Proper posture during the LOTH


#1

What is the proper posture during individual recitation of the LOTH? Kneeling, standing, sitting or does it matter?
During confession, the priest is often sitting using his tablet to recite the LOTH.


#2

When doing LOTH in a community (as I have done with the monks at St. Bernard Monastery here in town), you do what the others are doing.

When doing LOTH alone, I don’t think there is a prescribed physical posture. I frequently do it sitting in bed, using the divineoffice.org site on my laptop.


#3

As Dave said, when you pray the LOTH by yourself, it doesn’t really matter. When you pray it in community, in general:

[LIST]
*]Stand during the inviatory, opening antiphon, psalm and hymn (as well as for the antiphons and doxologies during the psalmody)
*]Sit during the psalmody (stand for the antiphons and doxology), reading, and responsory
*]Stand from after the responsory to the dismissal.
*]Make the sign of the cross during the inviatory, at the beginning of the opening antiphon, at the beginning of the gospel canticle, and at the gospel canticle
*]Make a liturgical bow when the Blessed Trinity are named (e.g., during the doxology)
*]Bow your head at the name of Jesus
[/LIST]
HOWEVER, if you pray the Office with a Religious community, follow their lead.


#4

During individual recitation, you do what you want, keeping in mind that we are made body and soul and what we do with our bodies impacts on our thoughts.

Personally, I like to try to make an effort to keep to the normal postures I would use in community if I’m in private (which is code for I rarely do and I need to make much more of an effort). In public, I would kneel if in church and sit otherwise. Or stand or walk if that’s more appropriate to the circumstances. I have heard (but I can’t find the source) that many of the medieval mendicant friars were in the habit of saying their office while out walking.

If the priest is in a confessional, sitting may well be his only option, plus it would be a bit disconcerting if you had a semi-open confessional and you could see the priest bobbing up and down the whole time.

Which attitude is the best? Seeing the examples of the saints, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Francis de Sales, St. John de la Salle, the Cure d’Ars, and of many other saintly men, the best attitude in reciting the Hours is kneeling. Other saints accustomed themselves to recite their Hours standing, with head uncovered. Others followed, in private recitation, all the positions—sitting, kneeling, standing—required in choir. The practice is said to aid in banishing distractions, and contributes greatly to attention and devotion.** Of course, in private recitation no one is bound to any of these practices**. But they have proved useful to many in practising devout prayer. Everyone is bound to pray with fervour, and a respectful attitude is a big help towards that end.

sanctamissa.org/en/resources/books/quigley/divine-office-quigley-28.html


#5

This is correct; one minor point, at the opening verse before the invitatory (“Lord open my lips”) one makes the sign of the cross with one’s thumb across one’s lips.


#6

I pray my daily LOTH while sitting or sometimes lying down.


#7

I pray mine daily sitting at my desk with my Christian Prayer volume in front of me. If I feel compelled to kneel during anything or stand or bow or whatever, thats up to me in the moment but it doesn’t really matter for private recitation.

That is interesting to hear the making the sign of the cross over the lips with “Lord open my lips” I will have to add that.

Also, I make the sign of the cross while praying the Glory Be.


#8

Are any of the posters in this thread who have commented on the Divine Office clergy or seminarians? I am just wondering (perhaps hoping) all of you are layfolk who happen to enjoy praying the LTOH. :smiley:


#9

Can’t speak for others, but I’m just an ordinary schmuck.


#10

I’m also just a regular person. Discovered LOTH about 11 years ago while attending summer school where we celebrated Morning and Evening Prayer. Recently purchased an app for my iPad and started praying Compline on a regular basis. I add Morning or Evening Prayer depending on my schedule.


#11

I never heard of this, and I just finished formation as a Lay Leader of Prayer for my Parish. It is not in any of the literature I have. Is it perhaps a Benedictine practice?


#12

I don’t think so, we Carmelites do it also.


#13

Nope, it’s in the General Instructions of the Liturgy of the Hours:

  1. All taking part stand during:

a. the introduction to the office and the introductory verses of each hour;

b. the hymn;

c. the gospel canticle;

d. the intercessions, the Lord’s Prayer, and the concluding prayer.

  1. All sit to listen to the readings, except the gospel.
  1. The assembly either sits or stands, depending on custom, while the psalms and other canticles (with their antiphons) are being said.
  1. All make the sign of the cross, from forehead to breast and from left shoulder to right, at:

a. the beginning of the hours, when God, come to my assistance is being said;

b. the beginning of the gospel, the Canticles of Zechariah, of Mary, and of Simeon.

The sign of the cross is made on the mouth at the beginning of the invitatory, at Lord, open my lips.


#14

Thank you. I will check it out.


#15

I have never seen a religious order or parish which doesn’t do it. As OraLabora said, it is in the GILH, but it’s not even one of the bits which is misunderstood.

For example, GILH 138. says:

The gospel Canticles of Zechariah, of Mary, and of Simeon are to be treated with the same solemnity and dignity as are customary at the proclamation of the gospel itself.

This is usually interpreted as meaning one should stand, and use incense in a solemn celebration. But it varies as to whether one makes a full sign of the cross or the threefold ‘gospel’ sign (forehead, lips, heart). This is open to interpretation. The lips cross at the invitatory is not.


#16

Benedictines use a full sign of the cross. My understanding from my spiritual director (though I haven’t been to a Cistercian Office) is that they do the threefold Gospel sign. I use the full sign of the cross.


#17

I, too, was taught the full sign of the cross at that time.


#18

Maybe that is a Montreal thing! When I was in seminary (eons ago) we made the regular Sign of the Cross. We stood during recitation (much easier to bow during the Glory be…) and sat for the readings.


#19

Ah - the only time I go to a Cistercian office is for midnight Mass, and I usually get there about 10:30 but they are already in full swing.


#20

Not really, as I pointed out the sign of the Cross across the lips at the Invitatory is in the General Instructions of the Liturgy of the Hours.


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