April 8th, 1998, Serial No. 00294

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Liturgy Class




In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, creator of unfailing light, give that same light to all of us who love you. May our lives proclaim your goodness. May our voices sing your praise forever and ever. Amen. So, welcome, part two. Just a bit of a review from how we started last week. As I mentioned, when discussing the Liturgy of the Hours, most of the documents you read start out with a pretty broad discussion of Christian prayer in general. Even more so than you would find in the celebration of the Eucharist. So we discussed last week, first of all, the prayer of Jesus.


This whole notion of Jesus praying to his God. Second of all, this notion that the Apostles then passed on this formula for how to pray as Jesus prayed. Especially the urgings of St. Paul to never stop praying, to pray constantly. And Paul gave us all these themes. That we pray in the Holy Spirit, that we pray through Christ. This line from Hebrews, through him let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise. So Paul gives us these themes. Urgent prayer, urgent constant prayer. Praying through Christ in the Holy Spirit. The second part, the biggest part of what we discussed last week. This notion of Christ's prayer being continued by the Church. By virtue of this Holy Spirit being planted in us, this same prayer of Christ is continued.


The Church then takes on these three beautiful roles that are discussed in the general instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours. The Church as priest, this is the exercise of our priesthood. We become Christ the priest when we pray. The Church as bride, it is our song with and to our beloved. And third of all, the Church as mother. I like that one a whole lot. The Church as mother caring for her children. So bringing the needs of the whole world to prayer. That's what we do when we gather for prayer. We are Church as mother. Caring for all of creation. We then discussed, just briefly, the dialogical nature of the Liturgy of the Hours. Which is meant to model the dialogical nature of our whole relationship with God.


It's not a one-way street. In all of our liturgies, sometimes we listen, sometimes we respond. It goes back and forth, back and forth. Specifically in the Liturgy of the Hours. Some of it is singing to God, some of it is listening to God. I mentioned there that notion that psalmody can be taken either way. We'll see that as we go on in the history. The monastic tradition tends to see psalmody as listening. Whereas the cathedral tradition tends to see psalmody as offering praise. So I mentioned just a few things about the difference between the cathedral and the monastic. And we'll see these grow out of two different places. But they really start out together. Separate, come back together at the time of St. Benedict. Separate, come back together. But generally, one could say, to make a broad sweep, that the cathedral tradition has a tendency to think of the Liturgy of the Hours as speaking to God. The monastic tradition has a tendency to think of the Liturgy of the Hours as listening to God.


Being receptive to God. The last part of this introduction, which will segue then right into our opening salvo into history. As I explained last week, what we're going to be doing is taking a quick tour through the history of the Church, in a sense, to see how the Liturgy of the Hours was prayed at different eras. And then, as soon as possible, focusing specifically on monastic traditions. To give us some kind of a sense, first of all, of monastic history. Second of all, how this prayer has been integrated into monastic life through the centuries. And I gave the apologia last week, and I'll say it one more time, and then I won't apologize anymore. History is not my absolute best subject. So if I make some mistakes along the way, we'll have plenty of people who know it well enough to correct me. I just ask you to do it not when the tape's on. Or maybe if it really is that glaring. But I hope I'll make up for some of that with my sincerity.


But let's talk about this notion of the consecration of time. So, as we read through these documents last week, from the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, Jesus himself, and certainly St. Paul picked this up and echoed it, taught this necessity of praying at all times. That's the important foundation to keep. The urge is to pray at all times. Without losing heart. Rejoice always. Never stop praying. Offer constant thanks. And the Church is called to be faithful to this exhortation. As we again, we heard last week as we read through those documents, this is of the very essence of what it means to be Church.


Is to be praying all the time. Is to be praying constantly. It's our job. And as we got more specific last week, especially those who are specifically mandated to do so, and then at the end of the document it said, as I read, this is especially true of those who follow the contemplative life. This is our job. This is what we're here for. To pray constantly. So when we start dividing the day up into little bits and pieces, let's never lose track of that. The emphasis is always on praying constantly. The Church never ceases to offer prayer. And we do this not only by the celebration of the Eucharist, this is what the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours wants to point out, because we tend to be pretty focused on the Eucharist as not only the main, but somehow the only source of prayer as a Church. Now Vatican II is trying to open this up and to reintroduce to the people of God


this whole other way of praying. But this is especially true through the Liturgy of the Hours. Now, what distinguishes the Liturgy of the Hours from other liturgical actions, what distinguishes the Liturgy of the Hours from sacramental actions, is that it is specifically designed so that it consecrates to God the cycle of day and night. As it started to do from the very beginning. The Eucharist is not fixed to a certain time of day. None of the sacraments are fixed to that. They sort of stand above time. They're in kairos. The Liturgy of the Hours are specifically chronos. They're chronological. They fit in with the cycle of the day and the night. And we use this phrase often, by sanctifying the whole day, it also sanctifies the whole range of human activities.


So let's talk about this notion of the consecration of time, or the sanctification of time. One of the reasons I like this particular theme is it again stresses how incarnational we are. We're not above created things, and time is a created thing. We're not above time. But time is our tool, time is our instrument. God is revealed through time. We pray, we worship, we go back to God through time. It's very incarnational. We follow the liturgical year. We follow the solar calendar for some things. We follow the lunar calendar for some things. I'm watching out the skylight in my cabin right now, this big fat moon. And remembering from my class on the liturgical year that that's the same moon that Jesus looked at in the Garden of Gethsemane right now. This is why we're celebrating Easter now,


because the moon is where it is, and as big as it is. And somehow that gives me a little buzz every time. That Easter is fixed on that lunar calendar around Passover, and that's the moon that Jesus was looking at, knowing it was time to celebrate this feast. So we believe that that's a holy thing. We follow that time because we're incarnational people. The seasons teach us something about God. But very much more specifically, also the day itself teaches us something about God. Now, by sanctifying the whole day, the document says, what our prayer does is sanctify all of our activity. It sanctifies our rising. It sanctifies the sunset. It sanctifies our going to bed.


