Friday, April 7, 2017

Easy Horarium for Parish Priest Breviary (pre-1962)

   5:00 Lauds (1st action of the day, after three Hail Mary's and morning offering kneeling at bedside)
   6:00 Prime
  [7:00-7:30 Silent Meditation before the Blessed Sacrament]
   8:00 Terce (7:45 when Mass is at 8:00)
 10:00 Sext
 12:00 None (after Angelus and just before lunch)
[13:00 Rosary (during stroll, immediately after lunch and just before nap)]
 14:00 Vespers (immediately after nap)
 16:00 Anticipated Matins (next day's office may be anticipated, for a just cause, [viz. busy parish priest], any time after 14:00 [Rubricae Generalis Breviarii Romani, 144, {English})
 20:00 Compline
[20:30-21:00 Silent Meditation before the Blessed Sacrament]
[21:30 Bedtime after three Hail Mary's and evening thanksgiving kneeling at bedside, and, perhaps a quarter of an hour of reading in bed before lights out by 21:45]

In Latin, of course. Cf. Divinum Officium
I can tell you that after praying it thus for a decade (practically since Pope Benedict declared that it was allowed), it is a masterful instrument for the daily and hourly sanctification of the priest, qua priest. The minor hours are especially delicious morsels to give spiritual structure and nourishment to the morning hours.

You will notice that Prime is prayed thus at its true time (the first hour of the day, the biblical (twelve hour) day going from 6:00 to 18:00; the other minor hours are somewhat anticipated: i.e. Terce should be 9:00, Sext 12:00 Noon, and None 15:00. That would put vespers at 16:00. The problem with that is where do you put Matins (the traditional night hours, said before sunrise of the given day, which takes between 1/2 hour and 3/4 hour!)? You can still anticipate it saying it after your 16:00 vespers, but that starts to cut into the parish evening (which can be very busy), or you can try to cram it in any time during the day, but then when do you do your daily adoration/meditation before the Blessed Sacrament. Given the quantity of hours involved, having prayed the breviary now for over thirty years, it is better to spread it out and do it earlier rather than later, so as not to end up with a huge insurmountable burden late at night. Another curious fact is that our English word for midday is actually taken from the hour which was traditionally prayed at that hour, viz. None, the 3:00 PM hour! So, my solution agrees exactly with that of our long line of predecessors.

In all of this remember the popular phrase, that the Breviary is the priest's wife, keep her always at your side, do not go anywhere without her, and frequently, repeatedly pay exclusive attention to her, listening and speaking with, to always better understand!

"Septies in die laudem dixi tibi, super iudicia iustitiae tuae." Psalm 118:164
The 1962 breviary is designed to do just that, and once or thrice at night with the nocturns of matins.

Below is the relevant text in English from the Rubrics of the Roman Breviary.


142. By their very makeup the canonical Hours of the Divine Office are ordained to the sanctification of the various hours of the natural day. Hence it is best, both for the real sanctification of the day and for the spiritually fruitful recitation of the Hours themselves, that each canonical Hour be recited at the time which most nearly approaches its own true time.

143. That the obligation of reciting the Divine Office may be satisfied, however, it is sufficient that all the canonical Hours be said within the space of the twenty four hours of the day.

144. For a good reason, Matins may be anticipated in the afternoon or evening hours of the preceding day, but not before two o'clock in the afternoon.

145. Since Lauds are a morning prayer, they are said in the early morning in choir and in common; and this rule may fittingly be observed also in the recitation by one alone.

146. Even in Lent and Passiontide, Vespers are said in the hours after noon in choir and in common; and this rule may fittingly be observed also in the recitation by one alone.

147. For all those who are bound to the recitation of the Divine Office and especially for those living in religious communities, it is very appropriate that Compline be said as the last prayer at the end of the day, even if for some good reason Matins of the following day have already been anticipated. In this case the Pater noster otherwise said after the verse Adiutorimn nostrum is omitted, and in its place, in choir and in common, there is an examination of conscience lasting a reasonable length of time. Then the Confiteor and the rest are said in the usual way. This practice may fittingly be observed also in the recitation by one alone.
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