Electric Prayer

The Liturgy of the Hours, the Mass, and other things.

Cheating with the daytime Hours

Posted by universalis on 13 July 2018

In the Liturgy of the Hours, the daytime Hours (Terce, Sext and None) are designed to cater for all preferences. Specifically, they are designed to cater for people who celebrate all three of them each day and also for people who celebrate only one.

The tricky thing about the daytime Hours is that what psalms you use depends on which kind of person you are. There are “psalms of the day” which should be used each day, once only; and there are “complementary psalms” which should be used at any daytime Hour when you don’t recite the psalms of the day. Moreover, now and then, there are rules about which Hour you can use the psalms of the day at, and which you can’t.

So here is how Universalis (in its apps and programs) deals with these things for you:

  • If you are a stable and respectable person, then recite the Hours you want, regularly each day. Universalis will learn which Hours you use. You can tell Universalis which the “main” hour is at which you would like to recite the psalms of the day, and it will respect your choice. There will be odd days when it has to tell you something like “I know you wanted the psalms of the day at lunchtime but, today you have to have them in the afternoon”. This is because of the way the Liturgy is arranged that day. You don’t need to worry about the logic or the reasons behind it: it is all done for you and it is all correct.
  • If you are a lazy and erratic person, who recites only one daytime Hour each day but does it sometimes in the morning, sometimes at lunchtime, sometimes in the afternoon, then you don’t want Universalis to be helpful in this way. What you actually want is to tell Universalis “This Hour is the only daytime Hour I am reciting today, so don’t be clever, just give me the psalms of the day”. You can do this. Look at the heading of the page, where it says (for example) “Mid-Morning Prayer”. To the right of that heading there is a menu button. Press that button, and you can tell Universalis to present this Hour as if it were the only Hour. The heading will change to say “Mid-Morning Prayer (as sole Hour)” to remind you. Turn this setting on for Terce and Sext and None, and then each day you can do a different one of them, and it will all be correct.
  • If you are a sociable and gregarious person, who recites all three Hours but sometimes gets together with friends and colleagues to say (for instance) Sext, then before you meet, set Sext to be “the sole Hour”. Then you can all say Sext together, all of you using the psalms of the day. Once you have finished, set Sext not to be “the sole Hour” again, and you will be back to your own personal rhythm, undisturbed by your session of shared prayer.


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