The Office and the Stages of Life (GA 2.54 – 57)

Ch. 54
On the Hours and the Ages

Stages of Life 2

The day also represents the life of each person, who is taught through several life-stages (i.e. in the various hours) to know the Law of the Lord (i.e. to work in the vineyard). Thus at morning Lauds we commemorate our infancy, when we rose from night to day, born into this world from our mothers. The just men praise God at this hour, rejoicing that we have been reborn in baptism from the night of error to the light of truth. At Prime we recall our childhood, the age when we began to memorize books. It is fitting to give our praises to God at this hour, when we were brought up for his service. Terce evokes our adolescence, when we received orders. It is right to glorify God at this hour, when we joined the ranks of his ministers. Sext signifies our youth, when we were elevated to the grade of diaconate or priesthood. Thus it is not unfitting to bless God at this hour, when we were chosen as leaders and teachers of the people. None is our old age, when most clergy take on ecclesiastical offices, which are the heavier burdens of the vineyard. We magnify God, therefore, in this hour, when it pleased him to place us over his people. At Vespers we recall our decrepitude, when most of us will move on to a better way of life after standing idle in the marketplace all day (Matthew 20), for we have lived our whole lives in vanity. It is proper to praise God at this hour, when he saw fit to count us among those who praise him. At Compline we ponder the end of our life, when we hope to be saved by our confession and our penance.

Stages of life 5Stages of Life 3

CAP. LIV. – De horis et aetatibus.

Dies etiam repraesentat nobis vitam uniuscuiusque, quo diversis aetatibus, quasi diversis horis, docetur ex lege Domini quasi in vinea laborare (Matth. XX). Ergo per Matutinam commemoramus infantiam, in qua quasi de nocte ad diem orti sumus, dum de matribus in hunc mundum nati sumus. Iuste itaque in hac hora Deum laudamus, qua de nocte erroris ad lucem veritatis in baptismo nos renatos exsultamus. Per Primam pueritiam recolimus, qua aetate libros discere coepimus. Merito ergo in hac hora laudes Deo solvimus, qua eius servitio imbuti sumus. Per Tertiam adolescentiam recolligimus, qua ordines suscepimus. Iuste in hac hora Deum glorificamus, qua eius ministris associati sumus. Per Sextam iuventutem innuimus, qua ad diaconatus vel presbyteratus gradum promoti sumus. Et in hac ergo hora non incongrue Deum benedicimus, qua duces et magistri populorum electi sumus. Per Nonam senectutem notamus, qua plerique ex clero ecclesiasticas dignitates quasi graviora vineae pondera subimus. Convenit itaque nos in hac hora Deum magnificare, qua nos voluit super plebem suam exaltare. In Vespera decrepitam ducimus ad memoriam, qua plurimi ex nobis ad melioris vitae conversationem in primis venimus, qui quasi tota die in foro otiosi stetimus (Matth. XX), dum tota vita in vanitate viximus. In hac hora decet nos Deum laudibus extollere, qua nos dignatus est suis laudatoribus adiungere. Per Completorium finem vitae nostrae retractamus, quo per confessionem et poenitentiam salvari speramus.

Stages of Life 1

Ch. 55
On the Hours of the Day

Through her night and day offices, the Church celebrates the mysteries of Christ. At night Christ was arrested for us, and so we sing nocturns in the night. In the morning he was mocked, so we sing Lauds. At the first hour he was handed over to the pagans, and so we sing Prime. At the third hour he was scourged, so we sing Terce. At the sixth our he was crucified, therefore we sing Sext. At the ninth hour he died, so we sing None. In the evening he was taken down from the Cross, so we sing Vespers. At the end of the day he was buried, so we sing Compline.

CAP. LV. – Idem de horis diei.

Per diurna quoque et nocturna officia celebrat Ecclesia Christi mysteria. In nocte est Christus pro nobis comprehensus, ideo in nocte nocturnum psallimus. Mane est illusus, ideo Matutinam canimus. Prima hora est gentibus traditus, ideo Primam cantamus. Tertia hora est flagellatus, idcirco Tertiam psallimus. Sexta hora est crucifixus, propterea Sextam canimus. Nona hora mortuus est, ideo Nonam cantamus. In vespere est de cruce depositus, idcirco Vesperam psallimus. In fine diei est sepultus, ideo completorium canimus.

Ch. 56
On the Night Hours

The Lord harrowed Hell at night, and he emerged from it in the morning as the Victor over death. At the first hour he appeared to Mary. At the third he met two coming from the tomb. He showed himself at the sixth hour to James, at the ninth to Peter, and at Vespers to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. At Compline he ate with the Apostles.

CAP. LVI. – De nocturnalibus horis.

Nocturna enim hora Dominus infernum spoliavit, matutina victor de morte remeavit. Prima Mariae apparuit. Tertia duabus a monumento euntibus obviavit. Sexta Iacobo, Nona Petro, Vespera duobus ambulantibus in Emmaus se manifestavit; Completorio cum apostolis manducavit.

Ch. 57
On the Hours of Day and Night

Also at night Peter mourned his denial, and later spend all night fishing. In the morning Christ stood on the shore and filled the net with fishes. At the first hour he ate with the seven, and committed his sheep to Peter. At the third hour the Holy Spirit came down upon the believers. At the sixth he reclined with the eleven. At the ninth he ascended into heaven as they watched. At Vespers before his passion he ate with them and gave them his body. At the hour of Compline he prayed the Father on their behalf.

CAP. LVII. – De horis diei et noctis.

In nocte nihilominus Petrus negatione ploravit, qui postea tota nocte in piscando laboravit. In mane Christus in littore stetit, rete piscibus implevit. Prima hora cum septem comedit, Petro oves suas commisit. Tertia hora Spiritus sanctus super credentes descendit. Sexta cum undecim Dominus recubuit. Nona eis videntibus coelos ascendit. In Vespera vero ante passionem cum eis coenavit, corpus suum tradidit. Completorio pro eis Patrem oravit.

 

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