Now, according to my history professors, this is how it would work in many Medieval villages in Europe. The monks or nuns at the monasteries would toll the bell, telling their communities that was time for Office. The community would gather in the choir, and some lay people would gather in the main nave at various times of the day.
The religious who knew how to read would take the lead on chanting the psalms. Those who did not would recite other prayers along with the laity.
The story goes is that these other prayers would be repetitive and would not last very long—around 10-15 minutes–in order to coincide with Office. They would be snippets from Scripture that were easy to memorize.
Eventually, this is the origin of the rosary. While the monks and nuns would chant the psalms, the illiterati would pray the mysteries of the rosary in the nave.
One hundred and fifty psalms. One hundred and fifty Hail Marys. Everyone mediating on the life of Christ.
And I know what you might be thinking. So what about when St. John Paul II instituted the Luminous Mysteries? Yeah, I know. The whole 150/150 thing is kinda jettisoned. But he’s a saint, now, what are you going to do?
I don’t dislike the Luminous. Actually, I have always thought that they fill in a necessary gap in contemplating Jesus’ life (his earthly ministry). But still, there is a part of me that is sad because of this split between these two devotions that are paramount in a Dominican’s spirituality. Eh.
Anyhow, you are invited to be part of the parish’s deep liturgical life. See here for our schedule.
Holy Father Dominic, pray for us!