which no man can number, out
of every tribe and nation, clothed in white robes, with palms in their
hands, coming into Sion with praise, with everlasting joy upon their
heads, for from their eyes God has wiped away all tears, and sorrow and
mourning have fled away.

"There are the white-robed army of Martyrs, holy Confessors, too, men of
renown in their generation, and Virgins, the Spouses of Christ: there
are those who have come through great tribulation, who once, perchance,
were far from God, but have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb
and are now numbered among the people of God, sitting in the beauty of
peace and in the tabernacle of confidence and in wealthy rest. Let us
bring them all before us in vision. They have overcome the beast and are
standing by the sea of glass, having the harps of God; the Prince of
Pastors has appeared to them and they have received a never-failing
crown of glory and by the Lamb of God they have been led to fountains of
the waters of life." Let us listen as they sing their canticle to God,
"Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts, who is and who was and who is to
come"; let us listen as they sing to us, for we are fellow citizens with
them, and where they are we also must be if we remain faithful to the
end. What do they sing, "O come let us praise the Lord with joy; let us
joyfully sing to God, our Saviour" (_Sing ye to the Lord_, pp.
94-95--Rev. R. Eaton).

The authorship of this psalm--which is said daily in Matins--is
attributed to David in the Septuagint and Vulgate. Its Latin form in the
invitatory differs slightly from the Vulgate text. The Breviary retains
here the text of St. Jerome's revision and the Vulgate contains the
second and more correct revision.

_Hymns_. The hymn is an answer to the invitation given to us in the
invitatory, to praise God and to rejoice with Him. It is a song of joy
and praise. Hymns were introduced into the Divine Office in the Eastern
Church before the time of St. Ambrose (340-397). To combat the Arians,
who spread their errors by verse set to popular airs, St. Ambrose, it is
said, introduced public liturgical hymn-singing in his church in Milan,
and his example was followed gradually through the Western Church. (See
Note A, _infra_.)

The final stanza of a Breviary hymn is called the doxology ([Greek:
doxa] praise, [Greek: logos] speech), a speaking of praise. Hymns which
have the final stanza proper, the _Ave Maris stella_, Lauds hymn of the
Blessed Sacrament, Matins hymn for several Martyrs, the first Vesper
hymn of the Office of Holy Cross, and the Vesper hymns of St. Venantius
and St. John Cantius, never change the wording of the stanza.

But, _where the metre of the hymn_ admits such a change as possible in
the last stanza.

(a) From Christmas to Epiphany _Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui natus es de
Virgine_ is inserted in all hymns, even on saints' offices.

(b) From Epiphany till end of its octave, _Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui
apparuisti gentibus_.

(c) From Low Sunday till Ascension Thursday, on Pentecost Sunday and its
octave, all hymns end in _Deo Patri sit gloria, Et Filio qui a mortuis_.

This is the ending for all hymns of saints' feasts in Paschal times,
excepting those hymns mentioned above.

(d) From Ascension to Pentecost (except in the hymn _Salutis humanae
Sator_) the doxology is _Jesu tibi sit gloria, Qui victor in
coelum redis_.

(e) Feast of Transfiguration has _Jesu, tibi sit gloria, Qui te revelas

In all other hymns the doxology is read as it is printed in the

_Antiphons_. Antiphon, coming from Greek words meaning a re-echoing of
the sound, is a chant performed alternately by two choirs, and was used
in pagan drama, long before the Christian era. At what date it was
introduced into Church liturgy it is difficult to determine. Some say it
was introduced by St. Ignatius, second Bishop of Antioch. It is certain
that it was used by bishops and priests to attract, retain and teach the
faithful during the Arian heresy. In church music, the lector ceased to
recite the psalm as a solo and the faithful divided into two choirs,
united in the refrain _Gloria Patri_.

With us, the antiphon generally is a verse or verses from Scripture,
recited before and after each psalm. "The verse which serves as the
antiphon text contains the fundamental thought of the psalm to which it
is sung and indicates the point of view from which it is to be
understood. In other words, it gives the key to the liturgical and
mystical meaning of the psalm, with regard to the feast on which it
occurs" (_Cath. Encycl._, art. "Antiphon").

_Psalms._ In the Breviary, before the recent reform, twelve psalms were
recited in the first nocturn of Sundays and on ferias. This recitation
of twelve psalms was, Cassian tells us, caused by the apparition of an
angel, who appeared to the monks and sang at one session twelve psalms,
terminating with _Alleluia_. The event was mentioned at the Council of
Tours, In the new reform, nine psalms are recited at Matins; they
should, the old writers on liturgy tell us, remind us of the nine choirs
of angels who without ceasing sing God's praise.

In the new Psalter, the Psalms have been divided into two large
divisions, Psalms I.--CVIII. being assigned to the night Office, Matins;
and Psalms CIX.--CL. for the day Offices, Lauds to Compline. From this
latter division has been made:--

(1) a selection of psalms suitable by their character and meaning to
Lauds (_vide infra_, psalms at Lauds);

(2) a selection of psalms suitable to Compline;

(3) the psalms long used in the small Hours of Sunday's Office;

(4) the first psalms assigned by Pope Pius V. to Prime on Monday,
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The remaining psalms are divided into seven groups, in simple numerical
order. The psalms of Matins generally come first, and are followed
immediately by the groups of psalms for the day Hours.

In the new Breviary, seven new canticles are added to the ten, which
stood in the older book. The ten taken from the old and from the new
Testament are _Audite coeli_ (Deut., chap. 32) in Lauds for Saturday;
_Benedicite_ (Daniel, chap. 3) Sunday's Lauds; _Cantemus_ (Exod., chap.
15) Thursday's Lauds; _Confitebor_ (Isaias, chap. 12) Monday's Lauds;
_Domine audivi_ (Habacuc, chap. 3) Friday's Lauds; _Ego dixi_ (Isaias,
chap. 38) Tuesday's Lauds; _Exultavit_ (I. Kings, chap 2) Wednesday's
Lauds. From the new Testament we have _Benedictus, Magnificat, Nunc
dimittis_. To these are now added _Audite verbum_ (Jeremias, chap. 31),
_Benedictus es_ (I. Paralip., chap. 29), _Benedictus es_ (Daniel, chap.
3), _Hymnum cantemus_ (Judith, chap. 16), _Magnus es_ (Tobias, chap.
13), _Miserere nostri_ (Ecclus. 36), _Vere tu es Deus_ (Isaias, chap.
45). (_Cf. The New Psalter_, Burton and Myers, pp. 51-52).

"The psalms retain the accentuation of the Latin words, which was
inserted at the request of Pius V. in the Reformed Breviary of 1568; and
also the asterisk, which was introduced to mark the division of the
verses of the Psalms in Urban VIII.'s Reform in 1632." The verse
division of the psalms do not, in the Breviary, always coincide with
those of the Vulgate--e.g., Psalm X.:--

PSALTER                        VULGATE

Dominus in templo sancto suo   Dominus in templo sancto suo
Dominus in coelo sedes ejus    Dominus in coela sedes ejus:
(v.4).                         Oculi ejus in pauperem respsiciunt;
                               palpebrae ejus
                               interrogant filios hominum
                              (verse 5).

The present verse divisions of the Vulgate were introduced by a
Calvinistic printer of Geneva, who used them in an edition of the Greek
new Testament published in 1561. Formerly, biblical chapters were, for
sake of reference, divided into seven sections denoted by letters of the
alphabet a, b, c, etc. In the older breviaries, the reference to the
little lesson at Compline stood, I. Pet. v.c. The new Breviary has
adopted the modern form of reference, and we now read I. Pet. v. 8-9. It
is sometimes confusing to find reference made to the psalms by
non-Catholic writers. This arises from the different method of numbering
which is used by them. In the Greek version of the old Testament--the
septuagent--the Psalter is arranged differently from the Hebrew. Psalms
9 and 10 are counted as one and so are Psalms 114 and 115, but 116 and
117 are divided into two, leaving the complete number 150, as in the
Hebrew version. The Vulgate and the Douay version follow the Greek, and
Psalm 9 contains 21 verses, not 38 as in the English Authorised Version.
The English revised version follows the numbering of the Vulgate.

"Our Latin version of the Psalms is that of the old Itala; it was not
made directly on the Hebrew original ... it is then a translation (the
Greek). By the time of St. Jerome, it had become very faulty, owing to
the very many transcriptions which had been made of it; and this great
scholar revised it, about 383 A.D., on the request of Pope Damascus. His
corrections were not very numerous, because, he feared to upset, by too
many changes, the habits of the faithful, most of whom knew the psalms
by heart. This first version is known as the Roman Psalter. It was soon
deemed insufficient. St. Jerome once more set to work between 387 and
391, and published a second edition, more carefully and more extensively
corrected, of the Italic version of the Psalms; it is called the
_Gallican Psalter_, because it was adopted by the churches of Gaul. When
he, later on, translated the Old Testament from the Hebrew, he published
his third edition of the Psalms, the _Hebraic Psalter_. This version was
a good one, but the faithful were so familiar with the old Itala psalter
that the Church, in her wisdom, thought best to keep it in the editions
of the Vulgate according to the Gallican form.... Our official version
of the psalms is then in many ways defective. It is frequently
incorrect and barbarous in style, obscure in places, and even fails at
times to give the exact sense of the original. Although our Vulgate is
not perfect, it possesses admirable strength and conciseness, joined to
an agreeable savour which gives it the greatest value and causes the
words of the sacred singers, under this form of the Latin spoken by the
people, to strike the mind and become engraved upon the memory much
better than if they were clothed in all the elegance of a modern tongue"
(Vigouroux; _Manuel Biblique_, tom. ii., 663-664).

The following replies by the Biblical Commission (May, 1910) may not be
deemed out of place:--

I. Whether the appellations, Psalms of David, Hymns of David, Davidical
Psaltery, employed in the old collections and in the Councils themselves
to designate the Book of the one hundred and fifty Psalms of the Old
Testament, as well as the opinion of many Fathers and Doctors who held
that absolutely all the psalms of the Psaltery are to be ascribed to
David alone, have so much force that David must be regarded as the sole
author of the entire Psaltery?

ANSWER: In the negative.

II. Whether it may rightly be argued from the concordance of the Hebrew
text with the Alexandrine Greek text and other ancient versions, that
the titles prefixed to the Hebrew text are older than the version known
as the Septuagint, and that therefore they have been derived if not from
the authors themselves of the Psalms at least from the ancient Judaic

ANSWER: In the affirmative.

III. Whether the said titles of the Psalms, as witnesses of Judaic
tradition, may be prudently called into question when there is no grave
argument against their genuineness?

ANSWER: In the negative.

IV. Whether, considering the not unfrequent testimonies of the Sacred
Scripture concerning the natural skill of David, illumined by the gift
of the Holy Ghost, in the composition of religious canticles, the
institutions laid down by him for the liturgical chant of the Psalms,
the attribution to him of Psalms made both in the Old and New Testament
and in the very inscriptions which have been prefixed to the Psalms from
antiquity, and in addition to all this the agreement of the Jews and the
Fathers and Doctors of the Church, it can be prudently denied that David
is the principal author of the canticles of the Psaltery, or that it can
be affirmed that only a few of the canticles are to be attributed to the
Royal Psalmist?

ANSWER: In the negative to both parts.

V. Whether, specifically, the Davidical origin can be denied of those
psalms which both in the Old and the New Testament are cited expressly
under the name of David, among which are specially to be reckoned Psalm
II., "Quare fremuerunt gentes"; Psalm XV., "Conserva me Domine"; Psalm
XVII., "Diligam te, Domine fortitudo mea"; Psalm XXXI., "Beati quorum
remissae sunt iniquitates"; Psalm LXVIII., "Salvum me fac, Deus"; Psalm
CIX., "Dixit Dominus Domino meo"?

ANSWER: In the negative.

VI. Whether it is possible to admit the opinion of those who hold that
among the Psalms of the Psaltery there are some, either of David or of
other authors which on account of liturgical or musical reasons, the
carelessness of amanuenses or other unknown causes, have been divided or
united; and also that there are other Psalms such as the "Miserere mei,
Deus," which in order that they might be better adapted to the
historical circumstances or solemnities of the Jewish people have been
slightly revised or modified, by the omission or addition of a versicle
or two saving, however, the inspiration of the whole sacred text?

ANSWER: In the affirmative to both parts.

VII. Whether the opinion can with probability be maintained of those
among more recent writers who have endeavoured to show from merely
internal indications or an inaccurate interpretation of the sacred text
that not a few of the psalms were composed after the time of Esdras and
Nehemias, or even after the time of the Macchabees?

ANSWER: In the negative.

VIII. Whether from the manifold testimonies of the Sacred Books of the
New Testament, and the unanimous agreement of the Fathers, as well as
from the admission of the writers of the Jewish people, several
prophetic and Messianic psalms are to be recognised, as prophesying
concerning the coming kingdom, priesthood, passion, death and
resurrection of the future Redeemer; and that therefore the opinion is
to be absolutely rejected of those who, perverting the prophetic and
Messianic character of the Psalms, twist these same prophecies
regarding Christ into merely a prediction regarding the future lot of
the chosen people?

ANSWER: In the affirmative to both parts.

On May 1, 1910, in an audience graciously granted to both Most Reverend
Consultors Secretaries His Holiness approved the foregoing answers and
ordered that they be published.

Rome, May 1, 1910.



Consultors Secretaries.

The Psalms were always dear to the hearts of Christians. Our Lord died
with the words of a psalm on His sacred lips: "Into thy hands I commend
my spirit" (Psalm 30, v. 6). Millions of dying Christians have repeated
His great prayer. On the Church's very birthday, when St. Peter preached
the first Christian sermon, he had three texts and two of them were from
the Psalms (Acts II.). To an educated and rigid Pharisee like St. Paul
they were a treasure house of teaching. To the early Christians the
Psalms were a prayer book, for there was no Christian literature. It was
twenty-five years after the Ascension before the first books of the New
Testament were written. Hence St. Paul and St. James tell their fellow
Christians to use the Psalms in worship (Ephesians, v. 19; Colos. iii.
16; I. St. James 5-13). Some of the greatest of the early Christian
writers and saints, Origen, St. Athanasius, Hilary of Poitiers, St.
Ambrose, St. Chrysostom, Bede, and St. Augustine all studied the psalms
deeply and wrote learned commentaries on them. The works of later saints
abound in happy and beautiful quotations from these religious poems.
With them, too, as with those holy people of whom St. Chrysostom wrote,
"David is first, last and midst." For many years no priest was ordained
who could not recite the whole Psalter without the aid of a book, This
veneration of the inspired words deserves respect and imitation. The
learned Calmet (1672-1757) writing of the universal esteem and study of
the Psalms, said that then there existed more than a thousand
commentaries on them. Since then, the number has been doubled; so great
and universal is the reverence and esteem in which this book of
Scripture is held. To conclude this very long note on the Psalms I quote
the quaint words of a mediaeval poet. It shows how the saints of old
found their Master in the songs of His great ancestor:--

     Rithmis et sensu verborum consociatum
     Psalterium Jesu, sic est opus hoc vocitatum,
     Qui legit intente, quocunque dolore prematur,
     Sentiet inde bonum, dolor ejus et alleviatur;
     Ergo pius legat hoc ejus sub amore libenter,
     Cujus ibi Nomen scriptum videt esse frequenter.

_Versicle and respond_ are placed after the psalms and before the
lessons to rouse the attention which is necessary before all prayer, and
the lessons are a noble form of prayer. These little prayers are of very
ancient origin and were dealt with by Alcuin (735-804) in his recension
of the Gregorian books for use in Gaul. His pupil, Amalare, also studied
them, so that a meaning should be found in what was sung, and that the
truncated repetitions should be avoided. He retained what was
traditional and ancient, introduced versicles and responds taken from
ancient Roman books and from books belonging to Metz, selected passages
from the Gospels which seem to fit in with the antiphons and added them
to what he found in the Roman books, made alterations in the order here
and there and gave completion to the whole by adding some offices for
saints' days proper to the Church of Metz (Baudot, _The Roman Breviary_,
p. 88). Amalare had been administrator of the diocese of Lyons during
the exile of Agobard the Archbishop. The latter, with learning and
bitterness, attacked the reforms of Amalare, but, "in spite of all, the
reform of Amalare held its ground in Metz, and then in the greater
number of the churches north of the Alps" (Baudot, _op. cit._). Much of
the work of Amalare stands in our Breviary.

_Pater Noster_ is said to beg from God, light and grace to understand
the doctrine contained in the lessons. In choir, a part of the Pater
Noster is said in common and in a loud voice to recall the Communion
of saints.

_Absolutions and Blessings_. "The custom of giving a blessing before the
lections was already in existence in the fourth century. The ruler of
the choir, who gave it in the beginning, gave also the signal for the
termination of the lesson by the words, 'Tu autem' (scil, desine or
cessa), to which the reader responded 'Domine miserere nobis,' while the
choir answered _Deo gratias_. In the palace of Aix-la-Chapeile, it was
by knocking, and not by the words _Tu autem_, that the Emperor
Charlemagne gave the signal for the conclusion of the lections, while
the lector recited himself, _Tu autem, Domine miserere nobis_. The
_Rituale Ecclesiae Dunelmensis_, containing fragments of the Roman
liturgy from the end of the seventh to the ninth and tenth centuries,
includes forms of blessing for the different festivals, sometimes three,
sometimes nine. In the latter case each lesson was provided with its own
form of blessing, which correspond with the mystery commemorated by the
festival. The absolutions, _Exaudi Domine_ and _A vinculis peccatorum_
did not appear until the succeeding period" (Baudot, _op. cit._, p. 74).

In offices of three and of nine lessons, the lessons are preceded by the
absolutions and blessings as they stand in the ordinarium, except in the
Office for the Dead and Tenebrae Offices when they are not said. The
Absolution is said immediately after the Pater Noster which follows the
versicle and response under the third, sixth or ninth psalm. The first
benediction is said immediately after it, and the second and third at
the conclusion of the responses after each lesson and in reply to the
words Jube Domine benedicere. The three words are to be said (when only
one person recites the office) before the short Lesson at Prime
and Compline.

In an office of nine lessons, the absolutions and benedictions in the
first two nocturns do not vary; but in the third nocturns the eighth
benediction may be, if the office is of a saint, Cujus festum, or if of
two or more saints, Quorum (vel quarum) festum. The ninth may be _Ad
societatem_ or, if the ninth lesson be a gospel extract with homily,
_Per evangelica_.

In offices of three lessons the Absolution Exaudi is said on Monday and
Thursday; Ipsius, on Tuesday and Friday; A vinculis, on Wednesday and
Saturday. But the benedictions vary. Thus, when a gospel extract and a
homily are read, the three benedictions are Evangelica, Divinum, Ad
societatem. When with the three lessons, no gospel extract is read, the
benedictions are Benedictione, Unigenitus, Spiritus Sancti. In an office
of a saint or saints, where the total number of lessons to be said is
three (e.g., the Office of SS. Abdon et Sennen, 30 July), where first
two lessons are from Scripture occurring and last lesson gives lives of
these saints, the benedictions are, Ille nos, Cujus (vel Quorum aut
Quarum) festum, Ad societatem.

_Lessons._ In the early days of Christendom, the Divine Office consisted
in the singing of psalms, the reading of portions of Sacred Scripture
and the saying of prayers. The principle of continuous reading of the
books of the Bible bears an early date. Later were added readings from
the acts of the martyrs, and later still, readings from the homilies of
the Fathers. Till the seventh century the ferial Office had no lessons
and the Sunday Office had only three, all taken from the Bible, which
was read in its entirety, yearly. In the seventh century, ferial Offices
received three lessons. About the time of St. Gregory, (died 604) the
Office for Matins was divided into three parts or nocturns, each having
lessons. The lessons for the second and third nocturns were not taken
from the Bible, but from the works of the Fathers. These extracts were
collected in book form--the _homilaria_. The collection of extracts made
by Paul the deacon (730-797) and used by Charles the Great (742-814) in
his kingdom, form the foundation of the collected extracts in our
Breviaries. The scripture lessons in our Breviaries are generally known
as "the scripture occurring," and are so arranged that each book of
scripture is begun at least, except the books, Josue, Judges, Ruth,
Paralipomenon and the Canticle of Canticles. Quignonez arranged in his
reform that the whole Bible should be read yearly. But his book was
withdrawn by Pope Paul IV. in 1558.

Although the ecclesiastical year begins with Advent, the beginnings of
the Bible are not read till March. Hence, we begin the lessons from
Genesis, after Septuagesima Sunday, and not, as we should naturally
expect, at Advent, the beginning of the ecclesiastical year. The order
in which the Scripture lessons are read does not follow the order in
which the books of the Bible stand in the sacred volume. Thus, the Acts
of the Apostles begin on the Monday after Low Sunday and are read for a
fortnight; The Apocalypse begins on the third Sunday after Easter and is
read for a week; then the Epistle of St. James begins, and so on, with
special regard to the feasts of the time, rather than to the order of
the books of the Bible.

The lessons of the second nocturn are generally commemorative of a saint
or some episode of a saint's life. They have been much, and often
ignorantly criticised, even by priests. The science of hagiology is a
very wide and far-reaching one, which demands knowledge and reverence.
Priests wishing to study its elements may read with pleasure and profit
and wonder _The Legends of the Saints_, by Pere H. Delehaye, S.J.,
Bollandist (Longmans, 3s. 6d.). "Has Lectiones secundi Nocturni ex
Historiis sanctorum, quas nunc habemus recognitas fuisse a doctissimis
Cardinalibus Bellarmino et Baronio, qui rejecerunt ea omnia, quae jure
merito in dubium revocari poterant et approbatus sub Clemente VIII."
(Gavantus). And Merati adds "quod aliqua qua controversia erant utpote
alicujus aliquam haberent probabilitatem, ideo rejecta non fuerant sed
retenta eo modo quo erant cum falsitatis argui non possent, quamvis
fortasse opposita sententia sit a pluribus recepta" (Merati, _Obser. ad
Gavant_, sec. v., chap. xii., nn. 10 and 16). The words of these learned
men and the writings of the learned Bollandist mentioned above are
worthy of consideration, as sometimes priests are puzzled about the
truth and accuracy of the incidents recorded in those lessons of the
second nocturn. They should be treated with reverence. The ignorant
flippancy of a priest in an article (in a very secular periodical) on
St. Expeditus gave great pain to Catholics and gave material for years
to come to scoffing bigots.

"Legends, _i.e._, narratives, were based upon documents of the nature
described above, and worked up by later writers, either for the purpose
of edification or from the point of view of the historian. The writings,
however, differ endlessly as to their value, according to the knowledge
and authority possessed by the writers, and according to their nearness
to the events described. There were many martyrs whose sufferings were
recorded in no acta or passiones, but were imprinted on the memory of
men and became part of the traditions handed down in the community,
until they were finally committed to writing. The later this took place
the worse for the authenticity. For it was then that anachronisms,
alterations in titles, changes in the persons and other similar
historical errors could more easily creep into the narrative, as we know
in fact they have done in many instances. The historical sense was
unfortunately lacking to the Franks and Byzantines, as well as all idea
of sound criticism.

