Cistercian / Trappist texts to enrich the Liturgy of the Hours

img_1061Proclaiming All Your Wonders, Dominican Publications 1994, is a wonderful collection of collects for the hours of the Daily Office.   It is a translation from the French Prières au fils des heures produced by the Commision francophone cistercienne for French speaking Cistercians. The commission has produced a large body of material in French but, as far as I know, this collection of Collects is all that has been published in English. Also pictured is their Louanges et intercessions for the entire liturgical year and including musical settings of the responses.
The nearest equivalent project in the English language was the journal Liturgy OCSO produced mainly by Chrysogunus Waddell at the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky. Fortunately, digital editions of this are now available here. Large numbers of liturgical texts as well as scholarly articles on Cistercian/Trappist themes were published, for example, the complete funeral rites for Thomas Merton and psalm antiphons for every psalm for every liturgical season. This edition contains interesting early reflections on monastic table-prayer from 1967.
Fr Chrysogonus was extremely kind and generous to me, when I visited Gethsemane, as part of my research for my dissertation at Chichester Theological College, on the renewal of the monastic Office as a model for the renewal of the Office in the parish.
In PAYW there are normally eight prayers for the eight liturgical Hours each day and they are themed and scripturally referenced. They work well to provide variety, if desired, to the ‘opening prayers’ at Morning and Evening Prayer in CWDP or the collects in The Divine Office, or at the end of intercessions at the Eucharist. The texts for the Little Hours really relate to the time of day and the Vigils prayers are stunningly beautiful when prayed in the final hours of the night.

Sadly PAYW is no longer in print and Veritas have sold off their stock, copies are occasionally available on AbeBooks.

Texts for the feast of Cistercian abbot, St Bernard:

Lord our God,
you send your saints
to light up life’s long journey
for your church.
Grant that we may see the light
that still streams from your servant Bernard;
and that, inspired by him,
we may light the way for all
in these our times.
Hear us, through Jesus, the Christ, our Lord.

We give you thanks, Lord God,
for St Bernard,
and the ardour of his teaching.
May it still echo in our hearts today,
and mould them to praise you,
through Jesus the Christ, our Lord.

Lord Jesus,
you revealed to the heart of St Bernard,
the power of your hidden presence,
so that he came to know you.
Bestow on us the gift of the attentive spirit,
so that we too may recognise the times of your visitation,
you who live for ever and ever.

God our Father,
your servant Bernard was so aflame with love for you
that he could awaken the same love in others.
Grant that, in the world of today,
our communities may be places
where your people may find the reality of your truth,
and know the wonder of your presence,
through Christ, our Lord.


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