Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Benedictine Daily Prayer



It should be noted that the second edition of Benedictine Daily Prayer (Liturgical Press), the successor to the famous short breviaries, including nearly legendary one-volume English translation of the Liturgia Horarum (sadly suppressed by the US bishops), is almost upon us.

I have some experience using the first edition. There were a few things among the readings that raised an eyebrow here and there, but this was more than mitigated by the translation employed for the readings and psalms, and certainly nullified by the presence of the ancient monastic hymns.

Apart from being a successor to the famous short breviaries, Benedictine Daily Prayer seems to have had the two fold goal of 1) re-introducing the monastic office to a wider audience, and 2) addressing some of the structural problems with the modern breviary in the Roman Church.

The first edition succeeded in many ways. In retrospect, the first edition should have been released during the height of the chant craze in the 90s. There was such a general interest in spirituality, especially monastic spirituality, that it would have been extremely beneficial. Nevertheless, it is here and, overall, the first edition was a successful entryway into monastic liturgy. 

The second edition responds to several formatting concerns that were raised overtime. The website provides the following list of changes:
  • A more user-friendly layout
  • A new organization for the Office of Vigils, structured on a two-week cycle
  • Daily Offices also arranged on a two-week cycle
  • Patristic readings for each Sunday
  • Concluding prayers for the daily and seasonal offices
  • Slightly taller format
I will be extremely interested to see what translation of the collects this edition uses. The editors could use just about any version they desired. One would imagine they would opt for a via media.


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