The Daily Office in Lent

The Fore-Office

The Angelus, should you use it, is said through Lent into Holy Week.

The ’79 BCP provides 5 opening sentences. They should be used sequentially, the first serving the partial week following Ash Wednesday and the Week of Lent 1,  changing to the second sentence on Lent 2 and so on.

The Confession of Sin should be a more regular feature during Lent; daily use is ideal.

The Invitatory and Psalter

The use of “Alleluia” after the opening versicle is dropped.

There is one Invitatory Antiphon appointed for Lent, “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy: O come let us adore him.” which should be used for the whole period except on the three Holy Days. The Feast of St Matthias uses the antiphon for Major Saint’s Days without the Alleluias; the Feast of St Joseph and the Annunciation both use the antiphon for Feasts of the Incarnation.

The Daily Office Lectionary appoints Psalm 95 as the Invitatory for Fridays in Lent. Alternatively, the full Psalm 95 may be used throughout Lent rather than the truncated version of the Rite II Venite.

When “Alleluia” appears in the psalter during Lent it is omitted.

The Lessons

Year Two preserves the ancient tradition (as recorded in the 7th century Ordo XIII) of reading through Genesis and Exodus during Lent. Year One’s readings move through the prophet Jeremiah perhaps due to the soul-searching and personal suffering so eloquently described by the prophet. After a flirtation with Hebrews during the Week of Lent 1, Romans is read in Year One through chapter 11. 1st Corinthians is read through chapter 14 in Year Two, omitting chapters 15-16 on resurrection, then moves briefly into 2nd Corinthians before Holy Week. A new Gospel begins in Lent, John in Year One and Mark in Year Two.

Of all the Office elements, the canticles are most impacted by Lent. The Te Deum is usually suppressed during Lent and the Benedictus Es used in its place, save the three Holy Days. The Suggested Canticle Table brings in the Kyrie Pantokrator following the first reading on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays and the Gloria in excelsis is replaced by the Magna et mirabilia after the second reading. Alternatively, some uses, like that of the OJN, use the Kyrie Pantokrator as the invariable first canticle through the season, the three Holy Days excepted.

The Prayers

Anglican tradition from the English 1662 BCP through the American 1928 BCP appoints the Collect for Ash Wednesday to be read following the Collect of the Day from Lent 1 to Palm Sunday. While this option is not mentioned in the ’79 BCP, it seems a good practice in keeping with this book’s heightened emphasis on the seasons of the liturgical year.

The Great Litany should be used more frequently during Lent, Wednesdays and Fridays being most appropriate.

The first and simplest conclusion is best when the Great Litany is not used.

The Marian Anthem throughout Lent is the Ave Regina Caelorum which is used into Holy Week.