Friday, April 10, 2009

Little Hours of the Triduum

Having just read None, I pause to reflect...

During these sacred Three Days, the Office is reduced to the simplest, and the Little Hours most of all.

There is no opening versicle Deus in adjutorium, nor Gloria Patri (neither Laus tibi, Domine) here or anywhere else in any Hour; nor is there any hymn.  (Compline has but the usual Confiteor, Misereatur and Indulgentiam at its beginning.)  

Threfore, the Little Hours begin starkly with the psalmody, unadorned even by an antiphon - and they are to be recited candelis extinctis et sine cantu (with candles unlit and without song or note).  The psalms are those appointed for use every day according to the ancient Roman cursus, which is still retained for feasts: at Prime, Psalm 53 is followed at once by Psalm 118, portions i and ii (that is, verses 1-32); at Terce, Psalm 118 iii-v (i.e., vv. 33-80); at Sext, Psalm 118 vi-viii (i.e. vv. 81-128); at None, Psalm 118 ix-xi (i.e., vv. 129-176); while at Compline, the traditional psalms (still used at Sundays and on feasts) are read  - Psalms 4, 90, and 133, immediately followed by the Nunc dimittis.

The psalmody concluded, at once all kneel, and recite Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem - adding on Good Friday, Mortem autem crucis; and further adding on Holy Saturday, Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum, et donavit illi nomen, quod est super omne nomen  (Philippians ii, 8-9).  The Lord's Prayer is said in complete silence; then the hebdomadary (without Oremus) reads the Collect Respice quæsumus, but again reads its doxology Qui tecum vivit in silence.  (At Compline, its proper prayer Visita quæsumus is read instead - a late innovation.) All then arise and leave in silence.  (At Prime, the Chapter Office is omitted; though not according to the Dominican Rite.)


Anonymous said...


Would you ever consider concatenating some of your Breviary reflections, e.g. those on Passiontide/the Triduum, and posting them as articles on "In the Sight of the Angels"?

God bless you,

Joshua said...

Yes, no worries!

Email me about this, else I'll forget to do so...