O Lord, open our lips…

I have to admit it, that the worst part of parishLife is the solitary Office: the grind of morning and evening prayer on your own. Yes, there is the beauty of the psalmody, and yes it is an opportunity for silent reflection, but frankly, I have always found it hard work: my faith does not exist in isolation, it MUST be in participation with others and this is why I would be useless on a desert island with only the Breviary to keep me company.

However, once a week, all this is changed, and this morning I was so much more struck by it. Each Monday morning a group of ladies join me for Mattins. There are about 5 of them, and it fills me much such joy to reconnect with the cycle of daily prayer in their company.

There is a vitality to the recitation of the Office, the words of joy spring to life, and the intercessions, at times raw and at times poignant are really invigorating. I come away uplifted and ready for the tasks ahead of me for the morning, and let them get on with their Opus Dei, the cleaning of the Church.

We use the small (and cheap) Shorter Office Books, and to accompany it I have a laminated card with the following on it to help those unfamiliar with the Divine Office. It saves a lot of the flicking to the front and the back for the Venite and the Benedictus, along with the Anthems to Our Lady at the back of the card. I have printed it here for your use, and if you would like the publisher file, email me.

O Lord open our lips
and we shall praise your name

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. world without end. Amen.

opening antiphon for the day/season/festival

Venite

(Psalm 95 also on the inside front of the book)

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the God who saves us.
Let us come before him giving thanks,
with songs let us hail the Lord 

A mighty God is the Lord,
a great king above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his.
To him belongs the sea for he made it,
and the dry land shaped by his hands.
 

Come in; let us bow and bend low;
let us kneel before the God who made us
for he is our God and we
the people that belong to his pasture,
the flock that is lead by his hand. 

O that today you would listen to his voice!
‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
on that day at Massah in the desert
when your fathers put me to the test;
when they tried me, though they saw my work.
 

For forty years I was wearied of these people
and I said: “Their hearts are astray,
these people do not know my ways.”
Then I took an oath in my anger:
“Never shall they enter my rest.”‘ 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. world without end. Amen.

Opening antiphon, then the Psalms of the day with their respective antiphons.

The Holy Scripture appointed for the day is then read followed by the responsory which includes:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Benedictus Antiphon for the day/season/festival

The Benedictus

(Luke 1:67-79 also on inside back of the book)

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has visited his people and redeemed them.

He has raised up for us a mighty saviour
in the house of David his servant,
as he promised by the lips of holy men,
those who were his prophets from of old.

A saviour who would free us from our foes,
from the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our fathers is fulfilled
and his holy covenant remembered.

He swore to Abraham our father to grant us,
that free from fear,
and saved from the hands of our foes,
we might serve him in holiness and justice
all the days of our life in his presence.

As for you little child,
you shall be called a prophet of God,
the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord
to prepare his ways before him,

To make known to his people their salvation
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving kindness of the heart of our God
who visits us like the dawn from on high.

He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death,
and guide us into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. world without end. Amen.

Benedictus Antiphon for the day/season/festival followed by intercessions, both from the book and extemporaneously, and the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

The Collect of the day follows.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you

May Almighty God bless us, the +Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Go in the peace of Christ
Thanks be to God.

We may conclude with an anthem to Our Lady:

Alma Redemptoris Mater (Advent to Candlemas)

Mother of Christ, hear thou thy people’s cry,
Star of the deep and portal of the sky!
mother of Him, who thee from nothing made,
sinking we strive and call to thee for aid:
Oh, by that joy which Gabriel brought to thee,
Thou Virgin first and last, let us thy mercy see.

Ave, Regina caelorum (Candlemas to Holy Week)

Hail, Queen of Heaven, beyond compare 
to whom the angels homage pay;
hail, Root of Jesse Gate of light,
that opened for the world’s new day.
Rejoice O Virgin unsurpassed,
in whom our ransom was begun,
for all your loving children pray
to Christ, our Saviour, and your Son. 

Regina Caeli (Eastertide)

Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven. Alleluia!
He whom thou wast meet to bear. Alleluia!
As he promised hath arisen. Alleluia!
Pour for us to God thy prayer. Alleluia!

Salve Regina (Trinity Sunday to Advent)

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy;
Hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope!
To thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, 
thine eyes of mercy towards us;
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

or

Hail our Queen and Mother blest!
Joy when all was sadness,
Life and hope you give mankind,
Mother of our gladness!

Children of the sinful Eve,
Sinless-Eve, befriend us,
Exiled in this vale of tears,
Strength and comfort send us!

Pray for us, O Patroness,
Be our consolation!
Lead us home to see your Son,
Jesus, our salvation!

Gracious are you, full of grace,
Loving us none other,
Joy of heaven and joy of earth,
Mary, God’s own Mother!