Benedict XVI on the Daily Office

There’s a full transcript here of B16’s remarks on the Daily Office made at an Austrian Abbey. My only disappointment in these remarks is that he seems to address them specifically to the ordained and the consecrated. The steady procession through Scripture as mediated by the liturgical year and the constant repetition of the Psalms does not belong only to the consecrated and ordained—it belongs to all Christians and should be encouraged among all Christians.

Even if the pattern presented is less than the 7+1 offices of the monastic rota, I encourage you to make the discipline your own. Posted on my side-bar are links to Anglican and Roman sources for the hours, both contemporary and traditional. Too, the purpose of this page is promoting the Office.

Lastly, here’s a little taste of the Pope’s comments:

Our light, our truth, our goal, our fulfilment, our life – all this is
not a religious doctrine but a person: Jesus Christ. Over and above any
ability of our own to seek and to desire God, we ourselves have already
been sought and desired, and indeed, found and redeemed by him! The
roving gaze of people of every time and nation, of all the
philosophies, religions and cultures, encounters the wide open eyes of
the crucified and risen Son of God; his open heart is the fullness of
love. The eyes of Christ are the eyes of a loving God. The image of the
Crucified Lord above the altar, whose romanesque original is found in
the Cathedral of Sarzano, shows that this gaze is turned to every man
and woman. The Lord, in truth, looks into the hearts of each of us.
The core of monasticism is worship – living like the angels. But since
monks are people of flesh and blood on this earth, Saint Benedict and
Saint Bernardo added to the central command: “pray”, a second command:
“work”. In the mind of Saint Benedict, part of monastic life, along
with prayer, is work: the cultivation of the land in accordance with
the Creator’s will. Thus in every age monks, setting out from their
gaze upon God, have made the earth live-giving and lovely. Their
protection and renewal of creation derived precisely from their looking
to God. In the rhythm of the ora et labora, the community of
consecrated persons bears witness to the God who, in Christ, looks upon
us, while human beings and the world, as God looks upon them, become

8 thoughts on “Benedict XVI on the Daily Office

  1. Christopher


    In my discussions with profs about the Office, in the Roman Church sadly the emphasis still is on the Office as a clergy matter. But I’m none to sure, given my little survey of parishes, that this isn’t the actual situation among Episcopalians as well unless more are praying the Office at home than I would suspect.

  2. Nurse Rached

    The Fathers @ the Second Vatican Council (in ”Sacrosanctum Concilium,” Dec. 1963) encouraged ”the laity”, (IV, 100) to pray the divine office. They also encouraged parish celebration of the principal hours, ”especially Vespers.” Lay participation in divine office isn’t a new thing for RCs. Being a member of what Bishop Ratzinger calls an ”ecclesial community,” I am inclined to disagree with him from time to time. My cousin was in Austria (he is a real Daughter of Trent) thought Josef’s Amazing Technicolor Chasuble was tacky as a yard sale. But he says the Austrian choirs were better than the ones at St. Peter’s in Rome. Yers trooly, Mildred Rached

  3. Nurse Rached

    Maybe these comments were aimed only @ clergy because the Servant of the Servants of God was preachin’ in a monastic setting?

  4. Derek the Ænglican

    I know what SC says–and that he was in a monastic setting. But clearly these words would be transmitted all over, and I expected him to at least make a nod in the direction of the laity…

    Ah well…

    Christopher, I think that more of us are saying them on our own–but I don’t think there’s anything like a critical mass yet; we have our work cut out for us.

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