Monday, March 13, 2017

The opening section of Matins/1 - The opening prayers: the rubrics




Image result for venite exultemus domino
c1460-70
MS W 190, Digital Walters


In the aforesaid winter season, there is first the versicle Domine labia mea aperies et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam to be said three times; then must follow the third psalm and the Gloria; then the ninety-fourth psalm to be chanted with an antiphon, or at any rate to be chanted. Let the hymn follow next…

Rule of St Benedict, chapter 9


This week I want to look at the opening section of Matins.  I'll mostly be using the example of a Sunday in Lent for illustrative purposes.

The structure of the opening section of Matins

As I've noted previously, the structure of this section, viz the opening prayer for the hour, Psalm 3, Psalm 94 and the hymn, is always the same, whether on Sundays, feasts or weekdays.

Sunday Matins
Festal Matins
Weekdays
                                                     Opening prayer – Domine mea aperies
                                                     Psalm 3 (without antiphon)
                                                     Psalm 94 (with responsorial verse)
                                                    Hymn (of day, season or feast)


Finding Sunday Matins

You can find Sunday Matins either:
  • on Divinum Officium  - set the calendar to 3-12-2017, select Matutinum, pre-Trident monastic;
  • at the start of the Clear Creek booklet; 
  • page 1 of Monastic Breviary Matins; or 
  • in your breviary. 

Using a breviary
If you have a breviary, look for the section labelled Dominica ad Matutinum (Sunday at Matins), in the psalter section of the book (probably near the front).  

Before Matins


Many of the books will instruct you to say the Our Father (Pater Noster), Hail Mary (Ave Maria) and Creed (Credo) silently before the opening prayers of the hour.

These are not actually in the rubrics of the 1963 Office, so you do not have to say them, but of course you can say them silently if you wish by way of preparation for the hour.

O God come to my aid?


In many older books, the standard opening prayer for the Office, the verse Deus in adjutorium...then follows.  There is an argument for this, and it is a great prayer, but it isn't included in the 1963 breviary, and in my view this is a good reform.

The verse that St Benedict actually specifies to be used, O Lord open my lips that my mouth proclaim your praise, has a particular appropriateness, given that in a monastery, in theory at least, these are the first words spoken of the day, ending the great silence that starts after Compline.  Fitting then, that the first words of the monk or nun each day should be a re-commitment to the vocation of praise of God.

O Lord open my lips: the rubrics


In choir, everyone stands for the opening of Matins.

If you are saying it by yourself, you don't have to follow the various postures, but it is a good idea to do so if you can.

The rubrics state that unless otherwise specified, Matins opens with the verse Domine labia mea aperies... said three times (ie invoking the Trinity) while making the sign of the cross on one's lips with the thumb.

Divinum Officium indicates this as follows:

Incipit
V. Dómine, lábia  mea apéries. Et os meum annuntiábit laudem tuam.
V. Dómine, lábia  mea apéries. Et os meum annuntiábit laudem tuam.
V. Dómine, lábia  mea apéries. Et os meum annuntiábit laudem tuam.

Start
V. O Lord,  open thou my lips. And my mouth shall declare thy praise.
V. O Lord,  open thou my lips. And my mouth shall declare thy praise.
V. O Lord,  open thou my lips. And my mouth shall declare thy praise.

The chant tones

The Liber Responsorialis, which I will talk about more in due course, suggests that the opening prayer should just be sung on one note.  A number of recordings, however, suggest more elaborate tones are also used, particularly on feasts.





Version with Domine then organum Deus in adjutoriuum:






1 comment:

  1. Thank you for all this beautiful stuff you're putting on the internet.

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