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β4 Evening Prayer

SUMMARY

summary

EXPLANATION

The easiest way to pray evening prayer is to go to http://universalis.com/vespers.htm and just pray through what is written there. You can buy the offical android app Universalis which has the whole Breviary with the correct translation. 

This booklet is designed to help you foster your prayer life even more by focusing on Evening Prayer. Evening Prayer is also called Vespers and is part of the Liturgy of the Hours. The Liturgy of the Hours is the name for the official prayer of the Church. It is also called the Prayer of the Church or the Divine Office. The book for the Liturgy of the Hours is also called the Breviary or the Divine Office. Evening Prayer is important because it gives thanks for the day just past and enables us to praise to God for what we have experienced during the day.

Through this prayer, we are able to sanctify our day by continual praise of God and include prayers of intercession for the needs of the world.

Evening prayer follows a four week cycle, ie it repeats every four weeks. Some parts will change depending on the season of the year (eg Lent) or a particular feast day (eg Assumption of the Virgin Mary). We will go through each of the parts of Evening prayer as well as some evening prayers designed by Eugene de Mazenod.

In the beginning, I would advise you to use the prayers in this format, and then when you become more at ease with this style of prayer, I would suggest you purchase your own copy of the Divine Office. You will be praying the same prayers as the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, priests, deacons, and many men and women in consecrated and lay life that pray the Liturgy of the Hours each day. I would encourage trying and developing a habit of praying in the morning and in the evening keeping God always at the center of your day. There are other times of organised prayer throughout the day, however, unless you are a religious contemplative, such as a Benedictine or Carmelite, it is very difficult to pray every part of the Liturgy of the Hours due to our hectic lives at school and at work.

There will be times when you just cannot be bothered praying. You may be exhausted from your day€™s activities, or perhaps just out of sorts with God. It is during these times you really need to try and pray. Regular prayer, like regular sport, becomes habit forming and a natural part of your life. It also helps to develop your life and relationship with God. In fact, the more you pray to God, the more the spiritual side of your nature begins to develop and mature. You will change as a person and become more open to the Divine plans of God.

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Below is an overview of the structure of Evening Prayer based on the Liturgy of the Hours. You will see that your prayer guide is built on this plan, with some additional prayers from Eugene de Mazenod.

Rather than reading quickly through each prayer, I suggest that you slow down your breathing and read each line slowly and reverently. Try and breathe in God while you pray. It might help to find a quiet part of the house where there are no distractions. Your bedroom is probably the best place to pray. Rather than pray in bed (you may just fall asleep), you may like to sit in a comfortable chair and have a candle lit or incense burning next to you in order to enhance your prayer time. 

The prayers found later in this guide should take you about 20 minutes to pray. You can take longer if you wish.

The structure of Evening Prayer (Vespers) is as follows: 

Introductory Verse: The Prayer begins with the Sign of the Cross, a request for God's assistance, and a prayer of praise. 

Hymn: The introduction is followed by a hymn suited to the season or event. This can be either sung or said.

Psalmody: The praying of the Psalms follows the hymn. At Evening Prayer, there are two psalms (or two parts of a longer psalm) and a canticle (or hymn) taken from the Epistles or the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. The Psalms are an important part of the Church's prayer. In praying the Psalms, the Church follows Jesus' example since he, too, prayed the Psalms (see, for example, Matthew 27: 46 and Mark 15: 34 which quote Psalm 22 or Luke 23:46 which quotes Psalm 31).

Each Psalm is preceded by an antiphon. The antiphon calls attention to the spiritual meaning of the Psalm, particularly any meaning especially appropriate to the feast or season. When the Psalms are chanted, the antiphon gives the tone (or melody) for the singing. 

Each Psalm is followed by a brief period of silent reflection.

Scripture Reading: a reading follows The Psalmody from Sacred Scripture (the Bible). This reading may be followed by a period of silence or a brief reflection. 

Response: A short response is highlights the themes of the reading or the season, and concludes with a prayer of praise. 

Gospel Canticle: At Evening Prayer, those assembled sing or recite the Canticle of Mary, also called the Magnificat which comes from Luke 1: 46-55. 

Intercessions: In the Intercessions, we pray for the needs of the Church and the world. These Intercessions often include a prayer for those who have died. 

Lord's Prayer: The Intercessions conclude with the Lord's Prayer. In this prayer, you pray for the coming of God's kingdom and to ask God to provide for your needs, to forgive your sins, and bring you to heaven. 

Concluding Prayer: This is the final prayer of praise and intercession to God.

Dismissal: It is here that you ask the blessing of God.

Some extra thoughts:

Throughout the Liturgy of the Hours, every psalm and canticle is concluded with the Glory be to the Father (unless otherwise indicated). Each psalm (or canticle) therefore takes this order: antiphon, psalm, Glory to the Father, and antiphon.

Postures during the Office:

All taking part stand (a) during the introduction to the Office and the introductory verses of each hour; (b) during the hymn; (c) during the Gospel Canticle; (d) during the intercessions, the Lord€™s Prayer, and the concluding prayer.

All should sit to listen to the readings.

When the psalms and canticles are said, you should either sit or stand according to local custom.

In private prayer, you may use whatever posture(s) you prefer, including sitting through the entire Office.

Making the Sign of the Cross during the Office:

All make the sign of the cross, from forehead to breast and from left shoulder to right (a) at the beginning of the Hours, whenGod, come to my assistance is being said; (b) at the beginning of the Gospel Canticles of Zechariah, of Mary, and of Simeon.

The sign of the cross is made on the mouth at the beginning of the invitatory, at the words Lord, open my lips.

The sign of the cross can be made at the dismissal/final blessing.

Sign of reverence during the Office:

A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named (e.g., Glory to the Father . . .), at the name of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honour the Liturgy of the Hours is celebrated.

 

Prayer for my Vocation in Life ” Eugene de Mazenod

 

Lord,

make me a better person,

more considerate towards others,

more honest with myself,

more faithful to You.

 

Help me to find my true vocation in life, and grant that through it I may find happiness myself and bring happiness to others.

Grant, Lord, that those whom You call to enter the priesthood, or the religious life may have the generosity to answer Your call, so that those who need Your help may always find it.

 

I ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen

 

To be prayed at the end of your prayer ” Eugene de Mazenod

 

O Jesus, living in Mary, come and live in your servant:

in the spirit of your holiness, in the fullness of your power,

in the reality of your virtues, in the perfection of your ways,

in the communion of your mysteries; have dominion over every adverse power, in your own Spirit, to the glory of God the Father.

Amen.

Submitted by rjzaar on April 30, 2017 - 1:56pm
Modfied: April 30, 2017 - 1:56pm
Topic(s): 
prayer
level: 
beginner

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