On Weekday Lauds and The Canticles (GA 2.51 – 53)

[On the First and Second Psalm of Weekday Lauds]

Ch. 51
On Weeknights and On Lauds When We Sing “Miserere mei, Deus.”

The night that has passed expresses our life in sin, the night office our servitude in exile. In morning Lauds we already tendw toward our liberty through penance when we sing: “Miserere mei, Deus.” Because we go from the shadows of death to the light of eternal life through penance, so on all ferial days the word “morning (mane)” is found in the second psalm. On Monday, in Verba mea, we find Mane astabo, et mane exaudies vocem meam (Psalm 5); on Tuesday, in Iudica me, Deus, we find Emitte lucem tuam (Psalm 42); on Wednesday, in Te decet hymnus, Deus, we find Exitus matutini, et vespere delectabis (Psalm 64); on Thursday, in Domine, refugium, we find Mane floreat and Mane repleti sumus misericordia tua (Psalm 89); on Friday, in Domine, exaudi, we find Auditam fac mihi mane misericordiam tuam (Psalm 142).

CAP. LI. – De privatis noctibus et de Laudibus cum cantamus « Miserere mei, Deus. »

Nox quae praecessit vitam nostram in peccatis expressit; nocturnale autem officium nostri exsilii servitium. In matutinis Laudibus iam ad libertatem per poenitentiam tendimus, dum cantamus: Miserere mei Deus. Et quia per poenitentiam de tenebris mortis ad lucem vitae transitur, ideo in secundo psalmo per singulas ferias mane concinitur, ut in Verba mea: Mane astabo, et mane exaudies vocem meam (Psal. V); in: Iudica me, Deus; Emitte lucem tuam (Psal. XLII); in: Te decet hymnus, Deus; Exitus matutini, et vespere delectabis (Psal. LXIV) ; in: Domine, refugium; Mane floreat et Mane repleti sumus misericordia tua (Psal. LXXXIX) ; in: Domine, exaudi; Auditam fac mihi mane misericordiam tuam (Psal. CXLII); in: Bonum est confiteri, et ad annuntiandum mane misericordiam tuam (Psal. LXXXXI).

[On the Third Psalm of Weekday Lauds]

Moses (Serpent).jpg
Moses and the Bronze Serpent, Bible moralisée, texte latin avec la traduction, jusqu’à Isaïe. Source: gallica.bnf.fr
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Français 166, fol. 40v.

Ch. 52
Deus, Deus Meus

Because the remission of sins is granted through the working of charity, the third psalm sings of the love of God, for whom “our soul thirsts,” whose “right hand receives” us in our penitence.  

CAP. LII. – Deus, Deus meus.

Quia vero per charitatem remissio peccatorum tribuitur, tertius psalmus de dilectione Dei canitur, in quem sitit anima nostra, cuius nos poenitentes suscepit dextera.

[The Fourth Psalm of Weekday Lauds And Canticles of the Week]

Ch. 53
Deus, misereatur nostri

In the following psalm Deus misereatur nostri (Psalm 66), the love of neighbor is added. In it we ask that the “countenance” of God may “shine upon us” and his “salvation” be known  “in all the nations.” These two psalms are sung under one Gloria Patri because the two-fold precept of charity is carried out in the one Christian profession. Also, in the psalm Deus, Deus meus (Psalm 62) Christ’s divinity is expressed, whose “mercy is better than lives.” In Deus, misereatur we find his humanity, which “shines upon” our fragility. Because these two substances are worshipped together in the one person of Christ, so these two psalms are sung under one Gloria Patri. Because the penitent are saved by faith in this name, through these two psalms faith and works are understood, through which those who are converted will attain the liberty of pardon.

We slaves attain spiritual liberty through the six works of mercy, and so we sing six victory canticles, one on each of the six weekdays.

