by Sr Fidelis
Elements of Matins
The Matins or Night Office has three distinguishing elements. The opening phrase — Domine, labia mea aperies — (O Lord, you will open my lips), the Invitatory Psalm, and Readings. At the Community of Jesus, we have incorporated these three elements into the Office of Lauds.
The Office commences as we all face the altar and the Prioress gives a single knock on the chant desk. The officiant chants, Domine, labia mea aperies, to which the congregation responds, et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam (and my mouth will proclaim your praise). This is repeated three times.
The Invitatory Psalm is one of praise, and an invitation to worship. Traditionally, Psalm 95 is used, but others are as well. A key verse in the midst of this psalm is, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Throughout Lent, the antiphon for the Invitatory Psalm is this very text. It is chanted as a joyful plea in this season of conviction and repentance —Today! . It is followed by Psalm 122. Listen to the beginning of Friday Lauds.