CHAPTER 8 – The Divine Office at Night

In the time remaining after Vigils, those who need to learn some of the psalter and readings should study them. RB 8:3

The term “learn” was, in the time of Benedict, the verbal repetition of a memorized text. Pachomius, a pre-cursor to Benedict, required not only that a candidate be able to read, but also to have memorized some psalms before acceptance into the community. In preparation for communal prayer, Benedict’s followers would have memorized psalms and practiced their recitation. Walking through the monastery in Benedict’s day we would have heard a low level of voices “learning” the psalms. Might we too memorize the Word of God so as to “learn” the richness of the Psalter?