Tag Archives: St Bede’s Breviary

Monthly Psalms Cycle on Festivals

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?

New Online Breviary: Beta Test Version

Christopher has said on occasion that it’s one thing to advocate for liturgical renewal; it’s another entirely to actually do something about it.

In the spirit of actually doing something, I’m introducing for trial use a new online resource for praying the Daily Office. Named St Bede’s Breviary, it is firmly rooted in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, especially as read through catholic tradition. I’ll say more about this in the coming days but here are a few notes:

  • It differs from other online prayer options specifically in terms of options. You may select from Rite I or II, use one of (currently) three liturgical kalendars, and vary the amount of material and additions as your time and inclinations allow.
  • The other difference from other sites is that it is an integrated full-text office meaning that everything is on one page. No clicking between various windows.
  • M has confirmed that it is crackberry accessible. (No word on other telephony devices…)
  • It is still in the beta testing phase which means that there are glitches. Some I’m aware of and am working as time allows; others will only appear in the course of regular use. So—it’s not perfect.
  • It’s also not static. Meaning, not only can bugs be fixed (unlike in paper breviaries) I’m also open to introducing new options and such as long as they remain in line with the fundamental mandate of the project—a breviary rooted in the ’79 BCP read in continuity with catholic tradition.

Here’s a key point: While I’ve used the word “I” a couple of times, I’m going to carefully qualify it. While I’ve done the PHP coding and worked up the current state of the MySQL tables, this has, from its inception a while back, been a community effort.  In particular bls and Fr. Chris did a tremendous amount of work in terms of both content and technical conceptualization. bls in particular was the mastermind behind the drupal-based version that ran for a while on a host provided by Fr. Chris. Unfortunately my host doesn’t offer drupal support on Windows servers concerning which I’m greatly annoyed… In short, this wouldn’t be possible without them. (And bls, I want to revisit some of your original design ideas too—I’ll shoot you a note…)

Christopher, Brian M, Scott, Mother M, Paul Goings, and others offered support and suggestions, sometimes only in the form of answering seemingly random questions about office minutae.

I’d like to keep it that way too. If you use this, please let me know what can or should be done to make it better or more user friendly.

So, without further ado: St Bede’s Breviary.