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Divine Office Forum: Using AM and PM prayer in the Magnificat Mag.

by Catherine Frakas 11 Feb 2002

Using AM and PM prayer in the Magnificat Mag. QUESTION from Deacon Tony on January 30, 2003 As a permanent deacon I am obligated to pray Morning and Evening Prayer. Very often, because of work, family, ministry etc, I find I am unable to pray one or the other Hours, will it be OK at that time if I use the Morning and Evening Prayer in the Magnificat Magazine prayer book?
Thanks for your opinion
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on February 8, 2003 Dear Deacon:
Unless your bishop has so mandated, you are not absolutely required to pray Lauds and Vespers as a Permanent Deacon.
The General Instruction to the Liturgy of the Hours states:

30. It is most fitting that permanent deacons recite daily at least some part of the liturgy of the hours, to be determined by the conference of bishops.
Lauds and Vespers, of course, are called the hinge prayers by the Church and are to be considered most important and not to be missed except under unavoidable serious reasons as stated in the GILH 29b:

They should, first and foremost, attach due importance to those hours that are, so to speak, the two hinges of the liturgy of the hours, that is, morning prayer and evening prayer, which should not be omitted except for a serious reason.
A Dubia (Prot. No. 2330/00/L) issued On November 15, 2000 by Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, after consulting with the Congregation for the Clergy, states:

By itself, Morning Prayer (Lauds) should be recited during the morning hours and Evening Prayer (Vespers) during the evening hours, as the names of these parts of the Office indicate. If someone cannot recite Morning Prayer (Lauds) in the morning, he has the obligation of reciting it as soon thereafter as possible. In the same way, if Evening Prayer (Vespers) cannot be recited during the evening hours, it must be recited as soon thereafter as possible (SC 89). In other words, the obstacle, which impedes the observation of the true time of the hours, is not by itself a cause that excuses the recitation either of Morning Prayer (Lauds) or of Evening Prayer (Vespers), because it is a question of the Principal Hours (SC, 89) which merit the greatest esteem (GILH, 40).
In other words, if one cannot pray Lauds or Vespers at the time it is suppose to be prayed, they are not quite off the hook. The Church allows Lauds and Vespers to be prayed as soon thereafter as possible. But this is not permission to return to the common practice before the revision of the Divine Office when priests were known to pray the entire office at once to satisfy the obligation.
One of the purpose of the revision of the Divine Office was to correct that abuse and return the Divine Office as a sanctification of the various hours of the day.
Thus, I would suggest, that the statement from the Cardinal does not give permission to pray Lauds at 3pm, for example. Rather, if Lauds cannot be prayed in the morning, it can be prayed in the mid-morning. I would suggest that if one cannot pray the Office until the afternoon that they must accept missing Lauds.
As a Permanent Deacon, however, there is not a specific requirement of which Hours must be prayed. The GILH merely states, at least some part of the liturgy of the hours are required by Permanent Deacons -- depending on legislation from the Conference of Bishops and/or your local ordinary.
Nevertheless, the principles that are specified for priests and transitional deacons, gives us a sense of the mind of the Church on this issue in essence and can be applied to others, I believe, who are mandated to pray the Office.
Again looking at the dubia we find these guidelines that refer specifically to priests and transitional deacons, but may also apply in principle to Permanent Deacons. These guidelines are in response to the question, Is the obligation sub gravi extended to the entire recitation of the Divine Office?

The following must be kept in mind:
A serious reason, be it of health, or of pastoral service in ministry, or of an act of charity, or of fatigue, not a simple inconvenience, may excuse the partial recitation and even the entire Divine Office, according to the general principal that establishes that a mere ecclesiastical law does not bind when a serious inconvenience is present;

The total or partial omission of the Office due to laziness alone or due to the performance of activities of unnecessary diversion, is not licit, and even more so, constitutes an underestimation, according to the gravity of the matter, of the ministerial office and of the positive law of the Church;

To omit the Hours of Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayer (Vespers) requires a greater reason still, given that these Hours are the double hinge of the daily Office (SC 89);

If a priest must celebrate Mass several times on the same day or hear confessions for several hours or preach several times on the same day, and this causes him fatigue, he may consider, with tranquility of conscience, that he has a legitimate excuse for omitting a proportionate part of the Office;

The proper Ordinary of the priest or deacon can, for a just or serious reason, according to the case, dispense him totally or partially from the recitation of the Divine Office, or commute it to another act of piety (as, for example, the Holy Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, a biblical or spiritual reading, a time of mental prayer reasonably prolonged, etc.).

As for using the Magnificat, no that will not suffice for the obligation.
I hope this helps.
God Bless.
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