Lectionary for the Office of Readings

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Lively Interest in the Divine Office

My post on praying Matins gave rise to a number of responses and queries. This is a cause for rejoicing; it demonstrates that the Divine Office (or Liturgy of the Hours) continues to attract people, suffusing all of life with the praise of God. The praise we offer, hour by hour and day by day, sanctifies us, whom God created to be nothing less than "the praise of His glory" (Eph 1:14).

Readings at Matins

I should first want to clarify that for the readings at Matins, I am not using those found in the Editio Typica of the Roman Breviary of Blessed John XXIII, nor those in the corresponding edition of the Monastic Breviary. I use the extraordinarily rich seven volume Lectionarium Monasticum Divini Officii in Latin and French. The readings given therein are the implementation of what was announced when the Liturgy of the Hours was promulgated in 1971, but never made available, that is, a lectionary for the Office of Readings arranged in a two year cycle. I don't know if there is a Latin/English version of this lectionary. One might inquire at Quarr Abbey or at Ryde Abbey, or perhaps at Farnborough.

Still Waiting

One reads in the General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours:

145. There are two cycles of biblical readings. The first is a one-year cycle and is incorporated into The Liturgy of the Hours; the second, given in the supplement for optional use, is a two-year cycle, like the cycle of readings at weekday Masses in Ordinary Time.
146. The two-year cycle of readings for the liturgy of the hours is so arranged that each year there are readings from nearly all the books of sacred Scripture as well as longer and more difficult texts that are not suitable for inclusion in the Mass. The New Testament as a whole is read each year, partly in the Mass, partly in the liturgy of the hours; but for the Old Testament books a selection has been made of those parts that are of greater importance for the understanding of the history of salvation and for deepening devotion.

Current Monastic and Roman Lectionaries for the Office

The Solesmes lectionary gives the full two year cycle of Scriptural and Patristic readings, as well as the corresponding responsories. Following the tradition of the Church, the readings are, as I explained in my earlier post, divided into three our four lessons, each with its own responsory. The Roman Liturgy of the Hours, aiming at a more compact Office of Readings, suppressed the division into smaller lessons, as well as the responsories corresponding to them. I discussed the disadvantages of this adaptation here.


Very interesting post, Father!

I'd be eager to hear your view on how the laity can integrate the richness of Matins into their lives. I say the rest of the Office ('61 Breviarium Romanum), but cannot find time to pray Matins...

Father Mark, I just discovered a two-year patristic lectionary prepared for Pluscarden Abbey. They offer a convenient MSWord formatted version at:


I'm wondering what you think of this effort. God Bless.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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