It sanctifies our work at midday. This is the reason why it was so important in the reform of Vatican II to bring, to revise the structure of the Liturgy of the Hours so that the hours were celebrated when they were supposed to be celebrated. Now, we don't have that experience, and if you've never celebrated the Liturgy of the Hours before, this may not be part of your common experience, but let me tell you a story. In the priestly breviary, the picture I have in my head is the priest pulled over on the side of the road, reading his breviary in the headlights because he had to get all his prayers in, and he hadn't said his prayers yet in the day, and he wasn't home yet. Now, that would be before even your time, I suppose, wouldn't it? No, not before your time, because it was a mandate that you had to say the whole office every day. So, what are you talking about? You're talking about the priest at 10 o'clock at night saying morning prayer, you know,


as if the important thing was to say the prayer. No, no, no, no. The important thing was that it was morning prayer, not just that the prayers be said. But we were left with the impression at that, before the reform, that the important thing was to get those prayers in, not necessarily the sanctification of the morning. So, it doesn't necessarily do any good to say lads at noon. The whole point is to sanctify that morning, is to consecrate that morning by saying morning prayers. Do you see what I'm saying? The other story about that is, Father Lucien Dess, who I've had the honor to work with on one of the panels that was doing the revisions of the liturgy in the very early 60s, before John XXIII died, even. And in those days, we'll talk about the little hours. Now there's terse, sext, and noon, which are roughly equivalent to 9 o'clock, 12 o'clock, and 3 o'clock. But in the old days, it was the hour of prime, which is a kind of an additional hour


that didn't make a whole lot of sense because it almost did the same thing that lads did. And they were discussing in this, these high-powered liturgists were discussing suppressing the hour of prime, which eventually did get suppressed. And they're having their meeting. It was 9 o'clock in the morning, Father Dess tells the story, and the Holy Father, good, humble Pope John XXIII, walks in. Good morning, good morning, good morning. What are you discussing? And he said, Well, Holy Father, we're discussing the possibility of suppressing the hour of prime. And he said, Now why would you want to do that? And he said, Well, we're trying to make it more convenient so people can actually celebrate the hours when they need to be. He says, Now why do you need to do that? Look, he says, I've already set my whole office for the day. It was 9 o'clock in the morning, and he had already said night prayer. And they're all thinking, Yes, Holy Father, that's exactly what we're trying to do. So, the whole point of this office is it's supposed to celebrate


those hours of the day. I suppose I've made that point clear enough at this time. Now, let's go back to this notion I told you never to let go of while we're doing this. This is the notion of unceasing prayer. We'll see in a little bit, even Gregory of Nyssa was fighting against this notion of consecrating certain times of the day. Why? Well, because you're supposed to be praying always. So why would you want to stop and consecrate certain hours? But right away, as the haggling is going on, we have to keep in mind these little hours are meant to be, first of all, an impetus toward unceasing prayer, like a short fuel stop, you might say, to keep the prayer going. But also, I think of them in terms of like a speed bump to slow one down, remind one of one's prayer. But let's do keep this notion


of unceasing prayer in mind. At the same time, there can be something misleading about this phrase, the consecration of time, the sanctification of time, the sanctification of the day. It does not mean that the Liturgy of the Hours makes secular time holy. It does not mean that. But it means to suggest that at certain times of day, what the quality of all time should be. Time is for us already a holy thing. We're sanctifying our day, we're sanctifying time, but what we're really doing is we're recognizing its sanctity, and we're pointing out


at certain times of day the holiness that the whole day should have. You see what I'm saying? This is where it's bleeding right into this idea of unceasing prayer. Not that 7 o'clock is any holier than 9 o'clock because we pray at it, but 7 o'clock we remind ourselves that time is a holy thing that God works through and we respond back to God. This is right from the General Instruction then. But that liturgy suggests at certain times of the day what the quality of all time should be. That all time should be an experience which is sacramental. That all time should be an experience that's revelatory of the mystery of Christ. That all time should be a means of union with God in Christ and through Christ. Lauds and Vespers, for instance, focus on or illuminate critical moments of the day, pointing out that these critical moments


of the day reveal certain aspects of the mystery of Christ. Specifically, dying and rising. But it reminds us that this dying and rising are not just limited to the morning, but put that dying and rising, that Paschal mystery, into the fabric of our entire day. Just because we remember dying at night and rising in the morning doesn't mean that we only die at night and rise in the morning, but it puts that Paschal mystery into the day and sort of lays that framework over our whole day. So our whole day is consecrated to the Paschal mystery. And these mysteries, as one author says, suffuse the whole day. I always find it interesting to walk through the kitchen and hear somebody humming an antiphon from Lauds, and to hope and to realize that somehow maybe even that psalm is staying with somebody.


For me, a line from a psalm will stay with me sometimes for part of the day, and that's always a wonderful thing. That's what it's meant to do. It's meant to stay through the whole day. It's one of the reasons why I keep pushing this, trying to be a little quieter after the hours so that we can have this gentle transition and not lose what we've built up for our environment to take it out into the day than to spread it into the day and to spread it into the night. So the Liturgy of the Hours sanctifies time. This is another author. I can't remember his name now where I got this from. The Liturgy of the Hours sanctifies time in the sense that the Liturgy of the Hours encourages us to see time as sacred. All moments of the day can be sacramental expressions of the mystery of Christ's dying and rising. Before I let that one go, I want to quote to you


from Aidan Kavanaugh. I think we used this in the first part of the introduction, too. Here he's speaking about the liturgical year, but again, this notion of the sanctification of time. The Liturgy thus does not sanctify time. Time is a holy creature with which the Liturgy puts one in meaningful touch. With which... He uses his preposition in the right place there. Time is a holy creature with which the Liturgy puts one in meaningful touch. Once in touch with it, as marking the implacable unfolding of divine purpose, one is able to perceive its true nature to be not an endless succession of bare moments, but that time is a purposeful thrust home toward its holy source. Time's sacredness is not imposed


by liturgical worship. Liturgical worship discovers that sacredness and summons the Assembly to take part in that sacredness. This means that the Liturgy needs time rather than that the time needs Liturgy. I really like that a lot. I like the notion that we, in our liturgical theology, our sacramental theology, recognize already the sacredness of what God has created and recognize the fact that we enter into what God has created, that God is revealed through that, and we respond to that. It takes me back to our other class on Father Vagajini. Let's see if I can quote it correctly. I can't. Okay, let's move on. I'll think of it next week and bring it to you. Did you all get that little piece of paper I slipped in your mailbox? I just thought that was wonderful. My friend Patrick in Alaska, I told him about...


I sent him that quote from St. Augustine that I read to you last week from Liturgy of the Hours, and he sent that back, to claim that when Christ prays within us, all those with Christ are also praying with us. That reflects an experience, an experience, not just a devout abstraction. The segue, then, here, is to dive into the history of that. Some, only a few authors, like to point back to the Hebrew roots of our celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours. But just given the fact that some did, I thought it might be interesting, too, because we don't spend very much time talking about our ancestors in the faith.


And some scholars like to claim that there's a direct continuity, first of all, between the primitive Christian communal prayers, so Christianity right around the time of Christ, and the Jewish synagogue or temple practices. There's not a whole lot of evidence for it, but there's enough to suggest that there might have been some. And we can pretty much assume, at first, that the apostles and Jesus himself were taking place in the prayer life of the Jews. So let's start there. There's an author named Vilma Little, who wrote a book called The Sacrifice of Praise, which came out in the 50s, but she made a big deal about this. She traces what she calls word worship, or the sacrifice of praise. Let me say why this is important. Under Mosaic law, and certainly before,


most worship of God is not done through any kind of vocal worship. Most worship of God is done through sacrifice. One could think, too, here, of the roots of the Hindu faith, too. Is it the Dravidians? Their first, the beginning of their faith, was all sacrificial before they got into any kind of word worship. So word worship does not start for the Hebrew people right off the bat. It's all sacrifice, sacrificial offerings. The whole notion that you don't necessarily have to offer sacrifice comes a little later, but I thought right away of Psalm 50, which I love so much. We don't have it anywhere in our cycle of psalms. I need no bullock from your house, no goats from your fold. For every animal of the forest is mine, beasts by the thousands of my mountains. I know every bird of heaven. Do I eat the flesh of bulls?


