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The Order of Saint Benedict

The Rule of Benedict. English.

 

Readings for February 11-20, June 12-21, and October 12-21
(Chapter 9-17)

Chapter 9: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at the Night Office

Feb. 11 - June 12 - Oct. 12

In winter time as defined above,
there is first this verse to be said three times:
"O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth shall declare Your praise."
To it is added Psalm 3 and the "Glory be to the Father,"
and after that Psalm 94 to be chanted with an antiphon
or even chanted simply.
Let the Ambrosian hymn [Te Deum] follow next,
and then six Psalms with antiphons.
When these are finished and the verse said,
let the Abbot give a blessing;
then, all being seated on the benches,
let three lessons be read from the book on the lectern
by the brethren in their turns,
and after each lesson let a responsory be chanted.
Two of the responsories are to be said
without a "Glory be to the Father"
but after the third lesson
let the chanter say the "Glory be to the Father,"
and as soon as he begins it let all rise from their seats
out of honor and reverence to the Holy Trinity.

The books to be read at the Night Office
shall be those of divine authorship,
of both the Old and the New Testament,
and also the explanations of them which have been made
by well known and orthodox Catholic Fathers.

After these three lessons with their responsories
let the remaining six Psalms follow,
to be chanted with "Alleluia."
After these shall follow the lesson from the Apostle,
to be recited by heart,
the verse
and the petition of the litany, that is "Lord, have mercy on us."
And so let the Night Office come to an end.

Chapter 10: How the Night Office Is to Be Said in Summer Time

Feb. 12 - June 13 - Oct. 13

From Easter until the Calends of November
let the same number of Psalms be kept as prescribed above;
but no lessons are to be read from the book,
on account of the shortness of the nights.
Instead of those three lessons
let one lesson from the Old Testament be said by heart
and followed by a short responsory.
But all the rest should be done as has been said;
that is to say that never fewer than twelve Psalms
should be said at the Night Office,
not counting Psalm 3 and Psalm 94.

Chapter 11: How the Night Office Is to Be Said on Sundays

Feb. 13 - June 14 - Oct. 14

On Sunday
the hour of rising for the Night Office should be earlier.
In that Office let the measure already prescribed be kept,
namely the singing of six Psalms and a verse.
Then let all be seated on the benches in their proper order
while the lessons and their responsories are read from the book,
as we said above.
These shall be four in number,
with the chanter saying the "Glory be to the Father"
in the fourth responsory only,
and all rising reverently as soon as he begins it.

After these lessons
let six more Psalms with antiphons follow in order, as before,
and a verse;
and then let four more lessons be read with their responsories
in the same way as the former.

After these let there be three canticles
from the book of the Prophets,
as the Abbot shall appoint,
and let these canticles be chanted with "Alleluia."
Then when the verse has been said
and the Abbot has given the blessing,
let four more lessons be read,
from the New Testament,
in the manner prescribed above.

After the fourth responsory
let the Abbot begin the hymn "We praise You, O God."
When this is finished
the Abbot shall read the lesson from the book of the Gospels,
while all stand in reverence and awe.
At the end let all answer "Amen,"
and let the Abbot proceed at once
to the hymn "To You be praise."
After the blessing has been given,
let them begin the Morning Office.

This order for the Night Office on Sunday
shall be observed the year around,
both summer and winter;
unless it should happen (which God forbid)
that the brethren be late in rising,
in which case the lessons or the responsories
will have to be shortened somewhat.
Let every precaution be taken, however,
against such an occurrence;
but if it does happen,
then the one through whose neglect it has come about
should make due satisfaction to God in the oratory.

Chapter 12: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said

Feb. 14 - June 15 - Oct. 15

The Morning Office on Sunday shall begin with Psalm 66
recited straight through without an antiphon.
After that let Psalm 50 be said with "Alleluia,"
then Psalms 117 and 62,
the Canticle of Blessing (Benedicite) and the Psalms of praise (Ps. 14[15]8-150);
then a lesson from the Apocalypse to be recited by heart,
the responsory, the Ambrosian hymn [Te Deum], the verse,
the canticle from the Gospel book,
the litany and so the end.

Chapter 13: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said on Weekdays

Feb. 15 - June 16 - Oct. 16

On weekdays
the Morning Office shall be celebrated as follows.
Let Psalm 66 be said without an antiphon
and somewhat slowly,
as on Sunday,
in order that all may be in time for Psalm 50,
which is to be said with an antiphon.
After that let two other Psalms be said according to custom,
namely:
on Monday Psalms 5 and 35,
on Tuesday Psalms 42 and 56,
on Wednesday Psalms 63 and 64,
on Thursday Psalms 87 and 89,
on Friday Psalms 75 and 91,
and on Saturday Psalm 142 and the canticle from Deuteronomy,
which is to be divided into two sections
each terminated by a "Glory be to the Father."
But on the other days let there be a canticle from the Prophets,
each on its own day as chanted by the Roman Church.
Next follow the Psalms of praise [148-50],
then a lesson of the Apostle to be recited from memory,
the responsory, the Ambrosian hymn [Te Deum], the verse,
the canticle from the Gospel book,
the litany, and so the end.

