Last week was a bit complicated for tracking the Collect of the Day in the Daily Offices. In a normal week, you start the Sunday’s Collect on the Saturday evening before, and use it through Saturday morning until the next Sunday Collect kicks in. Last week, however, had two holy days, one of which redefined the rest of the week:
- Sunday morning: Collect for the Last Sunday of Epiphany
- Sunday evening through Monday evening: Collect for St. Matthias Day
- Tuesday morning and evening: Collect for the Last Sunday of Epiphany
- Wednesday morning through Saturday morning: Collect for Ash Wednesday
This week we have the Lenten/Spring Ember Days, causing a similar mix-up of the Collect of the Day:
- Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: Collect for the First Sunday in Lent
- Wednesday: Collect for an Ember Day
- Thursday: Collect for the First Sunday in Lent
- Friday, Saturday: Collect for an Ember Day
One of the things that makes this tricky is the fact that we, in the 2019 Prayer Book, only have two Collects for the Ember Days. Sometimes, like in Advent a few months ago, this works out fine because a holy day (in that case, St. Thomas) sometimes cuts in and overwrites one of the Ember Days, allowing us to use both Collects on one day each. But now that we have three Ember Days unfettered, and only two Collects to use, how should we handle this? Perhaps the simplest approach is to use the first Collect each morning and the second Collect each evening.
Another tradition worth mentioning is the fact that the classical prayer books (that is, those before 1979) call for the repetition of the Ash Wednesday Collect after the current Collect of the Day throughout the season of Lent. The 2019 Prayer Book does not direct for this to be done, but with the rubrics the way they are, there is nothing “illegal” about applying this tradition in our recitation of the Daily Office. So give that possibility due consideration also!