Benedictine twist to Liturgy of the Hours

Maybe some people at this forum can help, I currently attend a parish that only offers the liturgy in the Ordinary Form, but I pray from a Monastic Diurnal which is for the Extraordinary Form, so its not ideal that I pray from this book. So I’m hoping to switch over to the LOTH, but I have a couple questions on this.

  1. Is there a Benedictine Lectionary (English) for the Vigils?

  2. Is there any advice to add a Benedictine “twist” to the LOTH, I believe I read in the past a poster who mentioned advice for doing this, but I haven’t found that thread yet.

3.) Is there anyway to use this
as a replacement to the Psalter in the LOTH and it still be liturgical?


  1. I only know of a Benedictine lectionary in French or Latin-French. That said, the lectionary in the 4-volume LOTH is approved for both Benedictine and Roman Offices. You could use it, and for the patristic reading you could substitute readings from monastic sources.

  2. There are a few things you can do; you can use the current LOTH and add monastic touches. A couple of examples, using psalm 4, 90 and 133 for compline every night (permitted, see General Instructions), directly without antiphon; add the “Kyrie Eleison” between the intercessions and the Pater, and add the traditional invocations for the deceased faithful and absent brothers after the final blessing. Or you can use one of the 4 approved Benedictine psalter schemas as described in the Thesaurus Liturgia Horarum Monasticae. On weekdays you could use Ps. 66(67) as invitatory, as that psalm starts Lauds of the Benedictine Office every day (the invitatory is 94(95)), especially if you start with Lauds every day.

  3. Sort of. One, it’s incomplete and does not have the propers and ordinary for saints; it’s missing most of the music for seasons too. If you pray day hours only, a much better bet would be Antiphonale Monasticum (from the same website); Vol I for the proper of the seasons, Volume II for the diurnal psalter, Vol. III for the saints (Volume IV, if it ever comes out will be the night office, and Vol. V is the proper of the Solesmes Congregation only). With respect to using Psalterium Monasticum as psalter for the LOTH, the psalms are in the Neo Vulgate and thus are liturgical; the antiphons are liturgical; it only has one cycle of readings instead of 4 like the LOTH; to be liturgical you could use the readings from the LOTH. However a major departure is for the seasons and the proper antiphons of Sunday: the Benedictine Office uses three different antiphons for the Gospel canticle for 1st Vespers (matched to the readings of the one or two year cycles for Vigils), one for Lauds (Benedictus), and one for 2nd Vespers, whereas the LOTH uses the same antiphon for all three.

But since the General Instructions do allow substitutions (for example you can substitute an antiphon or hymn for another from the same season), some latitude is OK.

If you are an oblate you can follow the Benedictine calendar, but if not you should probably pray the General Roman+local calendar for your diocese.

My own personal opinion, FWIW, is that praying the Psalterium Monasticum, especially if you pray Vigils, is fairly heavy going for laity or people living/working in the secular world (including… maybe especially for… clergy); it’s 250 psalms a week; Sunday/Festive Vigils is 3 nocturnes and takes over 1 hour to pray properly. It’s easy to get into LOTH overload that way.

I prefer praying the current LOTH but with the Benedictine touches I mention in 2 above. Occasionally when I feel a bit more ambitious I’ll pray the schema the abbey I’m associated with uses (Schema B, 150 psalms in a week with no repetitions; Vigils is much lighter with only 6 psalms, 3 per nocturne, rather than 12, 6 per nocturne).

Since I’m into Gregorian chant in a big way, I chant my Offices except for Vigils (Office of Readings) which I chant recto-tono. I use Les Heures Grégoriennes; it’s beautifully done and very practical for choral use, it includes all of the Latin music for the day hours of the LOTH including Compline; the music is from the monks of Solesmes. The Latin is side-by-side with French. Worth every penny and comes in three volumes (Advent-Christmas-Ordinary Time; Lent-Eastertide; Saints), and you can get an optional CD that has recordings of the first strophes of every hymn, every antiphon, and the first verses of every psalm.

I also use Antiphonale Romanum II, Latin only, Vespers for all Sundays, feasts and solemnities. The big advantage for newbies to chant is that the psalms are all pointed for chant. Les Heures Grégoriennes assumes you know how to psalmody.

Edit: forgot to mention that for monks, the General Instructions of the Monastic Liturgy of the Hours allows monks who are outside the monastery, or engaged in heavy apostolates, to substitute the Roman LOTH (4-week schema); so even monks are not bound to their monastic office when outside the cloister. Individual monasteries may also use the 4-week LOTH with special permission (but would still follow the Benedictine calendar). Otherwise monks are bound to say at least 75 psalms a week. Our abbey does the whole psalter in a week.

Thanks for the reply! If I may ask a question, how could one use the Psalm Scheme B liturgically, is there a book approved for liturgical use for this? If I was to use this scheme, would I just pray everything as laid out in the LOTH except the Psalm scheme. And those are some wonderful advice given in 2. especially with Compline, I didn’t know you could omit the Antiphons and combine Sundays I and II into one Compline.



The only books I know are in French. But Psalterium Monasticum has the references. You could indeed pray it by simply substituting the Schematic B psalms. You can find the schema on-line. Apart from the psalter (and the Benedictine saints), the rest is identical except for the Gospel canticle antiphons on Sundays. But you could cheat and use the ones from LOTH.

Thanks for the reply! I always find your posts helpful and full of a holy discretion, which I need to learn.

God bless!

Oh, I forget to ask another question (sorry!) if I used scheme B for example, what about the Psalm/Canticle Anthiphons and propers ( I haven’t seen the book Psalterium Monasticum yet)
I found the Scheme hear

Is that the link correct?

Thanks again for the help, I want to pray liturgical, but the English translation I find hard to pray sadly, good new is I found the Latin hymns

and I would love to pray the entire Psalter(liturgically), which sadly, the current Liturgy doesn’t have :frowning:

Yes that’s the correct link, but there’s one minor change to note: as originally organized, the invitatory for Sunday was ps. 94 and for Sunday, ps. 80; that has since been switched. Psalterium Monasticum contains all the antiphons for all psalms for the ferial office. It can be used for ordinary days in Advent, days after Epiphany, ordinary time, Lent and Eastertide (has all the alleluia antiphons). That includes gospel canticles for weekdays in ordinary time but not at other times.

For that, and for the propers and commons of saints, you need Antiphonale Monasticum that I mentioned above. Volume II matches Psalterium Monasticum for content except for Vigils which is not in Volume II of the antiphonale. Volume I contains the propers for the seasons and Volume III the propers and commons for saints.

It does get a bit complicated, with lots of book shuffling; say you’re praying a saint with proper antiphons: Liber hymnarius for the hymn, the festival psalter, Antiphonale Monasticum Volume III for the propers and commons, with much page flipping. That’s why I like Les Heures Grégoriennes so much: if it’s a saint, you use Volume III and everything is in that volume. If it’s Advent, Christmastide or Ordinary Time, volume I, and if it’s Lent or Eastertide, volume II. No switching, and minimal page flipping.

When I pray Monastic B I use my schema B psalter (French or Latin-French) with Les Heures so it’s only two books; it works except for a couple of saints on the monastic calendar that use the common of monastics, which is not present in Les Heures (though the common of religious would work). Otherwise I do the 4-week in Les Heures.

With Schema B incidentally, there are ways to lighten the load. The General Instructions include several ways to spread it over two weeks, and you can combine the psalms of Compline into Vigils (on a two-week cycle) and do anticipated Vigils that combines Compline; that’s done in many abbeys.

If you have any questions feel free to PM me.

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