Feb. 16 - June 17 - Oct. 17

The Morning and Evening Offices
should never be allowed to pass
without the Superior saying the Lord's Prayer
in its place at the end
so that all may hear it,
on account of the thorns of scandal which are apt to spring up.
Thus those who hear it,
being warned by the covenant which they make in that prayer
when they say, "Forgive us as we forgive,"
may cleanse themselves of faults against that covenant.

But at the other Offices
let the last part only of that prayer be said aloud,
so that all may answer, "But deliver us from evil."

Chapter 14: How the Night Office Is to Be Said on the Feasts of the Saints

Feb. 17 - June 18 - Oct. 18

On the feasts of Saints and on all festivals
let the Office be performed
as we have prescribed for Sundays,
except that the Psalms, the antiphons and the lessons
belonging to that particular day are to be said.
Their number, however, shall remain as we have specified above.

Chapter 15: At What Times "Alleluia" Is to Be Said

Feb. 18 - June 19 - Oct. 19

From holy Easter until Pentecost without interruption
let "Alleluia" be said
both in the Psalms and in the responsories.
From Pentecost to the beginning of Lent
let it be said every night
with the last six Psalms of the Night Office only.
On every Sunday, however, outside of Lent,
the canticles, the Morning Office, Prime, Terce, Sext and None
shall be said with "Alleluia,"
but Vespers with antiphons.

The responsories are never to be said with "Alleluia"
except from Easter to Pentecost.

Chapter 16: How the Work of God Is to Be Performed During the Day

Feb. 19 - June 20 - Oct. 20

"Seven times in the day," says the Prophet,
"I have rendered praise to You" (Ps. 118[119]:164).
Now that sacred number of seven will be fulfilled by us
if we perform the Offices of our service
at the time of the Morning Office,
of Prime, of Terce, of Sext, of None,
of Vespers and of Compline,
since it was of these day Hours that he said,
"Seven times in the day I have rendered praise to You" (Ps. 118[119]:164).
For as to the Night Office the same Prophet says,
"In the middle of the night I arose to glorify You" (Ps. 118[119]:62).

Let us therefore bring our tribute of praise to our Creator
"for the judgments of His justice"
at these times:
the Morning Office, Prime, Terce, Sext, None,
Vespers and Compline;
and in the night let us arise to glorify Him (Ps. 118[119]:164,62).

Chapter 17: How Many Psalms Are to Be Said at These Hours

Feb. 20 - June 21 - Oct. 21

We have already arranged the order of the psalmody
for the Night and Morning Offices;
let us now provide for the remaining Hours.

At Prime let three Psalms be said,
separately and not under one "Glory be to the Father."
The hymn of that Hour
is to follow the verse "Incline unto my aid, O God,"
before the Psalms begin.
Upon completion of the three Psalms
let one lesson be recited,
then a verse,
the "Lord, have mercy on us" and the concluding prayers.

The Offices of Terce, Sext and None
are to be celebrated in the same order,
that is:
the "Incline unto my aid, O God," the hymn proper to each Hour,
three Psalms, lesson and verse,
"Lord, have mercy on us" and concluding prayers.

If the community is a large one,
let the Psalms be sung with antiphons;
but if small,
let them be sung straight through.

Let the Psalms of the Vesper Office be limited to four,
with antiphons.
After these Psalms the lesson is to be recited,
then the responsory, the Ambrosian hymn, the verse,
the canticle from the Gospel book,
the litany, the Lord's Prayer and the concluding prayers.

Let Compline be limited to the saying of three Psalms,
which are to be said straight through without antiphon,
and after them the hymn of that Hour,
one lesson, a verse, the "Lord, have mercy on us,"
the blessing and the concluding prayers.

 

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Selections above from Saint Benedict's Rule for Monasteries, translated from the Latin by Leonard J. Doyle OblSB, of Saint John's Abbey, (© Copyright 1948, 2001, by the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, MN 56321). Adapted for use here with the division into sense lines of the first edition that was republished in 2001 to mark the 75th anniversary of Liturgical Press. Doyle's translation is available in both hardcover and paperback editions.

Benedict's Rule: A Translation and Commentary by Terrence G. Kardong, O.S.B. is the first line-by-line exegesis of the entire Rule of Benedict written originally in English. This full commentary -- predominately literary and historical criticism -- is based on and includes a Latin text of Regula Benedicti (Liturgical Press). Hardcover, 664 pp., 6 x 9, ISBN 0-8146-2325-5, $59.95.

RB 1980 in Latin and English with Notes is a modern, scholarly translation ed. by Timothy Fry, OSB (Liturgical Press, 1981), 672 p., $39.95. The translation by itself is also available in paperback, $2.95.
 


 
 

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