"A false kind of patriotism and national pride often go along with
credulity, so that we find here and there in literature of this kind,
even downright fabrication. After the introduction of printing, by which
literature became more widely diffused, and comparative criticism was
rendered possible, it at once became evident among Catholics that error
was mixed with truth and that a sifting of the one from the other was
necessary, and, in many cases, possible" (Kellner, _Heorlology_, pp.
209-210). "It was not the intention of the Church or of the compilers
and authors of the service books to claim historical authority for their
statements. And so, the Popes themselves have directed many emendations
to be made in the legends of the Breviary, although many others still
remain to be effected" (Dom Baumer, _Histoire Du Breviare Roman_). Cf.
Dom Cabrol, _Le Reforme du Breviare_, pp. 61-63.

_Responsories._ (Title XXVII.). In the new Breviary the responsories to
the lessons have been restored to their place of honour. They are of
ancient origin, but "how they came to have a place in the Divine Office,
who was responsible for their composition, what was the process of
development until they reached their present form, are questions upon
which liturgical writers are not quite agreed" (Rev. M. Eaton, _Irish
Eccles. Record_, January, 1915). Amalare of Metz found them fully formed
and placed. The rule of St. Benedict, written about 530 A.D., mentions
them as a recognised part of Matins. In solemn vigils, in the early
Church, the congregation took part in the psalm singing, and hence we
find _psalmi responsorii_ mentioned, and we still have a typical
instance in the Invitatory Psalm of our Office. Probably, some similar
practice existed in the readings from Sacred Scripture. "At those
primitive vigils, then, after the reading of the Sacred Scripture, the
responsory was given by the precentor and the assembled faithful took up
the words and chanted them forth in the same simple melody. Next, a
verse was sung frequently echoing the same sentiment, and the choir
again, as in the _psalmi responsorii_, repeated the refrain or the
responsorii proper. Frequently other verses were added according to the
dignity of the festivals, and after each the faithful struck in with the
original refrain.... At first those responsories would probably have
been extempore ... left to the genius or to the inspiration of the
individual chanter, but gradually, by a survival of the fittest, the
most beautiful ones became stereotyped and spread throughout several
churches.... Later they were carefully collected, arranged and codified
by St. Gregory or one of his predecessors and passed into all the books
of liturgy" (Rev. M. Eaton, _loc. cit._). Monsignor Battifol (_History
of the Roman Breviary_, Eng, trans., p. 78) says that these parts of the
liturgy, in beauty and eloquence rival the chorus dialogues of Greek
drama, and quotes as an example the _Aspiciens a longe_ from the first
Sunday of Advent.

_Rubrics._ The responsories, as a rule, are said after each lesson of
Matins. When the _Te Deum_ is said after the ninth lesson, there are
only eight responsories. At the end of the third, sixth and eighth
lesson the _Gloria Patri_ with a repetition of part of the responsory is
said. It is said in the second responsory in offices of three lessons
only. In Passiontide the _Gloria Patri_ is not said, but the responsory
is repeated _ab initio_. In the Requiem Office _Gloria Patri_ is
replaced by "_requiem aeternam_." In the Sundays of Advent, Sundays
after Septuagesima until Palm Sunday, and in the triduum before Easter,
there are nine responsories recited.

Perhaps an explanation of the rubric may not be useless. The asterisk
(*) indicates the part which should be repeated first after the verse
and immediately after the _Gloria Patri_. The _Gloria Patri_ should be
said to include the word _sancto_, and _sicut erat_ should not be said.
Some responsories have two or three asterisks, and then the repetitions
should be made from one asterisk to another and not as far as the verse
ending. Examples may be seen in the responsories for the first Sunday
of Advent and in the _Libera nos_ of the Requiem Office. The
responsories of the Requiem Office--which is almost the only Office
which missionary priests have an opportunity of reciting in choir--are
highly praised for their beauty of thought and expression. They were
compiled by Maurice de Sully (circa 1196), Bishop of Paris.

_Symbolism of the Rubric._ The responsories are placed after the
lessons, the old writers on liturgy say, to excite attention and
devotion, to thank God for the instruction given in the lessons, to make
us realise and practise what has been read and to teach us that "Blessed
are they who hear the word of God and keep it." Again, those writers
knew why the chanter said only one verse and the worshippers replied in
chorus--to show that all their souls were united and free from schism.

_Te Deum_ (Title XXXI.). _Author._ In the Breviary prior to the reform
of Pius X., this hymn was printed under the words "Hymnus SS. Ambrosii
et Augustini." However, "no one thinks now of attributing this canto to
either St. Ambrose or St. Augustine" (Battifol, _op. cit._, p. 110).
Formerly, it was piously believed to have been composed and sung by
these saints on the evening of Augustine's baptism. The question of the
authorship of this hymn has led to much study and much controversy. Some
scholars attribute it to St. Hilary, others to Sisebut, a Benedictine;
others to Nicetas, Bishop of Treves, in the year 527. To-day, the
opinion of the learned Benedictine, Dom. Morin--who follows the readings
of the Irish manuscripts--that the hymn was written by Nicetas of
Remesiana (circa 400 A.D.), is the most probable. This opinion has been
criticised by several Continental scholars (V. _Cath. Encly_., art.
"Te Deum").

_Rubrics_. The Te Deum is always said at the end of Matins, unless in
Matins of Feast of Holy Innocents, of Sundays of Advent, and from
Septuagesima to Palm Sunday, and ferias outside Eastertide (from Low
Sunday to Ascension Day).

_The Structure of the Hymn_. In this wonderful composition, there are
probably two hymns connected, and followed by a set of versicles and.
responses, which might be used with any similar hymn. It is probable
that the first hymn (_Te Deum ... Paraclitum Spiritum_), lines 1 to 13 of
Te Deum are older than the second part, which was written probably as a
sequel to the early hymn. The rhythm of the hymn is very beautiful,
being free from abruptness and monotony. Students of poetry may note
that seven lines have the exact hexameter ending, if scanned
accentually, as voce proclamant; Deus sabbaoth, etc. Seven have two
dactyls, as laudabilis numerus, laudat exercitus; one ends with
spondees, apostolorum chorus. The other six lines have a less
regular ending.

This hymn of praise to the Blessed Trinity is divided into two parts and
seems to be modelled on the lines of the Psalm 148, _Laudate Dominum de
coelis_ (see Sunday Lauds I.). The verses 1 to 6 of the hymn, like the
opening verses of the psalm, record the worship and adoration of the
angels. The second part of the hymn records the worship of human beings
living or dead--Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs. The second hymn, _Tu Rex
gloriae Christi_, etc., is a prayer to Christ, the God Incarnate, the
Redeemer now in Glory, to aid His servants and to aid them to be of the
number of His saints in everlasting glory.

The third part of the hymn, vv. 22-29 (_Salvum fac_ ... _in aeternum_)
is considered by scholars to be simply versicles, responses and prayers;
the verses 22-23 (Salvum fac... usque in aeternum). being the versicle,
and verses 24-25 (Per singulos dies... saeculi), verse 2 of Psalm 144
being the response before the beautiful verses of prayer "Dignare Domine
die isto sine peccato nos custodire," etc. "Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep
us this day from sin; O Lord, have mercy on us," etc., etc.

This hymn has a special interest for Irish priests, as the Irish
recensions of it, found in the Bangor Antiphoner (to be seen in the
Library of Trinity College, Dublin) are of the greatest value to
scholars engaged in critical study. They date from the tenth century,
and give Nicetas as the author. The wording in the old Irish Antiphoner
differs in some verses from the text given in our Breviary. Thus, in
verse 6, the Bangor text has, _universa_ before the word _terra_; again,
in verse 18, the Breviary reads "_Tu ad deteram Dei sedes_," Bangor, and
probably more correctly, reads _sedens_. Verses 26-29, "_Dignare
Domine_... _confundar in aeternum_" are not found in the Irish book.
Those who wish to study these old Irish MSS. may receive great help from
Warren's _Bangor Antiphoner_ (II., pp.83-91) and light comes too from
Julian's _Dictionary of Hymnology_ (pp. 1120-1121).

  OF MATINS (_vide_ pages 4, 120).

  "Matutina ligat Christum qui crimina purgat."
  "Although I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee."
  "And in like manner also said they all."
  "Pray, lest you enter into temptation,"
  "And being in agony He prayed the longer."
  "Friend, whereunto art thou come?--"
  "And they holding Jesus led Him away"--the Garden.
  "Art thou one of His disciples?"
  "My kingdom is not of this world"--Before the High Priest.

_General Intentions_:-Exaltation of the Church; the Pope; the Mission to
the heathen; Christian nations; the conversion of the heretics, infidels
and sinners; the Catholic laity; the Catholic priesthood.

_Personal Intentions_:-Lively faith; a greater hope; ardent charity.

_Special Intentions_:-For parents; for benefactors; for those in sorrow;
dying sinners; deceased priests of Ireland; for the conversion of
England; for vocations to the priesthood.



_Etymology, Definition, Symbolism_. The word "Lauds" is derived from the
Latin _laus_, praise. It is applied to this Hour, as it is _par
excellence_, the hour in which God's praises are chanted by His Church.
This Hour succeeds Matins and precedes Prime. The name is said to have
been given to this Hour on account of the last three Psalms, which
formerly formed part of the Office. In these Psalms, 148, 149, 150, the
word _Laudate_ recurs several times. Before the eighth century the Hour
was called "Matutinum," or morning Office, and sometimes it was called
_Gallicinum_ or _Galli cantus_ from being recited at cock-crow. This is
the Office of daybreak and hence its symbolism is of Christ's
resurrection. "Christ, the light of the world, rose from the tomb on
Easter morning, like a radiant sun, trampling over darkness and shedding
His brightness upon the earth. The hymns, psalms, antiphons and
versicles of Lauds, all proclaim the mystery of Christ's Resurrection,
and the light which enlightens our souls. The reform of the Psalter in
1911 has not always preserved this liturgical idea; nevertheless, the
character of the Office has not been altered. Lauds remains the true
morning prayer, which hails in the rising sun, the image of Christ
triumphant--consecrates to Him the opening day. No other morning prayer
is comparable to this" (Dom. F. Cabrol, _The Day Hours of the Church_,
London, 1910).

_Antiquity_. The Christians, in their night vigils, followed the pious
practices of the Jews, as to prayers at dead of night and at dawn,
Hence, the Hour, Lauds is of great antiquity, coming, perhaps, from
Apostolic times. It is found well established in the very earliest
accounts of Christian liturgy.

The old writers on liturgy loved to dwell on pious congruities and
parallelisms. They ask the questions, why did the early Christians pray
at dawn and why is the practice continued? They answer at great length,
I will try to summarise their holy themes. The early Christians prayed
at dawn, 1. that in the New Law the figures of the Old may be fulfilled;
2. to honour the risen Saviour and to remind us of our resurrection; 3.
to glorify Jesus typified by the physical light. "I am the Light of the
world" (St. John, viii. 12); 4. because at dawn, after rest, body and
soul are refreshed and ready to devote all their powers to God, free
from distractions and noise. Each dawn, revealing God's wondrous work,
should hear God's praises in the most sublime words ever uttered, the
Psalms (e.g., _Dominus regnavit, Jubilate Deo_, etc., etc.);
5. because God seems more disposed to hear prayers made at that hour. For,
He has said, "Yet if thou wilt arise early to God and wilt beseech the
Almighty... He will presently awake unto thee and make the dwelling of thy
justice peaceable" (Job, viii. 5-6). "I love them that love me; and
they that in the morning early watch for me shall find me" (Proverbs
viii. 17).

_Structure_. If Lauds succeeds Matins immediately, _Pater Noster_ and
_Ave Maria_ are omitted, and the Hour begins with _Deus in adjutorium_.
At these words it is a practice but not an obligation to make the sign
of the cross from head to breast (see Vespers, _infra_). Then the Gloria
Patri, Sicut erat, Amen, Alleluia are said before the antiphons and
psalms. But if a notable delay--say, of ten minutes' duration--be made
between the end of Matins and the start of Lauds, the _Pater Noster_ and
_Ave Maria_ begin Lauds. After the psalms, comes the Capitulum, the
Hymn, Versicle and Response, antiphon to Benedictus, Canticle
_Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel, Gloria Patri, Sicut erat_, Antiphon to
Benedictus repeated, _Dominus vobiscum, Et cum spiritu tuo, Oremus_,
collect, commemorations preceded by versicle, response and _Oremus_
before each. Then _Dominus vobiscum_, _Et cum spiritu tuo_, _Benedicamus
Domino, Deo Gratias, Fidelium animae, Amen_. If another Hour do not
succeed immediately, _Pater Noster_ (said silently), _Dominus det nobis_
(with a sign of the cross) _suam pacem, Et vitam aeternam_. _Amen_. Then
is said the antiphon of the Blessed Virgin, Alma Redemptoris or Ave
Regina, or Regina Coeli, or Salve Regina, according to the part of the
ecclesiastical year for which each is assigned, with _versicle,
response, oremus, collect, Divinum auxilium_.... Amen.

_Rubrics_. In the paragraphs dealing with the structure of this hour is
given the rule for saying _Pater Noster_ and _Ave_, The Psalms for
Lauds in the new Breviary follow these rules:--

_General Rule_: Psalms of the current day.

_Exception_: Sunday Psalms on the excepted Feasts.

In applying the general rule to Sundays and week days, it will be seen
that the Psalter contains two sets of Psalms for Lauds. The use of the
two sets is as follows:--

   (i) Throughout the year: first set of Psalms.

  (ii) Sundays from Septuagesima to Easter: second set of Psalms.

_Ferias_: The first set of Psalms is to be used on:--

   (i) Ferias throughout the year, not including those in Advent,
       Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima weeks.

  (ii) Ferias in Paschal time.

 (iii) Feasts at any season of the year.

  (iv) Vigils of Christmas and Epiphany.

The second set of Psalms is to be used on:--

   (i) Ferias of Advent.

  (ii) Ferias from Septuagesima to Wednesday in Holy Week, inclusive.

 (iii) Vigils (common) outside Paschal time, when the Office of Vigil
       is said (_New Psalter and Its Uses_, p. 188).

On Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the Psalms of the
Feria are to be said. But the Canticle of Moses (Deut, 33) is not said
on Holy Saturday.

_Antiphons_. As a general rule antiphons of the current day of the week
are to be said.

_Exceptions_. (1) On excepted Feasts, (2) non-excepted Feasts which have
proper antiphons, (3) Holy Week has special antiphons, (4) Six ferias
before Christmas have special antiphons.

In Paschal time, all psalms and the canticles are recited under one

Antiphon of Benedictus (1) Sunday antiphons are proper. (2) Ferias
throughout the year have antiphons of current feria. But Ferias in
Advent, and in Lent, in Passiontide, Paschal time and September Ember
days have proper antiphons. (3) Feasts have antiphons from proper or
from common.

_Capitulum_ (Title XXIX.). _Etymology, meaning and synonyms_.

The word _capitulum_ comes from the Latin, and means a little chapter, a
heading, a beginning, an abridgment, because this little chapter is a
little lesson, a brief extract from Sacred Scripture, the head or the
beginning of the Epistle of the Mass of the Feast (Gavantus, Bona). It
is found in every Hour, except Matins. It is known by other names, the
summarium, collectio, collatio, lectio brevis, epistoletto, lectiuncula,
Versiculus brevis.

_Antiquity_. Some authors hold that this usage of reading a brief
extract from Sacred Scripture is of Jewish origin. For, the Jews were
accustomed to interpose brief readings from Scripture prose in their
psalm chanting service. The _capitulum_ is found in Christian services
of the fourth century; and St. Ambrose (340-397) is said to have
instituted the _capitula_ of Terce, Sext and None. This new practice
spread quickly and several councils recommended or ordered the
usage--e.g., the Council of Agde In 506 A.D.

_Remarks._ The _Capitulum_ is said always except from Holy Thursday to
the Vespers of Saturday preceding Low Sunday, and in Requiem Offices. In
Compline it is said after the Hymn.

The _Capitulum_ of Lauds is ordinarily taken from the beginning of the
Epistle of the Mass of the day of the feast. Sext and None generally
have their _capitula_ drawn from the middle and end of the same Epistle
extract. Terce has generally the same words for the _Capitulum_, as
Vespers and Lauds, because it is the grandest and most sublime of the
little Hours. The _Capitulum_ is said without a blessing being sought,
because it is (in choir) read by the Hebdomadarius, who there represents
the person of Christ, just as the _Capitulum_ does too, and for Whom it
would not be consonant to ask a blessing. It concludes without _Tu
autem_, because these words are correlative of _Jube_. And since it is
such a short lesson it is easy to recite it without fault or sin, the
more so as it is read by the Hebdomadarius, who should be advanced in
perfection. It is short, whilst the lessons of Matins, the night Office,
are long, because the day is specially given to toil and the night to
contemplation. During the recital of this little lesson all turn to the
altar through respect for Christ, figured by the _Capitulum_. Sometimes
the words of the _Capitulum_ are from the Itala version and not from
the Vulgate.

_Psalms and Canticles of Lauds_. The Office of Lauds now consists of
four Psalms and a canticle, followed by a little chapter, a hymn,
versicle, antiphon, of Benedictus, the canticle, Benedictus and prayer.
One of the characteristics of Lauds is the canticle taken from the Old
Testament. Fourteen canticles taken from the Old Testament now find a
place in our Breviaries. Formerly, only seven canticles from the Old
Testament were given in the Psaltery (cf. _supra_, p. 149).

"If, according to the new distribution of the Psalter, the Psalms for
Lauds do not refer so directly to the symbolism of sunrise, they are
nevertheless more varied and are generally well chosen. The canticles
inserted among the Psalms have also been changed. The whole selection is
worthy of note. It contains, besides those given in the former
arrangement of the Psalter, others which are very beautiful and
admirably prayerful.

"The hymns for Lauds, all ancient and varying with the seasons, form a
fine collection. Their theme is one: the rising of the sun as a symbol
of Christ's resurrection, and the crowing of the cock, which arouses the
sluggish and calls all to work. Some of these hymns are of considerable
poetical merit: that for Sunday, _Aeterne Rerum conditor_, is a little

"The 'Benedictus' corresponds with the _Magnificat_ of Vespers. Both are
sung with the same solemnity and are of the same importance; they form
as it were the culminating point of their respective Hours, and for
feast days the altar is incensed while they are chanted.

"The 'Benedictus' or Canticle of Zachary recalls the Precursor's mission
of proclaiming the Messiah and the new alliance. It is altogether
appropriate to the Office of daybreak, as ushering in the dawn of a new
era. The closing verse speaks of the light which the announcement of the
Messiah shed upon the nations 'sitting in darkness and in the shadow of
death'" (Dom Cabrol, Introduction to _Day Hours of the Church_).

"This Canticle of Zachary (St. Luke i. 68-79) naturally falls into two
parts. The first (verses 68 to 75, 'Benedictus Dominus ... diebus
nostris') is a song of thanksgiving for the fulfilment of the Messianic
hopes of the Jews, to which is given a Christian sentiment. The power,
which was of old in the family of David for the defence of the nation,
is being restored, and in a higher and more spiritual sense. The Jews
mourning under the Roman yoke prayed for deliverance through the house
of David. The 'deliverance,' a powerful salvation ('cornu salutis
nobis') was at hand so that the Jews were seeing the fulfilment of God's
promise made to Abraham, and this deliverance, this salvation was such
that 'we may serve Him without fear in holiness and justice, all our
days' (St. Luke i. 75).

"The second part of the canticle (verses 76-80, 'Et tu puer ... ad
dirigendos pedes nostros') is an address by Zachary to his own son, who
was to take an important part in the scheme of the powerful salvation
and deliverance by the Messiah. This canticle is known as the canticle
of joyous hope, hence its use at funerals at the moment of interment,
when words of thanksgiving for the Redemption are specially in place as
an expression of Christian hope" (_Catholic Encyclopedia_, art.

_Oratio_ (Title XXX.). The word _oratio_ has various meanings. In the
liturgy it is translated by the word "collect." The word "collect" means
either that the priest who celebrates Mass collects in a short form the
needs, the thanksgivings and the praises of the people, to offer them up
to God; or most probably "the original meaning seems to have been this:
it was used for the service held at a certain church on the days when
there was a station held somewhere else. The people gathered together
and became a collection at the first church; after certain prayers had
been said they went in procession to the station church. Just before
they started, the celebrant said a prayer, the _oratio ad collectam_
(_ad collectionem populi_), the name would then be the same as _oratio
super populum_, a title that still remains in our Missal, in Lent, for
instance, after the Post-Communion. This prayer, the collect, would be
repeated at the beginning of Mass at the station itself. Later writers
find other meanings for the name. Innocent III. says that in this prayer
the priest collects all the prayers of the faithful" (_De Sacr. Altar.
Mystic_. ii., 2). See also Benedict XIV. (_De SS. Missae Sacr_. ii.,
5,--Dr. A. Fortescue, _Cath. Encyl_., art. "collect").

_Antiquity of collects_. No one can say with certainty who the
composers of the collects were. All admit the antiquity of these
compositions. In the fourth century certain collects were believed to
come from apostolic times; indeed, the collects read in the Mass on Good
Friday, for Gentiles, Jews, heretics, schismatics, catechumens and
infidels bear intrinsic notes of their antiquity. Other liturgical
collects show that they were composed in the days of persecution. Others
show their ages by their accurate expression of Catholic doctrine
against, and their supplications for, heretics, Manicheans, Sabbelians,
Arians, Pelagians and Nestorians. St, Jerome in his Life of St. Hilarion
(291-371) writes, "Sacras Scriptures memoriter tenens, post orationes et
psalmos quasi Deo praesente recitabat." It is said that St. Gelasius (d.
496), St. Ambrose (d. 397), St, Gregory the Great (d. 604) composed
collects and corrected existing ones. The authorship and the period of
composition of many of the Breviary collects are matters of doubt and
difficulty. Even the date of the introduction of collects into the
Divine Office is doubtful. In the early Christian Church there seems to
have been one and only one prayer, the _Pater Noster_, in liturgical
use. St. Benedict laid it down in his rule that there should be none
other. It is generally held by students of liturgy that the collects
were originally used in Mass only and were introduced into the Office at
a time much later than their introduction into the Mass books.

In the Masses for Holy Week we see the collects in their oldest existing
form. The rite of the Mass has been shortened at all other seasons, and
there remains now only the greeting, _Oremus_, and the collect itself.
The _Oremus_ did not refer immediately to the collect, but rather to the
silent prayer that went before it. This also explains the shortness of
the older collects. They are not the prayer itself, but its conclusion.
One short sentence summed up the petitions of the people. It is only
since the original meaning of the collect has been forgotten that it has
become itself a long petition with various references and clauses
(compare the collects for the Sundays after Pentecost with those of
modern feasts)--(_Cath. Encyl._, art. "Collects").

