Requirements for Liturgy of the Hours in Religious Communities?


#1

I am becoming serious about discerning with a specific community, but the community prays just Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. I love the Liturgy of the Hours, but I still really love this community because their prayer life is still very full and strong. However, I'm a bit confused, because I know my parish priest prays more of the Liturgy of the Hours than these Sisters, and I'm just wondering if there is a minimum requirement for religious communities?


#2

Is it possible that they only pray these three hours in common, and the others privately, when each gets the chance?


#3

Since you're serious about discerning with them, can you get a copy of their Rule/Constitutions? That will tell you what the community's requirement is.


#4

No. These are the only ones I think. I'm not looking at their community specifically for the rules, I want to know if Canon Law or something requires a certain amount of the Divine Office for all communities.


#5

[quote="melissa09, post:4, topic:243961"]
I want to know if Canon Law or something requires a certain amount of the Divine Office for all communities.

[/quote]

Can. 663 §1 The first and principal duty of all religious is to be the contemplation of things divine and constant union with God in prayer. §2 Each day the members are to make every effort to participate in the Eucharistic sacrifice, receive the most holy Body of Christ and adore the Lord himself present in the Sacrament.
§3 They are to devote themselves to reading the sacred Scriptures and to mental prayer. In accordance with the provisions of their own law, they are to celebrate the liturgy of the hours worthily, without prejudice to the obligation of clerics mentioned in can. 276, §2, n.3. They are also to perform other exercises of piety.
§4 They are to have a special devotion to the Virgin Mother of God, the example and protectress of all consecrated life, including by way of the rosary.
§5 They are faithfully to observe the period of annual retreat.

Therefore, communities can make "provisions of their own law" to stipulate which parts of the Divine Office they are to celebrate. Some communities, such as Benedictine abbeys, each have their own versions of the Liturgy of the Hours tailored to their traditions and apostolate. As long as the community's own statutes are being followed, and the statutes have been approved by the proper authority, there is no canonical reason why they cannot reduce the obligations from the full Divine Office, or use an approved adaptation.Can. 276 §1 Clerics have a special obligation to seek holiness in their lives, because they are consecrated to God by a new title through the reception of orders, and are stewards of the mysteries of God in the service of His people.

§2 In order that they can pursue this perfection:
1° they are in the first place faithfully and untiringly to fulfil the obligations of their pastoral ministry;
2° they are to nourish their spiritual life at the twofold table of the sacred Scripture and the Eucharist; priests are therefore earnestly invited to offer the eucharistic Sacrifice daily, and deacons to participate daily in the offering;
*3° priests, and deacons aspiring to the priesthood, are obliged to carry out the liturgy of the hours daily, in accordance with their own approved liturgical books; permanent deacons are to recite that part of it determined by the Episcopal Conference; *
4° they are also obliged to make spiritual retreats, in accordance with the provision of particular law;
5° they are exhorted to engage regularly in mental prayer, to approach the sacrament of penance frequently, to honour the Virgin Mother of God with particular veneration, and to use other general and special means to holiness.

This essentially means that priests or transitional deacons cannot use canon 663 to exempt themselves from the fuller obligations if they are part of religious orders. Note that the Code of Canon Law itself envisages that permanent deacons may have a reduced obligation.


#6

[quote="melissa09, post:4, topic:243961"]
No. These are the only ones I think. I'm not looking at their community specifically for the rules, I want to know if Canon Law or something requires a certain amount of the Divine Office for all communities.

[/quote]

The relevant canon of the 1983 Code is as follows:

*Can. 663 §1. The first and foremost duty of all religious is to be the contemplation of divine things and assiduous union with God in prayer.

§2. Members are to make every effort to participate in the eucharistic sacrifice daily, to receive the most sacred Body of Christ, and to adore the Lord himself present in the sacrament.

§3. They are to devote themselves to the reading of sacred scripture and mental prayer, **to celebrate worthily the liturgy of the hours according to the prescripts of proper law, **without prejudice to the obligation for clerics mentioned in ⇒ can. 276, §2, n. 3, and to perform other exercises of piety.

§4. With special veneration, they are to honor the Virgin Mother of God, the example and protector of all consecrated life, also through the marian rosary.

§5. They are to observe faithfully an annual period of sacred retreat.
*

'Proper law' refers to the law of each religious institute: this means that although there is an obligation to say the divine office, it is for the appropriate authority of each institute to determine how, where, in what company and in what proportion the office will be recited.

Usually monastic communities will practice the entire liturgy of the hours, probably sung; and other religious typically - by no means universally - will say morning prayer, evening prayer, night prayer and one of the three smaller hours (usually at midday), with the office of readings said in private. However, this is subject to many variations - Jesuits, for instance, always say the office in private - and there are usually sound historical and customary reasons underlying these different constitutions.

Hope this helps.


#7

it depends on the order,
usually if they are for instance religious sisters active in some ministry outside the convent, they pray in community when they are there, usually at least morning and evening prayer, and vigils, sometimes night prayer is said alone, unless they all retire at the same time. If they are working in schools, hospitals etc. they say one of the other hours as they can. This is btw directly from the Rule of St. Benedict which specifies when the hours are said as the seasons of the year change, and make provision for those absent from the monastery for necessary work to pray on their own.


