Well, for a bit over a week, I’ve been using all for offices in the St. Helena Breviary.  And it’s been good.  I’ve even been supplementing beyond this a bit.  I’ve appreciated the sense of continuity.  But, as of yesterday, I’m looking at yet another change.  I finally ordered the monastic (as opposed to personal) edition of the breviary.  And it came yesterday.  So, as of yesterday, I’ve been trying to use the monastic edition.

The operative word here is trying.  It is a bit more than I was ready for — primarily with regard to music.  (t is more than twice as large, it seems to me, with smaller print.  But I was ready for that.  It does print the communities usage of the entire psalter in two weeks of offices within the services themselves (in the order they are used).  I was actually hoping for this.  But the complicated usage of traditional chant tunes (with many tunes and many variations) is more than I’m up to at this point.  Just possibly I can grow into it.  Otherwise I may well end up saying (as opposed to the intended singing) the offices from the monastic edition.  Which I really do like, by the way.

To this point, I think I’m singing less than a quarter of what it is intended will be sung.  And not always very close to how it’s written, I suspect.  And the truth is, the singing would work better (responding in the psalms by whole verses, for example) in community.  Which is of course the primary usage intended for this edition of the breviary.

I’m appreciating the trial usage versions of the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer included in this edition.  I’ve learned a little more about the offices and chanting (and medieval music).  I do recommend this breviary, in both editions.  But both require you to work the system to use them effectively.  And for most people, the monastic edition will be a pretty steep learning curve.

I’ve been saying the offices with regularity for somewhere between 25 and 30 years.  I’ve used various formats for the Prayer Book offices.  I’ve used a couple of different Franciscan versions.  I’ve been using the personal edition for (I believe) upwards of 6 months.  And I’m still finding the monastic edition challenging.  (I have a friend who purchased this edition by mistake.  He’s found it so overwhelming he’s never even tried to use it.)  I think I will be able to manage, well enough, at least, to fruitfully use the book.

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