Before you actually try to start saying the Benedictine Office, there are some things you need to know about it. So read these posts to get the essentials before you start.
If you are thinking about saying the Benedictine Office, it is worth knowing a little it about it.
The notes in this series are primarily based around the Monastic Diurnal and Antiphonale Monasticum, but this post takes you though the options.
So your new Monastic Diurnal has just arrived. Here's how to navigate it...
The Divine Office - and especially the Benedictine Office - is meant to be sung. This post gives some suggestions on how to get started, and introduces the key book of chants for the day hours, the Antiphonale Monasticum.
What prayers you say in the Office depend on several different cycles that impact on it - the particular hour of the day or night being said; the day of the week; the liturgical season and week; and feasts attached to fixed dates. This post provides an overview.
Before you actually say the hours, you need to prepare yourself mentally, and aks for God's help to pray well.
QUICK START ESSENTIALS
If you are already familiar with a traditional version of the Divine Office (for example because you have said the Roman version), you may not need detailed notes on each of the hours.
The Diurnal doesn't always write out texts in full though, so you may find it worth reading through this quick guide to its shortcuts and quirks.
A guide to some of the shortcuts in the Diurnal, focusing on the opening of the hours. The Diurnal rarely writes out the opening prayers for each hour in full, so this section provides a guide to the cue words it does include.
The Diurnal doesn't write out the concluding prayers for each day very often, so this section goes through the standard conclusions in full, as well as how to make a commemoration (ie celebrate the memorial of a saint, or remembrance of a day of Advent or Lent etc that is displaced by a feast).
Filling out the Diurnal cues for the texts of the Office.
ABOUT THE COMPONENTS OF THE OFFICE
Each of the components of the Office have specific rules attached to them that generally apply across each of the hours where they are used. Although the particular texts used changes, the general principles don't. The posts in this series provide some context on the various parts of the hours, as well as explanations of how to say them.
The opening prayers of the Office
The psalms Pt 1 - general rubrics and psalms without antiphon
The psalms pt 2 - psalms with antiphons
The psalms pt 3 - Using the Antiphonale to sing the psalms
The short lesson (at Compline)
The chapter (verse)
Collects - where to find them, which ones to use
The closing prayers of the Office Pt 1 - Structure and key elements
The closing prayers Pt 2 - the collect and its concluding formulas
The closing prayers Pt 3 - Commemorations
A GUIDE TO THE HOURS
Compline - in one post
The last Office of the day before the start of the great silence in a monastery, this is the easiest of the hours to learn, as the psalms are the same every day.
Traditionally said an hour after dawn, the hour is geared towards helping us start the workday.
Said mid-morning,noon and mid-afternoon, these short hours help sanctify the day.
Traditionally said as the sun is setting.
St Benedict wanted Lauds to start at daybreak, so that as we celebrate the rising of the sun, we also celebrate the risen Son.
Lauds - the quick guide
For more detail:
Introduction to Lauds
Lauds for Sundays and Feasts
Lauds during the week
Aka Vigils - prayer in the night.
The Office of Our Lady on Saturday
Office of the Dead
CALENDARS, ORDOS, SEASONS AND SAINTS
Calendars and Ordos - Ordos help you know what feasts and/or seasons you need to take account of when you say the Office each day.
Liturgical seasons - The Farnborough Diurnal is based on the 1963 calendar. A quick guide to some differences to the modern calendar that you may not be familiar with.
The feasts of saints in the Office - The sanctorale cycle in the Office
Using the novus ordo calendar, other ordos - On saying the Benedictine Office with the new calendar, or pre-1962 calendars.
Feasts - what changes, what doesn't
THE RITUAL OF THE OFFICE
How the Office is performed - When to stand, bow etc; roles when the Office is sung in choir.
Tackling the Latin
Singing the Office pt 1
Singing the Office Pt 2
DAILY CHEAT SHEETS
You can also find these in PDF form over at the BenOffice Help Group.
Terminology - key words you need to know
Glossary of terms
When are the hours properly said?