“When they rise for the Work of God, let them gently encourage one another, that the drowsy may have no excuse.”
a life in common...
The Canons Regular of St. Gilbert of Sempringham pray according to the Divine Office of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Gilbertines prefer to keep it simple. Much of our chant is in monotone and our oratories should have a noble simplicity about them.
Because it is not always possible for our clergy to adhere to the horarium as strictly as we have devised it, due to the demands of parish life, the focus is placed upon Morning, Evening Prayer and Compline before bed. In regard to the little Hours, we take our inspiration from Chapter Fifty of the Rule of St. Benedict, where it says of monks away from the oratory, or on a journey:
Brothers who work so far away that they cannot return to the oratory at the proper time — and the Abbot determines that is the case — are to perform the Work of God where they are, and kneel out of reverence for God. So too, those who have been sent on a journey are not to omit the prescribed hours but to observe them as best they can, not neglecting their measure of service.
Gilbertine Sisters are to adhere to their own horarium but follow the same general outline. Companions of the community, not being under formal vows, have a great deal more liberty in regard to the offices. Even still, they pray according to an approved personal Rule of Life.
Naturally it is preferable to pray the offices with others and will be ideal to pray in an oratory, chapel or Church. It is also important to make time for daily periods of silence, as far as circumstances allow, and to find a balance between work, study, prayer and recreation. Hospitality too is important as it is in the other that we find Christ.
horarium of the canons regular
5 pm | Evensong | supper and free-time or study
9 pm (or before bed) | Compline
— Great Silence begins —
6.15 am | Office of Readings
7 am | Morning Prayer
— Great Silence ends —
7.30 am | Conventual Mass followed by Prime
9 am | Terce | breakfast, chores and other work
12.15 pm | Sext | dinner followed by work or study
3 pm | None | study, private prayer/lectio or work
Members of our community normally gather for a short time after Morning Prayer for a community meeting. We continue the Gilbertine customs of receiving a blessing from the Prior, reading from the Benedictine Rule or Augustinian Rule, exposition by the Prior, notices, silence, concluding with a chapter of faults where community members have an opportunity to air grievances. The community departs when the Prior says “Our help is in the name of the Lord” and all respond “who hath made heaven and earth”.