Category Archives: Daily Office

The Noon Office and Compline

I’m wondering how many people are out there like me who find that noon and bedtime are the best time for some version of the daily office? I’m just not a morning person. I’ve tried the morning office and I just don’t keep it up. The evening office is really intended for early evening, the fading vespers light, but this really isn’t a good time either. Now you might say well, make time, and I can’t argue with that.  I think the best way to to maintain a rhythm is to find a program that fits in my (and your) schedule. For people who find their best time to be on the subway or light rail system, traditional morning and evening may be just fine. I’m in the snarl of traffic about then.

I just don’t find the noon office to be very satisfying. I often do morning prayer at noon, but this is not ideal either because morning prayer is geared for starting the day. By noon I’m often well into the frustrations of the day. So my long term goal is to produce a new book of hours. It would have four hours for the day: morning, noon, evening, and compline. My book of hours/primer would be in between the modern daily office and medieval books of hours. It would not have new lessons and psalms for every day like the daily office but unlike medieval hours, there would be a seven days worth in the book of hours. I’m thinking something like this:

  • Sunday / new life
  • Monday / creation
  • Tuesday / action
  • Wednesday / piety? (or piety and study?)
  • Thursday / community
  • Friday / penance
  • Saturday / pilgrimage

There might be couple for special occasions also, like an office for the dead. By having a theme for each day, the normal seven day schedule could be changed for a particular need or perhaps for a minor feast day that fits say the theme for community better than the Tuesday office.

It would also be like medieval books of hours in that it would be intended for private rather than corporate devotions. The Book of Common Prayer is really intended for corporate worship that can be modified for individuals. This would be the opposite. Forward Movement’s Hour by Hour is a role model except that it keeps strictly to the BCP program. It will keep the flavor of the BCP but I expect there to be changes. For example, I expect there to be quotes from church fathers and saints, in addition to scripture. So what changes could be done to noon and compline to make them more equal with morning and evening, and better suited for modern life?

St Bede’s Breviary

Derek the Ænglican over at Haligweorc released his St Bede’s Breviary on Monday. His project is a tour-de-force in both liturgy and computer design. Derek has produced a new Daily Office site that can be customized for Rite I/Rite II, six different prayerbook styles, and three different sactorales (church calendars). Once this is project is finished it will be a great gift to the church.

The appearance is fairly stark but this makes it usable by smaller devices. I’ve tried it out on my iPhone and it is manageable. I’ve read others say that it looks good on blackberries.

Check it out here: http://www.haligweorc.org/breviary/

Aidan and Cuthbert

New Blue book on the proposed revised calendar for the Episcopal Church is out to be approved at this summer’s general convention. There are a large number of changes and many additions.

Cuthbert has a vision of Aidan being carried to heaven on the night he died, from a version of Bede's Life of Cuthbert.
Cuthbert has a vision of Aidan's soul being carried to heaven on the night he died, from a version of Bede's Life of Cuthbert.

One of the changes combines the feast day for Bishops Aidan and Cuthbert of Lindisfarne on August 31st (Aidan’s feast day). We have been saying for years that Cuthbert is the politically correct version of Aidan and now they will share a feast day. On top of that, they share Aidan’s feast day. I think that is appropriate given that Aidan is the founder of Lindisfarne and is probably more popular among the neo-Celtic movement, but I’m sure in terms of historic popularity, Cuthbert was more popular. Having the feast in August will remove it from the complication of possibly falling in Lent. It will also move Cuthbert from the shadow of St Patrick a couple days earlier. Overall, I can’t say that I mind too much, but it does decrease the number of early medieval and Anglo-Saxons feasts. This is more relevant because they are proposing to add so many post-Reformation people.

New proposed collect:

Everliving God, you called your servants Aidan and Cuthbert to proclaim the Gospel in northern England and gave them loving hearts and gentle spirits: Grant us grace to live as they did, in simplicity, humility and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ, who came among us as one who serves, and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Lectionary edits

I’ve been working on my Lenten reflection for my parish collection. The psalm I’m working on is one where they cut out a couple verses because they have objectionable curses. I can’t help wondering why they bother to edit out a couple verses from the daily office lectionary. Its not as though the daily office is reprinted in a service leaflet or booklet where the offending verses could actually be cut out. You say the daily office with the BCP and/or the bible.  If I get a direction to cut out eight verses out of 38 then I’m going to be curious at what is being cut out and look for those verses especially. Besides, like it or not, the curses are part the psalms. The curses are difficult for Christians to understand as being part of scripture but if they were left in the lectionary it would give priests sermon topics. It would be a teaching moment.  Its interesting how some priests completely ignore the pslams in their sermons, while others use them frequently.