Liturgy of the Hours: I'm not a fan


Just to clarify, if you use these variations are you still in accord with the public prayer of the Church? Is there a list of approved versions from which one can choose?
I suspect I would like some of the older versions better.


Yes, all are approved texts with concordat cum originali. For the monastic, it’s in our oblate constitutions that I can use any of the Monastic LOTH schémas (naturally I prefer schéma B as it’s what our abbey uses), or the 4-week LOTH that the rest of the Church uses. Monks are in fact authorized to use the 4-week when they are traveling or doing apostolic work outside the monastery. Some monasteries for licit reasons may also have permission to use the 4-week (Sant’Anselmo, in Rome, the HQ of the Benedictine Order, being one of those as it’s also a busy college).

The psalm-prayers are approved texts as well, just not very often used. They are optional.

Apart from the psalm distribution, the different calendar of saints, and the Common of Monks and Nuns, the monastic LOTH is identical to the 4-week. Same collects, mostly the same antiphons. The only major difference is at Compline where in the more traditional monastic schema, there is verse and response that replaces the responsory and Gospel Canticle, but monks can use the latter ad libitum if their abbot approves.


Pray it with someone. Or have other prayer times with others.


This morning’s LoTH intercessions was especially beautiful to me.

Rejoice in the wonderful works of the Lord for he has given us hope through the birth of his Son. Let us all cry out with great joy:
Glory to God in the highest.

With the angels and patriarchs and prophets,
— we praise you, Lord.
Glory to God in the highest.

With Mary, the Virgin Mother of God,
— Our whole being proclaims your greatness, Lord.
Glory to God in the highest.

With the apostles and evangelists,
— we give you thanks, Lord.
Glory to God in the highest.

With all the holy martyrs,
— we offer our bodies to you as consecrated victims.
Glory to God in the highest.

With all your holy witnesses in the Church,
— we dedicate our lives to you in deepest faith.
Glory to God in the highest.

It has been my joy to pray these since 1981 when I made profession as a Secular Carmelite. Every now and then, something like what I just posted will have a special touch for me from the Holy Spirit within the psalms of the day.


Yes saying it in community is very special. At our abbey, oblates cannot sit in the choir stalls, but since I can chant fairly well, the monks let me chant with them. I’m lucky that I can do this every week: Terce on Sunday (which finishes an hour before Mass), and Terce, Sext+None and Vespers on Wednesday when I work at the abbey (plus Mass of course). If I’m feeling really vigorous I’ll leave home on Wednesdays at 6:30 am just so I can also include Lauds in my day.

At Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, it’s even better, because there oblates can sit in choir with the monks (and students as it’s a college as well). And the stalls are well-filled! The chant isn’t as polished, but it is virile. I get that privilege once a year when I’m there on “oblate business”.

Our schola also provides chant at the Sherbrooke cathedral for Vespers in Advent & Lent (4th Sunday in both cases), and Lauds for Holy Saturday.


You’ve hit something very important. Because the Liturgy of the Hours is primarily Scripture, especially the Psalms and Canticles, plus readings, there is always a certain newness to praying the Hours because the wisdom and insights from the Word of God are inexhaustible. So the Holy Spirit can continue to touch and inspire you in new ways again and again, despite having gone through the same Psalms over the years.

Which is why, contrary to what some have said on this thread, the Liturgy of the Hours, while it is indeed public, communal, and liturgical in character, for me, can be intensely personal as well.


You might enjoy the Office of Readings. It has a much longer reading (hence the name) than the other offices that (generally) flows in order from day to day.


I do a sort of Liturgy of the Weeks, picking it up only on Friday and Saturday evenings. I actually enjoy that quite a bit.


Can someone tell me if the old edition I have used since 1981 has an updated one that would include all of our recently canonized saints? For instance, on Jan. 6, we had St. André Bessette. I never see Pope St. John Paul II, St. Faustina, St. Padre Pio, etc., unless I pray on line where these may have their own memorial. I wrote them into my breviary so I would remember their special feast day.


Yes and even more so if you use the 2-year lectionary. I love the Office of Readings, the remnant of the old office of Vigils (Matins) in the monastic tradition and an Office I still use as “vigils”, at 5:30 am. Usually there is a coherent whole to the scripture reading, either a story, or lesson or message. The two-year cycle includes more readings and more books of the Bible.

More than one monk has told me that it is the most important office of the day as they are keeping up a prayer watch (hence the name “Vigils”), for the entire Church, and for all humanity.

