Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tuesdays of St Benedict - I Vespers of the Office of St Benedict on Tuesdays

Limoges Plaque with St. Benedict.jpg
c13th Limoges
image: Jerzy Banach (1976).
I recently came across a monastic website (for the Benedictines of La Garde Freinet) urging its Oblates to consecrate Tuesdays to St Benedict.

Votive Offices

I assume this reflects the older practice of saying the 'Office of St Benedict' on Tuesday, and the idea of saying some prayers or hymns for the saint on that day seems like a great idea to me.

Votive Offices of the saints (except for Our lady on Saturday) were, alas suppressed by the original wreckovator of the Office, Pope Pius X.

Still, even if one feels constrained to follow the churches pastoral instructions on this subject (and in these troubled times, who is all that concerned about rubrics and rules!**), one can still use the prayers from them, or perhaps say them devotionally.

Accordingly, I thought I'd start trying to describe the old votive Office in occasional posts on Tuesdays that are not feasts.  In fact most of the Office is simply that of the feast of St Benedict of 21 March, but used with the psalms of the day of the week.

In the older breviary approved after the Council of Tent, the Office of St Benedict was said on all Tuesdays that were not feasts, and an Office of St Scholastica was said monthly.

Vespers in the Office of St Benedict

The Office of St Benedict on Tuesdays started with I Vespers on Monday (and ends with None, so there is no II Vespers).

I've come across a few different variants on how the Office was said - my older breviary has the psalms as of the day with the rest of the Office, however the Liber Antiphonarius of 1896 has the antiphons being of the day of the week, not the votive Office                                                                                                                          .
 Either way, most of the texts come from the Offices of the feast days of the saint.  In particular, the antiphons, chapter, responsory and hymn were the same as for the feast of the saint on March 21.

The Magnificat antiphon can be found in the texts for the Office of 11 July (for Lauds), and is:

Sanctissime Confessor Domini, Monachorum Pater et Dux, Benedicte, intercede pro nostro omniumque salute

O most holy Confessor of the Lord, Benedict, father and leader of monks,intercede for the salvation of us and everyone.

The collect was:

Excita Domine, in Ecclesia tua Spiritum, cui beatus Pater noster Benedictus Abbas servivit; ut eodem nos repleti studeamus amare quod docuit.  Per Dominum...in unitate ejusdem Spiritus.

Raise up, O Lord, in thy Church, the Spirit wherewith our holy Father Benedict was animated: that, filled with the same,  we may strive to love what he loved, and to practise what he taught.

Here is a setting of the hymn from the Office for you to enjoy.

**I should note for the record that the modern Liturgy of the Hours does allow Votive Offices:

245. For a public cause or out of devotion, except on solemnities, the Sundays of the seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter, Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, the octave of Easter, and 2 November, a votive office may be celebrated, in whole or in part: for example, on the occasion of a pilgrimage, a local feast, or the external solemnity of a saint.

Of course, if you are saying the Office according to the 1963 rubrics, this does not, strictly speaking, apply, but...

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