Q: Hello Father Paul! I would just like to have a clarification on how to better understand GILH number 35: “The invitatory should begin the whole sequence of daily prayer; thus it begins Lauds or the Office of Readings depending on which of these liturgical actions begins the day. If so desired, however, the psalm with its antiphon may be omitted when it comes before Lauds.”
1. If someone bound to recite all the hours wakes up or finds the time only to do so already for midday or (let’s just push it further to the extreme) evening prayer (he woke up from a coma, for example), does that mean the invitatory is to be omitted? From the instruction above, the invitatory is clearly linked only to either Office of Readings or Morning Prayer (Lauds), but it also says that “The invitatory should begin the whole sequence of daily prayer…”
2. “If so desired, however, the psalm with its antiphon may be omitted when it comes before Lauds.” – What does this mean? That the invitatory is finally only optional for Lauds (but obligatory for the Office of Readings, if the Office of Readings is the first hour of the day)? Furthermore, does this mean anyone can begin Lauds immediately with “God, come to my assistance…” OR, still begin with “Lord, open my lips…” but without the invitatory antiphon and psalm, and proceed immediately to the hymn for Lauds (let’s say that Lauds is the first hour to be prayed, that is, the Office of Readings will be prayed sometime later).
3. If one prays Lauds immediately after Office of Readings, is the option to omit the invitatory applicable?
4. If in a religious community one celebrates Mass first followed by communal praying of Lauds, is the invitatory to be omitted , such that Lauds after Mass begins with “God, come to my assistance…”?
Thank you in advance for your time and kind attention!
A: GILH 34 distinguishes between the invitatory (“Lord, open my lips”) and the invitatory psalm with its antiphon (Ps 95, for example.)
1. The GILH does not cover every possible circumstance, but logically someone beginning the day’s office with midday or evening prayer would fittingly pray the invitatory.
2. If lauds is the first office of the day, the invitatory is still said, but the invitatory psalm may be omitted.
3. If one prays lauds immediately after the office of readings, the invitatory and its psalm are done before readings.
4. The invitatory pertain to the office, not to Mass. So if Mass precedes the first office, the first office still begins with the invitatory.