#8

+In regard to versions of the . . . Liturgy of the Hours LoTH . . . it is my understanding that Benedictines have an indult . . .
Quote:

[quote] *:coffeeread: INDULT . . . *

An** indult** in **Catholic Canon Law **is a permission, or privilege, granted by the competent church authority – the Holy See or the diocesan bishop ... for an exception from a particular norm of church law in an individual case ...
[/quote]

which allows organizations such as monasterys and abbeys to choose which versions of the Liturgy of the Hours / Divine Office they wish to use in their communities . . .

The Catholic Church has a wide variety of ages and experience represented in Benedictine Spirituality ** . . . from children on up . . . members being from all four corners of the world . . . and those who follow **The Holy Rule of St. Benedict**** comprise the largest Catholic religious order in the world ...and for those who would like to . . . "dive in" . . . to explore greater depths of the wonderful Benedictine pool . . . more official Benedictine information re the Liturgy of the Hours / Divine Office . . . can be found below in the wonderful links provided by the Saint Vincent Archabbey . . . which provide great informaton and resources on this subject . . . having been diligently compiled by their wonderful monks over years and years of consecrated lives of service to . . . Christ Jesus . . . our . . . Wonderful Lord . . .

LoTH Link: osb.org/sva/obl/pdf/LoHFAQ.pdf
Archabbey Link: saintvincentarchabbey.org/
Oblate Link: osb.org/sva/obl/index.html

Benedictine monks were actually the ones to originate the Liturgy of the Hours / Divine Office . . .

[INDENT]:bible1: "As the Prophet saith: 'Seven times a day I have given praise to Thee' (Psalm 118[119]:164), this sacred sevenfold number will be fulfilled by us in this wise if we perform the duties of our service at the time of Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline because it was of these day hours that he hath said: "Seven times a day I have given praise to Thee" (Ps 118[119]:164). For the same Prophet saith of the night watches: *"At midnight I arose to confess to Thee" *(Ps 118[119]:62)."[/INDENT]

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . thank You Lord+
. . . thank you Blessed Virgin Mary+
. . . thank you Holy Mother Church+
. . . thank you Blessed St. Benedict+
[/RIGHT]


#9

We're making this more complex than it has to be.

Canon Law speaks about religious life in broad strokes. It leaves the major differences to theology. Canon Law is not theology. It is based on theology. For that reason it says that religious pray the Liturgy of the Hours according to their laws.

So who prays the Liturgy of the Hours.

All religious who make solemn vows pray the LOTH. Only those religious who make solemn vows belong to a religious order. These are hermits, canons founded before the 1500s, friars, monks, nuns, and Jesuits. That's it. These are the religious bound to pray the entire set of Hours.

What about everyone else?

All other religious belongs to a congregation. Congregations make simple vows. Men and women in simple vows are not bound to pray the LOTH. All sisters are members of congregations. Therefore, all sisters make simple vows and are not bount to pray the LOTH.

Religious congregations of men are: Vincentians, Passionists, Salesians, Canons of St. John Cantius, Redemptorists, Xaverians, Christian Brothers, Marists, Missionaries of Charity.

Religious congregations of women are all congregations of sisters.

Diocesan priests are not bound to pray all of the hours. They must pray certain hours. This is usually determined by the diocese. Usually, they will pray: Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer and Office of Readings. Diocesan deacons (permanent or transitional) pray Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. Diocesan clergy are not bound to pray in common. This is optional for them. In most rectories they don't pray together.

Conclusion:

Religious orders, because we must pray the LOTH, since we make solemn vows, decide what hours they will pray in common.

For example, my community prays Lauds, Vespers, Matins and Compline in common. We pray the minor hours alone.

Congregations, because they are not bound to pray the LOTH, since the make simple vows, can choose to pray the Hours or not to do so and pray any other form of prayer such as the Little Office of the BVM. This was very common among sisters, once upon a time.

Today, many congregations of sisters and men are electing to pray at least some hours in common. Also, if the founder wrote it into the founding statutes, they must pray the LOTH.

Finally, each community prays using the breviary, calendar, language and form according to its customs. There is no universal way of praying the LOTH. There never was.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#10

Very through Brother. But aren't we forgetting in The Rule Of St. Francis where he specifically states that:

"The lay-brothers however shall say: Credo in Deum, and twenty-four Paternosters with Gloria Patri for Matins, but for Lauds, five; for Prime, Tierce, Sext, and Nones, for each, seven Paternosters with Gloria Patri; for Vespers, twelve; for Compline, Credo in Deum and seven Paternosters with Gloria Patri; for the dead..."

This is probably an older translation as the Capuchin constitutions with the rule do not mention the glory be's. I know you are a very smart religious and I am not doubting you, but isn't it true that Franciscan lay brother's can pray the our Father's and Glory Be's?

God Bless.

Pax Et Bonum.