Do I drink the blood of goats? Offer, you know what the next word is? Offer praise as your sacrifice. Fulfill your vows to the Most High. Then you will call in time of distress, I will rescue you. Offer praise as your sacrifice. This is a startling notion that praise can be the sacrifice that's offered instead of a bull or a goat. We run into that phrase all the time in a lot of the psalms, but I wonder if we catch the importance of it. Offer praise as a sacrifice. Our whole liturgical theology is based on a line like that. The sacrifice that we offer every day at Mass is the sacrifice of praise. That's how we enter into that one sacrifice to fulfill our sacrifice. This is not how Hebrew theology started out. There was that notion of expiation and propitiation


through offering the first fruits of grain, through slaughtering a goat, through slaughtering a bull. But even under Moses, even up to the time of Moses, there's very little trace of this sacrifice of praise or what she calls word worship, worshiping of God through word. But it is to Moses that we owe the first spontaneous outbursts of vocal worship, which were then woven into liturgical worship later. It's funny that I never thought of that before. We didn't have any prayers before this, but we have the famous prayer in Exodus 15, which we'll sing at the Easter vigil. I think it's the second responsorial psalm. It's also not in our regular curses, but you might recognize it. After the destruction of the Egyptians, Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord. I will sing to the Lord for His gloriously triumphant


horse and chariot He has cast into the sea. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my Savior. He is my God, I praise Him. The God of my father, I extol Him. The Lord is a warrior, Lord is His name. Pharaoh's chariots and army He hurled into the sea. And it goes on. We sing that with the refrain, Hosanna, Hosanna, Your Lord's right hand has triumphed. Well, this is the first evidence we have of a spontaneous outburst of word prayer, of word praise, the sacrifice of praise. We have another one from Moses, Deuteronomy 32. Now this one, I'm proud to say, has gotten snuck into our office. We sing it Saturday morning, Lodz, week two, I think. Give ear, O heavens, while I speak. After Joshua is commissioned and the law is placed in the ark,


there's the song of Moses. Give ear, O heavens, while I speak. Let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my instructions soak in like the rain, my discourse permeate like the dew, like a downpour upon the grass, like a shower upon the seedlings. You recognize that psalm. So we have these first two evidences of vocal worship happening from the Hebrew people. There's also tradition, at least, that Moses is responsible for Psalm 90, but I'm not even going to read it for you because the evidence is pretty scant about that. But let's leap ahead to David. Now, of course, David is the psalm king. You know, so many psalms attributed to him. But the first thing, and this comes from this film a little again, and I had to do some pretty heavy reading between the lines, but it certainly makes some sense to me. In 1 Chronicles 15 and 16, after the transfer of the ark,


David's set up in Jerusalem, and the ark is brought to Jerusalem and set up. What David established in Jerusalem is a morning and an evening service of praise to follow after the morning and the evening sacrifice that was appointed by Moses. Now, this morning and evening sacrifices are very important, too. You know, in Psalm 140, where we sing the little refrain from it every feast day, the lifting of my hands, what's the next line? Like, like an evening sacrifice. Well, what's being said there? That somehow me lifting up my hands in prayer is equivalent to having offered a sacrifice. This is a very subtle but important point in theology.


The lifting of my hands like the evening sacrifice is the sacrifice of praise. Well, David established that there would be a sacrifice of praise offered morning and evening, and he arranged for, I'm not going to read the whole chapter to you, but anyway, he arranged for regular courses of singers to be giving praise continuously day after day, each course of the week in rotation, beginning their service on the Sabbath. So he appointed Levites to minister. There's a whole, let me just read you some of it so you get an idea. So then David summoned the priests Zadok and Abiathar, the Levites Uriel, Asaiah, Joel, Shemaiah, Elial, and Aminadab. So you've got to read it fast so you don't get caught. And said to them, You, the heads of the Levitical families, must sanctify yourselves along with your brethren


and bring up the ark which I have prepared. Accordingly, the priests and the Levites sacrificed themselves to bring up the ark. The Levites brought the ark on their shoulder. David commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their brethren as chanters to play on musical instruments, harps, and lyres, and cymbals to make a loud sound of rejoicing. Therefore, the Levites appointed Haman son of Joel, a man of his brethren. This is this whole thing about all the different people who are going to be offering their chants, and the chants set on lyres. They even have the name of the hymn tune. Jeliel led the chant on lyres set to the eighth. Shemaiah was the chief of the Levites in chanting and directed the chanting, for he was skillful. Berekiah and Elikonah were the keepers of the ark. Anyway, this whole thing is laid out. The way she's got it figured out, she figures out that there are 4,000 singers distributed in 24 courses, with 280 teachers teaching the songs. Been a heck of a chant practice on Sunday mornings there. Now, Vilma Little claims that this is the source,


our source for the divine office. Others will back her up on this, because the dawn and the evening were consecrated and dedicated to public worship. Surrounding the sacrifice, but having an efficacy of their own right. The daily services then in Solomon's temple, when he finally built the temple, were the same. And from the temple in Jerusalem, this is the practice, Vilma Little claims, that spread out to the synagogues throughout Palestine and the diaspora. So when there is a place where they can't offer sacrifice, because only sacrifice can only be offered in Jerusalem, they would do this sacrifice in praise, of praise instead. Thus you have the lifting of my hands, like the evening sacrifice. So, He was already consecrating the morning and the evening to God by means of the sacrifice. This parallel practice of the sacrifice of praise


is growing up next to it. When we can no longer offer sacrifice, what we can do is offer this sacrifice of praise. There's some speculation that this morning and evening tefillah, or the benedictions, eventually meant also then to record, to correspond to this morning and evening prayer in the temple. Now, another scholar who I follow much more on this is Robert Taft. He claims that there's little evidence to support a single or parallel tradition that's going to go right into the New Testament, but that there's kind of a mixed pattern. But there's no doubt that there were several practices of daily prayer prevalent in Palestine, in Palestinian and Egyptian Judaism. I can't get any of these words out. There were no doubt several practices of daily prayer


prevalent in both Palestinian and Egyptian Judaism around the time of the New Testament. There was something going on. More likely, it was something like this two-fold recitation of the Shema, morning and evening, which in rabbinical circles then got joined to their own practice, the rabbinical practice, of three-fold daily private prayer. An additional prayer was added on to the ninth hour, so morning, evening, and at the ninth hour, which would be like three o'clock. Do you know about this Shema? If you don't know it, it's the beautiful thing in Deuteronomy 6.4, I have it marked. It's the Great Commandment. If you follow the regular cycle of Compline, this is the reading for Compline on first Compline of Sunday.


