Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood 

Questions and Comments Regarding the Brotherhood Prayer Book

September 22, 2010

I’m a member of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and a Benedictine oblate with St Meinrad’s Archabbey in Indiana. The BPB is ideally suited for oblates and anyone following a rule in secular society – it is adapted to the unpredictable time constraints that surprise us when we least expect it.

And yes, as a Catholic — as you said. However, as I use Orthodox and other liturgical texts, I would prefer that no one be condemned or maligned. Our Studite monastics, for example, published a service in honour of the martyr for union with Rome, St Josaphat, but they significantly toned down and deleted a number of phrases where the Orthodox were maligned as “schismatics” and the like. And they published this work as a separate item. With this ecumenical vision in mind, they are publishing the full range of Orthodox liturgical texts – and the Orthodox are purchasing them for their own use. The BPB is too precious a prayerbook not to be shared with all Christians, Evangelical, Catholic and Orthodox.

The psalter arrangement of the BPB is not only ingenious, it represents the very BEST of the Western liturgical psalmody tradition. As we know, Benedictine and other monastics would stand for the Gloria at the end of each psalm or psalm-section (the BPB divides long psalms and that really helps one to keep one’s focus in praying them). Afterwards, they would collect their main thoughts in a final prayer which is contained in the excellent collect-prayers.

Also, the antiphon used at the beginning and the end (and also, if we wish, a few times during the psalm itself, by way of a refrain) is a very ancient practice and the Assyrian Church of the East has always used antiphons which it calls “Farcings.” The antiphon recited after the Glory be calls to mind the main spiritual theme of the psalm and prepares us for the Collect.

I’ve never seen this format in any other psalter and this alone makes the BPB a “must have” for every Christian, nomatter what his or her denomination.

I invoke God’s blessing on the compilers of the BPB and thank them from the bottom of my heart and soul!

- Dr. Alex Roman


April 13, 2010

Q: I noticed that in the Seasonal propers most Sundays have a long list of Psalms.  Are those meant to be chanted on that day?  Or just during that week?

A: There are various ways of using those Psalms, depending on what Psalm schedule you use. If you use the "Flexible Psalm Schedule" on p. 98 (2nd edition), then some or all of the Psalms in the seasonal propers can be used on Sundays and Feasts.


April 12, 2010

Q: Is there anything in the BPB that can be copied (and then destroyed), such as for a church retreat?

A: No copies of the BPB are allowed, but the texts and melodies themselves are public domain, so you can type them up yourself if you want to. The reason for this policy is to encourage purchase of the BPB on the one hand (which took a lot of effort to produce), and to allow others to make free use of the church's texts and music on the other hand.


January 12, 2010

Comment: Thank you again for your development on this book.  Praying the daily office during the deployment was a spiritual life-saver.  Long story short: religious support in Iraq was miserable and the stress of my particularmission was unimaginable. The psalter and the calming melodies of the chant was invaluable.  Words cannot express how thankful I am for having that resource.


January 10, 2010

Q: I'm unclear as to what precisely is meant by 1st and 2nd Vespers. I assume that 1st Vespers happen on the evening prior to a given feast, and that 2nd Vespers happen on the evening of the feast (e.g. 1st = evening on Dec 24th, 2nd = evening on Dec 25th). The BPB specifies proper Hymns and/or Magnificat Antiphons for 1st and 2nd Vespers on the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany (Transfiguration), Ascension of our Lord, and Sts. Peter & Paul. My question specifically is: If the intended time to observe 1st Vespers is the evening prior to the feast day, then what Epistle reading is used in that service? If it's the Epistle reading of the feast day, then is that reading to be repeated at 2nd Vespers? Or do I have this all wrong, and 1st and 2nd Vespers are simply different prayer times of the same day? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

A: Your first hunch was correct. 1st Vespers is the eve of the feast or Sunday, 2nd Vespers is on the feast or Sunday itself. The BPB doesn't specify which Vespers the Epistle should be used for, but following Reformation-era precedent, I think it would be best to use it at 2nd Vespers. For 1st Vespers, you could simply use the appointed weekday reading. Or if 2nd Vespers won't be celebrated for some reason, thenuse the Epistle of the Sunday or feast at 1st Vespers.


January 8, 2010

Q: I have a question regarding the Calendar. On page 413, regarding Epiphanytide, the BPB states: "The propers for the 6th Sunday after Epiphany (Transfiguration) are used on the last Sunday after Epiphany." My question is, What, then, do you do when Easter (and thus Septuagesima) occurs early and there is only one Sunday after the Epiphany (as was the case in 2008)? Is Transfiguration observed on that day, or do the propers for the First Sunday after Epiphany take precedence?