Not that I know of. Les Heures Grégoriennes will have all saints canonized up until 2008 when it was published, so St. André Bessette is in there, but as a blessed, not a saint, in the proper calendar for Canada. For the collects, they are in the CCCB Ordo. Normally when there are no propers, as is the case with recent saints, one falls back to the commons for the parts other than the collects. For the hagiographic readings, you can either rely on the commons, or use whatever reading of the saint you may find online.

If you don’t have the proper collect, you can always use the generic “insert saint’s name here” one in the Common of that saint. Not as specific I know, but liturgical!


Thank you, OraLabora. I had a feeling you might know the answer. :grinning:


There was a supplement printed in 1992 for the U.S.


Not the most recent ones, and it’s not likely that a new Supplement will be coming out since the new translation of the Liturgy of the Hours will probably include these new saints within the Proper of Saints.

What I do for these new saints, if they are not in the current Supplement, is simply take the texts from the appropriate Common; that’s part of the reason the Commons have Collects as well.


While it’s not always possible for me to say the Hours without missing the occasional day, it is a daily goal for me, one at which I am mostly successful in saying at least one Hour. My goals are Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer. It is probably the best “addiction” I have in that I “have to” do it.


I have heard there is an updated edition available in 2020. I don’t know many details as yet. I assume it will be for all regions.


No thanks, I’d rather have most of the psalms over 4 weeks than just over 1/5th of them over one week. I also want to pray in unity with the entire Church, lay, clerical and religious.

Or all of them over one week as in the Monastic breviary.

The Little Office of the BVM might not be a watered down “Bugninite” innovation, but watered down it certainly is.

I should also point out that the Roman Breviary of Pius X (1910-1970), also broke with tradition, and was designed by a committee.


No, it made a new one. Completely new psalm distribution, and a reduction in psalmody from 250 psalms (with many repetitions) to 150 psalms per week. It broke up the Laudate trio of psalms at Lauds (148-149-150), ended the tradition of psalms 4-90-133 at Compline, re-divided the psalms which played havoc with the Roman Antiphonary. Doesn’t sound like a minor reform to me.

If we were really going to be traditional we’d do the entire psalter in a day like the Desert Fathers, or 250 psalms in a week in the Divine Office of St. Benedict, still, BTW in licit use in the OF in monasteries. Also it’s not “completely” untraditional. It is a mix of tradition and modern, for example psalms 109-112 at Sunday Vespers, psalms 62, 92, 117 at Sunday Lauds, option to use Psalms 4, 90 and 133 every day at Compline, entire cursus of Vespers for Week 4 and part of week 3 taken from the Monastic Breviary, to name a few.

Psalter schemas for various Offices:

Little Office of the BVM, Roman version, I counted 34 psalms per week.

Current Liturgy of the Hours, roughly 60 psalms in a week (varies on account of different divisions):

Roman Breviary of Pius X, 150 psalms in a week:

Roman Breviary of Pius V, roughly 250 psalms per week:

Pre-Vatican II Monastic breviary, 250+ psalms per week:

Post-Vatican II monastic, also 250 psalms per week, redistribution of the psalms of Prime:

Monastic schema B, post-Vatican II, as used at the abbey I’m attached to, 150 psalms in a week with no repetitions:

Notice the breviary that has the least psalmody: the Little Office of the BVM.

Now tell me it isn’t “watered down”… but don’t let that stop you from using it if that’s what you fancy.


I haven’t heard of a new edition for Francophone regions; our translation work is largely finished, the only change recently (that would apply to the breviary) is a minor change in the Lord’s Prayer. I doubt they’d issue a new edition for that; a supplement would do. But you never know, maybe they’ll elect to publish a new edition with up-to-date saints. What I did hear is the possibility of a new version with the 2-year lectionary; or perhaps they’ll issue the lectionary separately. There’s already a Latin-French and French-only version; the former is the Monastic 2-year lectionary, and the latter is based on it, minus the monastic saints (but with far more monastic patristic readings).


As a busy parish priest, I find the brevity of the modern office to be one of its more helpful features. Furthermore, I think its simplicity more greatly enables lay participation. It’s much easier to teach someone the office, and thus to implement it into the fabric of parish life. I know of several parishes that have at least some part of the office prayed most days.



That was the original goal, but things seem to have been progressing very slowly. I’m not prepared to hold my breath. :wink:

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