Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Rule of Saint Benedict: Chapter 9

This next chapter covers more of how formal prayers are to be conducted.

Chapter 9

The Number of Psalms at the Night Office

During the winter season, Vigils begin with the verse: Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim your praise (Ps 50 [51]:17). After this has been said three times,

the following order is observed: Psalm 3 with "Glory be to the Father";

Psalm 94 with a refrain, or at least chanted;

An Ambrosian hymn; then six psalms with refrain.

After the psalmody, a versicle is said and the abbot gives a blessing. When all are seated on the benches, the brothers in turn read three selections from the book of the lectern. After each reading a responsory is sung.

"Glory be to the Father" is not sung after the first two responsories, but only after the third reading.

As soon as the cantor begins to sing "Glory be to the Father," let all the monks rise from their seats in honor and reverence of the Holy Trinity.

Besides the inspired books I'd the Old and New Testaments, the works read at Vigils include explanations of Scripture by reputable and Orthodox Catholic Fathers.

When these three readings and their responsories have been finished, the remaining six psalms are sung with an "alleluia" refrain,.

Thus ended, there follow a reading from the Apostle recited by heart, a versicle and the litany, that is, "Lord, have mercy."

And so Vigils are concluded.


If you look at a decent prayer book, or a horologion, you will notice a similar set up for the Psalms. From what I understand the laity get these practices found in prayer books from the monastics.

If you pray all of the hours I believe that you will pray all 151 Psalms. I know that is true at least during Great Lent.

This chapter shows us that even the West had a very similar prayer rule to that of the East before the schism, though that should be of no surprise since Saint Benedict looked to some Athonite rules for inspiration.
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