A:  In the resources for The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) it says that if there is only one Sunday after Epiphany, then the Transfiguration is not observed. They don't tell us what is observed, so it is assumed that the propers for the first Sunday after Epiphany are used and then Septuagesima follows. Lang in Ceremony and Celebration repeats this, as does Lindemann in The Sermon and the Propers, as does Reed.


July 16, 2009

Just received the CD I ordered containing the realization of the material in the BPB.  It came in only three days.  I only wanted to write a brief note sharing my gratitude for your hard work.  It resounds to the glory of God and I know it will be a wonderful addition to my prayer and devotional life.  We have a great God!


July 3, 2006

Comment: It’s been two months since I received “The Brotherhood Prayer Book.” What a blessing it has been for me.  Purchasing the CD with the book has made quite a difference.  I downloaded all the files into my ipod. I sing along, slowly learning the proper chants.  Also, I love that it’s not easy at first, but that it takes time.  Thank you both for this gift you have given to the Church.  You are to be commended for this.  I LOVE  IT!!!


June 1, 2006

Comment:  I attended a small prayer retreat last week at which my family and I were introduced to the Brotherhood Prayer Book.  What a treasure of chant and resources for the praying church and her pastors!

Thanks be to God for Rev. Frs. Benjamin Mayes and Michael Frese for making this book available to the church today.  Blessed are you among men!

I know some of you are way ahead of the curve on this book, but having been introduced to it most recently, I simply cannot put it down (and I am glad I have the summer months to learn more about it).

If you have not acquired this book yet, I could not commend it to you highly enough.

And no, neither Benjamin nor Michael has paid me for this plug... yet. :-) It seems I have found a treasure that I had been searching for all my life.

I look forward to the prayer retreat in January at the Fort. —GJS


May 8, 2006

Q. I recently purchased the Brotherhood Prayerbook and have found it very useful. I appreciate the Psalm-prayers very much. I wonder if you can tell me more about their origin. Do they come from one of the ancient European liturgical rites (Ambrosian, Mozarabic, Roman), the Reformation era, or the post-Vatican II era? How are they used liturgically, traditionally? Does the celebrant pray them whilst the Psalm is sung?

A. The Psalm-prayers are taken from Neale and Littledale's Commentary on the Psalms. These 19th century editors gathered prayers and comments from ancient liturgies and service books. Thus, many of the Psalm-prayers are from the Mozarabic Breviary, but there are some also from various medieval writers.

The rubrics of the BPB allow the celebrant to recite the Psalm-prayer aloud at the end of the Psalm. A better practice, however, is the following. After each Psalm or portion of a Psalm, there should be a pause for reflection on the content of the Psalm. During this pause, people may pray the Psalm-prayer silently if they so desire.


May 1, 2006

Q. In the order of vigils, the Venite is listed on p. 20. How does the chanting go for the invitatory when it is interspersed within the psalm, in particular whenever you only do the second half on the invitatory? e.g. The invitatory for Easter is "The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia:  O come, let us worship Him. What notes do you use for "O come, let us worship Him," used after verse 2? Do you simply use the second half of the psalm tone again? Twice in a row?

A. Historically, the Invitatory and the Venite have their own melodies, in fact, several of them. In the future, we hope to include some of this music in a second edition of the BPB or on the website. Until that time, here's what I'd suggest:

If speaking the Venite, follow the instructions just as printed on BPB, pp. 20-21. If singing the Venite according to a Psalm tone, always repeat the entire Invitatory, not just the second half.

May 1, 2006

Q. Is it proper to sing the Venite or the Te Deum to a canticle tone?  You state that the Gospel canticles could be sung to a psalm or canticle tone.

A. That would be fine. Neither the Psalm tones nor the canticle tones historically belong with the Te Deum and Venite, but I see this is a good way to give these texts a musical form until such time as one'smusical ability has developed to sing the difficult melodies.

May 1, 2006

Q. Is there a good guide for choosing psalm/canticle tones?  Does it depend on the season?  In Easter use VIII or something like that?

A. There's no ancient arrangements of tones by season that I'm aware of. However, I've added a guide to seasonal Psalm tones at which I've taken from the SELK.


Q. In the BPB there are special propers for Easter Monday and Tuesday. What propers do you use the rest of the week? The ones for Sunday? Or do you just keep using the versicle and collect for Easter Tuesday?

A. I'd go back to the Sunday propers. In the Roman rite, there are different propers for each day of the week, but English-language Lutheran service books generally cut that down to just Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. I'd treat Monday and Tuesday like saint days that "interrupt" the Sunday propers.


