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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