Sunday, December 18, 2011
Prayer Before and After the Divine Office

As long-time readers will recall, I strive to say the Divine Office (Divinum Officium) daily.  While I typically will not say any of the nocturns of Matins, I will say the office of Lauds & Vespers.  I will also almost always say Sext and None.  Terce is typically difficult to fit in since I usually say Lauds at 8 AM and I miss 9 AM Terce.  But, on a given week, I'll say Terce 3 times.  Compline I will say occasionally but sometimes omit it from my daily prayers and add in devotions instead.

Over time, as I become more fluent and proficient in understanding and navigating the Office, I have seen that the beautiful prayers before and after the Divine Office have fallen into disuse among the vast majority of the Faithful, even when such prayers are graced by blessings and indulgences.

This post is an exhortation to rekindle devotion to these prayers by adding them to your Daily Office, no matter if you pray the 1911, 1955, 1962, or later versions of the Office.

To those who devoutly say, kneeling, the Prayer after the Divine Office, Pope Leo X granted the remission of the defects and faults in its recital arising from human frailty. The prayer must always be said kneeling, even in private recitation, unless illness or grave impediment prevents one from kneeling down.

Prayer Before The Divine Office

Open, O Lord, my mouth to bless thy holy Name; cleanse also my heart from all vain, evil, and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding and kindle my affections; that I may worthily, attentively, and devoutly recite this Hour [or these Hours], and so be meet to be heard before the presence of thy divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, in union with that divine intention wherewith thou, whilst here on earth, didst render praises unto God, I desire to offer this my Office of prayer unto thee.

Latin Version: Aperi, Dómine, os meum ad benedicéndum nomen sanctum tuum: munda quoque cor meum ab ómnibus vanis, pervérsis et aliénis cogitatiónibus; intelléctum illúmina, afféctum inflámma, ut digne, atténte ac devóte hoc Offícium recitáre váleam, et exaudíri mérear ante conspéctum divínæ Majestátis tuæ. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum. Amen. Dómine, in unióne illíus divínæ intentiónis, qua ipse in terris laudes Deo persolvísti, has tibi Horas [vel hanc tibi Horam] persólvo.

Prayer After The Divine Office

To the Most Holy and undivided Trinity, to the Manhood of our Lord Jesus Christ Crucified, to the fruitful Virginity of the most blessed and most glorious Mary, always a Virgin, and to the holiness of all the Saints be ascribed everlasting praise, honour, and glory, by all creatures, and to us be granted the forgiveness of all our sins, world without end.
R. Amen.

V. Blessed be the womb of the Virgin Mary which bore the Son of the Eternal Father.
R. And blessed be the paps which gave suck to Christ our Lord.

Then is said secretly an Our Father and a Hail Mary.

Latin Version: Sacrosánctæ et indivíduæ Trinitáti, crucifíxi Dómini nostri Jesu Christi humanitáti, beatíssimæ et gloriosíssimæ sempérque Vírginis Maríæ fœcúndæ integritáti, et ómnium Sanctórum universitáti sit sempitérna laus, honor, virtus et glória ab omni creatúra, nobísque remíssio ómnium peccatórum, per inifiníta sæcula sæculórum.
R. Amen.

V. Beáta víscera Maríæ Vírginis, quæ portavérunt ætérni Patris Fílium.
R. Et beáta úbera, quæ lactavérunt Christum Dóminum.

Et dicitur secreto Pater noster et Ave María. 

4 comment(s):

del_button December 19, 2011 at 11:53 AM
Br G-M said...

Dear Matthew, I don't think you should worry too much about missing, or alternating the Offices with spiritual reflection, but it is good that more and more people such as yourself are re-finding the Daily Office. The daily prayer of the Church is vital for its true revival.
Br Graham-Michoel

del_button April 8, 2016 at 7:05 PM
Unknown said...

Thank you for your article. I have used these prayers in the past. I find it interesting that you use traditional text for one and contemporary text for the other. What about the use of the Pater, Ave and Credo at the end of Prayer before Office?

del_button November 15, 2019 at 12:00 PM
Matthew said...

CR Cooper, thank you for your comment. I've since replaced the after the Office prayer in English to match the traditional translation. Thank you.

The Pater, Ave, and Credo used to begin some hours (like Prime for instance) under the Divino Afflatu rubrics of Pope St. Pius X. Those ceased by the 1961 Office. They were not in the same sense devotional prayers before the Office but an actual part of the Office itself.

If you pray using the "Divinum Officium" website and choose those older rubrics, you'll see those Paters, Aves, and Credos.

God bless.

del_button January 4, 2020 at 12:49 AM
Anonymous said...

The Anglican Breviary have retained the Pater, Ave, and Credo to begin the hours as can be found in

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