Tuesday, December 5, 2006

History of the Breviary

Here is a link to an interesting article about the history of the breviary from The New Liturgical Movement. The Liturgy of the Hours is part of the official prayer of the Church. The various hours are like rays of light shining from the Holy Mass, the central act of Worship. Liturgical prayer should take priority over private devotions since when saying the Divine Office one is united to the entire universal church, even when praying alone. Of course, the Hours should be prayed with devotion, leading to inspirations which can promote meditation and contemplation.

The hours are Matins (Office of Readings), Lauds (Morning prayer), Terce (Mid-morning prayer), Sext (Mid-day prayer), None (Mid-afternoon prayer), Vespers (Evening prayer), and Compline (Night prayer.) Most tertiaries (lay members of a religious order) are required only to say Lauds and Vespers. Many lay people, including royals, have prayed the hours throughout history, such as Saint Louis IX, Louis XVI, and Madame Elisabeth of France. The rosary has been seen as a psalter for the illiterate, but there have been many literate persons in history who have prayed the rosary as well as the Divine Office. Similarly, there have been people who could not read, such as Saint Joan of Arc, who loved to assist at the Hours whenever possible. Saint Joan loved Compline, and asked for the chapel bells to be rung throughout the chanting of the office, for then she heard the voices of her saints. Share


Georgette said...

I have happened upon the liturgy of the hours said at my old parish (in the adoration chapel) a few times and just loved it! I wish I had the discipline to pray it regularly. There really is something marvelous about praying in union with the Church throughout the world.

elena maria vidal said...

I agree, Georgette. And it is a powerful way of praying because one is mystically united to the Church Triumphant, the Church Militant and the Church Suffering when saying the Divine Office.

Richard Sieur de Brantigny said...

Georgette, In a very real way, because God exists outside of time, and everything to HIM is in the eternal Now, every prayer we say is joined with those of everyone who has ever prayed, is praying or will ever pray.

That is why we can truly take part in the Sacrifice on the Cross at Mass with the Saviour. To the Creator, it is all going on concurrently. Think of that!

elena maria vidal said...

Very true, Monsieur de Brantigny, and how beautifully expressed!