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Benedictine Daily Prayer

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.

As part of my ongoing rebuilding older sections of this site, I have reblogged some earlier posts in the spirit of Throwback Thursday. In doing the research for today’s post, I discovered that a second edition has just been brought out for this daily office that I have been using since about the time it originally came out. I have ordered this second edition.

This is what I wrote about the earlier edition:

This is a very complete, self contained office book. It has provision for Vigils, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline (no Prime). About half the book is composed of daily readings, two per day, mostly from the (non gospel) scriptures. [If one wanted to add a gospel reading, the daily eucharistic gospel could be a good source].

This is a book for those who are already agile in praying the office. The introduction provided is too little for the beginner, and superfluous for those familiar with praying the office. On occasion (particularly around Christmas time) there is considerable need for page flipping (more than five ribbons would help). My advice is to stay with the regular psalter as much as possible.

The psalm translation is Inclusive Grail. For those unfamiliar with this translation, it intends to mimic the stress patterns of Hebrew poetry – some tire of that rhythm. The language is people/horizontal inclusive but retains “Lord” and “he” for God. The scripture readings are NRSV. The prayers provided are broad, usually addressed to God, occasionally to Jesus rather than through Jesus. The hymns can normally be sung to any tune 8888 meter.

Terce to Compline follows the psalm scheme of the Rule of St Benedict. Vigils and Lauds have been adapted, so while for Terce to Compline there is a one week cycle, there is provision for a two week cycle of Vigils and Lauds. One option, I suggest, is Morning Prayer can be a four week cycle of Lauds, Supplemental Lauds, Vigils, Supplemental Vigils. The longer reading(s) (from the front of the book) can replace the short reading provided.

This office book has proved immediately popular particularly with those who resonate with Benedictine, Cistercian, Camaldolese, and Carthusian spirituality.

I use it with the Benedictus and Magnificat version prayed by Kopua (and Tarrawarra) Cistercian monastery.

First edition: 2266 pages; 163 x 120 x 42 mm (6.5 x 4.8 x 1.7 inches)
Second edition: 2088 pages; 6.2 x 4.4 x 1.9 inches

This fully revised edition includes:
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
A more user-friendly layout

About the Editor of Benedictine Daily Prayer:
Maxwell E. Johnson, PhD, is an oblate of Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, and an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He is professor of liturgy at the University of Notre Dame. His articles have appeared frequently in Worship. He is the author of Living Water, Sealing Spirit, The Rites of Christian Initiation, and Between Memory and Hope, published by Liturgical Press.

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6 thoughts on “Benedictine Daily Prayer”

  1. Dear Bosco,
    I am a regular reader of your excellent Liturgy website. Thank you so much for all that you share with us all.
    I seem to remember that there has been a discussion to encourage St John’s Abbey to publish the Benedictine Daily Prayer online? Do you know what has happened to this debate?
    I am very keen to see it online, as do our travelling forgers of our Community.
    Many thanks,

    1. Thanks, Br Bernard. I don’t know how that is going – the publishers need to know that the investment of a digital version is financially responsible. So the more people who let them know, the better. The main discussion on this is found here. Blessings.

  2. I like to use substituting the collects, Benedictus (Song of Zechariah) and Magnificat (Song of Mary) from the Benedictus or Magnificat texts. The collects, Benedictus and Magnificat in English in BDP are too touchy freely for me.

    1. I don’t know what exactly you mean, Don. The Weekly Psalter begins on page 841; and which week it is is indicated in the Introduction on page xx. I hope that helps? Blessings.

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