Archive for the 'Liturgy of the Hours' Category

The Easter Season in the Liturgy of the Hours

From the General Instruction of the LOTH for the Easter season:

214. The liturgy of the hours takes on a paschal character from the acclamation, Alleluia that concludes most antiphons (see no. 120), from the hymns, antiphons, and special intercessions, and from the proper readings assigned to each hour.

Beginning of the Easter Season

May all of you have a happy and blessed Easter season.

Liturgy of the Hours Holy Saturday Homily- The Office of Readings

Text of the homily taken from Universalis.

From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Good Friday Homilies from the Divine Office

Liturgy of the Hours Homily in the Office of Readings:

From the Catecheses by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop

If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. “Sacrifice a lamb without blemish,” commanded Moses, “and sprinkle its blood on your doors.” If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.
If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy Eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.
“There flowed from his side water and blood.” Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolised baptism and the holy Eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, “the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit,” and from the holy Eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: “Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!” As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.
Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.

From Matins in the Traditional Breviary:

From the Treatise of St Augustin, Bishop

Thou hast hidden me from the secret counsel of the wicked, from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity. Now let us fix our eyes upon our Head. Many martyrs have. suffered such things as He suffered, but God’s hiding of His suffering servants is not so well seen in the Martyrs, as it is in the Captain of the Martyrs. And it is in Him that we best see how it fared with them. He was hidden from the secret counsel of the wicked; hidden by God, being Himself God; hidden, as touching the Manhood, by God the Son, and the very Manhood, Which is taken into God the Son; because He is the Son of man, and He is the Son of; God Son of God, as being in the form of God; Son of man, as having taken upon Him the form of a servant, Whose life no man taketh from Him, but Who layeth it down of Himself. He hath power to lay it down, and He hath power to take it again. What then was all that they which hated Him could do? They could kill the Body, but they were not able to kill the Soul. Consider this very earnestly. It had been a small thing for the Lord to preach to the Martyrs by His word, if He had not also nerved them by His example.

We know what secret counsel was that of the wicked Jews, and what insurrection was that of the workers of iniquity. Of what iniquity were they the workers? The murder of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many good works, saith He, have I showed you for which of those works go ye about to kill Me? He had borne with all their weaknesses : He had healed all their diseases : He had preached unto them the kingdom of heaven : He had discovered to them their iniquities, that they might rather hate them, than the Physician That came to cure them. And now at last, without gratitude for all the tenderness of His healing love, like men raging in an high delirium, throwing themselves madly on the Physician, Who had come to cure them, they took counsel together how they might kill Him, as if to see if He were a Man and could die, or Something more than a man, and That would not let Himself die. In the Wisdom of Solomon we recognize their words, (ii. 18, 19, 20,) Let us condemn Him with a shameful death Let us examine Him; for, by His own saying, He shall be respected. If He be the Son of God, let Him help Him.

They what heir tongue like a sword. The Jews cannot say : We did not murder Christ albeit they gave Him over to Pilate His judge, that they themselves might seem free of His death. For when! Pilate said unto them, Take ye Him: and kill Him, they answered, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death. They could throw the’ blame of their sin upon a human judge : but did they deceive God, the Great Judge? In that which Pilate did, he was their accomplice, but in comparison with them, he had far the lesser sin. Pilate strove as far as he could, to deliver Him out of their hands; for the which reason also he scourged Him, and brought Him forth to them He scourged not the Lord for cruelty’s sake, but in the hope that; he might so slake their wild thirst for blood: that, perchance, even they might be touched with compassion, and cease to lust for His death, when they saw What He was after the flagellation. Even this effort he made.! But when Pilate saw that he could not prevail, but that rather a tumult was made, ye know how that he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this Just Person. And yet he delivered Him to be crucified! But if he were guilty who did it against his will, were they innocent; who goaded him on to it? No. Pilate gave sentence against Him. and commanded Him to be crucified. But ye, O ye Jews, ye also are His murderers! Wherewith? With your tongue, whetted like a sword. And when? But when ye cried, Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

Maundy Thursday in the Liturgy of the Hours- Homily

Text of the homily taken from Universalis.

From an Easter homily by Saint Melito of Sardis, bishop

 

There was much proclaimed by the prophets about the mystery of the Passover: that mystery is Christ, and to him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
For the sake of suffering humanity he came down from heaven to earth, clothed himself in that humanity in the Virgin’s womb, and was born a man. Having then a body capable of suffering, he took the pain of fallen man upon himself; he triumphed over the diseases of soul and body that were its cause, and by his Spirit, which was incapable of dying, he dealt man’s destroyer, death, a fatal blow.
He was led forth like a lamb; he was slaughtered like a sheep. He ransomed us from our servitude to the world, as he had ransomed Israel from the hand of Egypt; he freed us from our slavery to the devil, as he had freed Israel from the hand of Pharaoh. He sealed our souls with his own Spirit, and the members of our body with his own blood.
He is the One who covered death with shame and cast the devil into mourning, as Moses cast Pharaoh into mourning. He is the One who smote sin and robbed iniquity of offspring, as Moses robbed the Egyptians of their offspring. He is the One who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be his own for ever. He is the Passover that is our salvation.
It is he who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonoured in the prophets.
It is he who was made man of the Virgin, he who was hung on the tree; it is he who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of his was broken; in the earth his body knew no decay. He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.

The Liturgy of the Hours during the Easter Triduum

From the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours for the Easter Triduum.

EASTER TRIDUUM

208. For the Easter triduum the office is celebrated in the way set forth in the Proper of Seasons.

209. Those who take part in the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper or the celebration of the Lord’s passion on Good Friday do not say evening prayer on either day.

210. On Good Friday and Holy Saturday the office of readings should be
celebrated publicly with the people before morning prayer, as far as this is possible.

211. Night prayer for Holy Saturday is said only by those who are not present at the Easter Vigil.

212. The Easter Vigil takes the place of the office of readings. Those not present at the solemn celebration of the Vigil should therefore read at least four of its readings with the chants and prayers. It is desirable that these be the readings from Exodus, Ezekiel, St. Paul, and from the Gospel. The Te Deum follows, then the prayer of the day.

213. Morning prayer for Easter Sunday is said by all. It is fitting that evening prayer be celebrated in a more solemn way to mark the ending of so holy a day and to commemorate the occasions when the Lord showed himself to his disciples. Great care should be taken to maintain, where it exists, the particular tradition of celebrating evening prayer on Easter Sunday in honor of baptism.
During this there is a procession to the font as the psalms are being sung.

Palm Sunday

In the Liturgy of the Hours today, we read a homily by Saint Andrew of Crete in the Office of Readings. (Homily text taken from Universalis.

Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity.
Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.
In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens – the proof, surely, of his power and godhead – his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.
So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptised into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.


LOTH Tutorial In Progress….

You can view the finished lessons of the LOTH Tutorial HERE.

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