Monday: Confitebor

In the first canticle Confitebor, we rejoice with Isaiah (Isaiah 12) because just as he overcame an unfaithful people, so we have overcome our sins, and the Lord who was angry with us on account of our sins is won over again on account of our penance.

Ego dixi in dimidio dierum.

In the second, Ego dixi, we share Hezekiah’s joy (Isaiah 38), because as he escaped bodily death, so we have escaped death of the spirit. And so we sing our thanksgiving: “The living, he shall give praise to thee, as I do this day”


In the third, Exsultavit cor, we jump for joy with Anna (1 Samuel 2) because as she conquered her rival, so we have defeated our enemy the flesh. Thus we joyfully say: “My heart have rejoiced in the Lord,” who mortifies the flesh through vice, and vivifies it in the virtues.


In the fourth, Cantemus Domino, we celebrate with the people of Israel (Exodus 15) because as they escaped from the Egyptians through the hand of Moses, so we escape the devil and his demons through Christ. And so we leap for joy: “Let us sing to the Lord gloriously.”

Domine, audivi.

In the fifth, Domine, audivi, we give thanks with Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3) because, as he escaped Babel with the people, so we have escaped the confusion of sinners and rejoice that through the beams of the cross we have overcome the devil, who “went forth before the Lord’s feet.”

Audite, coeli.

In the sixth, Audite, coeli, we make merry with Moses (Deuteronomy 32) because as he received the promised land after the defeat of his enemies, so we received the promised forgiveness after our sins and vices had been overcome. We sing a song to the Lord who “rendered vengeance on our enemies” and “will be merciful to the land of his people.”


Daniel 1
The Lion’s Den, Horae ad usum romanum.
Source: gallica.bnf.fr

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Latin 920, fol. 341r.

In the seventh, Benedicite, omnia, we triumph with the three young men (Daniel 3) because as they escaped Nebuchadnezzar and the fiery furnace, so we have evaded the devil and the fires of Hell. And so with all creation we bless the Lord because in our resurrection we shall overcome the everlasting fires.

Laudate Dominum de coelis.

Then we sing Laudate Dominum (Psalm 148) because we have merited a triumph over our vices, which triumph we express through a hymn.

The Chapter.

Now the chapter consoles us, when the priest in the person of the Lord exhorts us to keep watch and stand strong in faith.

On the Verse

We express our satisfaction with this consolation when we say the verse Repleti sumus mane misericordia tua (Psalm 90). At this point we break out in joy for our liberation, giving thanks to our Liberator in these words.


Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel (Luke 1) because he “looked favorably” on us in our sins, “redeemed” us through penance, “delivered us from the hands of our enemies,” “gave knowledge of salvation unto the remission of our sins through the bowels of his mercy,” and “directed our feet into the way of peace” having “enlightened” us in our death.

On the Collect

The collect the priest says is the forgiveness the Lord gives to those who have returned to him.

On St. Benedict

St. Benedict also taught those who are slaves in sin to seek their liberty and the joy of victory through penance, and he instituted, not exactly the same psalms, but the same number of psalms and the same canticles on the same weekdays with the same signification.

On the Seven Canticles

The number of canticles sung during the whole week is seven because the world is saved by the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

On Sunday

Daniel 2.jpg
Daniel with ram, goat, and stars, Emblèmes bibliques, volume comprenant la fin de Job, le Psautier, les livres de Salomon et les Prophètes. Source: gallica.bnf.fr
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des manuscrits, Latin 11560, fol. 211v.

On Sunday we sing Benedicite omnia opera (Daniel 3) because in the first age God created all things, and on the same day all things were made new through Christ’s resurrection.

On the First Day

On the first day God created the light, and on this day all things are enjoined to the divine praises, because all things are illuminated by the light.

On the Second Day

In the second age came the flood, which signifies baptism. On the second day a canticle about baptism is sung: Haurietis aquas (Isaiah 12), and on the second feria Christ is said to have been baptized. On the second day, God created the heavens and separated the waters, just as baptism separates the faithful from the unfaithful.