The following examples which are not extreme, may help to make clear and
emphatic the matter of the shortness of the old and the length of the
new collects.

"Protector in te sperantium, Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil est
sanctum: multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam; ut te rectore, te
duce, sic transeamus per bona temporalia, ut non amittamus aeterna.
Per Dominum."

_Translation_--"O God, the Protector of all that hope in Thee, without
Whom nothing is sure, nothing is holy, bountifully bestow on us, Thy
mercy, that Thou being our ruler and our guide, we may so pass through
temporal blessings that we lose not the eternal. Through our Lord ..."
(Collect for third Sunday after Pentecost.)

"Omnipotens et misericors Deus qui beatam Joannam Franciscam tuo amore
succensam admirabili spiritus fortitudine per omnes vitae semitas in via
perfectionis donasti, quique per illam illustrare Ecclesiam tuam nova
prole voluisti: ejus meritis et precibus concede ut qui infirmitatis
nostrae conscii de tua virtute confidimus coelestis gratiae auxilio,
cuncta nobis adversantia vicamus. Per Dominum ..."

_Translation_-"Almighty and merciful God Who inflaming blessed Jane
Frances with love, didst endow her with a marvellous fortitude of spirit
to pursue the way of perfection In all the paths of life, and wast
pleased through her to enrich Thy Church with a new offspring, grant by
her merits and intercession that we, who, knowing our own weakness,
trust in Thy strength, may by the help of Thy heavenly grace overcome
all things that oppose us. Through our Lord" (Collect of St. Jane
Frances Fremiot De Chantal, August 21).

_Rubrics_. In Vespers and Lauds the collect is said after the antiphons
of the _Magnificat_ and _Benedictus_, unless the _Preces_ (q.v.) are to
be said in these hours. Then the _Preces_ are said after the antiphons,
and the collects follow after them immediately. The collect of a ferial
Office is found in Office of the previous Sunday, except in ferias of
Lent and Rogation days which have special and proper collects.

At Prime and the other Hours the collect is said after the little
respond, unless the _Preces_ be recited. They precede the collect. At
Compline the collect is said after the antiphon _Salva nos_ if the
_Preces_ be not recited.

At Prime and Compline the collects of the Psalter are never changed
except during the last three days of Holy Week. In this triduum, in all
hours up to and including None on Holy Saturday the collect is said
after the Psalm _Miserere_.

Before reciting the collect in the Office, everyone in deacon's orders
or in priesthood says _Dominus vobiscum, Et cum spiritu tuo_, and this
is said even if the Office be said privately. All others reciting the
Office say _Domine exaudi orationem meam. Et clamor meus ad te veniat_.
Then the word _Oremus_ is prefixed to the recitation of the collect, and
at the end, _Amen_ is said. If there be only one collect, the _Dominus
vobiscum_ or the _Domine exaudi_ with the responses _Et cum spiritu tuo;
Et clamor meus ad te veniat_ is repeated after the _Amen_. But if there
be more than one collect, before each is said its corresponding antiphon
and versicle and also the word, _Oremus_. After the last collect is
said, the _Dominus vobiscum_ and _Et cum spiritu tuo_ are repeated. Then
we add _Benedicamus Domino; Deo Gratias, Fidelium animae_.... This
latter verse is not a constant sequel to the _Benedicamus_, as we see in
Prime, where the verse _Pretiosa_ succeeds it; and again in Compline it
is succeeded by _Benedicat et custodiet_. The concluding words of the
prayers or collects vary. If the prayer is addressed to God the Father,
the concluding words are _Per Dominum_ (see the collects given above).
If the prayer be addressed to God the Son, the concluding words are _Qui
vivis et regnas_--e.g., Deus qui in tuae caritatis exemplum ad fidelium
redemptionem .... Qui vivis et regnas (Collect for St. Peter Nolasco's
feast, 3ist January). If in the beginning of the prayer mention is made
of God the Son, the ending should be _Per eundem, e.g.,_ Domine Deus
noster? qui, beatae Brigittae per Filium tuurn unigenitum secreta
coelestia revelasti; ... Per eundem Dominum (collect for feast, 8th
October). But if the mention of God the Son is made near the end of the
collect, the ending is _Qui tecum vivit et regnal, e.g._, "Famulorum
tuorum, quaesumus, Domine.... Genitricis Filii tui Domini nostri
intercessione salvemur: Qui tecum vivit et regnat" (collect of
Assumption, 15th August). If the name of the Holy Ghost occur in the
prayer, the conclusion is, _In unitate ejusdem Spiritus sancti, e.g._,
"Deus, qui hodierna die corda ... in eodem spiritu recta ... _in imitate
ejusdem Spiritus_" (collect: for Pentecost Sunday).

The following lines, giving the rules for terminations, are well known
and are useful, as a help to the memory:--

     _Per Dominum_ dicas, si Patrem quilibet oras
     Si Christum memores, _Per eundem_, dicere debes
     Si loqueris Christo, _Qui vivis_ scire memento;
     _Qui tecum_, si sit collectae finisin ipso
     Si Flamen memores _ejusdem_ die prope finem

When there are several collects an ending or conclusion is added to the
first and last only. _Dominus vobiscum_ is said before the first collect
only, but each collect is preceded by the word _Oremus_, unless in the
Office for the Dead.

_Explanation of the Rubric_. Where a feast is transferred either
occasionally or always and its collect contains words such as _Hanc
diem, hodiernom diem_, it is not allowed to change the wording, without
permission of the Congregation of Rites (S.R.C., 7th September, 1916).

If the collect of a commemoration be of the same form as the prayer of
the feast, the former is taken from the common of saints, in
proper place.

_Dominus vobiscum_. This salutation is of great antiquity. It was the
greeting of Booz to his harvestmen (Ruth, ii. 4). The prophet used the
selfsame salutation to Azas. And the Angel Gabriel expressed the same
idea, _Dominns tecum_, to the Blessed Virgin. It was blessed and
honoured by our Lord Himself, when to His apostles he said "Ecce ego
vobiscum sum omnibus diebus" (St. Matt. 28. 20). This beautiful
salutation passed into Church liturgy at an early date, probably in
apostolic times. Its use in liturgy was mentioned at the Council of
Braga (563), and it is found in the Sacramentarium Gelasianum (sixth
century). These words are called the divine salutation. They mean that
the priest who utters them is at peace with all clergy and people and
thus wishes God to remain with them--the highest and holiest of wishes.
For the presence of God, Who is the source of every good and the author
of every best gift, is a certain pledge of divine protection and of that
peace and consolation which the world cannot give. This formula is used
even in private recitation of the Office, as the priest prays in union
with and in the name of the Church.

The words _Et cum spiritu tuo_ add a new and further significance to the
salutation; for it is the spirit, the human soul, that prays, and when
the spirit prays in the name of the Church for her children, its work
is a work of high spiritual order, demanding the use of all the
soul's powers,

_Oremus._ This exhortation is of very great antiquity, and in this form
is found in the liturgies of St. James and of St. Mark. In those days it
was said by the priest in a loud voice. The priest, the mediator,
following the example of the great Mediator, Christ, calls others to
join with him in prayer. St. Augustine tells us, that sometimes after
pronouncing the word _Oremus_, the priest paused for a while and the
people prayed in silence, and then the priest "collected" the united
prayers of the congregation and offered them to God, hence the name
_collect_ (St. Augustine, Epistle 107), (_cf._ Probst., _Abendl
Messe_, p. 126).

_Invocation and Conclusion_. Prayer is addressed generally to God the
Father. This practice is in accordance with the example and doctrine of
Christ, "Father, I give Thee thanks" (St. John, xi, 41); "Amen, amen, I
say to you; if you ask the Father anything in My name, he will give it
to you" (St. John, xvi. 23). "And He taught us to say 'Our Father.'" In
the early ages of the Church, seldom was prayer addressed to God, the
Son. Innocent III. tells us that the reason for the practice was a fear
that such prayer might lead the catechumens, the Jews or the Pagans
converted to Christianity, to allege or to believe that Christians
worshipped several Gods. However, with the advent of the early heresies,
it became necessary to formulate prayers witnessing the divinity of
Christ and His equality in all things to the Father and the Holy Ghost.
In some of the great prayers of the liturgy, the three Persons of the
Holy Trinity are named to show their equality and unity of nature and
substance. Nearly all the prayers of this kind are the products of the
Church during the storms of early heresy against the divinity, nature or
personality of Christ.

The conclusions of the prayers generally contain the words _Per Dominum
nostrum Jesum Christum_, because all graces come through Jesus Christ,
our Lord and Saviour, Who pleads, as Mediator between God and Man, as He
Himself has said, "No man cometh to the Father but by Me" (St.
John, xiv. 6).

Hence, in every collect, we may distinguish five parts: the invocation,
the motive, the petition, the purpose, the conclusion.

(1) The Invocation takes some form such as _Deus, Domine_.

(2) The motive is commonly introduced by the relative _qui_; e.g., Deus,
_qui corda fidelium sancti spiritus illustratione docuisti_.

(3) The petition, the body or centre or substance of the prayer, is
always noted for the solemn simplicity of language, which marks
liturgical prayer, e.g., _Multiplica_ super nos misericordiam tuam.

(4) The purpose is an enforcement of the petition. It has reference,
generally, to the need of the petitions and is marked usually with the
word _ut_. "Multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam, _ut_ quae, nobis
agendis praecipis, te miserante adimplere possimus" (prayer for feast of
St. Patrick).

(5) The _conclusion_ varies, e.g., "Per Dominum nostrum," "Per eundem
Dominum," etc.

"Those who pay intelligent attention to the liturgical chant at High
Mass, and in particular to the chant of the celebrant, will be able to
discover for themselves that the intonations used in the singing of the
collect and the Post-Communion serve, as a rule, to mark off two at
least of the main divisions indicated. Two inflections, a greater and a
lesser, occur in the body of the prayer, the greater for the most part
coming at the close of the 'motive,' while the lessor concludes the
'petition' and produces the purpose of the prayer. When the prayers are
correctly printed, as in the authentic 'Missale Romanum,' the place of
the inflexions is indicated by a colon, 'punctum principals,' and a
semicolon, 'semi-punctum,' respectively. These steps, it will he
observed, indicate, not precisely 'breaks in the sense' (as Haberl
incorrectly says) but rather the logical divisions of the sentence,
which is not quite the same thing" (Father Lucas, S.J., _Holy Mass_,
chap, vi.).

The question is often asked, why _Dominus vobiscum_ is said after the
collect, or prayer. Writers on liturgy reply that it is so placed
because Christ frequently used the salutation _Pax vobis_, and the
priest in public prayer holds the place of Christ, and as he, the
priest, used this formula of salvation before the collect to obtain the
spirit of prayer and the grace of God, he repeats it so that these gifts
may be retained.

In the collects, the fatherland of the saints is rarely found, because
the saints' true home and fatherland is heaven, where they were born
again to life eternal, and their fatherland is not this valley of exile
where they spent their temporal life. Nor are their surnames given in
the collects (see the collect of St. Jane Frances Fremiot de Chantel
given on p. 180). But it is not infrequent in the collects to find
certain appellations characterising a saint or noting some special
prerogative or wonderful gift of grace. The Church's collects record the
wonderful gifts of St. John Chrysostom ("the golden-mouthed"), St. Peter
Chrysologus ("qui ob auream ejus eloquentiam Chrysologi cognomen adeptus
est") (_Rom. Brev_.). Sometimes the nation or earthly home of a saint is
given in a collect to distinguish one saint from another. This is seen
in the case of saints bearing the name of Mary, which if used absolutely
or unqualifiedly refers to the Mother of God. See the collects for St.
Mary Magdalen, St. Mary of Egypt, etc.

The collect or prayer is placed at the end of the Hours to collect or
gather up the fruits of all the prayers that precede; to beg from God
that His grace may follow our actions as it precedes them; that the
prayer may be a shield and buckler against all temptations which may be
encountered. The prayers at Prime and at Compline never vary, to remind
us, the old writers tell us, that all our acts should be invariably
referred to God. In the early ages of the Church, all public prayers,
both in Mass and in Office were offered up by both priests and people
with outstretched arms. This practice is observed still, in a certain
way, in Mass.

_Benedicamus_ is the prayer to thank God for all His graces.

_Fidelium animae_. This prayer is said after every Hour, unless where
the hour is said in choir and followed immediately by Mass. It Is
omitted, too, before the Litany.

De Precibus (Title XXXIV.). These are prayers which are said at some of
canonical Hours, before the collect or oratio. They commence with Kyrie
eleison or Pater Noster. They consist of versicles and responses and
these differ from other versicles and responses, which are generally
historic, e.g., In omnem terram exivit sonus eorum, Amavit eum Dominus
et laudavit eum. But the versicles and responses of the _preces_ are
always a call to God or an exhortation to praise God (e.g., Fiat
misericordia tua, Domine), super nos, Quemadmodum speravimus in te (see
Prime, infra, page 193). These prayers are of great antiquity, mention
of them being found in the works of Amalare (ninth century).

They are said in some Offices in Vespers, Compline, Lauds, Prime and
Little Hours. Before the reform of the Breviary by Pope Pius X,, the
Preces at Vespers contained six short prayers and the Psalm, Miserere.
In the new Breviary nine short prayers are given in the Preces--the six
former prayers being retained and three new ones, Pro Papa; Pro
antistite; Pro benefactoribus, being added. The Miserere is omitted. The
same additions were made in Lauds and the Psalm, De Profundis omitted.

In Prime and the Little Hours, the preces are unchanged standing in the
new Breviary as in the old.

_Rubrics_. The Preces are recited in the Office of--

(1) Prime and Compline on certain days;

(2) Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline of certain

The preces feriales at Lauds and Vespers are the same in structure. They
have the same structure in Terce, Sext, None, but differ in character.
The preces dominicales at Prime and Compline have a form of their own,
additions being made in the preces of Prime when said on a feria.

1. The Preces Feriales are said at Lauds on Ferias of Lent, Advent and
Passiontide, Ember days, except Ember day at Pentecost and on Vigils
(except on Vigil of Christmas, Epiphany, Ascension, Friday after
Ascension and Vigil of Pentecost)--when the Office on those days is of
the current feria.

2. At Prime (i) Preces Dominicales are said in all semi-doubles,
simples, Ferial Offices.

(i) They are said at Little Hours if said at Lauds.

(ii) At Prime, Preces Feriales are said if they have been said at Lauds.

3. At Vespers Preces Feriales are said (1) on ferias of Advent and Lent
when office is of feria.

4. At Compline, Preces Dominicales are said on all (i) semi-doubles,
(ii) simples, (iii) all Ferias, _unless_ at Vespers a double or an
octave was celebrated.


1. "And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they come
to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen."

They said to one another, "Who shall roll us back the stone from the
door of the sepulchre?" (St. Mark, xv.).

2. "And looking, they saw the stone rolled back.... And entering the
sepulchre they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed with a
white robe; and they were astonished. Who sayeth to them, Be not
affrighted; you seek Jesus of Nazareth Who was crucified. He is risen,
He is not here" (St. Mark, xv.).

3. "Behold Jesus sayeth to her (Magdalen) 'Woman, why weepest thou?'"

4. "Behold Jesus met them (the women) saying to them 'All hail.'"

(5) "See my hands and feet, that it is I myself, handle and see" (St.
Luke, xxiv.).

6. "Bring hither thy hand and put it into My side and be not faithless."

7. "My Lord and my God" (St, John, xx.).

_General Intentions_. The wants of the Church, peace among
nations--vocations to the priesthood--Church students--souls in

_Personal Intentions_. A glorious resurrection; fervour in saying the
Office; fervour in saying Mass; fervour in priestly work; forgiveness
of all sin.

_Special Intentions_. For Catholic Ireland; for the conversion of
America; for peace throughout the world.


_Etymology_. The name _Prime_ is derived from the Latin _prima_ because
this part of the Office was said at the first hour of the day, 6 a.m.,
with us, following the old Roman distribution of the day.

_Origin_. It was stated by some writers that this Hour was established
by St. Clement and should therefore date from almost apostolic times.
But modern writers, following the statement of Cassian, date the origin
of this Hour from about the year 382. It was believed, too, that the
monastery indicated by Cassian as the cradle of Prime was the monastery
of Bethlehem, St. Jerome's monastery. But it was probably established
not there, but in a monastery in the neighbourhood, Dair-er-Raociat
(convent of the shepherds) or in Seiar-en-Ganheim (enclosure of the
sheep). Cassian tells us the reason that led to the introduction of this
Hour. Lauds ended at dawn, and the monks retired to rest. As no other
choir work called them until Terce, at 9 a.m., some of them were
inclined to rest until that hour and to neglect the spiritual reading
and manual work laid down by their rule. To prevent this prolonged rest,
it was decided to introduce a short choir service, the recital of a few
psalms, and then the monks went to work until Terce (_Cath.
Encyclopedia_, "Prime").

_Contents_. Originally the matter for Prime was drawn from Lauds and was
a repetition of part of Lauds. Prime consists of two parts. The first
part consists of hymn, psalms, little chapter and collect. The prayers
and confiteor inserted before the collect and said on certain days are
adjuncts. The second part contains the Martyrology (when Prime is said
in choir) and other prayers peculiar to the Hour. "The reason for this
divergence may be traced to the fact that Prime is of monastic
institution and the second portion, which is said in the chapter house,
has reference to monastic customs. The Martyrology and Necrology having
been read, prayers were said for the dead recommended to the Community,
as benefactors, friends, patrons, protectors, etc. Then followed a
special prayer in preparation for manual labour of the day, and a
chapter of the rule was read, on which the Abbot briefly commented or
else gave some admonition to the Community. This monastic character will
be easily recognised by a glance at the formulas used. The prayer,
'Sancta Maria et omnes sancti' forms a natural conclusion, to the
reading of the Martyrology, The 'Deus in adjutorium,' the 'Pater Noster'
with accompanying versicles, and the collect, are the prayers before
manual labour: 'Respice,' etc., Look, O Lord, upon Thy servants and upon
Thy works... and direct Thou the work of our hands. 'Dirige et
sanctificare,' etc., 'Vouchsafe to direct and sanctify our senses, words
and actions,' etc. Whilst the 'Dominus nos benedicat' and the 'Fidelium
animae' are the conclusion of the prayers for the dead" (Dom Cabrol,
Introduction to the _Day Hours of the Church_).

_Structure_:-i. Pater, Ave, Credo, silently. 2. Deus in adjutorium. ...
Domine ad adjuvandum .. with sign of the cross, Gloria Patri. ... Sicut
erat. ... 3. Hymn, _fam lucis_. 4. Antiphon, first words only. 5. Psalms
for the Sunday or feria as rubrics direct, with the Athanasian Creed if
it be ordered, then the antiphon in full. 6. Regi saeculorum ... or,
Pacem et veritatem. ... Deo Gratias, Christie, Fili Dei vivi.... 7.
Preces, if they are ordered in the Office of the Day, Preces Dominicales
or Preces feriales as rubrics direct. These include versicles,
responses, confiteor, misereatur... indulgentiam... versicles responses.
8. Dominus vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo. Oremus, Domine Deus..... Amen.
Dominus vobiscum, Et cum spiritu tuo. 9. Benedicamus Domino, Deo
Gratias. 10. In choir, the martyrology is here read, 11. Pretiosa...
mors.... 12. Sancta Maria et omnes Sancti.... 13. Thrice, Deus in
adjutorium meum intende, Domine ad adjuvandum... without the sign of
cross, Gloria Patri.... Sicut erat. 14. Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison,
Kyrie Eleison, Pater Noster, qui es in coelis... (in silence). Et ne nos
inducas in tentationem. Sed libera nos a malo. 15. Respice in servos
tuos.... Et sit splendor....16. Gloria Patri.... Sicut erat....Oremus,
Dirigere et sanctificare.... l7. Jube, Domine.... Deus et actus
nostros....Amen. 18. Lectio brevis, which in feast offices is the
Capitulum from None. 19. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domine (with sign
of cross on forehead, breast and shoulders); Qui fecit....20.
Benedicite, Deus; Domine nos benedicat...in pace, Amen. To the lectio
brevis at Prime, Tu autem Domine, miserere nobis, is added.

_The Athanasian Creed_. In the Roman Breviary prior to the reform of
1911, the title given to the formula of faith was Symbolum S. Athanasi.
In the new Breviaries the title stands Symbolum Athanasianum. Why was
the change made?

During the past two hundred years the authorship of this formula has
led to great discussion and its reading has led to much bitter and
heated controversy in Anglican and Protestant churches. Many contended
for its retention in Protestant services and many rejoiced at its
partial exclusion, its truncated revision and clamoured for its
rejection everywhere from service. Controversy led to the study of its
origin. In 1872 a Protestant author, Ffoulkes, maintained that it was
not composed by St. Athanasius (296-373) but by Paulinus of Aquileia
(A.D. 800). But the literature of the age of Charlemagne proves that
this creed had at the beginning of the ninth century an antiquity of at
least more than a century (Ommaney, _History and Structure of the
Athanasian Creed_, Oxford, 1897). Scholars, basing their opinions on
words found in the _Expositio Fidei Fortunati_, date the origin of
this symbol from the fifth century. It contains certain expressions
which a writer subsequent to the Council of Chalcedon (451) would have
been most unlikely to employ, and omits certain expressions which such a
writer would have been most unlikely to omit. However, it is likely that
the creed dates from the fifth century. Who its author was, is quite
doubtful. It was not St. Athanasius, it may have been St. Hilary of
Aries, or St. Vincent of Lerins, or some local bishop in southern
France, "But let us only suppose that the real author was some local
bishop--or the theologian employed by some local bishop--and that it was
composed in the first instance for purely local use in some district of
southern France--then does not the difficulty disappear, and are not
the facts of its silent and gradual adoption suitably explained? Not
coming from an author of wide reputation, it would not at first have
attracted much attention and would have been used only in the locality
of its origin; from there its use would have spread to neighbouring
districts; as it got more known it would have been more widely adopted,
and the compactness and lucidity of its statements, and the
enthusiasm-inspiring character of its style would have contributed to
make it highly prized wherever it was known. Then would come speculation
as to its authorship, and what wonder if in uncritical times an
Athanasian authorship was first guessed, then confidently affirmed and
believed?" (Father Sydney F. Smith, S.J., _The Month_, October, 1904).

This opinion is only one of several held by Catholic scholars. Dom Morin
holds strongly, and gives very good reasons for his view, that it was
written by Martin of Braga between the years 550 and 580. It was
written, he says, for the people of Galicia in Spain, who had been
recently converted from Arianism (_Journal of Theological Studies_,
April, 1911). It was adopted into Gallican liturgy and office about 980,
and in the Roman office only when the Curial Breviary was adopted.

"The liturgical use of the Athanasian Creed was Frankish in origin
(ninth century) and spread through the influence of the Cluniac reform
(tenth century), but only found its way to Rome in the Supplementary
prayers in the twelfth and thirteenth century" (Burton and Myers, _op.
cit_., p. 51).

