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Chapter VII.

How one who does not come to the daily prayer before the end of the first Psalm is not allowed to enter the Oratory; but at Nocturnes a late arrival up to the end of the second Psalm can be overlooked.

But one who at Tierce, Sext, or None has not come to prayer before the Psalm is begun and finished does not venture further to enter the Oratory nor to join himself to those singing the Psalms; but, standing outside, he awaits the breaking-up of the congregation,743743    Congregationis missam. and while they are all coming out does penance lying on the ground, and obtains absolution for his carelessness and lateness, knowing that he can in no other way expiate the fault of his sloth, nor can ever be admitted to the service which will follow three hours later, unless he has been quick to make satisfaction at once for his present negligence by the help of true humility. But in the nocturnal assemblies a late arrival up to the second Psalm is allowed, provided that before the Psalm is finished and the brethren bow down in prayer he makes haste to take his place in the congregation and join them; but he will most certainly be subjected to the same blame and penance which we mentioned before if he has delayed ever so little beyond the hour permitted for a late arrival.744744    The Rule of S. Benedict has similar provisions, allowing a late arrival at Mattins till the Gloria after the Venite (the second Psalm, as it is preceded by Ps. iii.), and at the other services till the Gloria after the first Psalm. “If any come later than this, he is not to take his usual place in the choir, but stand last of all, or take whatever place the Abbot may have appointed for those who are guilty of a similar neglect, so that he may be seen of all; and in this place he is to remain until he shall have made public satisfaction, at the end of the office. We deem it necessary,” the Rule proceeds, “to place such offenders thus apart, that, being thus exposed to the view of all their brethren, they may be shamed into a sense of duty. Moreover, if such were allowed to remain outside the church, they might either sit down at their ease, or while away their time in chatting, or perhaps return to the dormitory and compose themselves to sleep and thus expose themselves to the temptations of the enemy.” Rule of S. Benedict, c. xliii.


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