On the Third Day

In the third age Isaac was rescued from death because the true Isaac, who is Christ, delivered his people from death through faith in the holy Trinity. On the third day God separated the land from the sea, that is, the Church from the Synagogue.

On the Fourth Day

In the fourth age Anna was bitterly grieved, and her rival defeated. Her canticle is sung on the fourth feria because through the four Gospels the Church was elected, the Synagogue rejected. On the fourth day, the sun and moon and stars were made. Christ is the sun, the Church the moon, and the saints are the stars.

On the Fifth Day

In the fifth age, the Lord freed his people from Babylon. On the fifth feria we sing the canticle that the sons of Israel sang when they were delivered from Pharaoh in the Red Sea after the Paschal Lamb. On the fifth feria, the Lord gave up his body, by which he delivered his people from the devil. On the fifth day, God made birds and fishes out of the waters. The birds he raised into the air, the fish he left in the waters, because through his five wounds he raised the upright on high and cast the impious into the depths.

On the Sixth Day

On the sixth day, God created man. In the sixth age, Christ was crucified. On the sixth feria the canticle of the Passion is sung, where it says “horns are in his hands,” referring to the beams of the cross, because the Lord underwent his Passion on the same day.

On the Sabbath.

On the Sabbath, God rested from all of his works. Thus, on the Sabbath we sing the canticle Audite coeli (Deuteronomy 32) because it was given to the sons of Israel after the travails of the road, as they were about to enter the promised land. So in the seventh age, after the labor of this world, the Lord will give rest to his saints.

On the Benedictus.

As the light approaches, the Benedictus is sung at Lauds (Luke 1) because through this canticle the coming of our light is announced to us.

On the Magnificat.

The Magnificat is sung at Vespers, at the end of the day, because at the end of the world God will “scatter the proud” and “lift up the humble.”

On the Nunc dimittis, the Canticle of Simeon

The Nunc dimittis (Luke 2) is sung at Compline because after the Judgment the saints will be lead into eternal peace.

On the Hours and Seasons.

We sing the seven canonical hours in the daytime as a sort of debt of gratitude for the seven grades we have received from the seven-fold Spirit. This form we have from the Apostles and other saints: to sing praises to our Creator seven times a day so that we may be able to praise him in his house, along with the angels, unto the ages of ages. And each day represents for us the whole time of this age, during which we labor in the Lord’s vineyard at different hours.

On the Morning

The morning puts us in mind of the time when our first parents praised God in paradise.

On Prime.

Prime indicates that time when Abel, Enoch, and the other just men offered their praises to God.

On Terce.

Terce points to that time when Noah and the others blessed God after leaving the ark.

On Sext

Sext proclaims that time when Abraham and the other patriarchs glorified God.

On None

None shows us that time under the Law when the prophets gave glory to God.

On Vespers

Vespers calls to mind that time when the apostles and their followers sang hymns to God.

On Compline

Compline reminds us of that time at the end of the world, under the Antichrist, when the just will give thanks to God.

CAP. LIII. – Deus misereatur nostri.

In sequenti psalmo Deus misereatur nostri, dilectio proximi subiungitur, in quo vultum Dei super nos illuminari, et salutare Dei in omnibus gentibus cognosci poscitur. Hi duo psalmi ideo sub uno Gloria Patri psalluntur, quia praecepta geminae dilectionis in una Christiana professione peraguntur. In psalmo quoque, Deus, Deus meus, exprimitur Christi divinitas, cuius misericordia melior est super vitas. In Deus misereatur eius humanitas, per quam illuminatur nostra fragilitas. Et quia hae duae substantiae in una persona Christi venerantur, ideo hi duo psalmi sub uno Gloria Patri cantantur; et quia in fide huius nominis poenitentes salvantur, per hos etiam duos psalmos fides et operatio intelliguntur, per quam conversi libertatem veniae consequuntur. Et quia per sex opera misericordiae servi libertatem spiritus adipiscuntur, ideo sex cantica victoriae per sex dies canuntur.