_Rubrics_. Athanasian Creed, to be said (1) Trinity Sunday, (2) Sundays
after Epiphany, (3) Sundays after Pentecost unless there be in (2) and
(3) the commemoration of a double, or of an octave.

Why is prayer offered at this first hour of the day?

Writers on liturgy answer, 1st to offer to God the first fruits of our
day, of our work, of our devotion, following in this the example of
Christ, Who from His first entry into the world offered Himself to His
Father for the salvation of mankind. 2d To beg of Him to keep us safe
during the day, 3d To beg of Him to keep us free from sin, "ut in
diurnis actibus nos servet a nocentibus."

     "May God in all our words and deeds
      Keep us from harm this day.
      May He in love retain us still,
      From tones of strife and words of ill,
      And wrap around and close our eyes
      To earth's absorbing vanities.
      May wrath and thoughts that gender shame
      Ne'er in our breasts abide.
      And painful abstinences tame
      Of wanton flesh, the pride" (Hymn at Prime).

_Rubrics_. The Office of Prime begins in choir with the silent
recitation of _Pater Noster, Ave, Credo_. Then, if in choir (aloud) Deus
in adjutorium. ... Domine ad adjirvandum. ... Gloria Patri.... Alleluia,
or Laus tibi.... Then the hymn _fam lucis_ is said. The antiphon for the
day is said as far as the asterisk (*), then the Psalms of the day's
Office as arranged in the new Pian Psaltery, according to the day of the
week, except on some special feasts, when the Psalms at Prime are the
Sunday psalms. When the _ordo recitandi_ marks an Office as _officium
solemne_ (an excepted feast), the psalms at Lauds and Hours are the
Sunday psalms; and at Prime the psalm _Deus in nomine tuo_ (Psalm 53)
takes the place of Psalm _Confitemini_ (Psalm 117). At Prime, and at the
small Hours, Terce, Sext, None, only one antiphon is said. It is said in
full at the end of the last Psalm in each Hour.

The Capitulum, the little Responsory, _Christe_, _Fili Dei vivi_ ... is
then said. In this responsory the versicle _Qui sedes ad dexteram
Patris_ is sometimes changed, e.g., in paschal time it is, _Qui
surrexisti a mortuis_.

The manner of reciting this responsory is sometimes not correctly
understood, owing, perhaps, to its printed form in some Breviaries. The
normal method is to repeat the _whole_ response, then say the versicle,
and then the second portion of the response; then the _Gloria Patri el
Filio et Spiritui Sancto, without the Sicut erat_, is said, and the
response repeated. The versicle _Exsurge_ and the response _Et libera_
are then said. This is the method of recitation in all the small Hours
and at Compline.

After this responsory, if the Office be of double rite or be an Office
within an octave, or on the vigil of Epiphany or on Friday or Saturday
after Ascension, or on a Sunday on which a double is commemorated, or an
octave is celebrated, or on a semi-double feast within an octave,
_Dominus vobiscum, Et cum spiritu tuo_, and the prayer _Dominus Deus
omnipotens_ is said. But if the Office be not any of these mentioned
just now, the responsory is followed by the _Preces_.

_Preces_ (Title XXXIV.) In the Breviary there are two sets of preces,
the Preces Dominicales for Sunday and the Preces Feriales for ferial
Offices. These ferial preces of Prime differ from the ferial preces of
Lauds, and are said in Prime when the ferial preces are said in Lauds,
That is, on the ferias of Advent, Lent, Passiontide, Ember days and
Vigils. The ferial preces of Lauds are found in the Breviary,
immediately after the second set of Psalms for ferial Lauds and after
the short responsory in the psalm arrangements for the days of the week.
(See Lauds, _supra_, p. 188.)

These prayers were introduced at a very early stage of Christian
liturgy. St. Isidore writes that they come from Greek liturgy and the
opening words _Kyrie eleison_ seem to indicate remnants of an old
litany. Formerly they were read oftener during the liturgical year than
we now are called on to repeat them. They are sometimes referred to as
the _preces flebiles_, tearful prayers, because they are said in times
of penance, and are formed to excite tears. In choir recitation they are
said kneeling. When the preces or the preces feriales are said the sign
of the cross is made from the forehead to the breast, at the words
_Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini_. Then the Confiteor is said.

The Confiteor was from an early date a prayer said privately as a
preparation for Mass. It is found in several forms; _Confiteor Deo,
beatae Mariae, omnibus sanctis et vobis_ (Sarum Missal), but since the
time of St. Pius V. (1566-1572) our present form alone was followed and
allowed (S. R. C., 13th February, 1666). If the Office be recited
privately or with one or two companions, the _confiteor_ is said once
only and simultaneously in the preces, and the words _vobis fratribus_
and _vos fratres_, which priests say in the opening prayer of Mass are
omitted. It should be remarked, too, that the _Misereatur_ and
_Indulgentiam_ have not in this location _vestri, vestris, vos,_ but
_nostri, nostris, nos_. Sometimes errors in this part of the recitation
of the Office are unnoticed, and this pronoun error makes the formula

After the _Indulgentiam_ come the concluding versicles of the preces,
Dignare ... sine peccato ... miserere ... miserere ... Fiat ...
Quemadmodum ... Domine ... Et ... Dominus vobiscum, Et cum spiritu tuo,
and the prayer _Domine Deus Omnipotens_ ... Amen. ... Dominus vobiscum,
Et cum spiritu tuo. ... Benedicamus Domino, Deo gratias. If the Office
be said in choir, the martyrology is read at this part of Prime. The
reading of the martyrology is not of obligation in private recitation of
the Office; but the reading of it was highly recommended, even in
private recitation, by Pope Gregory XIII. (14th January, 1584; see his
words in the beginning of the Martyrology).

Then are said, Pretiosa ... mors ... sancta Maria ... Deus in
adjutorium... Domine ad adjuvandum (both the latter being repeated
thrice) ... Gloria Patri ... Sicut erat ... Kyrie eleison ... Christe
eleison ... Kyrie eleison ... Pater Noster (silently) until words "Et
ne nos" ... Sed libera ... Respice ... Et sit ... Gloria Patri ... Sicut
erat ... Oremus, Dirigere et ... Amen, Jube Domine ... Dies et
actus ... Amen.

The short lesson which, on all feasts, is the same as the chapter which
is said at None will be found in the proper or common, under that Hour,
The new Psalter and new rubrics made no change in this matter. Hence,
for example, on the feast of SS. Peter and Paul the short lesson at end
of Prime is taken from None of the feast, "Et Petrus ad se reversus";
the short lesson for Prime on the feast of St. Aloysius is "Lex Dei
ejus" and not the short lesson printed in the Psalter under the
day's Office.

On all Sundays and week days it varies according to the season. Thus--

1. From the 14th January until the first Saturday in Lent, from Monday
to Wednesday in Trinity week, from the Friday after the octave of Corpus
Christi until the Saturday before Advent, the short lesson is "Dominus
autem" (II. Thess. iii.),

2. From the first Sunday of Advent until the 23rd December inclusive it
is "Domine miserere" (Isaias xxxiii,).

3. From the first Sunday of Lent until the Saturday before Passion
Sunday inclusive it is "Quaerite Dominum" (Isaias iv.).

4. From Passion Sunday until Wednesday in Holy Week it is "Faciem meam"
(Isaias, 1.),

5. From Easter Sunday to the Vigil of Ascension inclusive, the short
lesson is "Si consurrexists" (Coloss. iii.).

At the end of the short lesson the words "Tu autem Domine, miserere
nobis; Deo gratias" are added, and after these words are said
"Adjutorium nostrum ... Qui fecit ... Benedicite Deus" and the Blessing,
"Dominus nos benedicat ... requiescant in pace, Amen." Then _Pater
Noster_ is said silently, unless another Hour is to follow immediately.


1. "Herod and his army set him at nought" (St. Luke, c. 25).

2. "Not this man, but Barrabas. Crucify Him."

3. "I find no cause in Him. I will chastise Him and let Him go" (St.

4. "But Jesus he delivered up to their will" (St. Luke, c. 23).

5. "Shall I crucify your King?," (St. John, 19).

_General Intentions_. The Pope and his intentions; the propagation of
the Faith; the priesthood; the Catholic laity; Catholic Missions in the
East; Catholic Europe.

_Personal Intentions_. The spirit of meekness and humility; greater
devotion to the Eucharist; greater love of the Blessed Virgin; the
priestly vows.

_Special Intentions_. For our friends; for the sick and sorrowful; for
the Church in Scotland; for our enemies; for the priesthood of America.




_Etymology._ The word Terce comes from the Latin word _tertia (hora)_,
third. Because this little Hour was said at the third hour of the Roman
day, that is, about 9 o'clock in the forenoon,

_Structure._ It consists of Pater Noster, Ave, Deus in adjutorium,
Gloria Patri ... Sicut erat ... Amen, Alleluia, Hymn, opening words of
the antiphon, the three psalms, antiphon in full, capitulum, response,
Dominus vobiscum, Et cum spiritu tuo, Oremus, collect, Dominus vobiscum,
Et cum spiritu tuo, Benedicamus ... Deo gratias, Fidelium animae....
Amen. And Pater Noster is said silently if another Hour is not begun

Terce is called the golden Hour, _hora aurea_, because at this time of
the day, the third Hour, the Holy Ghost, who is typified by gold,
descended on the apostles. It is called sometimes the sacred Hour (_hora
sacra_) because in conventional churches it is recited immediately
before Holy Mass. It is the most solemn of all the small Hours.

_Antiquity._ The custom of praying at these three hours, terce, sext and
none, is very ancient. It was in use amongst the devout Jews, and the
early converts to Christianity retained the practice. The Apostolic
Constitutions contain the words "Preces etiam vestras facite
hora tertia."

Why does the Church wish us to pray at the third hour?

The question is asked by liturgists of olden times. Their replies are:--

1. to remind us of the hour when our Saviour was condemned (St. Mark, c.

2. to remind us of the hour at which the Holy Ghost descended on the

3. as the Church's hymn tells us that at this hour of the day when men
are engrossed in worldly affairs, they especially need God's help,

     "Come, Holy Ghost, Who ever One,
      Reignest with Father and with Son.
      It is the hour, our souls possess
      With Thy full flood of holiness.
      Let flesh and heart and lips and mind
      Sound forth our witness to mankind.
      And love light up our mortal frame
      Till others catch the living flame,
      Now to the Father, to the Son,
      And to the Spirit, Three in One,
      Be praise and thanks and glory given,
      By men on earth, by saints in heaven. Amen."

      (Translation by Cardinal Newman of St. Ambrose's
        hymn, _Nunc sancte_).


1. "Therefore, Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him."

2. "And the soldiers plaiting a crown of thorns put it on His head; and
they put on Him a purple garment."

3. "And they came to Him and said, 'Hail, King of the Jews,' and they
gave Him blows" (St. John).

4. "Jesus, therefore, came forth bearing the crown of thorns and the
purple garment, and he (Pilate) sayeth to them 'Behold the Man!'"

_General Intentions._ The Pope's Intentions; the conversion of heretics;
the conversion of the Jews.

_Personal Intentions._ Devotion to the Holy Ghost; devotion to the

_Special Intentions._ Vocations in America and Australia; for the Irish
people throughout the world; for the souls of our deceased penitents.


_Etymology_. The word Sext comes from the Latin word _sexta, (hora)_,
the sixth hour, because the little Hour should be said at what was the
sixth hour of the Roman day, about mid-day with us.

_Structure._ The structure of this hour is similar to that given in
Terce above, the hymn, antiphon, psalms, little chapter and responses
differing, but the order and form being similar in both.

_Antiquity._ The Psalmist wrote, "Vespere et mane et meridie narrabo et
annuntiabo, et exaudiet vocem meam" (Ps. 54). This practice of devout
Jews was maintained by the early Christians and in the Acts of the
Apostles we read, "Ascendit Petrus in superiora ut oraret circam horam
sextam" (Acts x, 9). At this hour, the Christians met for public,
joint prayer.

Why does the Church wish us to pray at the sixth hour of the day?

1. Because at this hour Christ instructed the Samaritan woman, the type
of the Gentiles; and He promised to give the living water, springing up
unto life everlasting, which was His blood, poured out on Calvary at the
sixth hour.

2. Because at this sixth hour Christ was raised on the cross for our
salvation and it is right and just, daily, to remember Him and His great
love for us. Besides, it is to realise His words "And if I be lifted up
from the earth, I will draw all things to myself" (St. John xii. 32).
And the Church, in the opening words of Sext for Sunday, impresses this
idea on us "Deficit in salutare meum anima mea," "My soul hath fainted
after thy salvation" (Ps. 118).

3. To ask God to grant us health and peace of heart, as the hymn for
Sext sings:--

     "O God, Who canst not change nor fail,
      Guiding the hours as they go by,
      Brightening with beam the morning pale,
      And burning in the midnight sky,
      Quench Thou the fires of hate and strife,
      The wasting fever of the heart;
      From perils guard our feeble life,
      And to our souls Thy grace impart.
      Grant this, O Father, only Son,
      And Holy Ghost, God of Grace,
      To whom all glory, Three in One,
      Be given in every time and place--Amen."

      (Translation by Cardinal Newman of St. Ambrose's
       hymn, _Rector potens_).


1. "And they took Jesus, and after they had mocked Him, they took off
the purple from Him and put His own garments on Him and led Him out to
crucify Him" (St. Mark, c. 15).

2. "Bearing His own cross, Jesus went forth to that place called

3. "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but for yourselves."

_General Intentions._ The wants of the Church; for peace and goodwill
amongst all States and peoples; for the Pope; for Church students.

_Personal Intentions._ For patience; for fraternal charity; for the love
of the practice of mortification.

_Special Intentions._ For Catholic schools; for increase in number of
daily communicants; for the success of catechists and their work.


_Etymology._ The word _None_ comes from the Latin word _nona_, ninth
(_hora nona_), because this part of the Office was said at the ninth
hour of the Roman day, that is, about three o'clock in our modern day.

_Antiquity._ This hour was set apart in Apostolic times for joint
prayer, "Now Peter and John went up into the Temple at the ninth hour of
prayer" (Acts iii. 1).

_Structure._ See note under this head at Terce.

Why does the Church desire prayer at the ninth hour?

1. In this she follows the example of her Founder, Christ, Who prayed at
the ninth hour. "At the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice,
saying 'Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabacthani?' which is, being interpreted, 'My
God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?'" (St. Mark xv. 34).

2. That ninth hour was the long-wished-for and long-watched-for hour
when reconciliation between earth and heaven was complete.

3. To beg from God light and grace, especially towards the end of life,
for the day's decline in the afternoon is a figure of the waning of
spiritual and corporal life. The hymn for None expresses this:--

     "O God, unchangeable and true,
      Of all the light and power,
      Dispensing light in silence through
      Each successive hour;
      Lord, brighten our declining day,
      That it may never wane
      Till death, when all things round decay,
      Brings back the morn again.
      This grace on Thy redeemed confer,
      Father, Co-equal Son,
      And Holy Ghost, the Comforter,
      Eternal Three in One--Amen."
      (St. Ambrose's hymn, translated by Cardinal


1. "Come down from the cross" (St. Matthew, c. 27).

2. "Lord, remember me when Thou shalt come into Thy Kingdom" (St.
Matthew, c. 23).

3. "My God, my God, why has Thou forsaken me?" (St. Matthew, c. 27).

_General Intentions_. All the intentions of the Sacred Heart; the
conversion of Britain; the Church in America.

_Personal Intentions_. Fervour in preparation for Mass; fervour in
thanksgiving after Mass; fidelity to professional duties and studies.

_Special Intentions_. The temporal welfare of Ireland; to beg a blessing
on her priests; to beg a blessing on her Church students; to beg a
blessing on her Catholic laity; to beg a blessing on her
elementary schools.



_Etymology_. The word _vespers_ comes directly from the Latin _Vesper_;
_Vespera_ or _Espera_ was a name given to the star Venus, which rising
in the evening was a call to prayer. This Hour is recited after None and
before Compline. In structure, it resembles Lauds, Pater Noster, Ave,
Gloria, Five Psalms with antiphons, Capitulum, Hymn, Versicle, antiphon,
Magnificat, antiphon and collect.

It had several synonymous names. It was called _Duodecima Hora_
(Antiphonary of Bangor), because it was said at the twelfth hour of the
day, six o'clock, or, perhaps, the name came from the twelve psalms
which made up the Hour in some churches. It was known, too, by the names
_Lucernarium, hora lucernalis_, the hour of the candles; because at this
hour a number of candles were lighted, not only to shed light but for
symbolic purposes. It was sometimes referred to as _hora incensi_, from
the custom of burning incense at this evening service, and sometimes it
is called _gratiarum actio_ (St. Isidore), because it gives thanks to
God for the graces given during the day. It came to mean not the evening
Hour, but the sunset Hour. And in the sixth century it was celebrated
before daylight had gone and before there was any need for artificial
light. In the fourth century it was recited by torchlight.

_Antiquity_. The Jews honoured God by special and solemn evening
service. Their feasts by God's command began in the evening. "From
evening unto evening you shall celebrate your sabbaths" (Lev. xxiii,
32). And David sang "Evening and morning and at noon I will speak and
declare" (Psalm 54:32). The eariy Christians faithfully followed
the practice.

"In the sixth century, the order of Psalms, etc., in Vespers differed
little from the Vespers in our modern Breviaries. Long before the sixth
century there were evening Offices in various forms. Its existence in
the fourth century is also confirmed by St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St.
Basil, St. Ephraem ... Before the fourth century we find allusions to
the evening prayer in the early Fathers, Clement I. of Rome, St.
Ignatius, St. Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, the Canons of
St. Hippolytus, St. Cyprian (for texts see Baumer-Biron; 1. c.t. 20 seq.
73-74, 76, 78)"--(Dorn Cabrol, _Cath. Ency._, art "Vespers").

Why do we offer up public prayer in the evening? The old liturgists

1. To imitate the devout Christians of apostolic times.

2. To honour Jesus, the true Sun of the world, Who hid Himself at His
Incarnation, and in His life, and Whose glory was hidden in His Passion.

3. To thank Christ for the Eucharist, which He instituted in the evening
of His earthly life, ... "and they prepared the Pasch. But when it was
evening (vespere autem) He sat down with His twelve disciples" (St.
Matthew, xxvi. 20). At this vesper meeting He gave to priests the power
to offer the sacrifice of the Mass, to change bread and wine into His
body and blood. At this vesper service, too, Christ and His apostles
celebrated the divine praises, "Hymno dicto" (St. Matthew xxvi. 30).

4. In the evening our Lord's body was taken down from the cross.

5. At the approach of evening Christ appeared to His disciples at Emmaus
and revealed to them His divinity. "Stay with us because it is towards
evening (_advesperascit_) and He went in with them. He took bread and
blessed and brake and gave it to them and their eyes were opened and
they knew Him" (St. Luke xxiv. 29-30). At Vespers we thank God for the

The hymns at Vespers date for the most part from the sixth century. They
are of great beauty and have the peculiar characteristic of telling of
the days of creation. Thus St. Gregory's (?) fine hymn, _Lucis Creator
optime_, in Sunday's Vespers, refers to the creation of light; Monday's
hymn, _Immense coeli Creator_, refers to the separation of land and
water; Wednesday's hymn (written probably by St. Ambrose), _Coeli Deus
sanctissime_, refers to the creation of the sun and moon; the hymns for
Thursday's vespers, _Magnae Deus potentiae_, refers to the creation of
fish and birds; Friday's hymn, _Hominis superne conditor_ (St. Gregory),
refers to the creation of the beasts of the earth; Saturday's hymn (St.
Ambrose) is an exception, as it refers to the Trinity. All these hymns
have been beautifully translated into English and the text and
translations repay study.

Sunday's hymn, _Lucis Creator optime_, stands thus in translation:--

     "O blest Creator of the light,
      Who makest the day with radiance bright,
      And o'er the forming world didst call
      The light from chaos first of all.

      Whose wisdom joined in sweet array
      The morn and eve and named them day,
      Night comes with all its darkening fears;
      Regard Thy people's prayers and tears,

      Lest sunk in sin, and whelmed with strife,
      They lose the gift of endless life;
      While thinking--but the thoughts of time,
      They weave new chains of woe and crime.

      But grant them grace that they may strain
      The heavenly gate and prize to gain;
      Each harmful lure aside to cast,
      And purge away each error past.

      O Father, that we ask be done,
      Through Jesus Christ, Thine only Son;
      Who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
      Doth live and reign eternally. Amen."

      (Translation by Dr. J.M. Neale).

_Structure._ Vespers, in structure, resembles Lauds and consists of five
Psalms. It begins with Pater Noster, Ave (said silently), Deus in
adjutorium,... Domine ad adjuvandum.... Gloria Patri.... Sicut erat.
Alleluia or Laus tibi.... Antiphon begun only if the feast be not
double; if feast be a double the antiphon is said in full before and
after each psalm. If feast be a semi-double or simple the antiphon is
intoned at the beginning and is said in full at end of each psalm and
then only. Then are said Capitulum, Deo gratias, Hymn, versicle and
response, antiphon to Magnificat, the canticle Magnificat, Gloria
Patri.... Sicut erat.... Dominus vobiscum.... Et cum spiritu tuo,
Oremus, collect, commemoration if any made by versicle and response and
antiphon of Magnificat proper to commemoration with collect, Dominus
vobiscum, Et cum.... Benedicamus Domino; Deo gratias, Fidelium
animae.... Amen. If Compline be not said immediately after Vespers,
Pater Noster is added.

At the opening words of the _Magnificat_, _Nunc Dimittis_ and
_Benedictus_, it is a practice with many priests to make the sign of the
cross from forehead to breast, as at _Deus in adjutorium_ (_cf._
Ceremoniale Epis. lib. II. i. 14). This custom, where it exists, should
be preserved (S.R.C., April, 1867).

Writers on liturgy tell us that the number of Psalms in Vespers have a
symbolic meaning, typifying the five wounds of the Saviour, the last of
which, the wound in the side, was inflicted on the evening of Good
Friday, and the others, as the Church says in the hymn _Vergente mundi
vespere_, at the waning of the day of the Old Law, before the dawn of
salvation (Honorius of Autun, circa 1130). Other writers say that these
five psalms should produce acts of contrition for the sins committed
during the day, by the five senses; and that they should be for us,
morally, what the five lighted lamps were for the wise virgins in the
Gospel parable (Amalare of Metz, circa 850).

