Expert Answer Forum

May 20, 2000 QUESTION from Tim Clark Use of psalm-prayers: Before or After antiphon is repeated? I have been praying the Liturgy of the hours for over 23 years and encourage others to do so. One question that keeps coming up is when to pray the psalm-prayer (which is optional).
I was taught in the seminary, and my understanding of the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours agrees with this, that if the optional psalm-prayer is to be used it would be placed AFTER the Glory to ...As it was... AND the repeating of the antiphon (If the antiphon is to be repeated of course)
Because of the way it is printed in some editions of the LOTH/Christian Prayer, many people seem to feel that the psalm-prayer, if used, SHOULD be (i.e. is Intended to be) prayed after the Glory to ...As it was... BUT BEFORE the antiphon is repeated. I have tried to explain that the placement of the psalm-prayer in these editions is an Editorial decision, NOT a Liturgical one. I even know of a couple of web sites that show people how to pray the LOTH that indicate that the psalm-prayer is prayed BETWEEN the Glory be..As is was and the repetition of the antiphon as if this were normative.
Could you give your opinion. The best indication I can find in the GILOTH is:
GILOTH no. 202 In the section on Sacred Silence states: ...it is permissible, as occasion offers and prudence suggests, to have an interval of silence, either after the repetition of the antiphon at the end of the psalm, in the traditional way, especially if the psalm-prayer is going to be said after the pause or after the short or longer reading,...
To me it would make sense that the psalms would follow the same pattern as the canticles, which do not have their own prayers.
If the psalms were to be chanted with their antiphons, which is highly recommend, the psalm-prayer would actually interrupt the chant.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, O.L.S.M. on June 8, 2000 Dear Mr. Clark:
You ask a very good question and make a excellent observation.
Yes, most of the Divine Office books place the OPTIONAL psalm-prayer inbetween the Glory and the repetition of the anthiphon.
We need to remember that the psalm-prayer is optional. Thus as an optional item, it can be optionally placed in the liturgy as we find appropriate. I don't mean by that, that the psalm-prayer can be placed ANYWHERE. It is intended as a explanation of the psalm just sung, thus it needs to remain with that psalm.
But to place it before, after, or inbetween, the liturgical law leaves open.
That which makes the most sense, that which facilitates the most obvious progression of the recitation, and ESPECIALLY the singing, of the Office, is to place the psalm-prayer AFTER the repetition of the antiphon.
Our style is to sing the psalm, followed by the Glory, followed by the anthiphon. Then we sit down and the psalm-prayer is said silently to oneself during the period of silence inbetween psalms.
To us, this make the most sense, and it certainly creates the most reasonable flow of the recitation. This becomes much more obvious when the office is sung.
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