Modern Little Hours

Hi all,

I had a question regarding trying to pray all three little hours with the revised Divine Office. The general instructions state:

  1. Two psalmodies are provided: the current psalmody and the complementary psalmody. Those who pray one hour should use the current psalmody. Those who pray more than one hour should use the current psalmody at one hour and the complementary psalmody at the others.

The first set mentioned repeats after a four week cycle like the rest of the modern Psalter. The other series of complementary psalms mentioned above are just three sets of of three Gradual Psalms each.

So does that mean if I want to recite Terce, Sext, and None that two of these hours will essentially use the the same psalms everyday or so?

That seems…well…rather lame. I’m not sure how that’s an improvement on the weekly cycle of day prayers of the former Divine Office

I don’t suppose I could just take one psalm from the first set for each little hour which would make for a month long sequence–and still be in compliance with the rest of the Church, huh?

Best, :tiphat:

Truth be told, the unvarying psalmody for the minor hours is more traditional than the varying psalmody. It fits in better with the nature of the minor hours which is basically to recall ones thoguhts to God during the day-for which reason a non-varying psalmody is good. Originally (until St. Pius X) it was parts of psalm 118 every day. I would rather they would have retained the Gradual psalms only rather than mix them up with a variable cycle.

Truth be told, the unvarying psalmody for the minor hours is more traditional than the varying psalmody.

I was afraid someone was going to point at that out to me. :wink:

Originally (until St. Pius X) it was parts of psalm 118 every day.

Aye, good to know… Were the pre St. Pius X Little Hours the same parts of 118 (we both know that’s one long psalm) or did they cycle through a weekly sequence similar the first 22 days or so of the modern Little Hours?

Thanks again! :tiphat:

The one long psalm was said everyday entirely didvided among the hours from Prime to None. Enoguh times for one to become familar with it by heart which I would always consider a big feat is my Bibleverse learning Protestant days. Basically, the way the Sunday Little Hours are in the Pius X breviary is the way it was said every day (except that the antiphon in the Pius X is a combined antiphon from the pre-Pius X breviary). The only change daily was in the one psalm of Prime.

I started praying the 3 Daytime Hours a couple months ago and I agree about the psalms getting repetitive. However, I’ve taken this to be a call to memorize the psalms. Wouldn’t that be cool if Catholics had psalms memorized!

In the Benedictine tradition of 1500 or so years (and from which it may be argued that the general structure of the LOTH flowed), the Little Hours were quite interesting. On Sundays and Mondays, from Prime Sunday morning through None on Monday afternoon, all the parts of Ps. 118 were prayed (except for Prime on Monday). After that, from Tuesday through Saturday, Prime had its own set of psalmody using Ps. 1-19 on Monday to Saturday; Tierce, Sext and None were all drawn from the Gradual psalms and were the same 9 psalms every day. The logic was that these were generally the working hours, and they could be recited from memory wherever the monks happened to be working.

Today most monasteries, even those using the traditional Benedictine Liturgy of the Hours, have abolished Prime and distributed the psalms of Prime in various ways. There are different schemas to do this that can get quite complex but the most popular version appears to be attaching the psalms of Prime to the Little Hours from Tuesday through Saturday.

So the idea of having invariable psalms each day for Tierce, Sext and None is nothing new, it goes back 1500 years.

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