So, given that I am full of opinions about breviaries--and for this I make no apology, since, as one notes, breviaries are the only things (apart from our clothes) that the Rule permits us to have--I offer my hopes for the glorious day when I unbox a new English Liturgy of the Hours. Please, my brothers...
- Let us have the three Magnficat and Benedictus antiphons for each of the three Sunday hinge hours, instead of this stingy business we have now where Evening Prayer I gets year A, Morning Prayer gets year B, and Evening Prayer II gets year C, such that the antiphon only corresponds to the Sunday gospel once during the Sunday hours. Every other edition I have ever seen gives all three for each.
- Point the psalmody for singing.
- It's a little thing, but put the daggers for when the antiphon doubles the first line of a psalm so that it might be skipped, as is right and just. I don't know why we don't have these.
- Include the Latin hymns, or at least translations of them. Both would be best.
- Make the cards for the gospel canticles, festal psalmody, Te Deum, etc., tough.
- Dump the psalm prayers.
- Six ribbons are better than five. That way there's one each for Proper of Seasons, Ordinary, Psalter, Night Prayer, Proper of Saints, and Commons.
- Give us books just as tough as the Catholic Book Publishing Company's 4-volume set we have now. Say what you want about them, but those books are strong.
Thanks in advance for all of your work!
It was no longer possible to consider myself, abstractly, as being in a certain "state of life" which had certain technical relations to other "states of life." All that occupied me now was the immediate practical problem of getting up my hill with this terrific burden I had on my shoulders, step by step, begging God to drag me along and get me away from my enemies and from those who were trying to destroy me.
I did not even reflect how the Breviary, the Canonical Office, was the most powerful and effective prayer I could possibly have chosen, since it is the prayer of the whole Church, and concentrates in itself all the power of the Church's impetration, centered around the infinitely mighty Sacrifice of the Mass--the jewel of which the rest of the Liturgy is the setting: the soul which is the life of the whole Liturgy and of all the Sacramentals. All this was beyond me, although I grasped it at least obscurely. All I knew was that I needed to say the Breviary, and say it every day.
Buying those books at Benziger's that day was one of the best things I ever did in my life. The inspiration to do it was a very great grace. There are few things I remember that give me more joy. (Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain, 329-330)