I’m a big fan of the monthly psalm cycle in the BCP. Those would be the headings that mention a day and “morning” or “evening” in the BCP Psalms. I see it as a nice expansion of the point Benedict makes in RB 18.24-5 (paraphrasing here): If our holy Fathers could say all the psalms every day, at least we lazy monks can do it every week. By extension if the monks can do it every week, we distracted laity can certainly manage it once a month…
But what to do when we hit major festivals? Read the Psalms in course as usual or read something special—like switching to the psalms identified in the Daily Office lectionary? This question was brought to my mind again yesterday when I prayed the Morning Office for the Conception of the BVM from the breviary. It seemed rather ironic on the feast of a conception to read Ps 38 with the following lines:
For my loins are filled with a sore disease, *
and there is no whole part in my body.
Now, I’m the first to argue that we just need to let the cycles take their courses and to see what passages the Holy Spirit brings together through no deliberate will of our own—but, c’mon…
I’ve been reconsidering the answer suggested by the Order of the Holy Cross’s A Monastic Diurnal which uses a set festal psalter arrangement for first class feasts which it defines (pre-’79 remember) as the Feasts of Our Lord in sections 1 through 3 and a few major saints (though not all apostles). Their scheme looks like this:
First Vespers: Pss 96, 97, 98, 99, 148 [largely the YHWH MLK psalms]
Matins: Pss 24, 29, 72, 93, 100
Second Vespers: Pss 110, 111, 112, 113, 150
This has the additional bonus of giving a set number of 5 psalms for these offices, nicely matching up with the traditional number of psalm antiphons so all of them can be appreciated (when utilized).
What do you think?