_Magnificat._ Author. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the author of this
canticle. "The witness of the codices and of the Fathers is practically
unanimous for the Vulgate reading: 'Et ait Maria,' but apart from this,
the attribution of the _Magnificat_ to Elizabeth would in St. Luke's
context be highly abnormal" (Dr. H. T. Henry, _Cath. Encyc_., word,
_Magnificat_)--The Roman Breviary entitles it _Canticum Beatae Marine

It is divided by commentators into three parts (St. Luke 1, vv. 46-49;
50-53; 54-55). It "is in many places very similar in thought and phrase
to the Canticle of Anna (I. Kings ii. 1-10) and to various psalms (Ps.
33, vv. 3-4; Ps. 39, v. 9; Ps. 70, v. 9; Ps. 125, vv. 2-3; Ps. 110, v.
9; Ps. 97, v. 1; Ps. 117, v. 16; Ps. 32, v. 10; Ps. 92, v. 7; Ps. 33, v.
11; Ps. 97, v-3; Ps. 131, v. 11). Similarities are found in Hab. c. III.
v. 18; Mal. c. III. v. 12; Job. c. 5, v. 11; Is, c. 41, v. 8; Is. c.
149, v. 3, and Gen. c. 17, v. 19. Steeped thus in scriptural thought and
Phraseology, summing up in its inspired ecstasy the economy of God with
His chosen people, indicating the fulfilment of olden prophecy, and
prophesying anew until end of time, the Magnificat is the crown of the
Old Testament singing, the last canticle of the Old and the first of the
New Testament. It is an ecstasy of praise for the inestimable favour
bestowed by God on the Virgin, for the mercies shown to Israel, and for
the fulfilment of the promises made to Abraham and the patriarchs" (Dr.
Henry, _loc. cit_.).

It is found universally in the ancient liturgies and affords a proof of
the apostolic and universal praise of the Blessed Virgin. Durandus
(thirteenth century) gives some reasons for the assignment of the
Magnificat to Vespers. Because Vespers is the grandest liturgical Hour;
because Mary probably arrived at the house of Elizabeth in the evening;
because it was in the moral evening of the world that Mary consented to
be the Mother of God; because she is the star of the sea, etc. The
following interesting reason for the use of the Magnificat at Vespers is
given by St. Bede (works 5, 306). "It comes to pass, by the bounty of
the Lord, that if we were at all times to meditate upon the acts and
sayings of the Blessed Virgin, the observance of chastity and the works
of virtue will always continue with us. For, the excellent and salutary
custom has grown up in Holy Church that all shall sing her hymn (the
Magnificat) every day with the Vesper Psalms, in order that the
recalling of the Lord's incarnation, by this means, may the oftener
incite the souls of the faithful to devotion and that the consideration
of the example set by His Mother may confirm them in the stability of
virtue. And it is meet that this should be done at Vespers, so that the
mind wearied in the course of the day, and distracted by various
opinions, may, at the approach of the season of quiet, collect itself in
oneness of meditation and through the wholesome reminder may hasten to
cleanse itself, by the prayers and tears of the night, from everything
useless or harmful which it had contracted by the business of the day."

_Suffrages of the Saints_. (Title XXXV.) In Sec.2 of rubrics of the new
Breviary we read, "Deinceps, quando facienda erunt suffragia sanctorum,
unum fiet suffragium, juxta formulam propositam in Ordinario novi
Psalterii." Thus were abolished the old formulae of suffrages and a new
one inserted.

Antiphon Beata Dei Genitrix.... V. Mitificavit .... R. Et exaudivit....
Oremus, A cunctis....

This will be said at Lauds and Vespers outside Paschal time (1) on all
Sundays and ferias, (2) on semi-doubles and simples, except (_a_) in
Advent and Passiontide, (_b_) when there is a commemoration of a double,
a day within an octave. In Paschal time the Commemoration is of
the Cross.

In this prayer the names of the Holy Angels and of St. John the Baptist,
if they be titulars, are inserted before the name of St. Joseph. At the
letter N. in the prayer, the name of the titular saint of the particular
church should be inserted; but churches dedicated by the title of a
mystery (e.g., the Ascension) are not to be named in this prayer
(S.R.C., March, 1912).


1. "Woman, behold thy Son; Behold Thy mother" (St. John, c. 19),

2. "I thirst" (St. John, c. 19).

3. "And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put it to
His mouth" (St. John, c. 19).

_General Intentions_. The conversion of sinners; the wants of the
Church; those in death agony; spread of Eucharistic devotion; daily
Communion; priest adorers; reparation for bad Communions; reparation for
impieties and irreverences towards the Eucharist.

_Personal Intentions_. Regularity in visits to Blessed Sacrament;
Fervour in Mass and in administering Holy Communion; a happy death; true
and deep devotion to Mary.

_Special Intentions_. The Irish Daily Mass Crusade; Total Abstinence;
devotion to the Passion; devotion to the agonising Heart of Jesus.


_Etymology and synonym_. The word compline comes from the Latin word
_complere_, to complete, to finish, because this Hour completes or
finishes the day Hours of the Office. It bore several names, _Completa_
(St. Isidore), _Initium noctis_ (St. Columbanus), _Prima noctis hora_
(St. Fructeux).

_Antiquity_. The origin of this Hour has given rise to a great deal of
controversy. Both Baumer and Battifol in their histories of the Breviary
attribute the origin of this Hour to St. Benedict (480-543). Other
scholars attribute its origin to St. Basil, and hence date it from the
fourth century. It is admitted that before the time of St. Basil, Bishop
of Caesarea (370-379) this Hour was in existence. Some hold that St.
Basil established the Hour in the East and St. Benedict in the West. The
latter certainly invested the Hour with the liturgical character and
arrangement which were preserved by the Benedictines and adapted by the
Roman Church. The Compline of the Roman Church is more ornate and solemn
than the liturgy assigned to this Hour by St. Benedict, which was very
simple. The addition of the response _In manus tuas Domine_, the _Nunc
dimittis_ and its anthem of the Blessed Virgin make this Hour one of
great beauty.

_Structure_, The structure of the Hour seems to point to its monastic
origin, "The reader begins, 'Pray, Father, a blessing' (jube, domne
benedicere); the blessing, 'The Lord Almighty grant us a quiet night and
a perfect end. Amen.' 'Noctem quietam....' Then follows a short lesson,
which the Father Abbot gave to his monks. 'Brethren, be sober and watch;
because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about,
seeking whom he may devour, whom resist ye, strong in faith. But Thou, O
Lord, have mercy on us.' And the monks answer 'Thanks be to God.'
'Fratres sobrii estote et vigilate....' Then the _Pater Noster_
(silently), and the presiding priest, who was the Abbot or his deputy,
said the confiteor and the choir answered _Misereatur_.... 'May Almighty
God have mercy upon thee and forgive thee thy sins, and bring thee to
life everlasting.' The choir then repeats the Confiteor and the priest
replies 'Misereatur vestri....' 'May Almighty God have mercy upon you,
forgive you your sins and bring you to life everlasting.'" Of course, in
private recitation, or where two or three recite the Office, these
prayers are said only once, and in the Confiteor, _tibi pater_ and _te
pater_ are omitted, and _nostri, nostris, nos, nostrorum, nobis_, are
said in the Misereatur and Indulgentiam.

Then the _Converte nos Deus.... At averte iram tuam.... Deus in
adjutorium.... Domine ad adjuvandum.... Gloria Patri_.... Antiphon
(begun only) and three psalms, which vary, are said, _Gloria
Patri_.... _Sicut erat_... being said at the end of each. _In
manus tuas_... is said twice. _Redemisti nos_. ... _Commendo
spiritum meum_; _Custodi nos_ ... _sub umbra_.... _Salva
nos_; _Nunc dimittis_.... _Gloria Patri, Salva nos Domine
vigilantes, custodi nos_... _pace_. (Preces are said here if
rubric orders; i.e., _Kyrie eleison, Christie eleison_... _ad te
veniat_); _Dominus vobiscum, Et cum_.... _Benedicamus Domino,
Deo gratias_; _Benedicat et custodiat nos omnipotens_. Amen;
then the anthem of the Blessed Virgin, _Alma Redemptoris Mater_
(from Saturday before first Sunday of Advent to the feast of the
Purification, inclusive) with its antiphon; in Advent, _Angelus
Domini_, response, _Et concepit_, Oremus and prayer, _Gratiam
tuam_, or with antiphon (after Advent) _Post partum_... and
response, _Dei genetrix, Oremus, Deus qui salutis_. After the
Purification, until Holy Thursday the anthem is _Ave regina
coelorum_, with versicle _Dignare me_ ..., _Da mihi_, Oremus,
_Concedemisericors_. From Holy Saturday until Saturday after
Pentecost, the anthem is _Regina coeli_ with versicle, _Gaude_... and
response, _Quia surrexit_.... _Oremus_ and prayer, _Deus qui per
resurrectionem_. From Holy Trinity Sunday to the Saturday before
Advent, the antiphon is _Salve Regina_ with versicle, _Ora pro
nobis_... response, _Ut digni, Oremus_ and prayer, _Omnipotens
semipeterne Deus_. Then the versicle _Divinum auxilium_.... Amen.
_Pater Noster, Ave, Credo_, in silence, are said. The _Sacro-sanctae_
is added (see pp. 133-135).

The study of the component parts of this Hour are of great interest.
After the Abbot had given his blessing and begged of God to grant the
two-fold favour of a quiet night and a good death, a monk read from Holy
Scripture, and when a suitable portion was read, or at the end of a
Scripture chapter or theme, the Abbot said, "Tu autem," and the reader
"Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis." This was to ask God to pardon faults
both of reader in his reading and of monks, who, perhaps, were drowsy
and inattentive. The Abbot terminated the exercise by the _Adjutorium
nostrum_ (the _Pater Noster_ is of more recent introduction). Monks who
were absent substituted for the Scripture lesson which they had missed,
the pithy extract from St. Peter, "Fratres; sobrii estote," which we now
read. The whole company of monks and their abbot then proceeded to the
chapel where each made his examination of conscience, and at a sign from
the abbot, the monks, two by two, in a subdued tone of voice, said the
_Confiteor, Misereatur, Indulgentiam_ and _Converte nos_. Gavantus and
Merati hold that the _Converte nos_ does not belong to this introductory
matter, but formed part of Compline proper. This prayer is very
beautiful: "Convert us, O God, our Saviour. And turn away Thine anger
from us. Incline unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make haste to help us.
Glory be to the Father,... Praise be to God."

The new arrangement of the Psalter did not retain the old traditional
psalms, 4, 90, 133, in Compline, except for Sundays and solemn feasts.
But the selection of psalms accords well with the idea of the
hour--night prayer--and with the other prayers, which go to make up the
close of the Office of the day. The hymn, _Te lucis_, so chastely
simple, has ever been admired. Its ideas suit so admirably for the
prayer before sleep and for reminding us of sleep and her sister death
and the solemn petition made to God to be our guardian and defence in
the solemn hour of death, are simply and solemnly set out in this daily
hymn. How beautiful it reads in Father Caswall's translation:--

     "Now with the fast departing light,
      Maker of all, we ask of Thee
      Of Thy great mercy, through the night,
      Our guardian and defence to be.

      Far off let idle visions fly,
      No phantom of the night molest:
      Curb Thou our raging enemy,
      That we in chaste repose may rest.

      Father of mercies! hear our cry;
      Hear us, O sole-begotten Son!
      Who, with the Holy Ghost most high,
      Reignest while endless ages run."

In Passiontide, the Breviary gives us the last verse, Deo Patri, and the
translation renders it:--

     "To Thee, Who dead again dost live,
      All glory, Jesus, ever be,
      Praise to the Father, infinite,
      And Holy Ghost eternally."

_Little Chapter_. This is a beautiful call to our Lord to remind Him, as
it were, that we are His own, that we bear His name. In this invocation
we express our confidence in Him and ask Him not to abandon us, but to
dwell with us. "But Thou, O Lord, art among us, and Thy holy name is
invoked upon us; forsake us not, O Lord our God"; and for past
protection the Church adds to their invocation, taken from the prophet
Jeremias, the words of gratitude, "Thanks be to God."

_The Response_. "In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum... nos."
"Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Into Thy hands I commend
my spirit. For Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord God of Truth. I commend my
spirit. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.
Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. Keep us, O Lord, as the
apple of Thine eye. Protect us under the shadow of Thy wings." No more
sublime prayer exists in the liturgy than this response, which the
Church orders us to say nightly. She wishes, in its daily recital, to
prepare us for death, by reminding us of the sentiments and words of our
dying Lord on the cross, "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit" (Ps. 30,
v. 6), and by asking Him Who redeemed us on the bitter tree, to keep us
safe as the apple of His eye and to protect us "under the shadow of His
wings" (Ps. 40, v, 6). These solemn words of our dying Saviour have
been, in all ages, and in all lands, the death prayer of many of those
whom He redeemed, with the great price. St. Stephen, the proto-martyr,
prayed "Lord Jesus receive my spirit." "Into Thy hands I commend my
spirit," prayed St. Basil in his death agony. "Into Thy hands I commend
my spirit," prayed thousands of God's servants, heroes and heroines,
e.g., Savanarola, Columbus, Father Southwell, the martyr Mary, Queen of
Scots, and countless other servants of God.

_Nunc Dimittis_. The canticle _Nunc dimittis_ is the last in historical
sequence of the three great canticles of the New Testament. It was
spoken at the presentation of Christ, by Simeon, "This man was just and
devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in
him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should
not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by
the spirit into the temple. And when His parents brought the child Jesus
to do for him according to the custom of the law. He also took Him in
his arms and blessed God and said 'Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O
Lord, according to thy word in peace....'" (St. Luke ii. 29-33). This
sublime canticle uttered by the holy old man at the close of his days is
placed fittingly in the priest's Office at the close of the day. It
breathes his thanks, expresses his love and his wish to die, having seen
the Saviour.

Before the canticle are said the opening words of the antiphon, "Salva
nos"; and it is repeated in full at the end. "Save us, O Lord, while we
are awake, and guard us when we sleep, that we may watch with Christ and
rest in peace."

The prayers, Kyrie eleison, Christie eleison, etc., are said always
except when a double office or a day within an octave has been
commemorated at Vespers. The prayer, _Visita quaesumus_ is found in
Breviaries of the thirteenth century and was introduced probably by the
Friars Minor. The words _habitationem istam_ are said to indicate that
it is a prayer not only for the chapel of the friars, but for their
dwellings on journeys. It was said in choir by the abbot or presiding
priest. Like all prayers for Compline it begs God to drive far away the
snares of the enemy; it begs Him to let His angels dwell in that house
to keep the dwellers therein, in peace; and finally, it begs Him to "let
Thy blessing be always upon us. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord,
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God,
world without end. Amen."

After the Dominus vobiscum and its response, the abbot or presiding
priest gave the solemn blessing "Benedicat et custodiet..., May the
Almighty and merciful Lord, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost,
bless and preserve us. Amen."

Then one of the anthems of the Blessed Virgin Mary is said. From the
Saturday before Advent until the feast of the Purification, inclusive,
is said the anthem "Alma Redemptoris Mater"; translated by Father
Caswall, it reads:--

     "Mother of Christ, hear Thou thy people's cry,
      Star of the deep and portal of the sky,
      Mother of Him who Thee from nothing made,
      Sinking we strive and call to Thee for aid.
      Oh, by that joy which Gabriel brought to Thee,
      Thou Virgin first and last, let us Thy mercy see."

The Latin hexameters are attributed to Hermanus (circa 1054). It has
been translated by several poets great and small, and is well known in
Newman's translation, "Kindly Mother of the Redeemer." It was a popular
hymn in Norman Ireland and in Catholic England, as we see in Chaucer's
"Prioress's Tale." After this anthem are said its versicle, response,
and prayer _Oremus, Gratiam tuam quaesumus_.

From the first Vespers of the Nativity, the versicle, response and
prayer said are "Post partum ...; Dei Genetrix.... Oremus, Deus qui
salutis." ... From the end of Compline on February 2nd until Holy
Thursday exclusive the antiphon is "Ave Regina coelorum." It appears to
be of monastic origin, and St. Jerome attributes it to St. Ephraem. Its
expressions are borrowed from the works of St. Ephraem, of St.
Athanasius and of other doctors, and its theme is Mary, as Queen of
Heaven, the dawn of our salvation, and an extolling of her beauty.

From Compline of Holy Saturday, inclusive, until None of the Saturday
after the feast of Pentecost, inclusive, the "Regina coeli" is said. It
is a very old composition, but its author is unknown. Some authors
attribute it to St. Gregory the Great (590-604). Others, following a
venerable tradition, say that the three first lines were the composition
of angels, and the fourth, Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia, was added by
Pope Gregory. The legend tells us that when in the year 596 Rome was
desolated by the plague, Pope Gregory the Great exhorted his people to
penance and prayer, and carrying in his hands the picture of the Blessed
Virgin, said to be painted by St. Luke, he led them in procession to the
church, Afa Coeli, on Easter morn. When the procession was passing
Adrian's Mole, angel voices were heard chanting the Regina Coeli, and
the Pope astonished and rejoiced added the words "Ora pro nobis Deum,
Alleluia," and immediately a shining angel appeared and sheathed his
sword, the plague ceased on that very day (Gueranger, _Liturgical
Year_, "Paschal Time," Part I., p. iii; Duffy, Dublin). Attempts at
translation have been indifferent.

From the first Vespers of the feast of the Most Hoiy Trinity to the None
of the Saturday before Advent, the Salve Regina is said. The authorship
was assigned to St. Bernard (1091-1153). But scholars reject this
theory. It is assigned to Petrus de Monsoro (circa 1000) and to
Adehemar, but the claims of both are doubtful. In 1220 the general
chapter of Cluny ordered its daily chanting before the high altar, after
the Capitulum. The use of the anthem at Compline was begun by the
Dominicans about 1221 and the practice spread rapidly. It was introduced
into the "modernised." Franciscan Breviary in the thirteenth century.
The Carthusians sing it daily at Vespers; the Cistercians sing it after
Compline, and the Carmelites say it after every Hour of the Office. It
is said after every low Mass throughout the world. It was especially
obnoxious to Luther, who several times denounced it, as did the
Jansenists also. It is recorded in the lives of several saints that the
Blessed Virgin, to show her love for this beautiful prayer, showed to
them her Son, at the moment they said "Et Jesum ... nobis post hoc
exilium ostende."

Speaking of these antiphons of the Blessed Virgin, Battifol, in his
_History of the Roman Breviary_ (English ed.), writes: "We owe a just
debt of gratitude to those who gave us the antiphons of the Blessed
Virgin ... four exquisite compositions, though in style enfeebled by

After the antiphon of the Blessed Virgin the versicle and response are
said. Then Oremus and prayer "Omnipotens sempiterne Deus ... Divinum
auxilium ... Amen," are said. Then the Pater Noster, Ave and Credo are
said silently, and this finishes the Hour. The prayer Sacro-sanctae et
individuae.... V. Beata viscera ... R. Et beata ubera ... Pater Noster
and Ave are generally added though not of obligation. They are to be
said kneeling. The reading of this well-known and oft-repeated prayer,
in its English translation, may bring fresh and fervent thoughts to
priests, for it is a sublime prayer:--

     "To the most holy and undivided Trinity, to the
      humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ crucified, to the
      fruitful virginity of the most glorious Mary ever a
      Virgin, and to the company of all the saints, be
      given by every creature, eternal praise, honour,
      power and glory, and to us the remission of all our
      sins. Amen. Blessed be the womb of the Virgin
      Mary, which bore the Son of the Eternal Father.
      And blessed be the breasts which gave suck to
      Christ our Lord."


1. "Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."

2. "It is finished."

3. "For this Thou hast redeemed us, O God of truth."

_General Intentions._ The spread of the faith; the Pope; the Church in
France and in Spain; for the Church in Australia.

_Personal Intentions._ A happy death; fervour in administering the last
sacraments; devotion to St. Joseph, patron of a happy death.

_Special Intentions,_ For the sick poor of Ireland; for persons dying
without the last sacraments; for those dying all alone; for
dying sinners.


_Origin._ This Office dates from the eighth century at least. Pope
Gregory II. (715-731) and Pope Gregory III. (731-741) ordered the monks
to say this little Office in addition to their great Office. The
practice was observed by St. John Damascene (676-787) and by St. Peter
Damien (1007-1072).This usage was confined to monasteries only. At the
end of the eleventh century the practice became almost universal. Pope
Urban II. (1088-1099) besought the special aid of the Blessed Virgin in
his crusade against the Turks and recommended all clerics to recite the
little Office. Provincial councils prescribed its use and some canonists
held it to be obligatory. However, the Bull _Quod a nobis_ of Pope Pius
V. (9 July, 1568) removed all obligation of the private recital of this
Office, but he exhorted all to continue the practice and granted
indulgences for its recitation.






_Advent_ (Latin, _advenire_, to come to) is a period beginning with the
Sunday nearest to the Feast of St. Andrew (November 30) and embracing
four Sundays. In the early Church there was a divergence of date and
practice in Advent celebration. Thus, in France it began on St. Martin's
Day (11 November) and ended with Christmas, France kept Advent with
tri-weekly fasts. Rome did not, in very early days, observe the Advent
fasts, but maintained the shorter period, containing only four Sundays.
(Father Thurston, _The Month_, No. 498).

Several authors stated that this period of preparation for the
celebration of Christ's birthday was instituted by Gregory the Great. It
is now traceable to the fourth century in France; in Rome it was of
later date. The Church, as is seen in the Advent Offices in the
Breviary, instituted this part of the liturgical year to honour and to
recall the two comings of Christ--His first coming in human form at
Bethlehem, as Saviour; and His second coming, as Judge of all mankind.
In her liturgy she expresses repeatedly both sentiments, a sentiment of
joy and a sentiment of sorrow. The former she expresses by her
_alleluias_ and the latter by her omission of the _Te Deum_ and by her
recital of the ferial prayers, the prayers of tears and grief.

In the Advent Offices are many phrases which were fulfilled at the
Incarnation: "Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant Justum; O Adonai,
veni ad redimendum nos; Emitte Agnum, Domine, Dominatorum terrae;
Orietur sicut sol Salvator mundi et descendet in uterum Virginis."
Centuries have passed since the Saviour came, and yet the Church wishes
us to repeat the sublime prayers and prophecies which associate
themselves with the coming of the Word made Flesh, and by our repetition
to be animated with the ardent longings of olden days; and that by them
we may awaken our faith, our hope, our charity, and obtain and augment
God's grace in our souls.

_Rubrics_. The first Sunday of Advent has the invitatory hymn and the
rest of the Office proper. The lessons are from Isaias, the prophet of
the Incarnation. The first response to the lesson is unique in the
Breviary for it has three verses (see p. 164). These three verses are
spoken in the names of the holy people who lived before the law, during
the law, and after the law. The Gloria Patri is added to honour the Holy
Trinity, who has at length sent the long-watched-for Messias (Durandus).
And the response is repeated from the beginning because the second
coming of Christ is watched for, by His faithful (Honorius d'Autun). The
_Te Deum_ is not said, in order thereby to mark the sad thought of the
second coming of Christ, then our judge.

_Lessons_. From the first Sunday of Advent until the first Sunday of
August the lessons of the first and second nocturns are given in the
Breviary in the Proprium de Tempore, after the Psaltery. The lessons of
third nocturn for same period are given after those of second nocturn.
The suffrages are not said in Advent. In Advent the lectio brevis is
"Domine miserere." In Sunday Matins special versicles are given. The
preces are said at Lauds and Vespers in ferias of Advent and at the
small Hours; preces are said, too, if they be said at Lauds.