Like, yeah, so Saturday night. Hear, O Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord alone. Therefore you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest. Listen carefully. Bind them on your wrist as a sign. Let them be a pendant on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates. This is the Shema. It was combined with the Decalogue, and this would be recited twice daily, morning and evening. This is a practice that for sure we know is happening around New Testament times in good, observant Jews. Now, this injunction, those last things that I said pay attention to, gave rise to the phylacteries,


some of the phylacteries, also known as, they're also called Tefillin. Aren't they called Tefillin themselves after the benedictions? And there's three. So we have bind them as a sign on your hand, fix an emblem on your forehead, write them on the doorposts of your house and your gates. So what developed from this is a pouch that would carry this very text that would be worn on the hand, another one strapped around, worn on the forehead when praying this prayer. And the third is that thing called the mezuzah, which would be wrapped, this scroll would be wrapped in and attached right to the lintel. I think it's to the right, the right doorpost of the house. But this was the great Jewish confession of faith. In a sense, you could say it's more of a creed than it was a prayer specifically. But that it was recited at least twice daily. So then you have this other thing growing up


in rabbinical circles. Now the rabbinical circles are specifically growing up outside of Jerusalem. The synagogue tradition is growing up stronger outside of Jerusalem too because it's replacing going to the temple offering, sacrifice. This is where we're going to inherit much more than the sacrificial theology of Judaism. So in the rabbinical circles, there are the threefold traditional benedictions, prayers three times daily. One in the morning, one in the evening. The one in the morning and the one in the evening would then be combined with this recitation of the Shema, both in private or in public synagogue services. It came to be done both in and outside of Jerusalem. In the morning, this tefillah, this benediction, tefillah, I think I would say it correctly, as close as I can get. In the morning, this tefillah would be preceded by two benedictions of thanksgiving


for creation and the revelation and then concluded always with the benediction of thanksgiving for redemption from Egypt. Of course, if you remember correctly, this is always something that's going to be in the Hebrew mind. The main emphasis for giving thanks is the fact that God delivered a whole nation out of Egypt. It's constantly remembered. So it's remembered every morning. In the evening, the tefillah, the benediction, the recitation of the Shema is combined with the prayer for rest. These two specifically became the principal times in the day for communal or private prayer then for the observant Jews. And we're pretty sure this is going on at the time of the first Christians. Now the Jews, again, right around the time of the beginning of the New Testament, their prayer is taking place really


in three different venues, in three different places. First of all, in the temple. Second of all, in the synagogue. Third of all, in the home. What we could talk about right now is specifically the first Jewish Christians, so the apostles, the immediate disciples. So the New Testament Christians were said to be Let's see, Luke 24, 53. Constantly... I didn't have that one marked. Constantly in the temple, exactly. Right there at the end, after the Ascension. He led them to Bethany, yadda yadda yadda. 52, they did imamahs, returned to Jerusalem with great joy. Verse 53, and they were continually in the temple, praising God. So, Acts of the Apostles.


I wrote this one right down. Day after day, they spent much time together in the temple. They broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of the people. But there's also some evidence, especially in Acts, that they were becoming right away a separate group within the temple. But they were in the temple. The first Jewish Christians. Secondly, they were in the synagogue. Well, Jesus himself was in the synagogue a lot. We saw that. Here's from Acts 13. But they went up to Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day, they went into the synagogue and sat down. After reading the law and the prophets, the officials of the synagogue sent them a message saying, Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, give it. So Paul stood up and, with a gesture, began to speak.


So the first Jewish Christians are praying in the synagogue. Now, they could be praying just what I mentioned here, this two-fold morning and evening prayer. It's not completely clear, we have scant evidence of this era, what corporate synagogue prayer comprised during this era, or even how many days it was taking place. It seems, of course we have Luke describing Jesus taking part in some of this himself, but it seems that there were public synagogue services at least on market days, which would have been Monday and Thursday, and on the Sabbath, so on Saturday. So it seems there were public synagogue services three times a week. And on those days, there were perhaps, of course this is all conjecture, but it's just nice to try to build somewhat of a picture, even with speculation, perhaps four services. Now, morning, some other hour, afternoon,


probably at the ninth hour, which would be equivalent to three o'clock, and the evening. And certainly the services in the morning and the evening would be combined with the reading of the Shema and these Tefillah, which were said both in public and in private. Now, it appears that the early Christians also soon started forming synagogues of their own. What were they doing there? We're not quite sure. But you know, in the letter to James, which was written to Jewish converts around 49, 50, he refers to your synagogue. So they are either forming a synagogue of their own, most likely, we think, or they could have been still part of the community. But it seems pretty specifically your synagogue that they had on their own. And then, of course, the third venue. So we have the temple, we have the synagogue. The third is the home. And we're on much surer ground here.


There's more evidence that folks, first of all, as I mentioned, the Shema and the Tefillah at home, these first Jewish Christians. So the first Christians continued to frequent the daily services that they were used to, and then later observed them in their own gathering. We can conclude that. Perhaps keeping the same psalms and prayers, but certainly right away began adding Christian elements. All the canticles that we sing in the evening prayer here, you know, come right from Scripture and are our first evidence of them creating specifically Christian prayers, specifically Christian hymns. So they may be doing their Jewish prayers, but very early on, they start creating their own specifically hymns to Christ, songs to Christ, prayers to Christ. The first evidence we have, I remember this,


always from studying music, of Christian music. There was a historian named Pliny the Younger who spoke of the Christians as singing hymns of praise to Christ as God. That's the first evidence we know that the Christians are making up specifically their own music. We have no idea what it sounded like. I think I can close up shop there. We'll just close up with this. So one author, Vilma Little, is claiming that we're getting this practice of praying morning and evening prayer from our Hebrew ancestors. Another author like Taft is saying there's not a real direct lineage there, even of this recitation of the Shema and the Tefillah. But what we did get from them is a practice just that they did it. We didn't necessarily inherit their structure, their form, but just that they did it.


If there's any parentage, it's in that. What we're going to see develop now is a preview for next week, is two different traditions within the Christian community. One is the prayer at morning and evening, and the second one, smaller within it, is this prayer in the little hours during the day. That's a real convenient place for me to stop at this point. So glory be to the Father, to the Son, to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Bless you. The Son of the Holy Spirit. Amen. God our Father, by raising Christ your Son, you conquered the power of death and opened for us the way to eternal life. Today, raise us up and renew our lives


by that same Spirit that is within us. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen. So good morning. This is class number three, and we're going to head into talking about the specifically Christian prayer of the early days, the Acts of the Apostles, and then move all the way up to the 2nd and 3rd century. Again, kind of a broad sweep of history here. I'm not concentrating too much on the exact details. Trying to get some sense of how this practice of the Liturgy of the Hours developed, how it was practiced through the ages. So last week we talked about our Jewish roots. I especially love the recitation of the Shema. So I was glad we got to talk about that last week.


