on 22 March 2006
This is a very comprehensive Breviary and a lot of work has gone into it. It parallels the old Latin/English Monastic Diurnal in many ways, whilst additionally including texts and readings for the office of Vigils, (known in other modern Office Books as the Office of Readings). Those wanting to pray the full range of the Hours for days of the week, seasons and Sanctoral cycles will be very satisfied with it, as long as they are happy with the NRSV and Grail Psalms used here. Of course this is by no means just a modern words version of the old Diurnal I have mentioned, it follows the lines of the modern Liturgy of the Hours, although it does not include the Psalm prayers found in some versions of the Liturgy of the Hours or Prayer of Christians.
I presume the word "Short" in the title is in comparison to fuller versions in use in some monastic houses, but as far as I am concerned this breviary could not be much fuller. Unless one is happy to carry a bulky breviary, this is not a very handy volume for use when travelling. It would be helpful if the compiler would consider producing a less bulky version, or perhaps a two volume version, one with the Vigils and one for the other Hours. Useful alternatives would be to break it further into volumes for the seasons minus the Vigils or with separate seasonal Vigils volumes, as long as thin Bible paper is used so that they are much thinner volumes. I would also welcome a version useful for travelling similar to the Collins Morning and Evening Prayer in the same pocketable size. I would see this as a priority, giving users that much more than the fare in the Glenstal Book of Prayer, excellent though that is. Collins Morning and Evening Prayer is good as it is, but a more Benedictine version would be better, hopefully also including the Benedictine prayers to be found in Benedictine Daily Prayer.
Being as comprehensive as it is, I would be inclined to drop the word "Short" from the title in future printings. Apart from that , I think that it well deserves the high marking I have given it.
on 7 January 2008
I have been using this for over a month now, and carry it everywhere in my bag on my travels to and from work. I disagree with the reviewer who says it is too bulky. It's only slightly bigger in thickness than Morning & Evening Prayer.
Everything about this book has been carefully prepared. The quality paper is creamy coloured, not white. The print is in red and black. The soft leather cover should ensure the book lasts a while. The NRSV and Grail psalm translations make it contemporary. The litanies and readings (not just biblical, but patristic as well as more recent) are always appropriate for the feast or season.
Above all, the superb directions throughout the book guide the user with ease to the various sections, and there are five coloured ribbons to bookmark pages.
All seven daily offices for all the year are included, plus Sundays First Vespers.
on 3 September 2007
I have been using this breviary for a month now and have found my prayer life deepening as a result.
As well as the ordinary Divine Office for Sundays and weekdays covering the four week cycle, it contains (as mentioned by another reviewer) daily scripture readings and extra readings for feast/memorial days. Classic instructional/devotional texts from the Early Church Fathers right up to those by John Paul II are included. The extra office forms are also given for Martyrs, Apostles, Marian Feasts, etc.
The six indexing ribbons mean that you can easily set up every page you'll need for the day and flick quickly between them.
I highly recommend this breviary to anyone interested in following the Divine Office in english as a layperson.
on 16 August 2010
There is a lot to recommend here, whether for the person coming new to using the traditional Office structure of psalms, hymns and prayers as part of their practice, or for someone wanting something 'different' from the Roman cycle. Of course, here there is a big question of whether there is a degree of "choice" in this - whether the Roman Rite Office, the Prayer of the Church, can be chosen, re-adapted &c and still be the prayer of the Western Church. I take it that this widely used set of prayers, drawing on the traditions of the Benedictine practice, is an Office Book in some sense, connecting the user to a wider Church, and this is certainly usable, user-friendly, with some details that enhance the experience over and above the current Roman Rite. For example, there are more explicit opportunities for further short expressions of prayer during the day - the restitution of the old hours of Terce, Sext and Nones- and the Office of Readings is given a 'proper' sense of its place as prayer at night by being called Vigils - given our increasingly late night living, something that we might thing it good to reclaim.
This is an American use, and brings with it paraphrases or different ways of approaching some psalm texts have been changed in ways that English readers might either find jarring or enlightening. Some of the ways in which the psalm texts (which after all, form a major part of what one does with this book day by day) try to avoid calling God "He" do sound a little odd - but the more inclusive approach extends to avoiding talking about "the man who fears the Lord" by turning to paraphrases such as "since you cling to me in love" rather than "since he clings to me..." Quite simply, they work; they are not too laboured, and keep as close to the earlier Grail psalm translations as they can.
And on the whole the book is well put together, well produced and not too hard to follow: a good example of thoughtful re-adaptation of tradition.
on 5 February 2009
I am a discerning Benedictine oblate and I've just started using this book to pray my daily offices. I was unsure initially as I'm still a bit of a novice to all this but in short it's a divine book in every sense of the word. I soon got the hang of how to use the different sections in the right order and it is actually very self explanatory. I thoroughly recommend it especially to other Oblates.
on 21 March 2009
Having used the Collins one volume Daily Prayer (Morning, Evening and Night prayer) for many years, I was drawn to this volume by fellow oblates (though some prefer not to use it as it doesn't meet the requirements for those who are canonically obliged to say the daily offices). I must admit I found the layout confusing at first, but it takes only a short period of regular use to find one's way around. The five ribbons are helpful for navigation, though I would like a sixth so that I could also bookmark the festival psalms for feast days. The print is clear and the layout attractive. The Grail psalms do occasionally jar if you are used to other translations, and the American English stands out (but that's only to be expected). The Biblical translation is fresh, dignified and helpful, as are the non-Biblical texts. Not everyone has the time and opportunity to pray all of the daily offices, but to have them in this format is a great blessing. Yes, the volume is hardly 'short' in one sense, as others have pointed out, but to have a single volume in a manageable size is very helpful. I would recommend this volume especially to Benedictine oblates, but also to anyone wishing to enter more deeply into the rich rhythm of prayer which is offered by the daily office.
on 15 September 2014
Very clearly laid out and easy to follow. Print is excellent and quality of paper used and cover material help to make daily use even more of a pleasure. Only criticism is the banality of some of the hymn translations. I would not want Latin but surely the English should at least try to match the level of the psalms?
on 27 August 2015
Loved this book very much. Similar to the format of Official Liturgy of The Hours but only has the one week Psalter, so basically using the same Psalms every week. Anyway, the readings are really good. And it's smaller in size and will fit into my backpack. Very well packaged, arrived on time and intact.
on 13 April 2015
Easy to use and perfect for any Christian.
on 17 August 2015
Very well laid out breviary and easy to use Peter Baden