Breviary Advice?

Hello! So I’m a Traddie teen who recites the Liturgy of the Hours (from Christian Prayer and Office of Readings online) and attends the Ordinary Form of the Mass since the nearest EF is quite far from where I live. I’ve been considering switching from reciting the LOTH to reciting the hours from the Breviarium Romanum (from a Diurnale at least, and Matins from a website). Previously, I prayed from the Monastic Diurnale (of Farnborough Abbey), although it’s quite similar to the Roman Breviary, the Benedictine Calendar omit certain Saints (especially the Precious Blood which is the Titular of my Diocese), I stopped doing this since my knowledge of Latin was quite insufficient so I switched back to the LOTH, but since then I taught myself Latin so I’m able to understand the Office and the EF. The question is that is it advisable to do this switch, or should I continue praying the LOTH (and get the full version)?

Whichever you find to be the most fruitful and lifegiving way of conversing with God. I’d talk to your spiritual director about this.


If it is as a Private Devotion, then you can pray however you wish.
If it is as a Liturgy. a Participation in the Liturgy of the Church, then you must use an approved version. That’s either the LOTH, or one of it’s explicitly permitted variants retained by a religious order or other use.

He should be able to use the 1961 Roman Breviary as well, but only in Latin.

I think i’m able recite it in Latin

I would give the '61 version a try. But before you shell out $300+ to get a full set, I would see how you like it by praying it online:

The pre-VII Breviary is quite time consuming (all of the Hours are about 2x longer, plus you essentially have three more hours to pray, since there’s Prime and all three daytime Hours are obligatory).

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that I would stick to the LOTH (and move to BR when i’m older and attending regular TLM) since it’s more convenient for me as a student. Also, it may be easier to follow the Calendar, and recite all the psalms in a week (No breviary is perfect after all).

And you will be praying with the Church. :wink:

Also, unless I’m mistaken (please correct me if I’m wrong), praying the LotH gains one a partial plenary indulgence. :slight_smile:

Genuinely curious: praying the BR does not gain one a partial plenary indulgence?

First of all, if you are not bound canonically to pray the hours, no hours are obligatory and so you are free to pick and choose which hours to say. Sometimes I only say evening prayer, and sometimes I pray invitatory-morning-OOR-midday-evening-night. It’s a private devotion where you make the choices.

Second, there is no such thing as a partial plenary indulgence. An indulgence is either partial or it is plenary (full). Now, there is no particular indulgence for praying the Hours in any form. However, there are many partial indulgences available for prayers found in the Breviary/LOTH. Read the Enchiridion and find out all the indulgences available.

One thing to keep in mind with the older pre-Vatican II breviaries: they were not prayers for the laity.

We’re not religious nor are we clergy. Praying the full load of the 1961 breviary or the monastic Breviary (even in the post-Vatican II version of the latter) is not for the faint of heart.

There’s a point where a line is crossed from “prayer” to “combat”. And that’s not the point of prayer. Unless prayer is brining a sense of interior stillness so that you can actually hear the voice of God through the psalms, readings and prayers, then it isn’t working for you. I find that when I’m really busy, stressed by work, etc., the easier 4-week LOTH allows me to regain a sense of stillness when I pray, and allows the Divine Office to become a source of spiritual enrichment.

When I’m rushed because the offices are too long and time is short, I lose that sense and prayer becomes a fight, task to rush through, just another item on the daily agenda. Even with the LOTH there can be times when I’m rushed, but overall, I get a better sense of spiritual enrichment with it.

The LOTH for that reason is a great gift to the Church, not just clergy and religious, but in particular, to the laity.

Yes! If anything, I believe that even more than the revision of the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours is the best liturgical reform that ever came out of the Second Vatican Council.

I have really enjoyed reading this thread. So many people giving such good advice! I try to say Lauds, Vespers and Compline every day from my one volume Daily Prayer.
The time demanded to do this is not onerous and so I have time to meditate and over the years I have developed a great love for the psalms.

Off topic a little but two books I have found very helpful in my meditations are JPII and Benedict XVI Psalms and Canticles - meditations and catechesis on the Psalms and Canticles of Morning and Evening Prayer.

Thanks for the correction in semantics. :slight_smile:

If you’re going to switch over to the 1961 Breviary, you can’t do it all at once. You have to wean yourself into it. If you don’t, you run the risk of spiritual burnout. This is the advice comig from a priest who is canonically required to use the 1961 Breviary.

This is good advice for tackling any other heavy Office, and would apply also to the pre- or post-Vatican II Monastic breviaries.

It’s important to approach the Divine Office with the humility of recognizing our station in life and our limitations. Even when I use the Monastic Office of the abbey I’m associated with, I do it over two weeks instead of the 1 week of the schema. Fortunately the General Instructions of the Monastic Liturgy of the Hours give a couple options on how to do that. I have to recognize that for all my love of monasticism, and my monastic community, and my desire to associate my prayer with theirs, I’m not a monk, nor will I ever likely be a monk. I am a husband, father and IT professional with a brutal commute, that’s my reality, and I have to adapt to it.

My bottom line, again, is that if your prayer is not bringing you a sense of stillness so you can actually sit and listen to what God is trying to say to you through the Word and the Psalms, then you’re overdoing it. Even sometimes with the 4-week LOTH that sense of stillness escapes me because i’m too rushed. But it happens more often than with heavier Offices. I know I’ve just about got it right when I sit down to pray the Office in a frazzled state and emerge in a calm state with a clearer mind. When we’re too rushed, we stay frazzled, and quickly grow frustrated.

1 Like

Thanks for the advice everyone! I started praying the hours from the (newly-ordered) breviary yesterday. I decided that the Liturgy of the Hours is more beneficial for me right now, since it is easier to pray with a really busy schedule. Whereas, the pre-V2 Breviary, you may miss a lot of psalms due to the omission of certain hours throughout the day. Also, it is more easier to handle for a teen (like me).

Be aware that if you omit offices with the LotH, you will still miss Psalms (unless I am mistaken: I would appreciate a correction if I am. :slight_smile: )

You are correct. In fact, you will miss psalms with the Liturgy of the Hours even if you prayed everything in full. The current Divine Office omits Psalms 58, 83, and 109.

The LotH omits the “curse” Psalms either way, so really the only way to pray the Divine Office as St. Benedict envisioned it is to use the full pre-Vatican II Breviary.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit