September 30, 2008

Breviarium Romanum: First Impressions

Over the past couple of days I've been praying a little bit with my Breviarium Romano-Seraphicum, taking advantage of the new privilege to do so in Summorum pontificum 9,3. On Sunday I used it for Lauds, Terce, None, and Vespers. Sext got lost in a sea of liturgical preparation disasters (dirty chalices, unrecollected servers, the lady who stuffs the poor boxes with crumpled bulletins, etc) before the 11:30 Mass. Yesterday on the feast of the archangels, I prayed Sext from the BR while I was waiting around for a committal to get started at Gate of Heaven cemetery.

Let me start out by saying that I'm not sure I'm even doing it right. I read through the rubrics during the presidential "debate" last week, but I was also talking to the brothers and answering the parish duty phone all at the same time. For instance, I wasn't sure how or if I was supposed to somehow commemorate St. Wenceslaus during the Sunday prayers.

My immediate impression was to remark on the continuity of the BR with the current Liturgy of the Hours. Much of the Sunday psalmody was the same, and since I often pray with the typical edition Liturgia Horarum, I recognized almost all of the Latin hymnody. Going on, more than anything else I was almost taken aback by how much more psalm oriented the BR is when compared to the current LH. Compared with the simple psalm-OT canticle-psalm, psalm-psalm-psalm, and psalm-psalm-NT canticle schema in the current structure of Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer and Evening Prayer (respectively), the psalmody of the BR seemed to go on forever.

One thing I will say, and this isn't as small a thing as it seems, the BR is a lot more portable than the current breviary. You could almost put it in your habit pocket if life were simpler and it weren't for cell phone and PDA. For someone who lugged one or the other fat volume of the Roman-Franciscan Liturgy of the Hours all around Boston during five years of theology, it was nice to have something so much more portable.

I haven't been brave enough to try matins. I'm still confused about this one or three nocturn thing.


ben in denver said...

I know one friar in Denver who I have confidence is familiar with the BR, although I don't know him too well (a good friend of mine who knows him better compares him to St. Pio). I'm sure he would be willing to answer some questions. Let me know if you want his name.

Brother Charles said...

Thanks, Ben! You never know, I might know him already. When you have a chance, send his name along in an email.

God bless today...and thanks for the 411 on Blessed Herman the other day. I enjoyed learning about him.

Jennifer said...

Fr. Charles, I was wondering how many volumes the Breviarium Romano-Seraphicum that you use is? My impression in searching for a set for myself was that there were two... Pars Aestiva and Pars Autumnalis.

I'm thinking that perhaps it depends on the year though? The set of two that I saw was from 1846. If I end up going for a later year, perhaps 1938 or 1955, or a combination of both, I will most likely have to get each separately, but I want to make sure I know how many volumes I need to look for to get the whole set.

Thank you for your help!

Brother Charles said...

Yes, the set I have is two volumes, from 1962. Happy searching!

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

Re the Breviary. The problem is not the rubrics but rather the economising of space within the pages which makes the person be moving all over the place.

I suggest you go to

Learn this mans website. He caters for Breviary users going back 200 years or more. You can bring up the now authorised 1961 version and all is one one page. Be prepared to be sitting in front fo your pc for a few weeks as you use your OWN breviary following the rubrics on the screen.
He is mainstream Catholic and will answer your emails.
Fr Luc