And we see how there was some kind of practice of vocal worship starting around the time of Moses, but up until then the Jews only were practicing sacrifice. There was no vocal worship, vocal praise. So this notion of sacrifice of praise, that vocal worship could actually be a sacrifice, is a relatively new thing for them. It started to develop certainly around the time of King David, and then the later prophets spoke about it very vehemently. But around then the time of the first Christians, around the time of Jesus, we see this two-fold or three-fold practice of daily prayer developing among the Hebrews. And the sacrifice in the temple, morning, evening, as well as when people couldn't be at the temple, this practice of synagogue worship, perhaps three days a week, but also the private prayer of the Jews two times a day,


and the rabbinical traditions three times a day. Certainly some people claim, as I was reading from Vilma Little, that our exact ancestry is these Jewish practices. Another author who's, I think, considered, really one of the preeminent now, Robert Taft, S.J., says what they did is not the influence. The fact that they did something is the influence. But that the liturgy of the hours that we have really comes from a purely Gentile foundation. So, we just don't know. But there's all that in our background, and it's good to celebrate, I think. What we're going to see develop now, in the specifically Christian era, is two different things, two different traditions are going to develop. One is going to be this prayer at morning and evening, and the other is going to be this prayer throughout the day, the little hours.


And these two traditions are going to grow up simultaneously, and eventually combine. But they're two different traditions to begin with. The Acts of the Apostles describes communal prayer as the chief activity of the church in its early days. It's what Christians were known by. They were known by the fact that they prayed together a lot, continually. Here's three different quotes from the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 1, 14. All of these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer. Important word there, constant. Acts 2, 42. Acts 12. You remember the story when Peter was in prison. And then after he's released, as soon as he realized this,


he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, whose other name was Mark, where many had gathered and were praying. So in all these significant moments, we're finding that Christians are gathered together, praying communally. What we, again, read through the Acts of the Apostles, what we tend to realize about these early Christians is that whether they're alone, whether they're gathered together, every time is an opportunity for prayer. So this is where St. Paul's urgings are coming from. Pray constantly. Devote yourself to constant thanks. Rejoice always. So according to the New Testament, especially St. Paul, constant daily prayer is characteristic of these earliest Christians. And I think I mentioned this already last week. For example, someone like a Clement of Alexandria takes Paul's notion that we should pray constantly and uses that to say, so we shouldn't be praying at fixed hours of the day,


because the point is to pray constantly. And remember, I'm asking you to keep that in your mix, both and. We'll come to see how these celebrations of the energy of the hours can actually be an impetus toward constant prayer, like a fuel stop. It's not meant to be an interruption of it. Cross-reference to the third class of the introduction between private and public prayer. So, for some, the development of this liturgy of the hours, like Clement of Alexandria, seems to be a movement away from constant prayer, whereas for others, the exhortation to pray constantly led specifically to the development of what we would call the liturgy of the hours. I'll talk a little bit about, first of all, the little hours, because they get mentioned all the time, and even in the general instruction on the liturgy of the hours,


they mention this idea of praying at the third, sixth, and ninth hour. Now, this is another little side tradition. It's not something we practice here together very often, except once a month on Rec Day. But it is part of the liturgy of the hours, and a very important part, this idea of laws and vespers being the hinge moments for this three, six, and nine, the nine, twelve, and three, the other set times, and very much in the monastic tradition as terse, sext, and none, as for three, six, and nine. So, in the Acts of the Apostles, we see the apostles praying at the third, sixth, and ninth hour. I thought I had all these marked. Let's see if I can find them. Acts 2, 1, and 5, which, of course, is Pentecost.


When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And what time was it? Verse 15. After Peter's whole speech, and they're all accusing him of being drunk because they're speaking in tongues, Peter says, these people are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. There's terse. Let's see. The sixth hour. Ten, nine. The next day, this is the vision of Peter and the vision of Cornelius. There's two visions at the inauguration of the Gentile mission in chapter 10 of Acts. The next day, while they were on their way and nearing the city, Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at noon. Aha! And then Cornelius... Aha! Here we go.


So then the ninth hour, Acts 3. One. This isn't Cornelius. This is when they're healing the crippled beggar. What time was it? Now, Peter and John were going to the temple area for the three o'clock hour of prayer. Now, these three little things that may seem really insignificant. The other one is Cornelius has a vision also, and that's at three o'clock. Now, these three things are mentioned over and over again. Why I bring them up is the church fathers, they would use those three mentions as proof texts for why you should be praying at nine o'clock, twelve o'clock, and three o'clock, or at the third, the sixth, and the ninth hour. That has stayed so much a part of our tradition, those three little stories, that if you ever look at Tuesday daytime prayer in the regular Liturgy of the Hours, nowadays, in the reform of the Liturgy of the Hours, you only have to pray one of the daytime offices,


and you can either use it for mid-morning, mid-day, mid-afternoon, and they offer three different readings, and after each of those readings, there's a prayer. Well, Tuesday has the three prayers. All-powerful, ever-living God. In mid-morning, you poured out the Holy Spirit as a constant friend and guide to your apostles. Send that same spirit to us. At mid-day prayer, the prayer is, Oh God, you made known to Peter the desire to save all nations. At mid-day, mid-afternoon, Father, you sent your angel to Cornelius to show him the way to salvation. So it refers back to those three events in the Acts of the Apostles. So that tradition stays with us, and the Church Fathers and the document, General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, points always back to those three things as, in the loosest sense, proof texts that there was a tradition of 3, 6, and 9 being times of prayer for the Church. Now, in addition to that, in Acts 16 and also in 2 Corinthians,


there's evidence that the disciples were imitating Jesus in keeping vigil and in praying at night, praying all night long. Around 65 AD is when the permanent split came between the synagogue and the Christian churches, the synagogue and the Christians. And it is at least this much of a historical fact that by the year 65, we do know whether these three times a day were carved in stone. It seems to be that those two periods of time were daily set apart for vocal worship for the Christian community, by the year 65, when the synagogue and the Christians made their split. Scholars think that by this time, two services of vocal praise were fixed and traditional as Christian forms of worship, not as Jewish forms of worship. And for several centuries, these are going to stand out as the only official hours of public worship.


