Ash Wednesday is already behind us and so is the first Sunday of Lent. Anciently Ash Wednesday began right before Matins with the observance of the Gradual Psalms. Sadly these are not given as a devotion in the Anglican Breviary. Be that as it may these Gradual Psalms can easily be found as a The Gradual Psalms and used in combination with the Anglican Breviary.
In the Missal and Breviary Lent is intertwined with death and the departed. In fact in previous times each Sunday Vespers would be immediately followed by the Vespers of the Dead and Monday Lauds would be followed by the Matins and Lauds of the Dead as well. Lent, de facto, began wit a devotion for the departed. The Gradual psalms begin with a recitation of Psalms as they would be recited for the Office of the Dead. The doxology, “Glory be to the Father” is not used. It is replaced with the “Rest eternal” familiar to us from the Office of the Dead.
So as we observe our Lenten Fast these coming weeks we might try to add the Office o the Dead and the Gradual Psalms to our Daily Office. Wednesday Mornings we could recite the Gradual Psalms immediately before Matins, and we could add the Office of the Dead starting after Sunday Vespers. Perhaps adding a three nocturn Matins for Monday is too much and in this case perhaps only one nocturn could be used.
Fr. Gregory Wassen