In primo cantico: Confitebor, cum Isaia exsultamus (Isa. XII); quia, sicut ille infidelem populum, ita nos peccata superavimus, et Dominus, qui propter peccata nobis erat iratus, propter poenitentiam est nobis conciliatus.

Ego dixi in dimidio dierum.

In secundo, Ego dixi, cum Ezechia gaudemus (Isaiah. XXXVIII); quia, sicut ille mortem corporis, ita nos mortem animae evasimus; ideo gratulando canimus, Vivens, confitebitur tibi, sicut et ego hodie.


In tertio: Exsultavit cor, cum Anna tripudiamus (I Reg. II); quia, sicut illa aemulam suam, ita nos carnem nobis adversantem devicimus: unde gaudendo dicimus: Exsultavit cor meum in Domino, qui carnem in vitiis mortificat, et animam in virtutibus vivificat.


In quarto: Cantemus Domino, cum populo Israel laetamur (Exod. XV); quia, sicut ille Pharaonem et Aegyptios per Moysen, ita nos diabolum et daemones per Christum subterfugimus: unde laetabundi resultamus: Cantemus Domino gloriose.

Domine, audivi.

In quinto: Domine, audivi, cum Habacuc gratulamur (Habac. III); quia, sicut ille cum populo Babylonem, ita nos peccatorum confusionem evasimus, et diabolum per cornua crucis superatum exsultamus, qui ante pedes Domini est egressus.

Audite, coeli.

In sexto: Audite, coeli, cum Moyse hilarescimus (Deut. XXXII); quia, sicut ille devictis hostibus terram repromissionis, ita nos devictis vitiis et peccatis promissam indulgentiam recepimus; et Domino carmen canimus, qui vindictam in hostes retribuit, et propitius erit terrae populi sui.


Porro in septimo: Benedicite, omnia, cum tribus pueris triumphamus (Dan. III); quia, sicut illi Nabuchodonosor et caminum ignis, ita nos diabolum et inferni incendium evasimus. Ideo cum omni creatura Domino benedicimus, quia in resurrectione aeternas flammas superabimus.

Laudate Dominum de coelis.

Deinde: Laudate Dominum canimus (Psal. CXLVIII), quia triumphum de vitiis meruimus; quem triumphum per hymnum exprimimus.


Capitulum vero nos consolatur, dum sacerdos in persona Domini nos vigilare, et stare in fide hortatur.

De versu.

De qua nos consolatione plaudimus, dum versum nos repleti sumus mane misericordia tua (Psal. LXXXIX) dicimus. Hinc iam libertate recepta in gaudium prorumpimus, quia Liberatori nostro grates referimus ita dicentes.


Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel (Luc. I), quia nos in peccatis visitavit, redemptionem per poenitentiam fecit, de manu inimicorum liberavit, scientiam salutis in remissionem peccatorum per viscera misericordiae dedit, de morte illuminatos in viam pacis direxit.

De oratione.

Oratio, quam sacerdos dicit, est indulgentia quam Dominus ad se reversis tribuit.

De sancto Benedicto.

Sanctus quoque Benedictus servos peccatorum per poenitentiam, libertatem, et victoriae laetitiam adipisci docuit, qui pene eosdem, tamen totidem psalmos et eadem cantica per easdem ferias in eadem significatione instituit.

De septem canticis.

Septem cantica in hebdomada canuntur, quia per septem dona Spiritus sancti mundus salvatur.

Dominica die.

Dominica die canitur Benedicite omnia opera (Dan. III) ; quia prima aetate creavit Deus omnia, et eadem die per resurrectionem Christi innovata sunt omnia.

Feria prima.

