Minor Order: The Lectorate – Reader

The Lector focuses on controlling the powers of the mind: logic, fallacy, memory, assumption. Practically the Reader assists at Mass by delivering the scripture or inspirational piece chosen for that day.

The lector is a reader. Readings from the sacred books formed part of the divine services even in the Old Testament. In the Christian Church, such readings were incorporated from the very beginning into the celebration of the Eucharistic mystery. The first part of holy Mass constituted the so-called Mass of the catechumens, or instruction service, for those who prepared for baptism and were not allowed yet to assist at the whole Mass. The instructions were based on Holy Scripture, and the reader would read the text.

It must be remembered that the ancient manuscripts were not as easy to read as a modern book. No distinction was made between small letters and capitals, words were not clearly separated, punctuation marks not used. Reading, therefore, required careful preparation in order to be done correctly, fluently, and distinctly.

It seems that in the beginning, capable laymen took care of this reading, but at a very early date readers were ordained; even boys possessing the necessary knowledge were admitted to this order. As the Mass of the catechumens lost its original significance, and reading at the divine services was taken over more and more by members of the major orders, readers began to form the schola cantorum and took care of the singing, probably before the seventh century.

From the ordination ceremony:

The reader works to control the powers of the mind and to devote those to the Divine’s service. The transformation of the intellect is the purpose of this step in Holy Orders. In former times, the reader read for the priest, intoned the lessons, blessed bread and all first fruits. Now the read is asked to dedicate his or her mind to the glory of God, to train and develop the mind to influence others for good and cultivate the power of concentration. The reader should always be mindful of the fact that Wisdom begins in wonder.

Are you prepared to diligently study and develop the powers of your mind so that you may help to develop the minds and hearts of others?