The great antiphons are the antiphons of the Magnificat which begin on
the 17th December. They are sometimes called the great O's, or the O
antiphons, as each begins with this letter. They begin "O Sapientia,
quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti ..." and continue "O Adonai, O radix
Jesse," etc.... They are the most beautiful antiphons in the liturgy,
expressing the prayers and ardent hopes for the coming Saviour. They
have formed the subjects of study for poets, scholars and liturgists,
ancient and modern. It is asked why these antiphons introduce the
Magnificat and not the Benedictus. And liturgists reply: Because the
Incarnation was of Mary, and hence these heralds of the Infant King more
appropriately introduce Mary's canticle rather than that of Zachary. And
the old liturgists add that these antiphons are said at Vespers, the
evening Hour, because the Messias was expected and watched for in the
world's evening. They tell us, too, why there are seven great antiphons.
They are to excite our piety during this octave preparatory to the
birthday of Christ. This number seven typifies the seven gifts of the
Holy Ghost; it represents the seven miseries of mankind, ignorance,
eternal punishment, the slavery of the devil, sin, gloom and exile from
our fatherland, which is Heaven. And those wonderful men of mediaeval
days tell us why we have need of a Teacher, O Sapientia; of a Redeemer,
O Adonai; of a Liberator, O Radix Jesse; of a Guardian, O Clavis David;
of a brilliant Instructor, O Oriens; of a Saviour to bring us, Gentiles,
back to our Great Father, God; O Rex gentium; a Herald to the Jews.
Honorius of Autun tells that these antiphons refer to the seven gifts of
the Holy Ghost and are arranged in the well-known order in which these
gifts are always arranged in works of piety. He says that Christ came in
the Spirit of Wisdom, O Sapientia, that in the word "Adonai" is
indicated that Christ redeemed us in the Spirit of Understanding. He
says, too, that the antiphon "O Radix" signifies the sign of the cross,
and that Christ redeemed us in the Spirit of Counsel. "O Clavis"
indicates that Christ opened Heaven and closed Hell in the Spirit of
Strength or Fortitude. "O Orient" shows forth Christ enlightening us in
the Spirit of Knowledge. "Rex gentiam" points out the holy King who
saved men by the Spirit of Piety. "O Emanuel" refers to Christ coming in
the Spirit of Fear, but giving us also the Law of Love.

These antiphons have formed the theme of the oldest Christian poem in
Europe--Cynewulf's "Christ," a work which is the admiration of modern
scholars. They were celebrated with great pomp and joy in monastic life,
the monks carrying their congruous symbolism into their recitation. For,
to the gardener-monk was assigned, the chanting of "O Radix Jesse," and
to the cellarer-monk, the "O clavis David"--typifying their work of
root-growing and key keeping. (See _The Month_, No. 489; _The Irish
Ecclesiastical Record_, December, 1918).

_Christmas. Antiquity._ "It was formerly taken for granted that Christ
had actually been born on this day, and, accordingly, the learned were
of opinion that the Church had observed it from the beginning, as the
day of His birth. Even at the present day it will be dfficult for many
to give up this idea. But there is no Christmas among the Christan
feasts enumerated by Tertullian ([died] 220), Origen (185-254), and the
recently published Testament of Jesus Christ. On the contrary, there is
clear proof that even in the fourth and fifth centuries it was unknown
in some parts of the Church, where its introduction, at a later period,
can be proved historically" (_vide_ Kellner, _op. cit._, pp. 127-158).

Christmas is one of the great festivals. In Rome there were two night
Offices. The first, celebrated at nightfall in the Papal chapel, begins
with the antiphon of the first psalm in the nocturn. It has nine lessons
and the _Te Deum_. About midnight a more solemn Office began, this time
with the invitatory and psalm _Venite_. The first of these Offices
became the Office of the vigil.

In the Office of Christmas Day the lessons are read without the title of
the book (Isaias) from which they are taken, because their author's name
was so often repeated during the Advent that each one knew their source,
or because at Christmas God speaks to us by His Son, rather than by His
prophet. In the first response the Gloria Patri is said, to thank God
for the great favour He has bestowed on us--His Son, the Christ. In the
third nocturn, _Alleluia_ is added to the antiphons, because the third
nocturn typifies the time of grace, in which we should express the joy
that is ours in the birth of the Saviour. In this nocturn, too, are
given three Gospel extracts, corresponding with the Gospels in the Mass
of Christmas. Matins are separated from Lauds by the first Mass because,
it is said at midnight, and Lauds is a day Office. At Prime the versicle
of the little response is _Qui natus est_.

_Rubrics_. Christmas is a primary double of the First Class. The third
of the new _Tres Tabellae_ (S.C.R., January, 1912) in the new Breviaries
gives the rules for concurrence of Vespers in the Octave of Christmas.

_Feast of St. Stephen_. The worship of St. Stephen may be said to be as
old as the Church herself, since St. Paul gave him the title of Martyr
of Christ (Acts XXII. 20). His name is to be found in the earliest
liturgical sources, e.g., the Arian martyrology belonging to about 360
and in all calendars, ancient and modern, excepting the Coptic. His
cultus received great impulse from the discovery of his relics at Kaphar
Gamala, on the shore of Lake Genesareth, and the wonderful miracles
wrought by them, A basilica in his honour was erected, in Rome in the
fourth century.

_St. John the Apostle_. The commemoration of St. John on the 27th
December was formerly united with that of St. James the Less. In time,
St. John's feast only was celebrated on this date, and such was the
case as early as the time of Bede.

_The Circumcision._ This festival was originally called _Octava Domini_,
and hence it may be inferred that it was not an independent festival and
passed unnoticed if it fell on a week day. Thus, in the _Homilarium_ of
Charlemagne (786) it is referred to by this name. But very shortly after
this, the name which we now use for the festival of the 1st January was
used in Rome, and spread through the Church. In the early days of
Christianity the first day of the civil year was given over to
rejoicings, dancing, feasting and rioting. And these abuses lingered in
France, though stripped of their pagan character, until the later middle
ages. A remnant of them is found in the so-called Feast of Fools, which
was held in churches, and which mocked several religious customs and
ceremonies. These feasts lasted till the middle of the fifteenth century.

_Epiphany_. The name is derived from a Greek verb employed to describe
the dawn, and the adjective derived from the Greek verb was applied in
classic Greek, to the appearances of the gods bringing help to men. In
Christian liturgy, the feast was instituted to celebrate the appearance,
the manifestation of Christ, to the Gentiles, in the persons of the
Magi. In later times, there were added to this commemoration of Christ's
manifestation to the Gentiles, two further commemorations of his
wonderful showings of His divine mission, viz., His manifestation in His
baptism in the Jordan, a manifestation to the Jews, and His miracle at
Cana, a showing forth to His friends and disciples. This feast is of
early origin. Suarez thinks it should be attributed to the Apostles (_De
Relig_. L.2. ch.5, n.9); and Benedict XIV. held that it was established
by the infant Church at Rome to draw off the Christians from the profane
and sinful revelry which marked the pagan feast of this date. However,
these statements are hardly accurate. "With regard to the antiquity and
spread of the feast, it was unknown in North Africa during the third
century, for Tertullian makes no reference to it; and even in the time
of St. Augustine, it was rejected by the Donatists as an oriental
novelty. In Origen's time, at least, it was not generally observed as a
festival in Alexandria, since he does not reckon it as such. For Rome,
evidence is wanting for the earliest times, but since the daughter
Church of Africa knew nothing--of the festival at first, it may be
inferred that originally it was not kept at Rome, but was introduced
there in course of time. In Spain it was a feast-day in 380, in Gaul in
361 ..." (Kellner, _op. cit._, p.172).

In the antiphons for the Magnificat and the Benedictus it may be noticed
that the three manifestations are given not in the same order. "This day
is the Church united to the Heavenly Spouse, for Christ, in the Jordan,
washes away her sins; the Magi run to the royal nuptials with their
gifts, and the guests of the feast are gladdened by the water changed
into wine" (Ant. of Benedictus). The Magi, seeing the star, said to
each other: "This is the sign of the King: let us go and seek him, and
offer him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh" (Ant. of Magnificat, 1st
Vesp.), "We celebrate a festival adorned by three miracles: this day, a
star led the Magi to the manger; this day water was changed into wine at
the marriage feast; this day Christ vouchsafed to be baptised by John,
in the Jordan of our salvation" (Ant. of Magnificat, 2nd Vesp.). Now,
the baptism is the special event commemorated by the Easterns on this
feast, and on account of its connection with the baptism, this feast
has, amongst the Greeks, the secondary title of the feast of lights.
And, in Ireland (Synodus II., St. Patricii, can. 20), contrary to the
ancient custom of the Church, solemn baptism was administered on this
feast day. This subject of the baptism forms the only theme of the
ancient sermons bearing on this feast. On the other hand, the visit of
the Magi is the sole event commemorated by St. Augustine in his six
sermons delivered on this feast day. The third event, the marriage
feast, is of later commemoration; and Maximus of Turin doubted if they
all actually happened on the same day.

The Octave to the feast dates from the eighth century. It was customary
on this date, in the Eastern Church, to read publicly the epistola
festalis of the Patriarch of Alexandria arranging the date of Easter and
the practice was ordered by the fourth Council of Orleans in 541.

In Epiphany the invitatory is not said in the beginning of Matins, in
order, say the liturgists, not to repeat the inquiry made by Herod from
the scribes about the birthplace of Christ, an inquiry and invitation
inspired by hatred and anger. The invitatory is omitted, they tell us,
that we, like the Magi, may come to Christ, without other than a silent
invitation. Teachers of olden time used to urge those who were slow to
believe to imitate the Magi. But, the invitatory is not quite omitted.
It is read in the third nocturn, which typifies the law of grace, in
which the Apostles and their successors invite all to praise and worship
God. The psalms of the feast are taken from the psalms of each day of
the week, but chiefly from Friday's psalms, perhaps because the Magi's
visit was on that day.


"During the age of the persecutions it was scarcely possible for
Christians to observe any other festival than Sunday, and so it is not
surprising that the two writers who have occasion to speak of the
institution of the festivals of the Church, mention only Easter and
Pentecost, both of which fall on a Sunday. To these Christmas was added
in the fourth century and Epiphany somewhat earlier. These chief
festivals, along with others soon added to their number, formed the
elements for the organisation of a festal system in the Church, as
centres round which the lesser festivals grouped themselves. The last
step of importance, however, in the development of the Church's year was
to connect these chief festivals with one another, so as to make them
parts of a whole. The Sundays afforded a convenient means for effecting
this. They were associated with the festal character of the nearest
feast and were connected with it as links in a chain. The way for this
development had been prepared by the season of preparation for Easter,
and the Sundays in the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost--
Quinquagesima--were marked with the festal character with which
antiquity invested the whole period. All that was needed was, first of
all, to connect Christmas, Easter and Pentecost; and, in the second
place, the institution of a season of preparation before Christmas. This
was accomplished between the sixth, and the eighth centuries.

"During the first six centuries the ordinary Sundays of the year had
neither liturgical position or character, since they were not even
enumerated. There was a sort of _commune dominicarum, i.e._, a number of
Masses existed from which one could be chosen at will for each Sunday.
To these Sundays, which were called simply _dominicae quotidianae_,
those after Epiphany and Pentecost belonged.

"They numbered altogether twenty-nine or thirty, according as the
calendar gave fifty-two or fifty-three Sundays in the year.... The
smaller number of these, six at most, come between Epiphany and
Septuagesima, but the larger, twenty-three to twenty-eight, between Whit
Sunday and Advent. The variation depends on the date of Easter. There is
no historical circumstance forthcoming to give these a specially festal
character. ..." (Kellner, _op. cit_., pp. 176, _et seq_.).

Septuagesima Sunday comes nine weeks before Easter. It cannot come
before the 18th January, nor after the 22nd February. It is the first
day of a period of mourning and penance, preparatory to the great
penitential period of Lent. On the Saturday preceding Septuagesima two
_alleluias_ are added to the Benedicamus and Deo Gratias, to intimate
that the period of rejoicing in the Saviour's birth has passed. Violet,
the penitential colour, is used at Mass, and the chapters in Genesis
recording the fall of Adam, warn man to think well, to humble himself
and to do penance. Every part of the Office, the lessons, antiphons and
hymns, bear the notes of mourning and penance.


_Lent_.--The Teutonic word, _Lent_, originally meant the spring season.
It has come to mean the forty days preceding Easter. Scholars used to
maintain that this season of penance was of apostolic origin; but,
modern scholars noting the diversity of practice and the diversity of
duration in different churches and the Easter controversy, hold that it
is not of apostolic origin, and that it dates from the third century or
even from the fourth century. It is not mentioned in the Didascalia
(circa 250 A.D.), but was enjoined by St. Athanasius upon his flock
in 331.


Easter is the chief festival of Christendom, the first and oldest of all
festivals, the basis on which the Church's year is built, the connecting
link with the festivals of the old covenant and the central point on
which depends the date of the other movable feasts. Some of the very
early Christian writers call it feast of feasts (festum festorum).

The English word Easter is from _Eastre_, the goddess of spring. In the
liturgy we never find the word _Pascha_, always the words _dominica
resurrectionsis_. Pascha has no connection with the Greek [Greek:
Pascho], but is the Aramaic form of _pesach_.

Some points regarding this festival are to be noted, its antiquity, its
connection with Jewish feasts and Christian feasts, its preparation,
character and duration.

_Antiquity_. No mention of this feast is in the _Didache_, in Justin's
Dialogue with Trypho, or in his apologies. But in the year 198 A.D. an
exchange of letters between Pope Victor, Bishop Narcissus of Jerusalem,
Polycrates of Ephesus, shows that the feast had been for years in
existence. Many references are found in Tertullian and writers of his
time to this festival.

_Connection of the Christian Festival with the Jewish_. "The connection
between the Christian and the Jewish feasts is both historical and
ideal--historical because our Lord's death happened on the 15th Nisan,
the first day of the Jewish feast; ideal, because what took place had
been prefigured in the Old Testament by types, of which itself was the
antitype. The Jewish rites and ceremonies (Exodus XII.) are referred to
in the prophecies of the Messias. Thus, Isaias calls Him the Lamb chosen
by God, who bears the iniquities of others. The Baptist called Jesus,
the Lamb of God. The Evangelist refers to the typical character of the
Passover rites, when he applies, 'a bone of it shall not be broken'
(Exod. XII. 46), to Christ on the Cross. Justin and Tertullian see in
the Christian sacrifice the fulfilment of the imperfect sacrifices of
the old law. Hence, there is no doubt that the Jewish Passover was
taken over into Christianity. Thereby its typical ceremonies found their
due fulfilment.

"To the real and historical connection between Easter and the Passover
is due the explanation of a striking peculiarity in the Church's year,
viz., the moveable feasts of which Easter is the starting point. Easter
falls on no fixed date, because the Jewish 15th Nisan, unlike the dates
of the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, varied year by year.

"The preparation for Easter was the Lenten fasts. The fare on fast days
consisted of water and soup made with flour; fruit and oil and bread
were also eaten. The catechumens also fasted on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Among the faithful there were some who ate nothing from their repast on
Sunday until the following Saturday, e.g., for five days, and who all
the year round took only one meal a day. Others abstained in Lent from
all food for two consecutive days, but others fasted by taking nothing
to eat all day, until the evening" (Kellner, _op. cit._, p. 93).

The Easter celebrations were in the early ages chiefly noted for the
great and solemn ceremonies of baptism conferred on a large number of
catechumens, with solemn procession from the baptistry to the cathedral.
The Easter Octave celebrates by festivals the supper at Emmaus, the
appearance of our Lord (St. Luke xxiv.), His appearance by the sea (St.
John xxi. 1-14), His appearance to Magdalen (St. John xx. 11-18), His
appearance on the mountain (St. Matthew xxviii. 16-20), and His
appearance just after He had risen (St. John xx, 1-9),


This day was kept as a festival in very early times, although it is not
mentioned in the lists of Church festivals given by Tertullian (+220),
nor by Origen (185-254). St. Augustine (354-430) (Epist. ad Januarium,
54, c.l.) attributes the institution of this festival to an apostolic
ordinance or the injunction of a general council. But neither can be
proved. But the festival dates from the days of the early Church, and as
it was natural that the concluding act of our Saviour's life should be
remembered and honoured, the celebration of the feast of His Ascension
spread widely and rapidly. The feast was noted for the solemn
processions held, to imitate and to commemorate our Lord's leading of
the Apostles out of the city to the Mount of Olives.


Pentecost or Whit Sunday extends back to the early days of the Church.
From Tertullian, it is plain that the festival was well known and long
established. In the _Peregrinatio Silviae_, we read a detailed account
of how the feast was kept in Jerusalem at her visit (385-388). "On the
night before Whitsunday the vigil was celebrated in the church of the
Anastasis, at which the bishop, according to the usual custom in
Jerusalem on Sundays, read the Gospel of the Resurrection, and the
customary psalmody was performed. At dawn, all the people proceeded to
the principal church (Martyrium) where a sermon was preached and Mass
celebrated. About the third hour, when the psalmody was finished, the
people singing accompanied the bishop to Sion. There, the passage from
the Acts of the Apostles describing the descent of the Holy Ghost was
read, and a second Mass was celebrated; after which the psalmody was
resumed. Afterwards, the archdeacon invited the people to assemble in
the 'Eleona,' from whence a procession was made to the summit of the
Mount of Olives. Here, psalms and antiphons were sung, the Gospel was
read and the blessing given. After this, the people descended again into
the 'Eleona,' where Vespers were sung, and then, with the bishop at
their head, proceeded in a solemn procession, with singing, back to the
principal church, which was reached towards 8 p.m. At the city gate the
procession was met by torch bearers, who accompanied it to the
Martyrium. Here, as well as in the Anastasias, to which the people
proceeded in turn, and in the chapel of the Holy Cross, the usual
prayers, hymns and blessings took place, so that the festival did not
conclude until midnight." (Kellner, _op. cit._, pp. 112-113). In most
churches, the principal services were solemn baptism and processions. In
some places it was customary to scatter roses from the roof of the
church, to recall the miracle of Pentecost. In France, trumpets were
blown in church, in memory of the great wind which accompanied the Holy
Spirit's descent.


The first Sunday after Pentecost, for centuries, was not called Trinity
Sunday. Pope Alexander II. (circa 1073) was questioned about a feast in
honour of the Holy Trinity and he replied that it was not the Roman
custom to set apart any particular day in honour of the Trinity, which
was honoured many times daily in the psalmody, by the _Gloria Patri_.
But an Office and Mass, dating from a hundred years earlier than this
Pope's time, were in use in the Netherlands and afterwards in England,
Germany and France; and in 1260 were spread far and wide. In 1334, Pope
John XXII. ordered uniformity and general observance of this feast on
the Sunday after Pentecost. The Office in our Breviaries dates from the
time of Pius V. It is beautiful and sublime in matter and in form.
Whether this is a new Office or a blending of some ancient offices, is a
matter of dispute. Baillet, _Les Vies des Saints_ (Tom ix. c. 2, 158)
thinks it a new Office. But Binterim, _Die Kirchichle Heortology_, Part
I., 265, and Baumer-Biron, _Histoire du Breviaire_, 298, take a
different view. The Roman rite follows the older form of enumeration,
second Sunday after Easter and so forth, and not first Sunday after
Trinity. The latter form of enumeration is adopted in the Anglican
church service books.


_December. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception._ The discussion of
the question of this feast lasted for more than a thousand years. A
feast of the Conception was celebrated in the Eastern Church in the
early part of the eighth century and was celebrated on the 9th December
(Kellner, _Heortology_, p. 242, _et seq._). The feast was celebrated in
England before the Norman Conquest (1066) (Bishop, _On the Origins of
Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary_, London, 1904).

But there is an earlier codex than those mentioned by Bishop, and from
it, it is argued that the feast is of Irish origin. In a metrical
calendar, which is reasonably referred to the time of Alfred the Great
(871-901), there is the line "Concipitur Virgo maria cognomine senio";
and this calendar exhibits, says Father Thurston, S.J., "most
unmistakable signs of the influence of an Irish character." It was
written, Dr. Whitely Stokes believed, by an Irishman in the ninth
century or thereabouts. The script appears to him to be "old Irish,
rather than Anglo-Saxon, and the large numbers of commemorations of
Irish saints and the accuracy with which the names are spelt, point to
an Irish origin." This calendar places the feast of our Lady's
Conception on the 2nd May. In the metrical calendar of Oengus, the feast
is assigned to the 3rd May, and in his _Leabhar Breac_, the scribe adds
the Latin note, "Feir mar Muire et reliqua, _i.e._, inceptio ejus ut
alii putant--sed in februo mense vel in Martio facta est illa, quae post
VII. menses nata est, ut innaratur--vel quae libet alia feria ejus."
Again, in the martyrology of Tallaght, from which Gorman, a later
martyrologist, says that Oengus, the Culdee, drew his materials, is
found under date May 3rd, a mention of the celebration of the Conception
of Mary. This evidence seems to show--although it is not perfectly
conclusive--that the conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was
celebrated in the Irish Church in the ninth and tenth centuries, but not
on the 8th December (see Father Thurston, S.J., _The Month_, May and
June, 1904; Father Doncoeur, S.J., _Revue d'histoire ecclesiastique_,
Louvain, 1907, p. 278, et seq.; Baudot, _The Roman Breviary_, pp.
253-255; Kellner, _op. cit._).

It is to be regretted that even in the new Breviary the lessons for the
second nocturn of this feast are taken from the composition, _Cogitis
me_, falsely attributed to St. Jerome, and rejected by critics, from the
days of Baronius, as spurious (Baudot, _op. cit._, p. 236).

_February. The Purification._ Candlemas. According to the Gospel
narrative, Mary fulfilled the commands of the Law (Lev. XII. 2-8), and
on the fortieth day brought the prescribed offering to the Temple, where
she met Simeon and Anna.

The first reference found in Christian writers to this festival is found
in the famous _Peregrinatio Sylviae_, the diary of a Spanish lady who
visited Jerusalem about 385-388. She tells us that the day began with a
solemn procession, followed by a sermon on St. Luke II. 22 seqq., and a
Mass. It had not yet a name, but was called the fortieth day after the
Epiphany; and this naming shows that at Jerusalem the Epiphany was
regarded as the day of Christ's birth. The lady's words show that the
feast was not then observed in her own country. The feast was observed
in Rome in 542; and Pope Sergius I. (687-701) ordered a procession on
this festival. The opinion that is so often met with in pious books,
that this feast with its procession of candlebearers was established by
the Church to replace the riot and revels of the Pagan _Lupercalia_, is
now rejected by scholars. For, processions, with or without lights, were
so common amongst Pagans and Christians that any connection between
these two feasts is negligible.

