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The Celebration of the Solemnity of Lauds

Saturday, June 15, 2024
Chapter 12

Sunday Lauds begin with Psalm 66, said straight through without a refrain. Then Psalm 50 follows with an "alleluia" refrain. Lauds continues with Psalms 117 and 62, the Canticle of the Three Young Men, Psalms 148 through 150, a reading from the Apocalypse recited by heart and followed by a responsory, an Ambrosian hymn, a versicle, the gospel canticle, the litany and the conclusion.

Every Sunday morning, just as day breaks, Benedict asks us to say five specific psalms: Psalm 67 asks for God's continuing blessings, psalm 51 gives voice to our contrition, psalm 118 recounts God's goodness in times past, psalm 62 pours out a longing for God and psalms 148-150 bring the soul to a burst of praise. The structure itself, in other words, models the disposition of the soul before its God. At the beginning of the week, we ask for the energy of grace to go from this sabbath to the next, we acknowledge the struggles of the week before us and the failings of the week that is past, we remember God's eternal fidelity in good times and bad, we recognize publicly that the great desire of our life is the desire for God, whatever else distracts us on the way, and, finally, we give our lives in thanksgiving to the One Who has brought us this far and who is our final goal and our constant hope.

Sunday Lauds in the monastic liturgy is a soul-splitting commitment to go on. The point is that every life needs points along the way that enable us to rise above the petty daily problems, the overwhelming tragedies of our lives and begin again, whatever our circumstances, full of confidence, not because we know ourselves to be faithful, but because our God is.