Can someone explain what a Breviary is?


#1

I know it is primarily used by priests, bishops, deacons, etc. But what exactly is it? How does it differ from the missal?


#2

[quote="jinc1019, post:1, topic:336109"]
I know it is primarily used by priests, bishops, deacons, etc. But what exactly is it? How does it differ from the missal?

[/quote]

The Breviary is the book(s) containing the Liturgy of the Hours (Morning Prayer, Midday Prayer, Evening Prayer, Night Prayer).

The Missal contains the words of the Mass, excluding the readings which are found in the Lectionary.


#3

It's the official prayers of the church. Priests, deacons and religious make a promise to pray it daily.

It's cool to know that the church as a body (the prayers are all very similar all over the world) is praying for the world at every moment throughout the day.

The breviary also know as "liturgy of the hours" answers the call of the lord : to "pray without ceasing" .

It's main body is reading of the psalms (these are the prayers the priests of the old testament ....and Jesus himself would have prayed daily). Then there are different prayers for the different seasons and feasts of the church.

It's also open and encouraged for the faithful to recite it or at least parts of it they can fit into their day.


#4

More and more laymen are learning how to use those daily prayers as well .


#5

The others gave good answers. I'll make it my job to assign homework.

Try it yourself!

The book is called the Breviary, but the prayer is called the Liturgy of the Hours. You can give it a shot by going to www.divineoffice.org, and clicking on one of the headers (morning prayer, evening prayer, et c.). Just pray along with the text, read the readings.

I think it's an excellent form of prayer few Catholics actually try.


#6

All great answers, thank you!

How does this differ from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer? I am very familiar with that but not with the breviary.


#7

[quote="jinc1019, post:6, topic:336109"]
All great answers, thank you!

How does this differ from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer? I am very familiar with that but not with the breviary.

[/quote]

The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) contains all the services of the Anglican Church, e.g. Morning and Evening Prayer, Holy Communion plus the propers for these services such as Collects and Readings. The BCP contains occasional offices such as Baptism, Confirmation, Weddings and Funerals. The Ordinal is also in the BCP. I know the Church of England BCP 1662 contains other material such as exhortations and the Thirty-nine Articles.

The Breviary is also known as the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours (LOH). The LOH is a series of official prayers of the Church recited at various times throughout the day. It includes the Office of Readings (also known as Matins or Vigils), Morning Prayer (also known as Lauds), Prayer during the Day - Morning (Terce), Noon (Sext) and Afternoon (None), Evening Prayer (Vespers) and Night Prayer (Compline). It contains the ordinary (invariable parts) of the Offices and the proper (changeable parts) of the Offices. "Official" versions of the Divine Office are often published in more than one volume. My country publishes it in three volumes; I believe in the USA it's published in four volumes.

The Missal (sometimes known as the Sacramentary) contains the ordinary of the Mass together with the proper prayers to be used on Sundays, holy days, certain weekdays, ritual and votive Masses. Some Missals will also contain the readings but these are often found in a separate book called the Lectionary.


#8

[quote="jinc1019, post:6, topic:336109"]
All great answers, thank you!

How does this differ from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer? I am very familiar with that but not with the breviary.

[/quote]

The Anglican's book is both their missal and their breviary in one binding [edited]


#9

[quote="Rich_C, post:8, topic:336109"]
The Anglican's book is both their missal and their breviary in one binding

[/quote]

And so much more.

[edited]


#10

Have we :(

yet again Catholics know what we Anglicans do all over the world without stepping foot in the Church to be at the services.... hmm a bit strong I know but it somewhat annoys me that people think themselves experts on something they think they know.

we no longer use the missal in our Church. I was one of some who asked the priest to change it. We now use our own Anglican Service. Which may appear the same wording but from what I have learned on here and having our own service changed, it isn't the same wording. Subtle changes but one has to be very much present to know :thumbsup:


#11

[quote="Rich_C, post:8, topic:336109"]
The Anglican's book is both their missal and their breviary in one binding [edited].

[/quote]

Thanks for the response (from everyone else as well). Why is it that Catholic laity don't use the breviary then the way Anglicans do with the BCP? What I mean is, the BCP is very popular amongst common people but it seems like the breviary is only used by clergy or others in the Church. Maybe I am wrong but that is how it seems...I had never even heard of it but I knew the BCP without having been brought up Anglican.


