Hey, everyone, it’s Friday again.
It’s all well and good to enjoy the appropriate Cross-related prayers that modern prayer book tradition has given us. But there are even more traditional options that should be considered for our praying of the Office on Fridays.
#1 – Read the whole Venite. The American Prayer Book tradition, I think from the very first in this country, has shortened the Venite (Psalm 95) and provided either additional options or alternative endings for it. Our new prayer book represents an almost-complete-return to the English order on this point, except the “wrathful” second half of the Venite is optional. The rubrics direct it to be added during Lent and other penitential occasions. Consider every Friday (with a couple seasonal exceptions) a penitential occasion. Read the whole Venite this morning.
#2 – Pray the Great Litany. As discussed some time in the past, the Litany was originally appointed for the end of Morning Prayer on every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, plus any other occasion deemed appropriate. The 2019 Prayer Book is not so specific in its direction for the Litany, but absent of any other plan for regular use, we’re best off simply continuing what the classical tradition appoints. Say the Litany today.
#3 – Oh, and don’t forget to fast. It’s not a “Roman thing”, it’s a “catholic thing”, and the Reformers (especially English reformers) saw themselves as the true catholics over against the Papists who had deviated from the catholic tradition. Fasting on Fridays is thoroughly Anglican; only in recent times have prayer books gotten lazy about that. The easiest way to fast is to have a small breakfast and eat nothing else until dinner. This gives you lunchtime, at least, to spend in prayer and rest before God where one might normally be attending to one’s bodily hungers.