Prima die, creavit Deus lucem, et hac die omnia ad laudem Dei admonentur, quia omnia illustrata sunt a luce.

Feria secunda.

Secunda aetate contigit diluvium, quod significat baptismum. Secunda die canitur canticum de baptismo, ut ibi: Haurietis aquas (Isa. XII) , et feria secunda Christus baptizatus traditur. Secunda die, creavit Deus coelum, et separavit aquas ab aquis, ita per baptismum incredulos a fidelibus.

Feria tertia.

Tertia aetate liberatus est Isaac a morte, quia verus Isaac, id est Christus, liberavit populum suum a morte per fidem sanctae Trinitatis. Tertia die, segregavit Deus terram a mari, hoc est Ecclesiam a Synagoga.

Feria quarta.

Quarta aetate est Anna amara, aemula eius repudiata. Ideo quarta feria psallitur eius canticum, quia per quatuor Evangelia est electa Ecclesia, Synagoga abiecta. Quarta die, factus est sol et luna et sidera. Christus est sol, Ecclesia luna, sancti sunt stellae.

Feria quinta.

Quinta aetate, liberavit Dominus populum suum a Babylone. Ideo quinta feria recitatur canticum quod cecinerunt filii Israel, cum liberati sunt a Pharaone in mari Rubro post paschalem agnum. Feria quinta, tradidit Dominus corpus suum, quo liberavit populum suum a diabolo. Quinta die, fecit Deus de aquis volucres et pisces; volucres in aera sustulit, pisces in aquis reliquit, quia per quinque vulnera sua iustos ad alta levat, impios ad ima damnat.

Sexta feria.

Sexta die, creavit Deus hominem; sexta aetate crucifixus est Christus. Ideo sexta feria cantatur canticum de passione, ubi dicitur: Cornua in manibus eius (Habac. III), id est brachia crucis, quia eadem die passus est Dominus.


Sabbato, requievit Deus ab omnibus operibus suis. Ideo Sabbato canitur canticum: Audite coeli (Deut. XXXII), quod datum est filiis Israel post laborem itineris, cum iam intrarent terram repromissionis. Ita in septima aetate post laborem huius mundi dabit Dominus requiem sanctis.

De Benedictus.

Appropinquante luce, Benedictus ad laudes cantatur (Luc. I), quia per illud canticum nostra nobis lux annuntiatur.

De Magnificat.

Ad Vesperas Magnificat scilicet in fine diei cantatur, quia in fine mundi Deus superbos disperdet, et humiles exaltabit.

De « Nunc dimittis » cantico Simeonis.

Ad Completorium Nunc dimittis (Luc. II.) cantatur, quia post iudicium sancti in pace introducentur.

De horis et temporibus.

Septem horas canonicas in die quasi ex debito canimus pro septem gradibus quos a septiformi Spiritu suscepimus. Formam autem habemus ab apostolis et aliis sanctis, ut septies in die Creatorem nostrum laudemus, quatenus in domo eius cum angelis eum in saeculum saeculi laudare valeamus. Quilibet autem dies repraesentat nobis totum huius saeculi tempus, in quo diversis horis in vinea Domini laboramus.

De Matutino tempore.

Matutina illud tempus nobis memorat quo primi parentes Deum in paradiso laudabant.

De Prima.

Prima illud tempus indicat quo Abel, Enoch et alii iusti, Deo laudes solvebant.

De Tertia.

Tertia illud tempus insinuat quo Noe et alii de arca egressi Deum benedicebant.

De Sexta.

Sexta illud tempus denuntiat quo Abraham et alii patriarchae Deum glorificabant.

De Nona.

Nona illud tempus demonstrat quo prophetae sub lege Deum magnificabant.

De Vesperis.

Vespera illud tempus revocat quo apostoli et illorum sequaces Deo hymnizabant.

De Completorio.

Completorium illud tempus monet quo in novissimo sub Antichristo iusti Deo gratias referent.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s