#12

[quote="jinc1019, post:11, topic:336109"]
Thanks for the response (from everyone else as well). Why is it that Catholic laity don't use the breviary then the way Anglicans do with the BCP? What I mean is, the BCP is very popular amongst common people but it seems like the breviary is only used by clergy or others in the Church. Maybe I am wrong but that is how it seems...I had never even heard of it but I knew the BCP without having been brought up Anglican.

[/quote]

Maybe because we've been poorly catechized about the Liturgy of the Hours. We see it as something priests and religious do but don't see it as the common Prayer of the Church.

I spent a year preparing our parish for Evening Prayer some years ago. It was my project as part of a course in Liturgy. For a year articles went into the bulletin, we talked about it, etc. After a year we celebrated Evening Prayer and when people left the common comment was "What prayer? All we did was sing." As far as they were concerned NO ROSARY = NO PRAYER


#13

[quote="jinc1019, post:11, topic:336109"]
Thanks for the response (from everyone else as well). Why is it that Catholic laity don't use the breviary then the way Anglicans do with the BCP? What I mean is, the BCP is very popular amongst common people but it seems like the breviary is only used by clergy or others in the Church. Maybe I am wrong but that is how it seems...I had never even heard of it but I knew the BCP without having been brought up Anglican.

[/quote]

From a practical point of view there are several reasons. Catholics must go to Mass but most lay people have no obligation to recite the Office. Consequently, a Catholic is more likely to own a Missal than a Breviary. The liturgy of the Catholic Church is found in numerous liturgical books. Thus if an Anglican purchases the BCP everything is there in one volume. If I wanted the entire Divine Office I'd have to buy three volumes and that only gives me the Divine Office. It doesn't give me Mass, Benediction, baptism, etc. AFAIK a copy of the BCP is no more expensive than one volume of the breviary. It's more affordable to own a copy of the BCP than to own all the liturgical books in the Catholic Church.


#14

Here is an unofficial website with various older versions of the Divine Office.


#15

[quote="jinc1019, post:11, topic:336109"]
Thanks for the response (from everyone else as well). Why is it that Catholic laity don't use the breviary then the way Anglicans do with the BCP? What I mean is, the BCP is very popular amongst common people but it seems like the breviary is only used by clergy or others in the Church. Maybe I am wrong but that is how it seems...I had never even heard of it but I knew the BCP without having been brought up Anglican.

[/quote]

While the Liturgy of the Hours is indeed still very much a hidden gem of the Church, more and more laymen such as myself are praying the Breviary, and more are discovering it.


#16

Thanks for all of the great posts!

What would all of you recommend then...Buying "Christian Prayer," which seems to be like the Liturgy of the Hours except without the actual daily readings in the book (I think, I am not sure about this) and with prayers for morning and evening only

amazon.com/Christian-Prayer-Catholic-Book-Publishing/dp/0899424066/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1376420101&sr=8-5&keywords=liturgy+of+the+hours

OR

The actual four volume Liturgy of the Hours which I believe has all of the passages of scripture contained within the books themselves

OR

The Book of Divine Worship, which is the Catholic version of the Book of Common Prayer? This is what I am most familiar with. One of the big complaints I have with it though is that you have to constantly flip back and forth in the book. Once or twice is fine but I find myself moving around all the time when I do use it.

Thoughts?


#17

I came into the Catholic Church from the Anglican Church, so naturally, I needed to find a Catholic equivalent of the Book of Common Prayer to continue feeding my habit of Morning and Evening Prayer. :)

The Liturgy of the Hours is the Catholic equivalent to the Anglican daily prayers, except it is spread out over more time slots during the day: Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer.

The edition of the Liturgy of the Hours which is closest to the Book of Common Prayer Daily Office (in size and content) would be Shorter Christian Prayer, which contains only Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline (Night Prayer). But you don't get the entire collection of Psalms since they are spread out over the other time slots as well.

The Book of Divine Worship is out of print (I think) but is as close as you will get to the American Book of Common Prayer -- if you can find a copy! It was published for the Anglican Use Catholic parishes in America.

Now that there is an Ordinariate for former Anglicans, the Catholic Church has acquired yet another prayerbook called the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham which is basically the Catholic version of the daily prayers of the Book of Common Prayer for the Ordinariate in England. The big glaring difference between this and the BCP is the size! It's much larger than my old BCP, and slightly more complex to use. But it has the Coverdale Psalter and the old familiar prayers in the older form of English.

I use it every now and then for old times' sake, but I miss my pocket size Anglican Breviary (AKA Book of Common Prayer).


