OCF 350-351: Morning and Evening

The OCF references the GILH for the most-appropriate “hinges,” Morning and Evening Prayer:

350. At morning prayer the Christian community recalls “the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the true light enlightening all people (see John 1:9) and ‘the sun of justice’ (Malachi 4:2) ‘rising from on high’ (Luke 1:78).” (GILH 38) The celebration of morning prayer from the office for the dead relates the death of the Christian to Christ’s victory over death and affirms the hope that those who have received the light of Christ at baptism will share in that victory.

351. At evening prayer the Christian community gathers to give thanks for the gifts it has received, to recall the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the saving works of redemption, and to call upon Christ, the evening star and the unconquerable light. (GILH 39) Through evening prayer from the office for the dead the community give thanks to God for the gift of life received by the deceased and praises the Father for the redemption brought about by the sacrifice of his Son, who is the joy-giving light and true source of hope.

Would these qualities of morning and evening prayer help determine if one of them would be more suitable? My sense is that both hours present the “sacrifice” and the resurrection well enough. The choice of psalmody and even music will likely be more helpful in focusing the mood of either of these celebrations.

My friend John mentioned the use of Compline. With the focus on the end of the day, on simple repeatable psalms, looking to one’s final death, and the dedication of the community to the Blessed Mother, I can see how this would be also a very moving experience. In a community that prays the Office daily, I can understand the preference for Morning or Evening Prayer–it would be a “bigger” celebration. But for a parish that doesn’t pray the Hours: the call for mercy and forgiveness after a personal examination of conscience, the Canticle of Simeon, and the Marian antiphon would be powerful connectors to the grace of Christ and the hope for eternal life by means of that grace.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Order of Christian Funerals, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to OCF 350-351: Morning and Evening

  1. I would second (or third) the choice for Night Prayer/Compline as excellent given its texts and brevity.

    I do wonder, though, whether we don’t see celebrations of any of these hours because of a lack of musical settings. What settings are available, other than maybe the Mundelein Psalter and the tones in the back of the one volume “Christian Prayer”?

  2. Todd says:

    Jonathan, I think there are a number of settings, like David Haas’ or Joncas’. The 1979 GIA collection, Praise God In Song was groundbreaking for parishes looking for resources or ideas to celebrate the Hours. More frequently, I piece together elements from different sources: metrical settings of the Gospel canticles, Psalms set with tones or composed in a responsorial format.

    You may see more of this from me in the new year.

  3. FrMichael says:

    OCP and Gather hymnal (GIA) also have some partial settings of the hinge hours.

    I’m reflecting back on a “big” Vigil and Rosary held for our most prominent parishioner a few months ago. It was held in the church rather than the funeral home. He had a very high liturgical and musical sensibility. I’m now kicking myself for using the simple Vigil order of worship from OCF rather than EP. I like the simple Vigil rite, but it didn’t seem “weighty” enough on that particular night.

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