Liturgy of the Hours Hymn Numbers


I have recently bought the 4-Volume Liturgy of the Hours set and I think I pretty much know how to get through it but I did notice on one of the days (the 1st Sunday of Advent I think) that it said “Hymn 126”

I didn’t know hymns were numbered in the book and if they are, how do I know which hymns have which numbers?

Thank you


If your four-volume set has hymn numbers, the hymns are found in the back of your book. The numbers do not correspond to page numbers. Some four-volume sets have the hymns placed throughout the book and, if the hymn isn’t printed next to your readings, a page number is given to find the hymn. Note a couple of things: you are not required to use only the hymns given, but any other appropriate hymn may be used. Secondly, many of the hymns fell out of use decades ago and are no longer printed in any popular Catholic hymnals, so substitution becomes necessary if the melody is not known. Of course, one could always read the hymns, but that rather defeats the purpose of a hymn.


What, then, is the purpose of a hymn, exactly?


The hymn is virtually the only part of the LOTH that is not from scripture. Originally the hymn was a brief theology lesson intended to combat heresy.

That’s still the case if you use the traditional Latin hymns. I do, using the Liber Hymnarius. Note that I use the current 4-week LOTH and sometimes a 1-week monastic version of the LOTH. The Liber Hymnarius is for the current LOTH and monastic LOTH.

Most modern hymns tend to be set to the character of the season or hour. A few are more or less translations of their Latin equivalents. It’s a bit more of a mish-mash now, some vernacular hymns (including many in French) are rather mediocre. In the French LOTH, the numbers refer to hymns in a separate hymnal that exists. There are one or two French hymns that I like, but for the most part I prefer Latin (I am not very familiar with the LOTH in English as I live in a French-speaking part of Canada).

One doesn’t need to sing/chant the hymn One can treat the hymn as a form of poetry. Some old Latin hymns are indeed beautiful poetry even without a melody.


I was told by my parish priest that the hymns were suggested and not mandatory, as well as the “Psalm Prayers.”
I don’t know entirely how accurate this is, but maybe someone can elaborate. I’m not musically inclined whatsoever, so skipping the hymns usually makes me happy haha! :stuck_out_tongue:


The psalm-prayers are optional (the French LOTH for example, doesn’t have them).

The hymns are not.


No clue about hymns, but the psalm-prayers (I think) are US specific.


No, they were supposed to be in the Latin Editio Typica but never found their way into it. I sometimes use a French monastic breviary out of Luxembourg and it has them. I’ve never used them. The monastic breviary is long enough as it is without them! :stuck_out_tongue:

I think I read somewhere that there’s talk of eliminating them as they tend to not be very popular.


I actually started omitting them as soon as I realized they weren’t provided anywhere besides the 4-Week Psalter. It seemed weird to say them all the time EXCEPT for days special enough to get their own psalms.


I think they’re just weird period. They have no basis in tradition. I think a few moments of silent meditation would be preferable. I’d also like to see the NT canticle at Vespers replaced by a psalm at least optionally. Their poetic structure does not match the psalms and they chant poorly.


I didn’t like having to sing English hymns written by heretics. That’s one reason I like praying the Liturgia Horarum. Also, you can tune into Vatican Radio and pray along with the Church Universal by downloading the Lauds, Vespers, and Compline broadcasts prayed in Latin each day:


:ehh: What hymns exactly don’t you like singing? And do you not like them because they’re written by heretics or because the songs are heretical? Because “I am the Bread of Life” is a perfectly nice song, but if Christian Prayer is to be trusted, it was written by Martin Luther. But do I care? Not really. It’s still a nice song and it’s still not heretical itself (although some might disagree with the use of the first person).


Trust me the French hymns aren’t much better. That’s why I use the Liber Hymnarius in Latin.


l guess I’m the only one who actually enjoys the Psalm Prayers.

As for the hymns, unless you are obligated (clergy, 3rd Orders, etc ) nothing is mandatory in the LOTH. I never say/sing them as I generally whisper the hours in a quiet location.


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