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RE: Antiphons in Daytime Prayer Grant Saturday, September 11, 2010


Bro. Ignatius Mary:

Many thanks for your help on the antiphons for Daytime Prayer in the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, I am still confused about one specific issue.

Unlike the other antiphons which are given before each individual psalm, those listed for each specific hour, i.e. Midmorning, etc., appear only once before the entire set of Psalms.

What structure does this require for the Psalmody? When one needs to use these antiphons, does one say it before the first psalm (119:33-40) and then say the Glory to the Father and the antiphon again only at the end of the third (34 II), or does one say the antiphon and the Glory to the Father with each individual psalm?

I was doing the latter but had a nagging feeling I may be doing it wrong as it repeats that same antiphon over and over for three consecutive psalms.

Question Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OMSM(r)

Dear Grant:

Well, since I have never prayed the Little Office, and there doesn't seem to be any Instructions that I can find, I am not sure of an answer to your question.

I have found two styles of doing the Little Office:

1) uses the antiphon specific to the hour as the antiphon for Psalm 119, and then the antiphon located with part I and II of Psalm 34.

2) uses the antiphon specific to the hour, then says all of the psalmody, and then ends by repeating the antiphon.

Even with those examples it is still confusing as, for example, concerning #1, why have a antiphon associated specifically with Psalm 119 if the antiphons for the hour are to be said for Psalm 119?

With #2, why then any of the antiphons specific to the psalm?

In the regular Divine Office there is an antiphon with each Psalm, even in the One Volume editions.

I guess that if I was going to pray the Little Office, I would say the antiphon for the hour before the Psalm 119 and then the antiphon listed with Psalm 34 I and II, respectively.

It is standard, when praying the hour in choir style, to end the Psalm with the Glory to the Father... and the As it was in the beginning... followed by the repetition of that Psalm's antiphon. I do it this way even when by myself as it makes for the poetic and lyrical symmetry to which the Divine Office is designed. I also sing it even when alone for the same reason. Besides St. Augustine said that when we sing a prayer, we pray twice.

In private recitation, however, the Glory to the Father, et al. is still said after each Psalm or division of a single Psalm (as in Psalm 34), but the antiphon need not be repeated if one chooses.

God Bless,
Bro. Ignatius Mary