The Divine Office eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 261 pages of information about The Divine Office.

In Title IV., sect, 1 (see Breviary, Additiones and Variationes) there is no change in the old rubric.  The eight Sundays of the first class exclude every other feast.  And the Sundays of the second class only give place to a double of the first class and then are commemorated at Lauds, Vespers and Mass, and have the ninth lesson in Matins.

But section 2 (Dominicis minoribus)... goes to the root of the matter of the new change in the rules for Sunday’s liturgical office.  The ordinary Sundays ranked as semi-doubles and hence their Mass and Office was superseded by the Mass and Office of some occurring feast.  The length of the Sunday office, in the breviaries until lately in use, made many hearts rejoice over the occurring feast.  But the almost total omission of the ancient and beautiful Sunday Masses was a misfortune and, in a sense, an unbecoming practice, which broke away from ancient liturgical rule and tradition.  The abbreviation of the Sunday office in the new breviaries and the rule laid down in Title IV., sect. 2, restore Sunday’s office and Sunday’s Mass to their old and proper dignity.

The general rule laid down is that on Sundays throughout the year the proper office of the Sunday shall always be said.  The exceptions are (1) Feasts of our Lord and their octaves, (2) Doubles of the first class, (3) Doubles of the second class.  On these days the office will be the office of the feast, with commemoration in Lauds, Vespers and Mass.  Henceforth Sundays are divided into: 

(1) Sundays of the first class, which exclude all feasts;

(2) Sundays of the second class, which exclude all feasts save doubles of the first class;

(3) The ordinary Sundays, which exclude all but doubles of the first or second class, feasts of our Lord, and their octave days.

The date of Easter is the pivot of Calendar construction.  Before Easter come the Sundays of Lent and Quinquagesima, Sexagesima, Septuagesima Sundays.  Septuagesima cannot fall earlier than the eighteenth day of January, nor later than the twenty-second day of February.  Hence, in some years there are fewer “Sundays after the Epiphany” than in others, owing to the dates of Easter and Septuagesima.  The smaller the number of Sundays after Epiphany the greater is the number of Sundays after Pentecost.  If the number of Sundays after Pentecost be twenty-five, the twenty-fourth Sunday will have the office of the sixth Sunday after Epiphany.  If there be twenty-six Sundays after Pentecost, the twenty-fourth Sunday will have the office of the fifth after Epiphany, and the twenty-fifth will have that of the fifth Sunday; the twenty-sixth will be the sixth Sunday’s office.  It should be remembered that the Sunday called the twenty-fourth after Pentecost is always celebrated immediately before the first Sunday of Advent, even though it should not be even the twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost.


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The Divine Office from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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