Early in 2022 I released the “Brench Breviary”, which is a companion to the Book of Common Prayer (2019), but after a year of use I found ways to improve it. I am now happy to announce The Brench Breviary, revised & corrected, available once again from Lulu.
The Minor Offices of the 2019 Prayer Book are implemented here into what can be a very rich Rule of private prayer, self-examination, instruction, and devotion. Included are: Personal Morning Devotions, Family Prayer: In the Morning with a Children’s Lectionary, Mid-Morning Office with a Catechetical Lectionary, Midday Prayer with a Supplemental Lectionary, Mid-Afternoon Office with a Pastoral Litany or a Litany for the Church and a Sapiential Lectionary, Mid-Evening Office with Homiletic Lectionary and examinations of conscience, and Compline.https://www.lulu.com/shop/matthew-brench/the-brench-breviary/paperback/product-nejkjd.html
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Personal Morning Devotions 1
- Family Prayer: In the Morning 12
- Additions to the Daily Office of Morning Prayer 16
- Mid-Morning Office 36
- Midday Prayer 40
- Mid-Afternoon Office 44
- Family Prayer: In the Evening 58
- Additions to the Daily Office of Evening Prayer 61
- Mid-Evening Office 82
- Compline 94
- Night Vigil 102
- Select Psalms 110
- The Calendar & Lectionary 187
- Appendix I: Anglican Prayer Beads 213
- Appendix II: On Meditation 219
- A Note from the Editor 220
The main feature and purpose of this volume is to emphasize private or small group prayer apart from the regular and official prayers of the Church. Personal holiness, catechesis, constant prayer – these are the goals that this book puts before the worshiper.
For this revision of The Brench Breviary a number of prayers and offices of private devotion by Jeremy Taylor in his classic book Holy Living have been supplied for the Morning Devotions, Mid-Afternoon and Mid-Evening Offices. These lend the worshiper extra doses of repentance and humility before God, as well as prayers of adoration and self-oblation. Most of these prayers are preserved in their original (“traditional English”) language style, such as the following Prayer for Grace to Spend Our Time Well.
Another angle of use in which this book excels is the concern for robust catechesis. Where the standard liturgy of the Anglican tradition always include the basics (the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer) in the regular life of worship, private devotions such as these set forth reading plans for other key documents and writings that build upon the sure foundation of the Prayer Book’s explication of the Bible. This is accomplished via several different lectionaries.
The first and primary of these is the Catechetical Lectionary. It is attached to the Mid-Morning Office in this book (though the individual may of course use it whenever and however else works best), and covers the primary Apostolic Fathers (such as Sts. Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Athenagorus), excerpts from the writings of Sts. Athanasius, Augustine, Chrysostom and Cyril, some of the classic English metaphysical poets (such as George Herbert and Thomas Traherne), as well as the ACNA Catechism To Be A Christian, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, and the other official statements and prose in the Prayer Book.
The secondary catechetical feature in this breviary is the reading of the Books of Homilies, appointed in the Mid-Evening Office. All 33 homilies are listed in a rough seasonally-appropriate order. Unlike most reading plans, however, these are listed only a weekly basis rather than on a daily scale.
Besides these are three other special lectionaries.
- The Supplemental Midday Lectionary is supplied for Midday Prayer and covers the entirety of the Scriptures omitted in the 2019 Daily Office Lectionary. This includes the Ecclesiastical Books (or apocrypha) that “the church doth read,” listed in the Articles of Religion.
- The Sapiential Lectionary walks through the biblical wisdom literature, now including the 4 Maccabees which is a wisdom sermon based on a story in 2 Maccabees 7. Jeremy Taylor commended meditation particularly on the wisdom books for the purposes of prayerfully nurturing a holy life, so this lectionary is now attached to the Mid-Afternoon Office.
- In the Mid-Evening Office special Scripture readings from the 1662 Prayer Book’s daily lectionary, delivering the Sunday sequence of Old Testament lessons into the modern worshiper’s hands.
“Pray without ceasing” St. Paul exhorts us. The Apostles, the Desert Fathers, and subsequent Monastic traditions have fulfilled this command in many ways. And although the goal, in part, is to transform all actions of life into acts of piety and prayerfulness, regular occasions of intentional concerted prayer are necessary, and this book continues in that tradition. A maximalist use of The Brench Breviary could look as follows:
In addition to these, a Night Vigil is supplied, allowing for sessions of prayer of varying length in the middle of the night.
Compatibility with Future Releases
An omnibus Altar Book is also in the finalizing stages right now, containing all the material in The Brench Breviary combined with the Daily Offices, the full Psalter, as well as the Communion liturgies. That will be a full 8.5″x11″ in size and spiralbound, making it ideal for use on a bookstand or podium. The content of each of these books will match one another, such that these offices and devotions can be done formally in church settings as well as at home, or alone.
So pop over to the book store and order your copy now!