I know some of us have the Liturgy of the Hours and the Liturgical Calendar down pat, but this post is for those who, like me, are still confused and wonder sometimes why we are where we are in Christian Prayer and suffer confusion with some of the terms and language used.
I wrote on January 2 about the high frequency of Psalms 63 and 149 showing up in Morning Prayer (Why These Psalms), but I’d like to say a little more about them and about the associated canticle from Daniel 3 and the solemnities and feasts that are the occasions of their use.
We don’t encounter them that often on Wednesday mornings, but they are by far the most common and most frequent readings in Morning Prayer. Every time Christian Prayer instructs us, “Psalms and canticle from Sunday, Week I, 707,” we are going to be praying these words.
In summary, they are used for:
- Every Week 1 Sunday (13 times per year).
- All Solemnities and Feasts.
- The six days following Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.
Note: For information on the differences between Solemnities and Feasts, look HERE. There is another category, Memorials, which does not rate the special readings.
So, those three readings are used for Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours fifty to sixty days a year or about 15% of the days. No others get that kind of use except the Invitatories and the Benedictus.
Solemnities and Feasts
Here is the list of Solemnities and Feasts for 2018, few of which happen to fall on our Wednesday meeting days. I know we all know what HDO stands for! Solemnities outrank Feasts and therefore get the larger font.
This is a beautiful and poetic Psalm, and it is easy to see the value of praying it on a regular basis, so long as only verses 2-9 are used. And those are the only verses in the Morning Prayer, an editor somewhere, sometime, having decided to omit verses 10-12 about my enemies coming to ruin, going down to the netherworld, and being prey of jackals. The mouths of liars being shut doesn’t sound so bad, but picking out the liars is not always easy. Here are the words; read them and pray, at least through verse 9. Check out the footnotes.
This Psalm starts on a high note about praising the LORD and about the relationship of the people of Israel with the LORD. But the last few verses, which are still part of Morning Prayer, descend into talk of retribution, punishment, shackles, etc. I’m surprised those were not excluded as were the last three of Psalm 63. Footnotes are included in the screenshot below.
These are beautiful words from Daniel, labeled Prayer of Azariah, about all of creation blessing the LORD. These verses are not in the Hebrew Bible and therefore are not a part of the Protestant Canon. They were part of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, used by Greek-speaking people at the time of Jesus. They are, therefore, part of the Catholic Canon of Sacred Scripture. It is always a pleasure to pray these words, wondering if anything got left out.
A footnote in The Catholic Study Bible says of Daniel 3:24-90, “These verses are additions to the Aramaic text of Daniel, translated from the Greek form of the book. They were probably first composed in Hebrew or Aramaic, but are no longer extant in the original language. The Roman Catholic Church has always regarded them as part of the canonical Scriptures.”