Now, when I say that, I mean, not only were the 3, 6, and 9 not considered official yet, but also, while we tend to think so much of the Eucharist, of the Mass, as the main form of communal prayer, this is going to be an official hour of prayer, in a sense, more important than the Eucharist as a fixed official hour of prayer, as a fixed official time of prayer. It's the main source of communal prayer for many people in popular religiosity, and we tend to think of it as the center of our spirituality, which it is. But what's interesting to note is that the liturgy of the hours, in whatever form it took, was much more frequent, and as we shall see in a couple of hundred years, it was juridically required that Christians would meet


for this morning prayer and this evening prayer. Now, the liturgy of the hours is going to become more clerical, and become more monastic, and folks are going to start drifting toward different kinds of devotional practices, not unlike what really happened with the Eucharist, that it became less accessible to the common folk. But, from the start, this liturgy is meant to be a prayer of the people. And this, of course, as we'll see much later on, is one of the main pushes of Vatican II, to reinvigorate this type of prayer as a prayer for all people. So already, there's a collection of writings called the Apostolic Constitutions. They were actually collected in the 4th century, but it purports to be a summary of the teachings of the Apostles, the Apostolic Constitutions. What it lays down is various descriptions


of worship and discipline for the Christian community. And it's already laying down, and purporting to be from apostolic times, that the bishop is to assemble the faithful at dawn and at sunset each day. And then, as I mentioned last week, we have that famous reference of Pliny the Younger. You call him Pliny. Is that more Pliny the Younger? Who is a historian, speaking of the Christians, and the saying is, the Christians gather in the early morning when the Christians met together to sing a hymn to Christ as God. Then they go away and return once more in the evening. So we have some pretty strong evidence that there was this gathering in the morning and evening every day, gathered by the bishop. Now, of course, we think of a bishop as being in charge of a huge diocese,


but in the earliest days, we had to think of a bishop more like a pastor, and maybe even smaller. So a bishop would be the head of a group about the size of a large church, perhaps. These are all evolving and changing as the faith is spreading to places outside of Jerusalem. And very early on, we have evidence that the chanting of songs came to be associated with the first gleam of daylight, and the lighting of lamps came to be associated with this prayer, even at fall of evening. There's another, I'm going to mention two or three other documents here. There's another one called the Didache, and I'm sure some of you have run into this in your other studies. The Didache is a short, early Christian manual on morals and church practice.


Excuse me, I'm a little tired, and I'm fading in and out of some of these things. Excuse me for that. Anyway, chapters 7 through 15 in the Didache contain different instructions on fasting, on praying, and how to celebrate the Eucharist. That contains many things of great interest to students of early Christian liturgy. We don't know exactly who the author is, the origin of the date, but most scholars place it to be around the first century. So we have a pretty early authority here. And also in the writings of Clement of Rome, for example. So here we have really two centers, the Didache probably coming out of Jerusalem, and Clement of Rome coming out of, of course, Rome. Also, we learn from that, that like the Jews, at least they mention that some Christians are praying at set times of the day, though it's not clear what the structured form was. The Didache does instruct Christians


to pray the Lord's Prayer three times a day. This could be the three, six, and nine. We're not quite sure. So, the other thing that's starting to develop, then, is this other practice of vigils. So I mentioned already, we see some evidence in the Acts of the Apostles of some of the apostles imitating Jesus by staying up all night in prayer. As I mentioned, as we were practicing for the Holy Saturday liturgy last week, that this practice of keeping vigil officially first came to notice on the night of Holy Saturday, when they first started commemorating our Lord's resurrection. Facing it, of course, off the lunar calendar, when the Passover would be celebrated. So, the vigils first came to notice early on in the night of Holy Saturday


as an observance in anniversary of the Lord's resurrection, and in expectation of his second coming. There's a certain eschatological foundation to that as well, because there was a strong belief among early Christians that Jesus was to return in glory before their generation had passed away. You see a lot of that again in the writings of St. Paul. And very early on, this conviction also arose that just as he had arisen from the tomb during the night that preceded the first Easter, so his second coming would take place during the same time, the second Paschal season. So, just as he arose from the dead in the wee hours of the morning, so that he would come again in glory then. So, the practice began developing of staying up all night long on Holy Saturday,


waiting for Jesus to return. So you have Advent and Easter coalescing. It's pretty interesting. We have somewhat lost that direction in vigils, but we have not lost the idea of waiting for the resurrection, celebrating that resurrection. So, the Paschal Vigil Office was a gathering of all the faithful presided over by the bishop. In Rome, then, of course, by the one who would eventually be called the Pope. So, all Christians, even children, were expected to be present for this. This was a very important event for them. And present also were the catechumens, who had been under instruction for some weeks previously, and now were clad in white robes, waiting for baptism. Why I say that you get the primo spot to be baptized at the Easter Vigil, because that really was the only time


they would do it. We've only recovered that tradition ourselves recently. We do have some evidence what this office was like. They would begin in the early evening with the ceremony of lighting lamps, and then continue all throughout the night in psalmody, in reading of Scripture, and different prayers of intercession. At some point during this service, there would take place the baptism of the new convert, and then at midnight, one of the sources I was reading said, at cock crow. I didn't know the cock crowed at midnight. So I'm not sure if they meant this. Does a cock crow at midnight? I'm trying to think of the Passion of Jesus, too. I mean, the cock is crowing before the cock crows three times. Some sources say at midnight, and some sources say at cock crow. I was trying to put the two of them together, but they didn't conflate very well.


Anyway, at some point, either at midnight or at cock crow, or if the cock crowed at midnight, they would celebrate the Eucharist also. So you have a combination of the vigil and the culminating in the Eucharist. And then at dawn, in full sunlight, the morning office would be sung, whatever that was. Now, from this great Paschal vigil, as soon as the Paschal character of every Sunday was established, there evolved, over the first two centuries already, this weekly Saturday vigil, not covering the whole night, but usually beginning soon after midnight, ending at the dawn office. So from this practice of staying up once a year, Sunday wasn't fixed as the Lord's date immediately,


but as soon as that got fixed to have a Paschal character of memory of the Resurrection, then began the practice of staying up all night on every Saturday, or doing this vigil every Saturday, to celebrate the Lord's Resurrection, anticipate the Lord's Resurrection. Later on, in the era of the martyrs, this shortened vigil service, where they would meet in the early hours of the morning, celebrate Eucharist ending with the dawn office, would be extended then to also the anniversaries of the martyrs. Not celebrated in the church, but celebrated outside the walls, or in the cemetery where the martyrs were buried. So this is the beginning of our office of vigils. First in Paschal character, for celebrating just on Holy Saturday. Secondly, when Sunday gets fixed as a commemoration of the Resurrection.


And thirdly, I'm so sorry. I'm really coming in and out here. When Sunday gets established, then it would be practiced every Saturday. And then when the martyrs, during the era of the martyrs, they would start celebrating this vigil at the graves of the martyrs. Also. Before it would expand out to the rest of the church. We have some other evidence of these kind of things. Also in the Apostolic Constitutions, which I just mentioned. Have you ever heard of Egeria? Egeria's diary? You've heard of that? There was a nun, a sister, a religious of some sort, from the 4th century, who went... She was from Spain or from Gaul, and she went to visit all the holy places east, on pilgrimage, and she wrote a long travel diary. And she left to tell what all the liturgies were like in all the different places she went.


