Over the past few years I have switched back and forth between the Office of Saint Benedict (Lancelot Andrewes Press version) and the Anglican Breviary (AB). I have decided to make the AB more Benedictine; so that at all the Hours (including Lauds and Vespers) I always take the Our Father sequence:
Lord have mercy upon us. Christ have mercy upon us. Lord have mercy upon us.
Our Father …
Regardless of the Feast. It seems that the Our Father is a most appropriate way of closing the hour with. Such is also the way St. Benedict suggested it be done (Holy Rule 13). I have also taken to heart that the Office is the place where Scripture is supposed to be read much more extensively as is the case in the AB now:
The books to be read at the Night Office
shall be those of divine authorship,
of both the Old and the New Testament,
and also the explanations of them which have been made
by well known and orthodox Catholic Fathers.
St. Benedict, Holy Rule 9
So that I am experimenting with reading Scripture continuously at all the places in the Office where the “chapter” is read or where the Scripture is read in Matins. I always have 3 Lessons – 2 from Scripture and 1 from an orthodox Catholic Father. I am trying to match the readings of Scripture to reading a Patristic commentary and it seems to be working so far.
I admit that this is “tinkering” with the tradition, but it fits within Benedictine standards.
Why not simply use the Office of Benedict? Well in the editions known to me barely any Scripture is read at all, plus the distribution of the Psalter makes it next to impossible on a working day for a family-man and priest. After all St. Benedict says:
We strongly recommend, however,
that if this distribution of the Psalms is displeasing to anyone,
she should arrange them otherwise,
in whatever way she considers better,
but taking care in any case
that the Psalter with its full number of 150 Psalms
be chanted every week
and begun again every Sunday at the Night Office.
St. Benedict, Holy Rule 18
Fr. Gregory Wassen +