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Benedictine Daily Prayer Second Edition

Benedictine Daily Prayer: A Short Breviary by the Monks of Saint John’s Abbey (Author), Maxwell E. Johnson (Editor)
Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota (2005; second edition 2015)
2088 pages; 6.2 x 4.4 x 1.9 inches; 5 ribbons included.

I have been using Benedictine Daily Prayer (2005) for years now. Alongside Lauds (2 psalms & I then rotated through one of Ps 148-150) the 2005 edition has a Supplemental Lauds. I also alternated, week by week, between Vigils (& Supplemental Vigils) and Lauds.

I recently discovered that a Second Edition has been produced. I have been using that for a couple of weeks now. Supplemental Lauds has become a completely separate, second week of Lauds. The same has been done to Supplemental Vigils. Furthermore Vigils has been expanded to a much larger office of two “nocturns” with 3-4 psalms each nocturn. So I have started using this, trying a sort of 8-week cycle: Vigils week 1 (1st nocturn); Vigils 2 (1st nocturn); Lauds 1; Lauds 2; Vigils 1 (2nd nocturn); Vigils 2 (2nd); Lauds 1; Lauds 2. I am, in fact, finding this easier than previously – the layout seems to be more user-friendly. So, immediately, I am praying through a greater variety of psalms.

There are other additions and improvements that many people will appreciate. For example, the readings, which make up 40% of the book, have been added to with more Patristic readings. There are more other prayer resources.

Although the number of pages has been reduced, and the thickness of the book increased (so individual pages are thicker), to me there is more show-through than previously. The colour of the paper has gone from white to a more pleasant cream. The five ribbons are thinner than previously – but seem to function fine. I have been unable to find a zipped cover yet as I have for the 2005 edition. The book, however, seems to me to be able to be held easier. The cover, if the book is left lying on a table, appears to have a tendency to curve sometimes.

I use another cycle of readings to the one in the book (which generally lacks a gospel reading), and so 40% of the book is mostly unused by me. It is a bulky book. If a version was available without the readings – that would be great for me. A digital/kindle version (with clickable links back and forth to required sections) would be awesome – I hope this is being considered. An associated website or online discussion group would be a boon. All I have discovered is a pretty inactive facebook group.

All in all, if you are looking for a flexible Daily Office that fits within the tradition of the Church, particularly in the approach advocated by St Benedict, I recommend this book based on the Inclusive Grail Psalter and NRSV readings.

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38 Responses to Benedictine Daily Prayer Second Edition

  1. The Facebook group is actually quite active. Don’t be misled by the date-stamp on the first post, which is pinned to the top. Keep scrolling for recent posts.

    I’m keeping an errata sheet; my only real complaint about the BDP2 (I use it daily for enrichments at Vespers) is the many errors. Not just typos: sometimes you’ll be singing a hymn to a known tune and then suddenly the words don’t fit the tune anymore.
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3051739/BDP2-Errata.xlsx

    • Thanks, Scott – I’m putting your helpful comment through moderation. I’m going to come back and update this (my) comment. There was one error in a prayer this morning. And a continuing issue from BDP1 is that I often cannot tell if the start of a page continues the stanza of a psalm or is a new stanza. Blessings.

      • That’s a pet peeve, and I’ve included it in my BDP2 errata. It seems that if one is printing Grail psalms and realizes how they’re most often recited (alternating strophes), you’d want to refrain from having a page break within a strophe.

        And I never understand why USA-based publishers of Grail editions don’t include the asterisks to indicate the binary verse divisions as the UK-based Divine Office does. This would make it easy to alternate verse by verse like other psalters as well.

        • Rather than amend my previous comment, Scott, I’ll just point to today’s error here:

          page 1143 (I don’t see it in your errata): “Help us to live our lives in your radiance and will be in fellowship…”
          What is even more strange, is that in BDP1, this error is not present: “… and we will be in fellowship…”
          So how did the “we” get removed from an electronic text?

          Blessings.

  2. I’m afraid to say that your comments about all the errors of one kind or another in the text have given me major pause about purchasing this new edition.

