medieval prayer to St. Michael; on petitioning saints; books of hours

An article I originally posted in 2011 wherein I explain why punitive miracles (i.e. saints smiting people) and coercion of saints (i.e. people smiting saints) are both things; briefly describe liturgical hours; cover the concept of intercession; and mangle an ut clause translating a 15th century Latin prayer to St. Michael.

Big Lucky Hoodoo

I’ve translated a prayer to St. Michael from a mid-15th century Book of Hours, and I thought I’d share it in between typing light setting reports.

Books of Hours were very popular in medieval Europe.  While few laypeople would be able to own, never mind read, a Bible for much of the Middle Ages in much of Europe, a lot of people owned Books of Hours (comparatively speaking).  They are so named because they are built around the hours of the day – not the 24 hour setup we know, but the monastic and ecclesiastical hours that the day of a monk or nun or priest was divided into.  These “hours” (sometimes called “offices” today) are Matins (basically the first chunk of prayers, at rising or dawn or however you have your day sorted), Lauds or Prime (about 6 am), Terce (about 9 am), Sext (noon), Nones (about 3 pm), Vespers…

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