Besides the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments, the works read at Vigils [Matins] should include explanations of Scripture by reputable and orthodox catholic Fathers.
~ Rule of Saint Benedict
It is my belief that the AB – good as it is – is not perfect. It never has been. In fact throughout history the Breviary or rather the books in use to say the Divine Office have changed and have been reformed re-edited many times over. The Book of Common Prayer is one such reform and revision. For make no mistake about it, the Book of Common Prayer is a Breviary! Currently the AB contains a Lectionary far inferior to any of the editions of the Book of Common Prayer as far as the reading of Scripture goes. On the other hand the Book of Common Prayer contains a Lectionary far inferior to the Anglican Breviary as far as teaching Scripture is concerned – I mean the Book of Common Prayer merely immerses in Scripture whereas the Anglican Breviary provides a means to interpret and put into practice portions of the Scripture that are read. Can the weaknesses of both be overcome by mutual enrichment?
Perhaps it can! The Benedictine Monastery of Pluscarden, Scotland has initiated the use of a two year Lectionary which combines Scripture readings with a Patristic commentary related to the Scripture read. In this Lectionary not all of Scripture is read but a large and I believe a representative selection of Scripture is read. I am contemplating a way to integrate this Lectionary into the AB. Of course there would be some challenges that go along with this:
– what to do for Sundays? Keep the AB lessons and commentary or adopt the Pluscarden Lectionary?
– what to do with the Our Father, blessings, Responsories? The readings do not come with their own so can the AB ones be made to match the Pluscarden Lectionary?
– should the Our Father, blessings, Responsories even be kept? The Book of Common Prayer did not – should we?
Please think with me and comment?
Fr. Gregory Wassen +