GILH 55: Office of Readings

After Morning and Evening Prayer comes the Office of Readings, taking up sub section III of GILH’s Chapter II.

What exactly is the Office of Readings?

55. The office of readings seeks to provide God’s people, and in particular those consecrated to God in a special way, with a wider selection of passages from sacred Scripture for meditation, together with the finest excerpts from spiritual writers. Even though the cycle of scriptural readings at daily Mass is now richer, the treasures of revelation and tradition to be found in the office of readings will also contribute greatly to the spiritual life. Bishops and priests in particular should prize these treasures, so that they may hand on to others the word of God they have themselves received and make their teaching “the true nourishment for the people of God.” [RP, Ordination of Priests no. 14. ]

It is important to note that the Office of Readings deepens the expansion of the liturgical experience of the Bible. It also includes selections from outside of the canon of Scripture. Is the OoR mainly about knowledge? To some degree, I would say. For bishops and clergy, the point of praying the OoR is to deepen their own experience so as to be able to nourish others.

How many clergy out there find this to be so? How many laity are aware of their pastors bringing this background to their catechesis and homilies?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to GILH 55: Office of Readings

  1. Dustin says:

    Prime, before it was suppressed, included excerpts from the Martyrology. Have these been moved to the Office of Readings, or are they now entirely gone?

  2. Dustin says:

    Speaking of the Martyrology, one of its entries for Prime of October 4 in Pius X’s breviary commemmorates:

    In Egypt, the holy martyrs Mark and Marcian, brothers, and an almost countless number of both sexes and of all ages, who merited the blessed crown of martyrdom, some after being scourged, others when they had suffered horrible torment, and others after being delivered to the flames. Some were cast into the sea, some others were beheaded; many were starved to death; many were fastened to gibbets; and others again were suspended by the feet with their heads downward. (I hope the Liturgia Horarum has kept stuff like this.)

    And of course, in both the former and current calendar, it’s also the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

    I’ll also note that I’ve just discovered, to my great regret, that the individuals responsible for the otherwise wonderful are sedevacantist.

  3. Darwin says:


    From what I can tell, much if not all of this colorful stuff is gone in the Office of Readings. What we have instead is a veritable treasure trove of reading from the Fathers and Saints own writings. (There’s been a lot of St. Augustine the last few weeks.)

    Though I’ve got a fondness for the pre-Pius X psalter’s general arrangement and feel, I think the move from sometimes rather over-the-top (and I think there was worry in some cases wildly inaccurate) writings on the saints to a focus on writings _by_ the saints is a very good one. The former is certainly entertaining, but it’s hard to see reading more of the works in the new OoR as a bad thing.

    I feel with you on the folks. They have an ebook for sale which I very badly want – a copy of a 1930s manual on praying the breviary, but I can’t in good conscience give even 10.99 to people who advertise their product:

    Since Fr. Bernard Hausmann, S.J. first wrote this definitive set of instructions for the Divine Office, the Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church has seen a gradual onslaught by her enemies that has resulted in the almost complete obliteration of the Catholic Breviary. The pathetic substitutes used by the Novus Ordo Church and the 1962 “traditionalists” bear little if any resemblance to the true Catholic liturgy used before the masonic-inspired “reforms” of the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

    Though their ignorance of history also strikes me, in that the first big re-oranization of the psalms (which moved the morning psalms from which its name derived out of Lauds) was actually under Piux X in 1911.

  4. Darwin says:

    The point of which being, BTW, not to knock St. Pius X, but rather to point out that the problem with the thinking of these schismatics is that there have _always_ been developments in liturgy, discipline and doctrine in the Church. This is not some new “modernist” tendency. Indeed, I was reading the other day in Campbell’s _From Breviary to Liturgy of the Hours_ that the changes that Pius X made in 1911 were indeed changes that had been discussed since the late 1700s. There’s simply no bottom to the “Trad” rabbit hole if one starts diving down it full speed.

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