#18

[quote="Russ_of_Tokyo, post:17, topic:336109"]
I came into the Catholic Church from the Anglican Church, so naturally, I needed to find a Catholic equivalent of the Book of Common Prayer to continue feeding my habit of Morning and Evening Prayer. :)

The Liturgy of the Hours is the Catholic equivalent to the Anglican daily prayers, except it is spread out over more time slots during the day: Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer.

The edition of the Liturgy of the Hours which is closest to the Book of Common Prayer Daily Office (in size and content) would be Shorter Christian Prayer, which contains only Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline (Night Prayer). But you don't get the entire collection of Psalms since they are spread out over the other time slots as well.

The Book of Divine Worship is out of print (I think) but is as close as you will get to the American Book of Common Prayer -- if you can find a copy! It was published for the Anglican Use Catholic parishes in America.

Now that there is an Ordinariate for former Anglicans, the Catholic Church has acquired yet another prayerbook called the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham which is basically the Catholic version of the daily prayers of the Book of Common Prayer for the Ordinariate in England. The big glaring difference between this and the BCP is the size! It's much larger than my old BCP, and slightly more complex to use. But it has the Coverdale Psalter and the old familiar prayers in the older form of English.

I use it every now and then for old times' sake, but I miss my pocket size Anglican Breviary (AKA Book of Common Prayer).

[/quote]

Hi Russ,
You are just the kind of person I was hoping to hear from! What about the longer Christian Prayer book? How is that different from the shorter one you mentioned in your post and from the BCP?

Also, just to clarify, yes the Book of Divine Worship is definitely not in print anymore, although you can get the PDF online. I was told by one CAF poster that it would be back in print sometime within the next year (an estimate)


#19

I had heard rumors that the American Ordinariate will publish an updated version of the Book of Divine Worship and could also come out with a smaller, portable prayerbook, but this might just be speculation.

I don't own the one-volume Christian Prayer but I have seen it in the bookshop and have read plenty about it in the past. It's roughly the size of one volume of the four-volume complete Liturgy of the Hours set, and thus considerably bigger than the BCP. It contains Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer (Compline), plus selections from Daytime Prayer. Shorter Christian Prayer has Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer, but without all the deviations and options.

Christian Prayer is bigger and thicker than Shorter Christian Prayer because it has extra pages for all the solemnities, feasts, etc, which add quite a few more pages and which still confuse me (hey, today marks my two year anniversary of coming into the Catholic Church!). Shorter Christian Prayer only has a few of the biggest special days included, so you basically plow through the basic Psalter even on days when the Church takes periodic detours. Eventually everyone is back on the same page, and it's considered OK to use the simpler version.

I heard Christian Prayer is the most popular Breviary among Catholic Laity who pray the Liturgy of the Hours. It is smaller in height and width than the Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham but around twice as thick. You won't get the entire Psalter with it, since part of the Psalter is in the Office of Readings and Daytime Prayer.

I'm mostly using the African equivalent of Christian Prayer now, called Prayer of the Church from Pauline Publications in Africa because it is more complete than the American one-volume. It contains the complete Daytime Prayer in addition to Morning and Evening Prayer and Night Prayer. It also uses the Revised Grail Psalms. Photos are in an article on my web site:

stutler.cc/russ/african_breviary.html

Of course, this also does not contain the entire Psalter so I do the Office of Readings on iBreviary with a Kindle to get all the Psalms in a month (except for the three which are not in the Liturgy of the Hours: 58, 83 and 109). I could do it all digitally but again, being a former Anglican, I have a dependency on a physical prayerbook! :)

You might want to check out the Blog Coffee and Canticles which is dedicated to breviaries and has helpful reference articles:

dariasockey.blogspot.jp/

Being a former Anglican and having a natural preference for the dignified English of the BCP and Coverdale Psalter, the biggest issue I've had with the Liturgy of the Hours has been the casual modern English of the Bible translation and prayers (aka ICEL English). Sometimes I have felt disgust with the wording. But a few verses from one of this morning's Psalms (131) rebuked me for my arrogant attitude:

*O LORD, my heart is not proud,
nor haughty my eyes.
I have not gone after things too great,
nor marvels beyond me.

Truly, I have set my soul
in tranquility and silence.
As a weaned child on its mother,
as a weaned child is my soul within me.*

I want to walk in step with the Pope and the rest of the universal Church and pray the Prayer of the Church, so I will submit to their breviary decisions. But I still miss my little BCP...


#20

I was just doing a little research and discovered that the British version of Shorter Christian Prayer which is called A Shorter Morning and Evening Prayer is only 4 X 6 inches, which makes it very similar in size the the Book of Common Prayer. I have never seen this one, but would love to hear a review from anyone who has seen or used it.


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