Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Rule of Saint Benedict: Chapter 16

This next chapter deviates from what we have seen with the services thus far. This chapter talks about praying during the day. Some of my readers may remember that I have touched on such things before in previous blog posts. Also, this is still a short chapter.

Chapter 16: The Celebration of the Divine Office During the Day

  1. The Prophet says: Seven times a day I have praised you (Ps 118 [119]:164). 
  2. We will fulfill this sacred number of seven if we satisfy our obligations of service at Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline, 
  3. for it was of these hours during the day that he said: Seven times a day I have praised you (Ps 118 [119]:164). 
  4. Concerning Vigils, the same Prophet says: At midnight I arose to give you praise (Ps 118 [119]:62). 
  5. Therefore, we should praise our Creator for his just judgments at these times: Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline; and let us arise at night to give him praise (Ps 118 [119]:164,62).
So, in my Christianity Without Repercussions series (which is on hiatus for the time being) I mention these psalms, as well as Acts 3:1. I talked about how these verses show us that there have been set times for formal prayer since the days before Christianity. Saint Benedict here lays out for us what these times are called, which mirror very closely what I wrote in my post - though he used Lauds instead of Matins, which is just the Western equivalent. 

Looking in the Prayer Book for Jewish Personnel in the Armed Forces of the United States (given to me by a friend who knew I was interested in Judaism many years ago), I see that the Contents list Morning Prayers, Afternoon Services, Night Prayers, not to mention prayers for different occasions and days, as well as different services. So we see that these times for prayer not only carried over into Christianity, but continued on into first century Judaism and into modern times. 
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