From a seminarian:
I am a transitional Deacon…
I ask you not to include my name if you choose to use this email in any way, as I am at ____ and unfortunately things related to the Extraordinary Form are still very touchy and political here.
I have a love for the Breviarium Romanum because of the Psalter, the prayers, and its structure. That being said, it is difficult to juggle two different calendars and I am tempted to question whether or not I will have the time to pray it in pastoral life. That being said, I know that time is normally not the issue but rather discipline and desire are what allows one to pray the Breviary digne, attente ac devote, with God’s help.
I appreciate the Liturgia Horarum for the simple fact that the calendar is the same as the one used at Mass, the complimentary psalmody and the ability to pray Sunday Compline every night. However, I really dislike the four week psalter, the structure of the readings for the Office of Readings and the flattening of all hours to 3 psalms with a hymn at the beginning.
I would love to pray the Breviarium Romanun exclusively but need some advice/encouragement with respect to my concerns and hesitations.
First, priests in parishes long before the changes were made to the office were able to pray the office. How well? I am not sure… that depended on the priest and his life’s habits. Therefore, establish your habits of prayer of the breviary now.
The older form of the office is longer. It is also in Latin. I think it is great that men want to pray the office in Latin, but I also think it is important to understand what you are praying. If you don’t have a strong use of Latin, you might want to think about this again, as praiseworthy as your desires are to pray the Breviarium Romanum.
I sure do understand the problem of the conflict with the calendars. The office form of Mass and the older form of the Office go hand and hand. Some of my best private reflections have come from the interplay of the Mass and the Office. That connection is, to my mind, less strong between the newer form of Mass and the Liturgia Horarum. I do like the opportunity to read a longer selection of a reading in the Office of Readings. However, there is a subtle genius to the way the readings were broken up in Matins. It was perhaps easier to absorb something, with the help of the responsories. This is especially true when they were sung… which isn’t happening in most places. And probably won’t be either, unless you join some traditionalist monastery.
Perhaps at this point in your life, as a transitional deacon, you might try the following rather hard course.
Since you should be practicing Mass anyway, try practicing the older form of Mass. On those days when you practice the older form, also try reading the older Office. Of course you are probably going to have to be going to Holy Mass each day in the newer form wherever you are anyway. But the recitation of the older Office will fulfill your obligation on those days when you are saying it. I offer this suggestion so that you can get familiar with your options in this regard. Also, you ought to be learning to say the older form of Mass! This is our Roman Rite!
This will take more of your time during the day, but it will help you get your feet wet in this while still a deacon.
And say a prayer for me while you are at it.