|Benedictines of Clear Creek Abby, OK|
Pray the traditional Divine Office of the Roman Rite according to various promulgations, including the ancient monastic usage of the Bendictines, here.
To listen daily to the hours of Lauds and Vespers sung in Latin according to the ancient Breviarium Monasticum by the Benedictine Monks of Norcia go here.
Buy the Latin-English edition with the rubrics of 1962 and the Gallican Psalter here.
Pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary as promulgated under Pope Saint Pius X here.
Buy the Latin-English edition promulgated in 1962 here.
The Divine Office
By Saint Alphonsus Marie de Liguori
VII. The Recitation of the Office.
The Great Importance of the Divine Office as Regards the Faithful
To praise God, to thank him for his benefits, to ask of him the graces necessary to eternal salvation this is what should be here below the only occupation of all men. But because seculars are absorbed by worldly occupations, the Church wishes that not only ecclesiastics, but that religious of both sexes should consecrate at least certain hours of the day to praising God, and praying to him for all the faithful as well as for the welfare of Christian society. Hence when the clerics, personifying in some way the whole Christian people, present themselves before God in order to recite the divine Office, it is a prayer truly universal that they offer before the throne of the Divinity. “There is no doubt,” says St. Thomas Aquinas, “that the prayer is universal which the ministers of the Church offer to God in the name of the people.” (Summa Theologiae, Secunda Secundae, Question 83, Article 12)
The same holy Doctor thus shows us that in the Divine Office there is a public function, imposed upon clerics for the preservation and increase of the Church. He says : Since to the chant of the hymns and the psalms the divine Office is celebrated, there is accomplished in the Church of God a public ministry, organized for the good of all.” (Opusc, xxix. c. 5.) St. Bernard had already said that upon ecclesiastics is chiefly incumbent a triple charge: to preach the word of God, to give good example, and to pray for all. “There are three obligations that remain to us: preaching, good example, prayer; and the latter surpasses the other two;” (Epistle 201, n. 3.) this he adds, in order to exalt prayer above eloquence and the most beautiful examples of virtue.
The Divine Office Especially Important to Priests
We thence understand what terrible punishments God reserves for those who, obliged to recite the Office, abstain from saying it either through wearisomeness or in order to give themselves to worldly amusements. But let us leave these persons who are struck with blindness, and let us speak of those who recite the Office in a careless manner. What a pity to see how certain priests recite the breviary in the streets, at some window, their eyes fixed on those passing by, or in the society of friends, with whom they laugh and jest, thus intermingling the divine praises with worldly and improper conversation, without paying any attention to the sacred words. If any one of them, when admitted to the presence of a great personage of this world, dared to speak to him in this way, he would certainly be driven away and punished. Alas! some priests have the audacity to treat God as if their mission was not to honor but to dishonor him.
What Treasures of Grace one finds in the Office
On the other hand, when one recites the Office with attention, what merit and what profit does one derive from it. What lights are then obtained from the divine words! With what holy maxims is the soul penetrated! How many acts of love, of confidence, of humility, of contrition, may one not make by merely paying attention to the verses that one recites! Above all, what beautiful prayers are found in each psalm! There is no doubt that, when recited with faith and fervor, they merit treasures of grace, according to the infallible promise made by our Lord that he would hear whoever prays to him : Ask, and it shall be given you.(Matt. 8:7) For every one that asketh, receiveth.(Luke 9:10)
What Happiness is enjoyed in reciting the Office
I add that the Office, recited without devotion and with the only thought of finishing it as soon as possible, becomes one of the heaviest burdens and at the same time is so tedious as to seem to be of an interminable length; on the contrary, when it is recited with devotion, with a true desire of profiting by it, by applying mind and heart to the sacred words, its burden becomes light and sweet: of this all the saints have had experience. The saints found more pleasure in reciting the Office than worldlings find in the midst of pastimes and amusements. One single Office recited with devotion may gain for us many degrees of glory in heaven. What treasures of merit will not they, then, amass after they have recited the breviary for thirty or forty years with the required devotion and piety! This is what has inspired me with the difficult undertaking of translating the psalms. May those who by the duty of their state are bound to recite the breviary, recite it with merit and profit to their souls! May they, while escaping the misfortune of reciting the breviary badly, be spared the pain of having one day to render a terrible account before the tribunal of God and then to expiate the innumerable faults that they have committed!
To read the rest of Saint Alphonsus' work go here.
And to read more about the Divine Office go here.
To listen to Carthusian Monks chanting the Divine Office go here.