Sounds like something I would do. Send it back home. Guess what they do with their candles here. So, we have a lot of evidence from her as to what was going on by the time of the 4th century, in Jerusalem especially. So put Egeria and the Apostolic Constitutions together, and by her time, we see that there's, in addition to daily morning prayer and evening prayer, she mentions this weekly nighttime vigil that was held to celebrate the Lord's Day in many of the local churches throughout the Mediterranean world. She even goes on to tell us what was in them, what these were like. These vigils would typically include three responsorial psalms or canicles, which would represent, commemorate the three-day entombment of Jesus, intercessions, incensation,


which was recalling the myrrh-bearing women who were anointing the body. The myrrh-bearing women? Yes, you understand. Not that the myrrh was bearing the women. Myrrh-bearing women. Women bearing myrrh. Ah! And then the proclamation of the Gospel account of the Lord's resurrection at the end of this vigil, followed by a blessing and a dismissal. And in time, other occasional vigils would be held celebrating this same thing. When I was first here, we used to do this one practice at vigils on Sunday. I'll just tell you about it so you remember this. We would read the Gospel of the Resurrection at the end of vigils. Now on Sundays, we read one of the Gospels of the Resurrection at Lodz every day. When I was first here, the way this vigil was originally designed


was to read the Gospel of the Resurrection at the end of the Sunday vigil instead of the Gospel of the day. And I'm quite convinced that this is why it was designed that way. I just assume this was to go back to that earliest sense of what the vigil was about, waiting for the Lord's resurrection. Now, the person before myself who was playing the readings decided that we should have the Gospel of the day there instead, since the first two readings lead up to it, and do the Resurrection Gospel at Lodz, which works okay, too. But if you put that in mind, then you understand what that vigil is meant to be, especially on Sunday, to always have that Paschal character celebrating the Lord's resurrection. That, of course, then blends into all the vigil services. There's some of that characteristic of waiting for the Lord's resurrection whenever we celebrate vigils. So you see, by this time, we have the basis of all the hours we celebrate


already, for sure by the 3rd century, but all the evidence is very early on in the 1st and 2nd century. We have this gathering, this almost juridical gathering in the morning and the evening. We have some evidence of 3, 6, and 9. We have evidence of vigils going on. Now, a little more about the development, then, of the little hours, the 3, 6, and 9. They were sort of growing up quietly and apart from the official round of public worship. Some say this also is derived from the Jewish custom of going to the temple at the 3rd, the 6th, and the 9th hour, because you saw even there a mention of going to the temple or going to the synagogue at that hour. Now, I'll agree again that this is the case, that there's a Jewish basis to this. But the custom began


to be made more prominent by devout Christians of leisure. I like that phrase. Think of us as devout Christians of leisure. Groups who were known as virgins and celibates, who are, of course, the ancestors to at least one monastic tradition. Some people who had declared themselves celibates or virgins for the sake of the kingdom would have a little more leisure and began gathering very early on together for prayer at these traditional hours on weekdays. Either in private, they would pray these prayers, or they would gather together in church. Now, it's these groups in monastic history, we see some of these groups would begin to withdraw from the city and form some of the first monastic centers. And these three hours would be added on


to these first monastic communities as part of their regular curses, as part of their regular schedule, that in addition to the morning prayer and evening prayer, they would pray officially together at the third, the sixth, and the nine hour. And they eventually became known then by the Latin name of Tertia, Sexta, Nona. In these first monastic settings, at least, their purpose was to punctuate the working day with hours of prayer, with times of prayer. Not to stop the working day, but to punctuate with hours of prayer in order to foster this unceasing prayer. By the middle of the fourth century, they start to become part of the prayer said in common in some traditions, but it'll take a while for them to become part of some others. But let's go back again once to the third century.


We have sources from Egypt, from Egyptian Christianity from origin, Clement of Alexandria, of Alexandria. From there also, that suggests a pattern of prayer both at morning, noon, and evening. So there's a pattern of three times a day of prayer. Clement of Alexandria writes of the custom of praying also at the third, the sixth, and the ninth hour of the day, as well as morning, evening, and night. So there you have six in Alexandria. Tertullian and Cyprian, this would be North Africa, as well as the document, the Apostolic Tradition, which is presumably of Roman origin, so you have North Africa and Rome, write of a pattern that will start to become a standard schedule by the fourth century, which is prayer on rising at the third, the sixth, and the ninth hour, at the hour of retiring, and during the ninth. So, by the third century, you have six hours a day


in some of the Christian communities. This Apostolic Tradition was generally held to be the work of Hippolytus. You may have heard some mention of that before. That's a detailed description of rites and practices, presumably from Rome. Then we have Tertullian, who was this passionate representative of Christianity, also in North Africa. He was martyred in 225. In his writing, he regards prayer in the morning and in the evening as, he calls them the orationis legitimae, the ones of major importance, prayers of some of such fundamental importance that to him they possess what amounts to a prescriptive force of law that the Christians should pray in morning and evening. Though for him, too, the supreme law of Christian prayer is continual prayer of the heart. The Christian is one who prays at all times and everywhere. Like others, Tertullian attempted


to give symbolic explanations of why Christians pray at certain hours. I'm going to bring this next week. There's a section in the R.B., in the appendix in the R.B., that talks about that. He also mentions the three, six, and nine, and says they're best set in common, but he doesn't regard them completely as juridical obligations. He calls, again, morning and evening to be the orationis legitimae. And then, of course, St. Cyprian, who died in 258. He writes in the morning prayer is the commemoration of the Lord's resurrection, and evening prayer looks forward to his eschatological coming. So all these church fathers are giving a different spin on why we're doing this, but to all of them, you're seeing that it's very important. In his famous treatise on the Lord's Prayer, Cyprian also has different interpretations of the sixth and the ninth hour,


other than the ones we already saw. He has one that's based on the trinity, the three, six, and nine for each person in the trinity, and another that seems to be a combination of what Triturian and Hippolytus say. And then Hippolytus, in the apostolic tradition, he relates the prayer hours to events surrounding the Passion of Jesus. Again, there's evidence of this still left in the Liturgy of the Hours now. Daytime prayer on Friday. So after the mid-morning reading the prayer is, Lord Jesus, at this hour you were led out to die on the cross for the salvation of the world. At midday prayer, Lord Jesus Christ, at noon, when darkness covered all the earth, you mounted the wood of the cross as the innocent victim for our redemption. At mid-afternoon prayer, Lord Jesus, you brought the repentant thief from the sufferings on the cross to the joy of your kingdom. So, this tradition has stayed with us, has followed all the way through in the Roman office,


from these fathers giving certain spins, certain meanings to the Liturgy of the Hours. There are only scattered references to the contents of this prayer of this time. But what do we find? It's not going to be any big surprise. We find biblical psalms and canicles. We do start to find some non-scriptural hymns, but I know this from music history that non-scriptural hymns were held in great suspicion in the early days of Christianity. They didn't want to sing anything that wasn't have scriptural base to it. It's St. Ambrose who will finally break that wide open. And it's St. Benedict who will bring that into the custom of celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours and having Ambrosian hymns sung. The big revolution there, of course, is that it's not Scripture. Tertullian, the apostolic tradition, both write of a ritual


surrounding the lighting of the evening lamps. Again, symbolizing Christ as the light of the world. That's a precursor to a later ritual we'll see develop called the Lucinarium. And also, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian all mention a practice of the orientation in prayer, meaning that they always refer to always praying facing east, suggesting both, again, the rising of the sun and symbolizing the risen Christ expected to come again. For centuries, Christian churches were built so that the priest with his face in the same direction of the assembly would be facing east as well. So, both morning and evening prayer times, at least for some Christian communities,


