GILH 169-172: Responsories

We read that the responsory has been drawn from tradition or it has been newly composed for the modern praying of the LH:

169. Its responsory follows the biblical reading in the office of readings. The text of this responsory has been drawn from traditional sources or freshly composed,

  • … in order to throw new light on the passage just read,
  • … put it in the context of the history of salvation,
  • … lead from the Old Testament to the New,
  • … turn what has been read into prayer and contemplation,
  • … or provide pleasant variety by its poetic beauty.

170. A pertinent responsory also follows the second reading. It is less closely linked with the text of the reading, however, and thus makes for a greater freedom in meditation.

171. The responsories and the portions to be repeated even in private recitation therefore retain their value. The customary reprise of the whole responsory may be omitted when the office is not being sung, unless the sense requires this repetition.

172. In a similar but simpler way, the responsory at morning prayer, evening prayer, and night prayer (see nos. 49 and 89), and the verse at daytime prayer, are linked to the short reading as a kind of acclamation, enabling God’s word to enter more deeply into the mind and heart of the one listening or reading.

I have to confess I never found much spiritual help in these. The short readings of Lauds and Vespers often contain that one focus, and a period of silence strikes me as a better solution for me and for a parish community than the scramble to make some kind of vocal response.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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