Daily Meditations on the Rule of Saint Benedict: Chapter 18:7-19

To be read: February 22, June 24, October 25

On Monday at Terce, Sext and None, the nine remaining sections of Psalm 118 [119]are recited, three parts at each of those hours. 8Psalm 118 [119] is thus completed in two days, Sunday and Monday.  9On Tuesday three psalms are said at each of the hours of Terce, Sext and None.  These are the nine psalms, 119 – 127 [120 – 128].  10These psalms are to be repeated daily at these hours until Sunday.  Also the arrangement of hymns, lessons and versicles are observed the same way on all of these days.  11In this way, Psalm 118 [119] will always begin anew on Sunday.  12Four psalms will be sung at Vespers 13beginning with Psalm 109 [110] and ending with Psalm 147, 14omitting those psalms appointed to other hours, namely, Psalms 117 [118] through 127 [128], Psalm 133 [134] and Psalm 142 [143].  15All the rest are to be said at Vespers.  16And because this leaves three psalms short, the longer ones are to be divided: Psalms 138, 143, 144 [139, 144, 145].  17But because Psalm 116 [117] is short, it may be joined with Psalm 115 [116].  18This is the order of the Vesper psalms; the rest of the service, the lessons, responsories, hymns, versicles and canticles, are to be recited as was explained above.  19At Compline, the same psalms are to be repeated daily: Psalms 4, 90 [91], 133 [134].

Benedict continues to set forth his pattern for the recitation of all 150 Psalms, together with the organization of the little hours, and the evening hours.  As we can see from this section, there is repetition of a number of the psalms both at the little hours and at Compline.  I have found that spreading these psalms out across the week aids my use of these hours by shortening the office.  Rather than trying to say three psalms at each hour, I say one (according to the pattern in the link suggested in yesterday’s meditation), thus leaving more time for intercessory and petitionary prayers, and a short meditation on the Scripture itself.

Do not be afraid to adapt the services to best suit your schedule.  As was noted yesterday, and as will be repeated tomorrow, even Benedict allowed for flexibility in the recitation of the psalms.  The goal is an intimate relationship with the Lord and the practice of constant prayer throughout our day.  Allow God to “come to your assistance.”

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