_March. St. Joseph_. In the Western Church the cultus of St. Joseph is
not found in any calendar before the ninth century, although numerous
traces of the esteem and veneration paid to him by individuals are
found. The public cultus of St. Joseph was introduced by the private
devotions of great servants of God, such as St. Bernard, St. Gertrude,
St. Bridget of Sweden, John Gerson, St. Bernardine of Sienna, and other
Franciscan preachers. The spread of the devotion in several countries
led Pope Sixtus IV. (1471-1484) to introduce St. Joseph's feast, as a
simplex, having only one lesson. Clement XI. (1700-1721) changed it into
a feast of nine lessons. Two centuries previously the feast is found in
Breviaries under date 19th March.

_The Annunciation_. Devotion to the Mother of God was continued by the
apostles after the death of her Son. Fervent and widespread devotion is
traceable in the Church's early days, but the organising of our Lady's
feasts was a work of some time and difficulty. A great difficulty was
the fear of blasphemy from pagans, and of error amongst pagan converts,
so trained in myths and genealogies of the gods. Then the festivals
commemorating the facts of the life, death and resurrection were
primarily commemorative of the Redeemer and secondarily of His Mother.
Long before the institution of her feast, the cultus of Mary was almost
universal. The feast of the Annunciation falls on the 25th March with
us. Its date depends entirely on the date of Christmas, but the birth of
Christ was not always placed in calendars on the 25th December.

In early days the feasts of martyrs and other saints were not celebrated
in Lent, and hence this feast of the Blessed Virgin was set down in some
calendars as transferred, and was celebrated in Advent. In Spain, it was
celebrated eight days before Christmas. In the East, the feast was
generally celebrated on the 25th March, and gradually this date was
fixed, and was sanctioned by several councils in the eleventh century.

_May. The Finding of the Holy Cross_. The history of the finding of the
true cross by St. Helena is well known. The Alexandrine Chronicle gives
the day as the 14th September, 320. This September feast of the holy
cross is of earlier origin than the feast of May. The latter was
established to commemorate the act of the emperor in 629, when he
brought back to Jerusalem the true cross, from the Persian conquerors.
On 3rd May, he handed it over to the Patriarch Zacharias, and, strange
to say, this festival of May spread rapidly in the Western Church,
whilst in the East only one feast, (the September one), of the finding
of the cross was celebrated for centuries. In Milan, for instance, the
September feast was received in the eleventh century, whilst the May
feast was rooted in the Western Church very many years before that time.

The antiphons and hymns of this Office are, it is said, amongst the
most beautiful and sublime prayers of our liturgy.

_The Apparition of St. Michael_. The cultus of the holy angels is of
Jewish origin and existed in the Christian Church from the beginning. In
St. Paul's Epistle to the Colossians (modern _Khonus on the Lycus_) he
speaks of this devotion and of the attempts of a Gnostic sect to spread
false doctrines on this point (Col. ii, 18). Although the evil wrought
was long lived, true devotion to the angels was practised in Colossae
and there the Archangel Michael appeared. In honour of this apparition,
the festival of St. Michael in September was established. Devotion to
the Archangel was of very early date in Rome and in the Western Church
generally. Masses in his honour are found in the oldest Roman
Sacramentary (483-492); and in these he is mentioned by name in prayers
and prefaces. The May feast was instituted in the sixth century, to
commemorate a second apparition near Sipontum on Monte Gargano, which
took place on the 8th May, 520.

_June 29. Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul_. There always has been a
constant tradition in Rome that these two saints suffered martyrdom on
the same day, 29th June, and it is only natural that this day should be
kept with great devotion and solemnity at Rome. In the East, feasts in
honour of these martyrs were held at different seasons, Christmas,
February and Epiphany. The day was kept in many places as a solemn
holiday, servile works being prohibited. But in Rome, devotion was
closely connected with the date and with the exact places of martyrdom.
"Owing to the distance which separated the two churches of the apostles
from each other, it was most fatiguing to celebrate Mass at both places,
and so in course of time the festival was divided into two parts, and
the Mass in honour of St. Paul took place on the 3Oth June."

_July. The Visitation_. This feast was probably originated by the
Franciscans in the thirteenth century. It certainly was preached and
spread by their zeal. It is mentioned amongst Franciscan records bearing
date 1263. It was kept in different places at different dates. In Paris
it was kept in April. In 1850 Pius IX. raised this feast to the rank of
a double of the second class, to thank God for having, on this day, 2nd
July, freed Rome from the revolutionary yoke.

_Feast of St. Mary Magdalen_. Commentators on Sacred Scripture are not
agreed whether Mary of Magdala was the sister of Lazarus or whether
there were two or three Marys connected with our Lord--Mary the sister
of Lazarus, Mary of Magdala, and Mary the sinner named in St. Luke's
Gospel vii. 27. The Roman liturgy seems to favour the opinion that Mary
of Magdala was the sister of Lazarus, and that she was a sinner and was
possessed by seven devils. The history of Mary Magdalen after our Lord's
death has been written, with large and varied additions of adventure, by
pious mediaevalists. In the Western Church, traces of the saint's cultus
are met with in Bede and his contemporaries. But devotion far and wide
begins with mediaeval times. The many legends which have grown up
around her name and history have so obscured historic truth that the
Breviary gives no historic lessons on her feast day, but gives as a
lesson part of a homily from St. Gregory. Some of the legends may be
found in the Office of St. Martha (July, 29th).

_August. The Assumption._ "In all probability this is the earliest of
our Lady's festivals" (Kellner, _op. cit._, p. 235). Early writers
mention the Garden of Gethsemani as the place of Mary's burial and the
third year--some say the twelfth year--after our Lord's death as the
year of her death. St. John Damascene relying on the writings of
Euthymius tells us what we know of the Assumption. He tells that the
wife of the Emperor Marcian (450-457) wished to transfer our Lady's
relics from Jerusalem to Constantinople and was informed by Juvenal,
Bishop of Jerusalem, that such relics were not in Jerusalem. The Blessed
Mother had been buried there, in the Garden of Gethsemani, in the
presence of the Apostles, Thomas alone being absent. On his arrival he
wished to venerate the Mother of God; the tomb was opened for him, but
nothing was found save the linen grave-clothes, which gave forth a sweet
perfume. The Apostles concluded that Christ had taken to Heaven the body
which had borne Him. The Emperor Maurice ordered the date, the 15th
August, long and widely recognised, to be the date of this annual
festival. However, some churches celebrated it on other dates. In the
Gothico-Gallic missal of the eighth century, the feast is fixed for the
18th January. The festival was called sometimes _dormitio Mariae,
pausatio Mariae_. It was celebrated in Rome at the end of the seventh
century, but how long it had been in existence there, and in the West
generally before that time, no one can say.

_Feast of the Name of Mary._ This feast owes its origin to the devotion
of the faithful and was first authorised by the Pope in 1513. It was
extended to the universal calendar in 1683, on the occasion of the
deliverance of Vienna from the Turks.

Over the derivation and meaning of the name _Maria_ much scholarship and
conjecture have been lavished. It is said to mean (1) _stella maris_
(Eusebius); (2) lady, from the Syrian _Martha_ (St. John Damascene);
this is the Breviary meaning, but the Breviary uses the first meaning,
_stella maris_, too; (3) stately, imposing one (Bardenhewer); (4) from
the Egyptian, _merijom_, friend of water, bride of the sea (Macke).

_October. Feast of the Holy Rosary._ It is not necessary to speak of the
origin of the Rosary. This feast was established by Gregory XIII. in
1573, as a thanksgiving for the victory of Lepanto (October, 1571).
Clement XI. extended the feast to all Christendom in consequence of the
victory gained at Peterwarden by Prince Eugene in 1716.

_November. Feast of all Saints._ This feast was "instituted to honour
all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV., to
supply any deficiencies in the faithful's celebration of saints' feasts
during the year. In the early days, the Christians were accustomed to
solemnize the anniversary of a martyr's death for Christ, at the place
of martyrdom. The neighbouring dioceses began to interchange feasts, to
transfer them and to divide them, and to join in a common feast; ...
frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally
led to a joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the
number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be
assigned to each. But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be
venerated, appointed a common day for all. The first trace of it we find
in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost. ... At first only martyrs and
St. John the Baptist were honoured by a special day. Other saints were
added gradually, and increased in number when a general process of
canonization was established; still, as early as 411 there is in the
Chaldean calendar a 'commemoratio Confessorum' for the Friday after
Easter. ... Gregory IV. (827-844) extended the celebration on 1st
November to the entire Church" (_Cath. Ency._, art, "All Souls").

_Feast of All Souls_, "The theological basis for the feast is the
doctrine that the souls, which, on departing from the body are not
perfectly cleansed from venial sins, or have not fully atoned for past
transgressions, are debarred from the Beatific Vision, and that the
faithful on earth can help them by prayers, almsdeeds, and especially by
the holy sacrifice of the Mass. In the early days of Christianity the
names of the departed brethren were entered in the diptychs. Later, in
the sixth century, it was customary in Benedictine monasteries to hold a
commemoration of the deceased members at Whitsuntide, In Spain, there
was such a day before Sexagesima or before Pentecost, at the time of St.
Isidore (d. 636). In Germany, there existed (according to the testimony
of Widukind, Abbot of Corvey, c. 980) a time-honoured ceremony of
praying for the dead on 1st October. This was accepted and sanctified by
the Church" (_Cath. Ency._, art. "All Souls").

The psalms and lessons of this Office are especially well chosen, and
the responses to the lessons--said to be the work of Maurice de Sully
(d. 1196)--are greatly admired by liturgical experts.

It may be noted here, that, in the recitation of this Office, which is,
for most priests, the only choral recitation of liturgy, care should be
taken to select the proper nocturn or nocturns. "In the general rubrics
of the Breviary (Tit. XIX. n. 2) it is stated that the invitatory is not
to be said in _Officio Defunctorum_ per annum, excepto die
Commemorationis omnium fidelium defunctorum, ac in die obitus seu
depositionis defuncti et quandocunque dicuntur tres nocturni. When,
therefore, only one nocturn is recited, the invitatory is to be omitted
except on the dies obitus seu depositionis." In this latter case, even
though the body is not present--for some special reason, such as
contagious disease--the invitatory is not to be omitted.

"On any other occasion, no matter how solemn or privileged, such as the
seventh, thirtieth, or anniversary day, when only one nocturn is
recited, the invitatory must not be included. This is clear, not only
from the rubrics of the Breviary and Ritual (Tit. VI., cap. IV.) but
also from certain answers of the Congregation of Rites" (_Irish Eccles.
Record_, December, 1913).

Dom Baudot's _The Roman Breviary_ gives in an appendix, pp. 239-252,
"tables showing the date at which each saint was inserted in the Roman
Breviary, the rank given to his festival, and the variations it has
undergone. It is often difficult to give precise dates."


"Litanies were solemn supplications instituted to implore the blessing
of Heaven on the fruits of the earth. It was customary to recite them in
the spring, that is, the season of late frosts, so much dreaded by the
cultivators of the soil.... The people marched in procession to the
spot, chanting the while that dialogue prayer which we call a litany,
elaborated, according to circumstances, into a long series of
invocations, addressed to God and to angels and saints."

"The day set apart for this purpose at Rome was the 25th April, a
traditional date, being that on which the ancient Romans celebrated the
festival of the Robigalia....

"The most ancient authority for this ceremony is a formulary for
convoking it, found in the Register of St. Gregory the Great, which must
have been used in the first instance in the year 598" (Duchesne,
_Christian Worship_, chap, viii., n. 9).

Ember days, a corruption from Latin Quatuor Tempora (four times). "The
purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all
prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach
men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The
immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans
were originally given to agriculture and their native god belonged to
the same class. At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting
religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their
deities; in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich
vintage, and in December for the seeding.... The Church when converting
heathen nations has always tried to sanctify any practice which could be
utilised for a good purpose." The fasts were fixed by the Church before
the time of Callixtus (217-222). The spread of the observance of Ember
days was slow; but they were fixed definitely and the fast prescribed
for the whole Church by Gregory VII. (1073-1085). (_Cf. Catholic
Encyclopedia_, word, Ember Days; Duchesne _Christian Worship_, chap,
viii.; Dom Morin _Revue Benedictine_, L'Origine des Quatre Temps, 1897,
pp. 330-347.)



Of all the many and varied branches of Christian art, there is none
which offers to the researches of criticism a field so extensive as does
the hymnography of the Roman Breviary. No other source of liturgical
study, if we except the antiphonarium, has received such attention from
studious men. But never, in any age, did this study receive such careful
treatment and give rise to such patient and laborious research as in
our own. (Pimont, _Les hymnes du Breviare Romain_, Introduction.)

In this note, an attempt will be made to define a hymn, to tell of the
introduction of hymns into the Roman Breviary, and to note briefly the
character of these hymns.

St. Augustine, commenting on Psalm 122, defined a hymn as a song with
praise of God, cantus est cum laude Dei. It may, however, be more
strictly defined as a spiritual song, a religious lyric (v. _Cath,
Ency._, art. "Hymn").

In the early Christian assemblies great use was made of the psalms and
canticles in their congregational singing. St. Paul wrote: "Speaking to
yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual canticles, singing and
making melody in your hearts to the Lord" (Ephes. v. 18) "...teaching
and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles,
singing in grace in your hearts to God" (Col. iii. 16). The Jesuit,
Father Arevalo, in his _Hymodia Hispanica_, cites many witnesses, such
as Clement of Alexandria, the Apostolic Constitutions, Pliny the
younger, to prove that hymns were used in the first and second
centuries. But a much-debated question is, whether those hymns were
really made part of the Office, as hymns stand there to-day. Some
scholars deny that they were; others assert that they were certainly
part of the Church's Office. All agree that they were certainly in use
formally and substantially in the Office in the third and fourth
centuries in the Eastern and in the Western Church. The Council of
Antioch (269-270) wrote to the Pope that Paul of Samosate had
suppressed some canticles recently composed in honour of Jesus Christ.
St. Dionysius of Alexandria composed some hymns, to win over an erring
bishop. In the fourth century the Council of Laodicea spoke of the
introduction of some hymns, which were not approved; and St. Basil tells
us that hymns were in universal use in the Eastern Church.

In the Western Church, St. Hilary of Potiers (370) composed a hymn book
for his church. Its existence is known from the words of St. Jerome. St.
Augustine states that St. Ambrose (340-397), shut up with his people in
the church in Milan by the persecutors, occupied his flock by their
singing of hymns which he himself had composed, and some of which are in
our Breviaries. The Church of Milan certainly had hymns in its Office
and in its Office books then, for St. Paulinus in his life of St.
Augustine wrote: "Hoc in tempore, primum antiphonae, hymni ac vigilae in
Ecclesia Mediolanensi celebrari coeperunt; cujus celebritatis devotio
usque in hodiernam diem, non solum, in Ecclesia Mediolanensi verum per
omnes pene Occidentis provincias manet."

But the question arises, when did Rome introduce hymns into her liturgy?
The learned Jesuit, Father Arevalo, held that the Roman Office had hymns
as an integral part from the time of St. Ambrose, and he called the
opinion of those who held that they were of later introduction an
inveterate error, _errorem inveteratum (Hymnodia Hispanica_ XVIII., n.
95). The introduction of antiphonal chanting was introduced into Rome at
the time of St. Ambrose and liturgical hymn singing, too, was
introduced about the same time. This we know from the Milanese priest
Paulinus, St. Augustine, Pope Celestine I., and Faustus, Bishop of Riez.
But formal, official and systematic hymnody was not introduced in Rome
until centuries after the death of St. Ambrose. Mabillon (Suppl. ad IV.
lib de div. off. Amalarii, t. 11) and Tomasi (In annot, ad Resp. et
antip. Rom. Ecc.) place the date of the introduction of hymns into the
Roman liturgy, in the eleventh or twelfth centuries. But scholars now
agree that hymns were formally recognised in the liturgy of Rome in the
latter half of the ninth century. "To judge of what Amalare of Metz
says, there was no sign of it at the beginning of the ninth century, but
from the middle of the same century onwards hymns must have been
introduced into the Office used by the Churches of the Frankish empire,
and shortly afterwards in Rome" (Baudot, _op. cit._, pp. 67-68). Wilfrid
Strabo agrees with Amalare. Rabanus Maurus testifies that hymns were in
general usage in the second part of the ninth century. (Migne, Pat. Lat.
clx. 159, cxiv. 956). This is the opinion of Gueranger, Pimont, Blume
and Baumer.

Dom Gueranger explains why Rome, the mother and mistress of all the
churches, did not adopt the practice of hymn chanting in her liturgy for
centuries; why she did not precede or quickly follow the Eastern and
many parts of the Western Church in this matter of liturgical hymns.
"The Church," he says, "did not wish to alter by religious songs the
simplicity, or the meaning, of her great liturgical prayer. Nor did she
wish to adopt quickly any innovation in her liturgy or discipline"
(_Inst. Liturg._ I. 1, pp. 170-171).

No part of the Church's liturgy has met with such persistent, abusive,
and often ignorant criticism as her hymns have received.

The renaissance clerics, the Gallicans, the Jansenists, and the
Protestants poured forth volumes of hostile and unmerited criticism on
the matter and form of Rome's sacred songs. Becichemus, rector of the
Academy of Pavia in the sixteenth century, in his introduction to the
work of Ferreri, wrote of the hymns: "sunt omnes fere mendosi, inepti,
barbarie refecti, nulla pedum ratione nullo syllabarum mensu
compositi.... Ut ad risum eruditos concinent, et ad contemptum
ecclesiastici ritus vel literatos sacerdotes inducant.... Literatos
dixi: nam ceteri qui sunt sacri patrimonii helluones, sine scientia,
sine sapientia, satis habent, ut dracones stare juxta arcam Domini." The
remarks of the rector recall the saying of Lactantius, "literati non
habent fidem." Ferreri, who had been commissioned by Pope Clement to
revise and correct the Breviary hymns, wrote in his dedication epistle:
"I have given all my care to this collection of new hymns, because
learned priests and friends of good Latinity who are now obliged to
praise God in a barbarous style, are exposed to laugh and to despise
holy things." Santeuil (1630-1697) characterised the Breviary hymns as
the product of ignorance, the disgrace of the Latin language, the
disreputable relics of the early ages, the result of lunacy.

Violent attack leads to violent defence. Both are generally born of
ignorance, a partizan spirit, and exaggeration. Pious Catholic defenders
write that the Roman Breviary has hymns far superior to the classic
lyrics of ancient Rome; that they have an inimitable style; that they
are far superior to Horatian poetry; that there is nothing to compare
with their style and beauty in pagan classics, Indeed, zeal has led some
holy men to censure Pope Leo X., Clement VII., and. Urban VIII. for
their attempts to correct these compositions, which they hold to have
been perfect.

Truth seems to hold the place of the golden mean between the bitter
critics and the over zealous defenders of our Breviary hymns. The
following propositions, drawn from Father Barnard's _Cours De Liturgie
Romaine_, may be taken as a fair and accurate statement of the views of
scholars, views which may be safely held by all students of this portion
of liturgy.

_First Proposition_:--Many of the hymns of the Roman Breviary have not
the elegance of the Odes of Horace, of the hymns of Santeuil and
of Coffin.

Proof:-(1) The holy Fathers had outlined in a rough sketch rather than
perfected their hymns (Pope Urban VIII., Bull Quamvis, 17th June, 1644).

(2) Speaking of the new Hymnal of Ferreri, Pope Clement VIII. says that
the new work could only add to the splendour of worship and help to the
common interest, implying that the new hymns helped religion by their
accuracy and grace of correct poetic forms.

(3) Pimont, the author of a classic work on the Breviary Hymns, in a
number of comments, notes the crudities of the Breviary hymns, even in
their revised forms. Thus, in the hymn for Prime, he notes apparent
ruggedness. He passes similar comments on the hymns assigned to the
little hours.

(4) Bacquez states that all the hymns do not join beauty of expression
to the merit of the thought expressed, and that a certain number lack
style and good prosody.

These opinions should not be extended to all, nor even to very many of
the Breviary hymns. All serious critics agree about the beauty of such
hymns as the _Aeterne rerum Conditor_, the _Somno refectis artubus,
Splendor Aeternae gloriae, Verbum supernum prodiens_, and a good number
of others.

The greater part of the Breviary Hymns are composed according to the
rules of prosody, and their form is lyric, the popular form of Latin
song, which preceded in Italy the prosodical system borrowed from the
Greeks, and used by the classic pagan poets. The critics of the
Renaissance period are very loud and very wrathful over the form of
these hymns. Some of them accuse St. Ambrose, Prudentius and Gregory the
Great of gross ignorance of the rules of Latin verse and, what to the
critics was worse, ignorance of the ways of pagan classical models. But,
was the rhymed, tonic accented lyric, which was to be sung by all sorts
and conditions of men, in public, such an outrageous literary sin? Was
it ignorance or prudence that guided the early hymn writers in their
adoption of popular poetic form? It is not certain by any means that the
early hymn writers wished to copy or adopt the classic forms of the
Augustinian age. Nor is it clear that such men of genius as St. Ambrose,
Prudentius, St. Gregory the Great, were ignorant of the rules and models
of the best Latin poets. It seems that they did not wish to follow them.
They wilfully and designedly adopted the popular lyric forms, so that
they might give to their flocks in popular and easily remembered forms,
prayers and formulas of faith.

_Second Proposition_:-The Breviary hymns have the principal elements of
poetic beauty.

Briefly, these elements are sublimity of thought, beauty of sentiment,
aptness of expression, unction of form. In these matters the Breviary
hymns are not inferior to the classic poetry of paganism, nor to the
much-belauded beauties of the Gallican Breviary hymns (_vide_ Bacquez,
_Le Saint Office_, notes vi. and viii. in finem).

The composition of the hymns is in perfect harmony with the end for
which they are intended, that is, liturgical prayer, chanted prayer.
Their phrases do not display the vain and superfluous literary glitter
of the much-lauded Gallican hymns, but their accents go out from the
sanctuary and live in the hearts of the people. Their language is, like
the thought and expression of the psalms, the word of a soul praying to
God and adoring Him in fervour, in simplicity, and in faith. Of the
piety and expression of the French hymns, Foinard, an ardent apostle of
the French liturgical novelties, wrote: "Il ne parait pas que ce soit
l'onction qui domine dans les nouveaux Breviaries; on y a la verite,
travaille beaucoup pour l'esprit; mais il semole qu' on n'y a pas
travaille autant pour le coeur." Letourneux, the fierce Jansenist, wrote
to the Breviary-poet, Santeuil, his co-worker: "Vous faites fumer
l'encens; mais c'est un feu estranger qui brule dans l'ensenoir. La
vanite fait en vous ce que la charite devrait faire." And the Catholic
De Maistre, so famed for his fair-minded criticisms, wrote of the new
hymn-makers' works: "They make a certain noise in the ear, but they
never breathe prayer, because their writers were all alone (_i.e._,
unaided by the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit) when they composed
them." Of the Roman Breviary hymns he wrote: "They always pray and
excite the soul to prayer." "Train your hearts to attention, and hear
all their prayers. You will in them see the true religion, as clearly as
you see the sunbeams."