evoke the mystery of Jesus' Passover from death to life. This theme is woven throughout these practices. Some other... I think I've given you all that already. So, up to there, some conclusions. First of all, the custom of public or private prayer at definite times of the day or night was meant to be a reinforcement of the principle of incessant prayer, of ceaseless prayer. Two, the earliest church fathers acknowledged these times as very serious, if not juridically obligatory for Christians to pray at certain fixed times of day. And three, these were not the preserves of clerics and monks, these hours, but part of every Christian's


efforts to pray constantly. I want to do just this little explanation of some of the terms, because from here on out, the terms are going to get confusing. So, sometimes this night office that's developing is going to be called Matins. This is the name that the Anglicans are going to adapt and keep. That word is derived, which was a surprise to me, from the Latin name for the Greek goddess of the dawn. Did anybody else know that one? That was a great little piece of information whose name was Matuta. Did you know that? I figured you would know that. So, the basic meaning of the night office is this idea of being connected with the dawn. No, this is where it gets very confusing. It was first used for the dawn office,


not the night office, which was the night office... Here's where it all gets confusing. The morning office was originally called Matutine Laudis, morning praises, and the night office was called just... I'm sorry, all over again. It was first used for the dawn office, not for the night office. It was described as Matutine Laudis. The night office, from early on, was referred to as a vigil or a nocturne. Sometimes it was even called the tenebrae. All these titles stressing night, not morning. Later on, the night office is going to get changed to the name of matins, at a time when the vigil office in the Roman basilicals was no longer said during the night, but very early in the morning. See, they keep shifting it. If you try to keep this all straight, it's not going to work.


And was followed immediately by the dawn office, making it one single hour. So they put the whole thing together. But eventually the Anglicans are going to take the name matins and keep it for that office. And the dawn office, which is originally known as Matutine Laudis, gets shortened just to the word laudis, laudis. And the reason that's called laudis is because it recalls the characteristic feature of that office, which was... praise. But why, specifically, is because traditionally, Psalm 148, 149, and 150, from the earliest times up until 1911, always formed the conclusion of morning prayer, 48, 49, 50. And the characteristic of those three psalms is the first word of it is praise. That's right. So it took its name from that. If you'll notice...


At least for the Holy Weekend treatment, that's what they did down at St. Joseph's. They did all three psalms at the end. Isn't that interesting? How about that? Now if you'll notice, in our office we have retained kind of that. Every one of our closing psalms is a praise psalm, and 148, 149, and 150 are always used as a concluding psalm for one of the... Each one of those is used also in that same place. So, these morning offices, originally this vigil office is called Matutine Laudis. But, eventually this will become, in our tradition, will become known as nocturnes or vigils. And this dawn office is called Laudis instead. But the Anglicans will retrain this name Matins for sure. You'll still see that referred to as Matins from time to time. When I was staying with the Holy Cross, I didn't know what office they were talking about. They kept referring to Matins, and I figured it was the dawn office. But in a lot of traditions


these two would get pressed together. Again, that's Anglican usage too. They would say the two offices together. Now we're soon going to be... Next week we're going to be talking about the beginnings of the Egyptian hermits and the Pacomians. I'm going to talk mostly about their liturgical practice. But, we have to understand right away that the Egyptian hermits and the Pacomians didn't give a great emphasis to liturgy in their life. These first desert monks. It was not that important to them. The greater emphasis was on private prayer and on private asceticism. And the prayer of the Psalms was a much more personal interior thing than could ever, in their mind, be conveyed by a celebration of the whole community. But, while that type of monasticism was growing up, another form was growing, which we just mentioned briefly here.


And that was from these celibates and virgins. They did not entail such a radical break with the world as these Egyptian monks did. This would be much more an urban type monasticism. It would grow up in Rome and in centers in Jerusalem as well. These monks, these monastics, tended to live within the framework of the sacramental and liturgical institutions of the existing Christian communities. I just got an article out of the paper about this. The Order of Virgins was considered an order equivalent as the Order of Deacons. It was a recognized order within the Church. They considered one of the... They would have their own special garb also to wear to liturgy, as a deacon would have a stole. There are people who talk about not celebrating virgins because they think it's insulting to women. Well, the thing is, it was a recognized order and is still a recognized


order in the Church. The Order of Virgins has been reconstituted since the Vatican Council. So, at this time, the Liturgy of the Hours as we're seeing is considered the work of the people of God, but the folks we're speaking of here, these early monastics, are those who voluntarily chose to be ascetics and virgins, clustered around basilicas often, especially in Rome, and they didn't have any involvement with the responsibilities of family or property and were free to spend more time in prayer. These were the people who the monastics, and this is why I bring this up, who made liturgical prayer the basis of their devotion and wove it into the fabric of their lives, liturgical prayer. What they would tend to do then is take the prayers that were already existing for popular practice and first of all, they lengthened them,


extended them, but also brought them into their more stable form, these earliest of the monastics, both men and women. These are the ones also who are going to be responsible for transforming that occasional night vigil into a regular office every day and made the little hours a public practice rather than a private one. As we'll see a little bit down the road too, they're also going to introduce both prime and compline. That's a good break for me. I hope some of that made some sense. Is there anything I can clarify for you on that? Yes, David. Expectation of waiting in vigil for Christ to come again. And also,


they take on different meanings to different people. In some traditions, it's also celebrating death itself, waiting for death itself, as we say that in Compline, of course, now. I'm trying to get a picture of the early church in terms of community. For all these hours, would there be a church bell ringing in public? We just don't know. In the first centuries, it was a domestic church. It's not quite clear where they gathered, but we have a book on that that shows some things that were excavated that were thought to be Christian community centers. This is considered the domestic church, so people of some more means would dedicate their villas to the gatherings of Christians. These perhaps would be the basis of how Christian churches were built later with the garden gathering area. That kind of thing I couldn't be much more


specific on, but it's definitely domestic church we're talking here. The letter of James is referred to your synagogue as if we think the Christians already had some kind of synagogue, some kind of gathering place. How we meant that word, we don't know. In the later church history, was there any time that we know of where all these hours were practiced by the community at large? Certainly, yeah. These earliest monastics were clustering around basilicas in the 4th century. They would also be the basis, the ancestors of the canons who would be monks who were living in affiliation with a cathedral and the bells would ring. Their main job would be to pray so that everybody could come and join in the prayer or come and listen to them pray. As you hear mentioned with some of these church fathers, they were considered juridical obligation almost to the extent of juridically


obliged that the Christians would gather to pray every day at morning and evening. Whether they had a bell or not, I don't know. I was just thinking I was in Muslim countries, I was in the Maldives a couple years ago. There they also pray five times a day and it's for the whole public so the television stops, the weather programs stop, people close their shops, go to prayer five times a day. It's broadcast over speakers and it's really quite incredible. It's like the whole society stops and you get this sense of a break from everyday life and let's pray. It's really powerful. Okay. Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, it is now, and it shall be, world without end. Amen. Thank you.