    • Personally, I don’t think the errors are significant enough to give major pause, Daniel. I suggest you have a look at what can be seen online. If you want to, you could discuss this further in the facebook group with those of us using it. I think the other points I make are far more decisive: do you want a Daily Office of this shape, with this translation, in this tradition? Blessings.

    • I’m as annoyed as anyone about the many errors, but I still don’t consider them a showstopper, and I use BDP2 daily with pleasure (and these occasional annoyances). It does show a remarkable lack of proofreading that is surprising for a house like Liturgical Press, but the errors are stumbling blocks mainly to using the book in a group; praying as an individual isn’t hampered.

      In group prayer, I guess the group would have to agree that the bottom of the page is the end of a psalm strophe even when it doesn’t seem like it should be.

  3. BDP IIis a very usable edition, even with the errors….even the Roman Catholic 4 volume breviary still has errors after all these years….I would think publishing a breviary editing-wise is much more difficult to edit than a normal book would be.

    Worth the purchase, especially if you desire a Benedictine flavor to the daily office.

  4. Bosco, I know it would not be your first choice, but Universalis has a rather seamless Daily Office available for the Kindle for a reasonable cost. Just a thought.

    • Thanks, Kevin. Yes, I know about digital versions of the Daily Office, and used one, for example, walking the Camino last year, but I want to avoid changing offices. Others may use one office at home and another on public transport and at work – they may find that works for them. I’d like to see a digital version of the BDP for this purpose. Blessings.

  5. Hi Bosco Peters, Thank you for the review of BDP and for your request of a digital/Kindle edition. Because of the nature of how this book is used, we’ve seriously thought about putting together an app, but we weren’t sure if people would find it useful and pay for it (apps can be quite costly to produce from scratch). Would you be interested in an app edition of BDP?

    • Thanks, Tara. I don’t know how you might determine how many people might purchase such an app – but you have an assured purchase by me. I used a digital version of an office on an iPad when I walked the Camino last year. If you produced an app, I would use the book at home and the app during the day – or other times away from the book. I am happy to promote any survey that you might consider putting out (I have an extensive social media network) and would certainly promote the app once it is out. Do keep me informed, and thanks for all you do. Blessings.

      • Thank you! We will certainly keep you in the loop as explore an app edition.
        Also, just to comment on the errors in this edition: we are sorry that many errors have been found. BDP went through four rounds of detailed proofreading, but with any book of this length, errors are unfortunately bound to happen. We do welcome any list of errors people find so that we can make sure they are fixed for any reprints.

        • Dear Tara:
          Thank you for your comments! As one who has posted about errors, I want to assure you and everyone at Liturgical Press of my keen interest in and appreciation for Benedictine Daily Prayer–if I were not as enthusiastic about the book, I might not care as much when I find an error. 🙂 Here is the link to my running errata sheet:
          https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3051739/BDP2-Errata.xlsx
          As I mentioned to someone else here, the errors are problematic mainly when two or more people pray together; most wouldn’t trip up an individual, and of course they in no way invalidate the book. I’m very glad we have this resource and its major improvements in the second edition. Thank you.

  6. I would buy an app of BDP if one was produced. In my work as a mental health chaplain, I’m continually drawn to the Psalms. Being able to pray with them in all their variety is important to me. But I also need to travel light!

  7. A few more corrections:

    p1736, Resp, should have “* pray for us” between V and Glory.

    Doxologies in the Lenten office hymns have “Your” at the end, should be “your”. Happens a lot.

    Scott, your spreadsheet is coming up as not found.

  8. A couple more seasonal corrections:

    p1503 Sext prayer, last sentence beginning “You who reign” doesn’t’ make sense. Surely it should be appended to the preceding sentence?

    p1503 None prayer, the two sentences should be one sentence; doesn’t make sense as two.

    Also, in the office hymn Ad cenam (wherever it’s printed) there seems to be an extra syllable in final verse, line 2. Surely it should read “For you are our Passover King!”?

  9. P1520 and 1530, resp, last line should say “Christ”, not “The Lord”.

    P1521, concluding prayer, first two sentences should be one sentence; makes no sense as is. Same on p1522.

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