_Fourth Proposition_:--The characteristic of the Roman Breviary hymns is
to express with lively sentiments and with unction the noble ideas and
beautiful sentiments of the supernatural order, in a simple manner,
without prosodical pretension, yet having ever a true rhythm which
sometimes vies with better compositions.

The characteristic mentioned in this proposition, which comes as a
corollary from the three preceding propositions, is one which is clearly
noted in our Breviary hymns. For by their very position in the Breviary,
side by side with the Psalms, Scripture extracts and words of the
Fathers, the Church shows her esteem and her use of these lyrics of
prayer and praise. Again, the Church's mind is shown by her retention of
her hymns in her liturgy, notwithstanding the many efforts made to
substitute a new hymnal. Up to the sixteenth century these Breviary
hymns were universally esteemed. They were admired by St. Augustine.
They are quoted and praised by St. Thomas in his Summa. Deays the
Carthusian {1402-1471} wrote a beautiful commentary on them. Amongst all
priests, secular and regular, the hymns were venerated and loved.
Although there were many men of genius in every age and in every part of
the Christian Church, the hymns escaped until the renaissance under Leo
X. (1475-1521).

The lovers of everything classic and pagan were pained and exasperated
at the venerable simplicity, the lack of prosody, the vagueness and
crudity of the wording of the liturgical hymns. In 1531, Wimpheling, a
priest of the diocese of Spire, produced a work, _Himni de tempore et de
sanctis_ ... _secundum legem carminis diligenter emendati_. Leo X.,
yielding to his own taste and the wishes of the learned innovators who
were ardent students of pagan antiquity, commissioned Ferreri to compose
a new hymnal for liturgical use. His book was allowed for liturgical
use, but was not prescribed. It omitted all the old hymns sanctioned by
the Church for centuries, and sung with fervour by thousands down the
ages. "There are found in the work of Ferreri," wrote Dom Gueranger,
"all the images and all the allusions to pagan beliefs and usages which
we find in Horace. Sometimes, it is only fair to say, his hymns are
beautiful and simple ... but they follow generally and too servilely the
pagan models ... but they are the work of strong and clear inspiration,
which under the mask of classic diction shows itself in every part."
(_Inst. Liturg._ t. I., p. 370.) During the reign of Pope Paul III. new
hymnals were issued, but the Breviary hymns were not removed. St. Pius
V. in his reform of the Breviary did not touch the Breviary hymns.
Clement VIII. in his reform added new hymns but did not remove nor
retouch the old ones. This work remained for Pope Urban VIII.

Urban VIII., Maffeo Barberini, was a poet of no mean rank. Before his
election to the papacy, he was a recognised lover of classical
literature and an adept in following classic themes and classic forms.
Our Breviaries contain some few of his compositions and they show
correctness of form, poetic merit, and piety. They are the hymns,
_Martinae celebri, Tu natale solum_ (January 20); _Nullis te genitor,
Regali solio fortis_ (April 13). His great desire was the correction of
the Breviary hymns. This work of correction was not beyond the personal
power of the Pope himself, if we judge him by his hymns. His views are
expressed in the Bull _Divinam Psalmodiam_, issued to promulgate the
corrected hymns. It found a place in all copies of the Roman Breviary in
the last century. To carry out the corrections outlined by the Pope,
four Jesuits were appointed, and whether the result of the corrections
is the Pope's or the Jesuits' is a highly and hotly disputed point.
First of all, the task set to the Jesuits was a very difficult one, and
one demanding much prudence as well as learning. It may seem to us that
to begin the correction, mutilation and reconstruction of the works and
words of men so great in church history and liturgy as Prudentius,
Sedulius, St. Ambrose, St. Paulinus, was a work of rashness, a sort of
sacrilege, attempting to remodel the glowing piety of their poems to the
pattern of Horace's verse. But the Jesuits had got their commands and
they were bound to obey. They were chosen on account of their classical
scholarship, which was kept sharp by their daily teaching in college,
and they were specially bound by a vow of loyal obedience to Papal
orders. "It is only fair to give them the credit that out of respect for
the wishes of Urban VIII, they treated these ancient compositions with
extreme reserve and, while they made some impressions clearer, they
maintained the primitive unction in a large number of passages" (Baudot,
_op. cit._, p. 185).

They corrected more than nine hundred false quantities found scattered
through the Breviary, 58 in the psalter per hebdomadam, 359 in the
proper de Tempore, 283 in the proper of Saints, and 252 in the common of
Saints. They changed the opening words of more than thirty hymns. Some
hymns were untouched--e.g., the three hymns of the Blessed Sacrament,
the _Ave Maris Stella_, which is rhythmic prose, not verse, and the hymn
of the Angels, which was sufficiently perfect. The metre of three hymns,
_Tibi Christe splendor Patris_, and the _Urbs Jerusalem_ and _Angularis
fundamentum_ were changed.

The Jesuits have been censured very bitterly for their work of
correction. Perhaps they merited some censure, but surely they did not
merit the censures heaped on them by hostile critics like Thiers, Henri
Valois, and the Franciscan, Cavalli. They answered their critics
splendidly and triumphantly by the works of Father Arevalo, S.J. But the
wordy war lasts to the present day. Students who wish to see the
unrevised and the revised hymnal of Urban VIII. may consult Daniel's
_Thesaurus hymnologicus_ for examples. Other examples are given in
Monsignor Battifol's work, and others in Dom Baudot's. If the reader
read in the Breviary, the hymn _Te lucis ante terminum_, he may note a
difference in that, the revised form, and this, the unrevised:--

     Te lucis ante terminum,
     Rerum Creator poscimus,
     Ut solita clementia
     Sis praesul ad custodiam.

     Praesta pater omnipotens
     Per Jesum Christum Dominum
     Qui tecum in perpetuum regnat
     Cum Sancto Spiritu

Again, see Lauds for Passion Sunday, _Lustra sex_, second verse,
unrevised reads:--

     Hic acetum fel arundo
     Sputa clavi lancea
     Mite corpus perforator
     Sanguis unda profluit
     Terra, pontus, astra, mundus
     Quo lavantur flumine.

_Iste Confessor_, unrevised reads:--

     Iste confessor domini sacratus
     Festa plebs cujus celebrat per orbem
     Hodie laetus meruit secreta
     Scandere coeli.

     Qui Pius, prudens humilis judicus,
     Sobrius, castus fuit et quietus
     Vita dum praesens vegetavit ejus
     Corporis artus.

The imitation of Breviary hymns has for centuries formed a notable part
of sacred Latin poetry. A great amount of Latin poetry dealing with
sacred themes finds no place in Missal or Breviary. Every nation has
ancient Latin hymns, generally modelled on the then existing liturgical
models; and these hymns are found in national hymnals and in works
dealing with Christian antiquities, but they find no place in modern
liturgy. Thus the Latin poetry of the ancient Irish Church is formed for
private and not choral use. The oldest purely rhythmical Latin hymn is
that of St. Sechnall (1448), "Audite omnes amantes Deum, sancta merita."
But neither it, nor any other of the old Latin hymns by Irish writers,
finds place in the Breviary. Collections of Latin hymns by Irish writers
of early Christian Ireland are to be found in Todd's _Book of Hymns of
the Ancient Irish Church_ (Dublin, 1885-1891); the _Irish Liber
Hymnorum_ (London, 1898), the _Antiphonary of Bangor_ (Warren's Edition,
London, 1893).

One of the most difficult works for a scholar to attempt and to carry
out to his satisfaction is the translation of prose or poetry into
another language. The work of translating the Latin of the Roman
Breviary into English was attempted and completed years ago. The work
was great and creditable, but not renowned as a feat of translation. The
hymns of the Breviary have been translated by several authors in every
country of Christendom, and with different degrees of success. The study
of the Breviary hymns is a highly interesting one, and when it is
supported by the different efforts of different translators, it yields
new delights, and new beauties are discovered in verses which are
sometimes said too rapidly for earnest thought and attention. In the
list of books given in the bibliography below, there are given the names
of books of translated hymns. Any one of them is of great interest.



I. How preparation for saying the Hours is to be made:--

(a) Have we before commencing to recite the Breviary made a fervent act
of faith in the presence of God and in the sovereign majesty of Him to
Whom we are going to speak?

Have we endeavoured to purify our hearts by an act of contrition, in
order that we may escape the terrible reproach which God addresses to
the sinner--"to the sinner God hath said, 'Why dost thou declare my
justices and take away covenant in thy mouth?'" (Psalm 49, v.16)?

Have we taken particular care to clear off from our souls everything
which can distract us, and above all others these things to which we are
attracted and to which our minds may return during our prayer?

"Ante debes facere quod ait propheta: scopebam spiritum meum donec
incalescat spiritus tuus ex devota meditatione et affectum et
desiderium concipiat" (D. Gerhard Zutp. de spir. Ascen.). "Studeat
oratione devota et recollectione animi interna divinum praevenire
officium" (St. Bona. spec, di., p.2, c.7).

Have we recollected ourselves and remained silent for a time,
particularly when passing from study or from a secular business, in
order to banish vain or worldly thoughts, and to make ourselves ready to
receive the Holy Ghost?

Have we united ourselves to Jesus Christ, Who is the perfect praise of
God, the Father? Have we united ourselves in spirit to the Church, in
whose name we are going to praise God? "In unione orationum ac meritorum
Christi Jesu gratiam ad officium debite persolvendum petat" (St.
Bona. _ibid_.)

Have we begged the Holy Ghost by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin
and the saints, whose offices we read, that we may be allowed to join
our praises to those which they give God?

Have we always formed intentions general and particular, not forgetting
to form intentions embracing the intentions of Christ and His Church?

Have we adopted some pious thought prior to our reading, so that
distractions may be excluded and fervour fostered during our recitation?
Have we chosen suitable time and place to pray?

Have we taken pains to mark the places in the Breviary and looked over
the rubrics? Has not negligence in these matters caused innumerable

II. Dispositions which we should have in saying the Office:--

Let us find out with what dispositions we recite the Divine Office, and
if we say it in the manner in which the Church wishes it to be said,
digne, attente, ac devote. (Orat. rec. ante offic.).

1. Have we considered well that God is present and that we speak to Him?
Do we look on ourselves as instruments which need to be animated with
God's holy spirit in order to bless His holy name? Have we said the
Office with all the respect and all the veneration which His almighty
majesty calls for? Cum timore et humilitate, tanquam Deo visibiliter
presente, psallant (S. Bona, spec, discip., p. 1, c. 15).

2. In order to say it attentively have we taken great pains to put away
all kinds of distractions?

"Munda cor meum ab omnibus vanis perversis et alienis cogitationibus"

Have we rejected even good thoughts which were unsuitable for the time
of recitation, and above all have we banished idle or indifferent ones?

Have we tried, following the example of the saints, to excite in
ourselves the different sentiments expressed by the Psalms, or to dwell
on some perfection of God, or on some mystery of our Lord, or on some
virtue of the saint whose office we read? Have we piously dwelt on
these, or on some other subject proper to the Church's season or
according to our needs?

"Si orat psalmus, orate; si gemit, gemite; si gratulatur, gaudete; si
timet, timete" (St. Aug. in Ps. 30).

In order to say the Office devoutly, have we said it with love, having
our hearts and souls fully alive to the advantages and the excellence
and the beauties of the Divine Office?

Have we said it with fervour, abandoning ourselves to a good emotion, to
holy affections, and to joyous transports, which the Holy Ghost usually
works in fervent souls? Have we done this work with joy, taking a
peculiar pleasure in this holy labour, recognising the great honour it
is to be a partaker in the songs of praise offered to God by the
heavenly company, whose hosts are filled with His glory?

III. How we must keep watch over ourselves in reading the Office:--

Let us examine ourselves to find out if in reading the Breviary we keep
the rules of good recitation, as laid down by the saints--Distincte,
integre, continue, reverenter, ordinate (St. Bonav., spec. discip. p.
1, c. 16).

1. _Distincte_, Do we recite distinctly, observing the ordinary pause at
the middle and at the end of each verse, not hurrying the one on the
other? Do we articulate every word, not adopting a careless or too
speedy pronunciation?

"Non in gutture vel inter dentes, seu deglutiendo et syncopando
dictiones vel verba" (Con. Basil, sess. 22).

2. _Integre_. Do we say the Office in its entirety, being scrupulously
careful not to omit the smallest part, and taking great care that a part
that we should wish or try to say by heart shall not slip out of our
recitation altogether or be mutilated?

"Integre, ut de dicendis nihil omittant" (St. Bona., spec, discip.,
p. 1).

3. Continue. Do we say our Hours without interruption? Do we love this
holy exercise? Or do we easily interrupt our prayer on any trifling
pretext, and on the first opportunity?

"Interruptiones in eo non fiant, nisi urgente necessitate" (_ibid_.).

4. _Ordinate_. Do we say our Office with order, that is, order both in
substance (not substituting one Office for another) and in manner,
according to the rubrics arranging the several hours?

"_Ordinate in substantia, tempore et modo_" (St. Bona. spec., _ibid_.).

5. Have we said our Hours piously, with all the modesty and all the
reverence which so holy an action demands? With becoming attitude, not
lying prone, not crossing our legs; without saluting or speaking to
those passing by?

"In officio curando magnopere reverentia et honestas, cum ubique sit
eadem cui tune loquimur et adstamus Deitas et majestas" (_ibid_.). (From
_Examens Particulers sur l'Office Divin_, par M. Tronson).



Priests are provided in their text-books of College days with reliable
guides dealing directly and indirectly with liturgy. Hence, some of the
books quoted here may already be favourites with many readers; but,
perhaps, some books in the list may be brought to the notice of
students of liturgy for the first time, and may be useful in introducing
priests and church students to easy, pleasant paths in liturgical
studies. The prices quoted may be useful to book-buyers,

1. Dom Gueranger, _The Liturgical Year_ (1895, Duffy, Dublin, 16 vols.
£3 9s.)--This work is a favourite with all lovers of liturgy, It studies
and comments on the Church's liturgy day by day, week by week. It gives
readers of the Missal and the Breviary a new interest and an additional
fervour in their daily prayers. It is a standard work and holds its own
wonderfully against all competitors.

2. _Cours De Liturgie Romaine Le Breviare_, L'abbe Bernard, Sulpician
(Paris. 1887, 2 vols, 7 francs). This is a text-book written with great
care, showing fine scholarship and deep piety. It is the work of a
skilled teacher.

3. _Le Breviare Romain, Commente_ par L'abbe Maugere. Paris. 1887, 6
francs.--A very concise and useful work, which I have used often in
compiling my book.

4. The articles in the _Catholic Encyclopedia_, on the Breviary and
liturgy generally.

5. Duchesne, _Christian Worship_ (London. 1904. 10s.). Very readable and
serviceable to students of early Church history.

6. Battifol, _History of the Roman Breviary_. (London, 1912. 15s.)

7. Biron-Baumer, _Histoire du Breviaire_. (Paris. 2 vols. 11 francs.)

8. Baudot, _The Roman Breviary_ (London. Cath. Truth Society. Price

Monsignor Battifol's book is well and favourably known. It is in
English, and has had a large circulation. It received searching and
severe criticism from Dom Baumer, the author of _Geschichte des
Breviers_. Baumer's work (translated into French by Biron) is a work
showing wonderful industry, learning and critical acumen. The great
German Benedictine was aided in several parts of his work by Mr. E.
Bishop, the English liturgiologist, who intended to translate the work
into English. Dom Baudot's book gives in concise form the results of the
labours of Battifol and Baumer. The book is readable, accurate, and is
excellent value for the price.

9. _The Calendar_. The introductory matter given in the Breviary
suffices for the wants of the ordinary student of liturgy. But those who
wish for an exhaustive study of times and seasons may safely read
_Kalendarium Manuale_, Pars I. _Festa immobilia_, Editio secunda; price
9 lire; and Pars. II. _Festa Mobilia_, price 13 lire, by Rev. N. Nilles,
S.J. Calendar study is highly interesting, and the articles in the
_Catholic Encyclopedia_ and Father Thurston's articles in the _Month_ on
Calendar affairs are always instructive.

_The New Psalter_ (Myers and Burton. London. 1915. 3s.6d.) is a very
useful and practical help to the understanding and application of the
new rubrics. I have quoted several times from its pages,

_Heortology_, a History of Christian Festivals from their Origin to the
Present Day, by Dr. Kellner, Professor of Catholic Theology in Bonn, is
a translation of a text-book written for German students preparing to
pass Government examinations. It is a fine book, and if a student of
liturgy knew its contents well he would have no poor knowledge of this
and, incidentally, of other questions of liturgy. Gueranger, Duchesne
and Kellner constitute the beginnings of a student's liturgical library
(London, Keegan, Paul. 1908. Price 10s. 6d.). An excellent little volume
by Father McKee, dealing with the same subject, is published by Catholic
Truth Society, London, 2s, 6d. It is introductory and elementary.

10. Thousands of works on the Psalms have been published. But any priest
or student who studies Steenkiste's work on the Psalms learns nearly all
that is needed to recite his psalms digne, attente ac devote. His work
is a mine of useful, pious, and, in the main, accurate comment on the
inspired text. Breviary students studying this commentary need little
else to help them to admire, to understand and to use their psalmody in
a prayerful manner. Steenkiste, _Liber Psalmorum_ (3 vols, Bruges. 1886.
Price 15s.).

_The New Psalter of the Roman Breviary_, by Fillon, S.S. (London,
Herder. 1915. Price 6s.).

Father Fillon was consultor to the Biblical Commission. His notes are
short and useful to those who, having studied the psalms, can recall
their meaning by a few brief hints. Its comments are too brief, but it
gives the Latin text, English translation, notes on psalms and newly
added canticles, and is arranged in the order in which they stand in the
Pian psaltery.

_Sing Ye to the Lord_, by Rev. R. Eaton (London, Catholic Truth
Society. 2 vols. 4s. each).

In these books the leading idea or ideas of the Psalms are taken up, and
beautiful explanations and spiritual readings given. The books are
delightful reading, and give Breviary readers, old and young, fresh
thoughts on psalms which through familiarity and constant repetition may
have lost some of their pious meaning and prayerfulness.

Books of Scripture commentary by non-Catholic writers should be read
with caution, and often ecclesiastical permission for their perusal must
be sought. Neale and Littledale's _Commentary on the Psalms_ (6 vols.
London. 1867) is a compilation by two Anglican scholars, from the
commentators of the Middle Ages. The wonderful piety of these men of
old, saints and scholars, their beautiful comments, their glowing
fervour, and above all their knowledge and love of the Bible text,
surprise us all. Sometimes, of course, these mediaevalists run into
far-fetched, outlandish comments, but the compilers give always the
comments of the Masters, St. Thomas, St. Bede, etc.

Very many metrical arrangements of the Psalms by non-Catholic authors
exist in English. Most of these metrical efforts are very poor,
unreliable in giving the sense, and awkward and ungainly in poetic
forms. An interesting book is Prothero's _Psalms in Human Life_. The
author was a Protestant, hence his numbering of the Psalms may at first
sight be confusing,

Sermons fresh and beautiful, full of unction, and full of texts, sublime
and practical, are to be found in the Psalms. A work, little known in
our islands, is Monsignor Doublet's fine work, _Psaumes etudies en vue
de la Predication_ (3 vols. 8th Edition. 12s.).

A charming booklet, dealing chiefly with the Psalms as prayers, is
Rolland Gosselin's _Prieres et Meditations bibliques_ (Paris. 1917.
Bauchesne. 3s.).

_10. Hymns._ Immense labour has been devoted to the study of Latin
sacred poetry. The _Analecta Hymnica_ in 60 huge volumes testifies to
the learning and zeal of its Jesuit authors. Ordinary mortals content
themselves with lesser works, such as Pimont's _Hymnes du Breviare
Romain_ (Paris Poussielgne. 2 vols, 12-1/2 francs), or with _La Poesie
du Breviaire, Les Hymns_, by l'abbe C. Albin. Price 6 francs. The
opinions and judgments in neither book are infallible; and some of
Pimont's findings have been roughly criticised and sometimes rejected.
But both books give good, sound knowledge of Breviary hymns and thus
help to make their recitation a pious and a rational exercise, not a
mechanical, soulless labour.

Translation of poetry has ever been a study and a pastime. Every cleric
is familiar with the prose translations which aided his boyhood's
labours in rendering the poetry of Horace and Euripides into modern
speech. But prose efforts are one thing, and poetical efforts are
another, and just as many have laboured to present Virgil and Homer in
modern language, in metre, in rhyme, in rhythm; so, many poets and
verse-makers, in different ages and in different climes, have laboured
to turn into modern poetic form and into their own national tongue the
poems of the Breviary. The Breviary hymns have met with several good,
kind, translating poets; but very often they have been rudely handled by
well-meaning verse builders. Passing over in charitable silence the
indifferent efforts of those people, it may interest some students of
the Breviary to read the efforts of well-known authors to translate the
liturgy, its anthems, responses, collects, hymns, into good English.

(1) _The Day Hours of the Church_.--A translation of the Horae Diurnae,
with the psalms, etc., arranged according to the reform of Pope Pius X.
This is a good book, giving in parallel columns on the same page, Latin
and English translations. It includes the very best hymn translations by
Catholic authors, John Dryden, Cardinal Newman, Father Caswall, etc.
(Burns & Gates. 8s.). This book is intended for the use of the laity,
and, owing to the strict regulations issued for the printing of the new
Roman Breviary, this book may not lawfully be used to replace the
Breviarium Romanum. But, as it is a complete translation of the little
Hours of the Church, it is a very useful aid to the attentive and devout
recitation of the Hours. A look at its pages before each hour's
recitation, or a glance to see the meaning of some verse of psalm or
hymn will repay anyone. It is a wonderfully careful production, has a
beautiful _format_, and is good value at the price marked.

(2) _Annus Sanctus_, by Orby Shipley (Burns & Oates. 1884). This book
contains the work of many Catholic translators, and their translations
of Breviary hymns vary in merit. It contains a good introduction, the
translations attributed to Dryden, and it gives some things which are
always interesting, the efforts of several minds, poets and
verse-makers, to render the same Latin hymn into English verse. It
includes verses from several Irishmen.

(3) _Hymns from the Roman Breviary_, translated (Catholic Truth Society,
London. Price 1s. 6d). A good selection from Catholic and non-Catholic
translators. The translations of Dr. Neale, Anglican--held to be
superior in fidelity and in poetic form to that of any English
translator--are given in this booklet. Neale's _Collected Hymns_ (Hodder
& Stoughton, 6s.) are useful for translators and composers of vernacular
hymns. But his work is, I think, over-rated.

(4) Other translations of Breviary hymns are found in the collections of
hymns used in Anglican churches: _Hymns, Ancient and Modern; The English
Hymnal; The Hymner from the Sarum Breviary_ (Plain-song and Mediaeval
Society, London); _Songs of Sion_, by Woodward, etc.

For advanced study of liturgy, Dom Cabrol's _Dictionaire D'Archeologie
Chrietienne Et Liturgie_ (Paris: Letouzey et Ane) is indispensable. Its
study delights and consoles those who possess it.

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