#11

[quote="ragingbull4891, post:10, topic:243961"]
Very through Brother. But aren't we forgetting in The Rule Of St. Francis where he specifically states that:

"The lay-brothers however shall say: Credo in Deum, and twenty-four Paternosters with Gloria Patri for Matins, but for Lauds, five; for Prime, Tierce, Sext, and Nones, for each, seven Paternosters with Gloria Patri; for Vespers, twelve; for Compline, Credo in Deum and seven Paternosters with Gloria Patri; for the dead..."

This is probably an older translation as the Capuchin constitutions with the rule do not mention the glory be's. I know you are a very smart religious and I am not doubting you, but isn't it true that Franciscan lay brother's can pray the our Father's and Glory Be's?

God Bless.

Pax Et Bonum.

[/quote]

There are two parts to this answer. During Francis time, there was a brother who was admitted to the order as a lay brother who did the menial tasks. These were men who were uneducated. Most of them could not read. This statute was created for them.

Here is the second part. We no longer have such brothers. As the general population became literate, the lay brother disappeared. We have clerics and non-clerics. They are all religious brothers. All of them are literate; therefore, the classical lay brother, among Franciscans, is a thing of the past. We no longer have brothers who are servants because they are not educated enough to be priests, teachers, nurses, or medical doctors. Every man who enters the community must have at least a high school education, though a college degree is preferred. Those men all know how to read. That part statute has been generalized now to all the brothers, ordained or not, can replace the breviary with the Paters.

Today's non-clerical brother or as we call him, brother, as opposed to the ordained brother, is usually a master technician or a highly educated professional in theology, philosophy, medicine, economics, education, social work or some other gift. For example, I'm not ordained. I have an MD and an STD. I'm superior to three priests who have M.Divs. I teach theology, run an department for a diocese, am superior general of my community, and I can read Latin fluently. What need is there for me to use the Paters unless I'm sick or traveling? Do you see what I mean?

This is the case with all of the Franciscans today. The current law is that any friar, ordained or not, can use the Paters when it's more convenient. This is especially true when you're sick in bed.

There was also a problem with the Office of the Paters. In Francis' mind, the community was one brotherhood. However, after his death, many began to see it as two parallel brotherhoods, because there were the lay brothers who prayed separately and worked separately. That was another reason for bringing everyone together as reading became more common.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, FFV :)


#12

Wow. You never fail to be extremely thorough huh? Thanks for that. Yes, I asked another brother in my community about it and he said the same thing. That we pray the divine office together, and when not in common we pray the office privately. He agreed that the pater office is only for times when you absolutely wouldn't be able to pray the regular office.

I appreciate you taking the time to enlighten me about that. As I love to pray the liturgy of the hours, it is no problem. But I thought it was good to make mention of it. God Bless Brother.

Pax Et Bonum, Lance


#13

In our community, the praying of the Divine Office is spelled out in the Rule. If you are a member of a community that prays the Divine Office, I would think it would be the same thing: the prayer options are in the RULE.

The Rule of St. Francis has been changed several times since given by Father Francis. Our community prays according to the Rule of 1221. There are other Franciscan communities which are bound by different Rules.

Look to your community for the definition of what you are to pray.

We pray the full Office - the preferred prayer option is ALL the Hours. There are options open to those who have VALID reasons which preclude their praying the full Office.

When in doubt as to what to pray, look to your community and its definition of prayer and options.

Pax et bonum!


#14

[quote="mjdvike, post:13, topic:243961"]
In our community, the praying of the Divine Office is spelled out in the Rule. If you are a member of a community that prays the Divine Office, I would think it would be the same thing: the prayer options are in the RULE.

The Rule of St. Francis has been changed several times since given by Father Francis. Our community prays according to the Rule of 1221. There are other Franciscan communities which are bound by different Rules.

Look to your community for the definition of what you are to pray.

We pray the full Office - the preferred prayer option is ALL the Hours. There are options open to those who have VALID reasons which preclude their praying the full Office.

When in doubt as to what to pray, look to your community and its definition of prayer and options.

Pax et bonum!

[/quote]

I gather that you're a Secular Franciscan, since that's the rule that has been rewritten several times. The Rule of the Friars Minor has not changed since 1223. The Rule of St. Clare has not changed since 1253, though each house has its own constitutions and there are two rules that the Poor Clares can choose from: the Rule of St. Clare or the Rule of St. Benedict.

There are now some Secular Franciscans and religious as well, who follow the Rule of Penance of 1221. The Franciscans of Life have both, religious and secular brothers. We all follow the Rule of 1221. However, our constitutions take their lead from the Capuchin tradition.

Mjd is correct. Your constitutions will dictate what hours you are to pray, whether in common or alone and what edition of the breviary you are to use. In the larger international orders, the edition of the breviary is not included in the constitutions, because it's not always practical. You can't always find the same edition in multiple languages and few communities pray the LOTH in Latin. Even in Latin, there are several editions of the breviary.

In such a case, you use the breviary that is commonly used by your community in the region where you live.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, FFV :)


#15

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