Question about Divine Office

If you recite the Divine Office alone do you sing the hymns? If this is the case, how should it be done?

I do if I know the tune for the hymn :slight_smile:

As for how it should be done - well, I open my mouth and let the notes come out in the usual fashion. :wink: No musical accompaniment or anything, though if I had a CD of 'em or something I might use it.

To my knowledge-no hymn when saying alone. However, there is a special hymn in the Franciscan Office today for The Feast of St. Francis. I just read the hymn as I don’t have the music. It is a beautiful poem. Those who belong to the Franciscan Orders (1st,2nd,3rd+Secular) have a special addition to the Divine Office with a liturgy of Franciscan Saints.:blessyou:

I don’t sing the hymns when alone, or even when I pray the evening prayer with my wife.

Generally the hymns are sung in a group.

So, you don’t have to, but then you can if you desire.


I learned the Divine Office while staying in a Benedictine Abbey (Conception Abbey, MO). I use the Benedictine “Short” Breviary so I can usually hear the hymns being sung while I am praying. Whats funny, is that I can barely say the Our Father without singing it

If I don’t know a hymn tune, or am reciting the Office in church outside Mass, I say the hymn.

I’m not sure about ommitting the hymns in personal recitation. They are, after all, an integral part of the Office, and suitable for reflection in themselves, and also as an expression of praise.

Oh, now I think I get the point of the question :smiley:

Of course I say the hymns even when praying alone - some of them are beautiful whether said or soung.

There is no provision that permits the hymns to be omitted in individual recitation. They must always be included, unless the Office of Readings of combined with another Hour.

That said, the hymns may be sung or recited. You can even apply another tune from other hymns if they carry the same meter.

But neither the GILH nor the General Principles allow the hymn to be omitted.

most of the hymns given, if you sound out the meter, can be set to familiar hymn tunes like Joyful Joyful, the Church’s One Foundation, Faith of our Fathers, Old 100th, Let All Things Now Living, and the like. Or you can simply recite them like poetry, which they are.

Lay persons who are not bound by any discipline to pray the Office (as religious and priests are) may pray all or part of any office.

This is true, BUT:

If you want to pray it liturgically, meaning, as the prayer of the Church with the Church, then the rubrics must be followed, just like at Mass.

If you just want to pray it as a personal devotion without intending to do so liturgically, then feel free to adapt, but don’t consider it praying “The Liturgy of the Hours” per se, but rather, an adaptation of it. Liturgy is governed by liturgical law.

The GILH concerns itself with public celebration of the Divine Office, not private.

In private, it’s not necessary to say or sing the hymns just as it’s not necessary to stand, as you would do in parts of the office when done in public.

Oh, no, not at all. There are several points in the GILH that govern or make reference to individual recitation (cf. 33, 91, 103, 113, 171, 189, 191, 243, 282).

There is one section of the GILH that governs celebration in common; this part is explicit for communal prayer. Here, references are made to standing and the gestures.

With specific regards to the hymn, though, there is no point in the GILH that allows it to be omitted. In fact (see #42, 173). They are an integral part of the Office and should not be ommitted even in individual recitation. But the hymn may be recited, if not sung.

This is important because the GILH (20, 108, 203) makes it clear that the Office is not private prayer even when said alone; it retains its liturgical, that is, public character.

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