Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dominican Rite Preces (1962)

In the Dominican Rite Breviary of 1962 – which (in the spirit and letter of Summorum Pontificum) is the right edition to use if the Extraordinary Form be preferred (whatever our personal preferences for the Ambrosian Rite before the reforms of St Charles Borromeo!) – the preces, consisting simply of a threefold Kyrie and a Pater noster, are read on all ferial days outside of Christmastide and Eastertide, at Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, and Vespers.

The relevant rubrick is clear:

S) De precibus 
240 (260).  Preces dicuntur in Officio feriali extra tempus natalicium et paschale, ad Laudes, Tertiam, Sextam, Nonam et Vesperas.

It goes without saying that, at all these Hours, the preces (when used) are read immediately before the Dominus vobiscum (or Domine exaudi) and Oremus that precede the Collect.

Furthermore, at all Hours – unlike the Roman and Benedictine practice at Lauds and Vespers – the Lord's Prayer is not wholly said aloud, but only the opening words Pater noster, and the last two phrases, as a versicle and response: Et ne nos inducas in tentationem.  R/.  Sed libera nos a malo.  The intervenient words are said "secretly", in a low voice.  Of old, rubricists used to delight in pointing to this and the silence of the Canon as remnants of the disciplina arcani, whereby the arcane mysteries of our Most Holy Faith were hid away from the straining ears of unbelievers...

One of the reasons, apart from the convenience of using a true pocketbook Diurnal, that I currently prefer the Dominican Office is that the preces are used far more often than in the Roman 1962 Breviary, which restricts them to ferial Wednesdays and Fridays of Advent and Lent, plus the odd Vigil or Ember Saturday.

After all, the preces are the older conclusion of the Hours: as a mediæval writer records, at the Lateran Basilica of old time the Hours ended simply with the Lord's Prayer, without even a Collect.  It seems that for a time, if a priest were present, he would give the salutation and a collect, but a layman, or a monk not in holy orders, would simply use the Pater noster as the prayer of prayers.  Similarly, the Kyrie is probably a relic of a longer, Eastern-style litany.

In the gradual disappearance of the Lord's Prayer in favour of a Collect may be seen one of Baumstark's laws of liturgical development in action: a simple ritual act or prayer A, next has added to it a new subsidiary ceremony or chant b; over time, this adjunct grows in complexity or importance, so from Ab the sum of both parts becomes AB, each now being of equal note; as time goes on, the first, the original element A decreases in importance to a, and may even vanish entirely save at certain times*: so the progression is from AB to aB and even to (a)B, or to B alone.  

(*Baumstark's second law comes into play here: older forms of rite are preserved at the most solemn and hallowed times of year - hence Tenebræ, being Matins and Lauds of the Paschal Triduum, preserved the sober and simple forms of the primitive Office, without hymns for instance.  This second law accounts for the preservation of preces on ferial days, which in a sense are older and more primitive than the later multiplication of saint's days and special feasts.)

Previously, the rules for when to use them had been more complicated, and also slightly longer preces (including a versicle or two and the Apostles' Creed) had been appointed for Prime and Compline, which were said daily except on Sundays, feasts of Double rank or higher, and within solemn Octaves; while I regret that those were suppressed, there is nothing to stop one reading them pro pia devotione, after the relevant Hour, if time permits...


For the record, at Prime the Dominican Rite preces were as follows: Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison. Kyrie eleison.  Pater noster... Et ne nos... Sed libera nos... then the last two verses of Psalm 118:

V/.  Vivet anima mea et laudabit te.
R/.  Et judicia tua adjuvabunt me.
V/.  Erravi sicut ovis quæ periit.
R/.  Quære servum tuum, Domine, quia mandata tua non sum oblitus.

Following this, Credo in Deum was said aloud, then the rest secretly until the end, done as versicle and response: Carnis resurrectionem.  R/.  Vitam æternam.  Amen.

Finally, the very ancient nonscriptural Dignare Domine die isto was employed as a concluding versicle.

At Dominican Rite Compline, all was done the same, except that there was only one versicle between the Lord's Prayer and the Creed – V/.  In pace in idipsum.  R/.  Dormiam et requiescam. – and of course the last versicle was modified appropriately to be Dignare Domine nocte ista.

1 comment:

Mark M said...

Thank you for this, Josh; I am beginning to love the Dominican rite more and more. (Still to experience my first Dominican rite Mass, though!)

I also found Bonniwell was helpful on this subject...