Q. I've been trying to use some of the features of BPB this Eastertide that I have not used before, like the Alleluia antiphons and the Te Deum at Morning Prayer instead of the hymn during Easter week. Do you have any suggestions as to how to keep one's concentration while praying the Psalms?  I usually do three Psalms (or one Psalm if it is dividied up into three parts) and I get to the end of the Psalm many times and cannot remember what I just sung. It's really annoying.

A. I've had the same problem in the past. Having notes from previous times you've prayed the Psalm is helpful. Something like, "On Baptism," "Christ's Passion," "The Gift of the Holy Ghost," etc. Then you're looking for why it was you wrote that last time. Or, figure out which article of the creed, commandment, or petition of the Lord's Prayer it speaks to, and note that for next time. (Here it might be helpful to divide the creed up into 12 articles.)


Q. How would you work the Old Testament Canticles into daily prayer? What I have been doing is using the Benedictus and Magnificat at Morning Prayer and Vespers. I use Psalm 119 for the Psalm every day at Midday Prayer (I just keep praying through it, three sections at a time). If I used OT Canticles for the Canticle at Morning Prayer or Vespers, do you still use the antiphon proper to the week? Or, if you are using the Weekday propers, you wouldn't use the antiphon provided there I wouldn't think because it is taken from the Bene. and Magnif. Any suggestions?

A. The OT Canticles should be treated like Psalms, not like the Gospel canticles. The Gospel canticles have their own special status. I'd suggest using the OT canticles just at Morning Prayer or Vigils. The Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, by the way, uses OT canticles as Psalms at Morning Prayer, and NT canticles (but not the Gospel canticles) as Psalms at Evening Prayer. The BPB, however, does not include any NT canticles except the Gospel canticles.


Comment: "To brothers Ben and Michael, many thanks for your work on the Brotherhood Prayer Book. It arrived today and I can now pray without having to be on the internet.

For the rest: order this book!

It is first of all a treasury of devotional material: Psalms, Canticles, Prayers, Litanies, Prep for Confession.  (One might say its simplest use).

Then it is also a prayer book for all seven canonical hours with ordinaries and propers for each, as well as psalm and scripture lectionaries. There is a great sanctoral calendar as well as propers for a variety of saints, martyrs, doctors, the BVM, etc.

I have prayed the Roman Liturgy of the Hours (editing all the while). I have prayed using Sauer's Book and the Daily Office. I used For All the Saints. But I think this is the one, brothers, it has everything one needs (including hymns!!!!).

My only difficulty is not knowing Gregorian notation, and since my  musical ability is small, that will be a learning curve. However, since  the texts are all Jacobean English, one can easily sing the liturgy  using the TLH tunes. Likewise the hymns, while they are pointed for  Gregorian chant, are in a variety of simple meters (mostly LM) which can  easily be sung to familiar hymn tunes.

I have found that a good office book needs a little bit of study and  learning. I won't say the BPB is simple; it can be, but its richness  makes for complexity, too. There's just tons here to learn and discover.


PS - No, I am not affiliated with these brethren, and do not receive any  compensation for the above message!  ;-)


Q. I notice in the Weekday Propers there is no Da Pacem for Sunday. Why not? 

A. Primary reason: that's the way it was in the Breviarium Lipsiensae. On Sunday at Midday Prayer, you just pray the Collect of the Day (and whatever other collects you want).

Q. Is it customary to use the Sunday and Seasonal propers throughout the week, or even during the Time of Christ to use the Weekday propers? (I thought I read somewhere that weekday propers are always appropriate while seasonal are always appropriate for Morning and Evening Prayer.)

A. Here's what I'd recommend. Use the seasonal propers through the week except during green seasons. In green seasons, or when no seasonal propers are given use the weekday propers. For example: no hymns are given for Pre-Lent, so use the hymns from the weekday propers or from your hymnal. In green seasons, use the seasonal propers on Sunday. The Benedictus and Magnificat for Sunday from the weekday propers can be used ad libitum.


Q. What was the rationale for including Compline in Latin? (We did this in Seminary once, with readings in Greek.)

A. To give you something to grow into. Actually, the Breviarium Lipsiensae had Latin Compline, and we wanted to include something in Latin, to help preserve our Latin theological heritage.


Q. Does the note for Vigils mean you always pray Psalm 95 and pray the Invitatory only on Sundays and feasts?

A. No. Psalm 95 is the invitatory, and we're recommending that you pray it on Sundays and Feasts. If you want to omit it on weekdays, go ahead.

Q. I think I can understand the C & F "key signatures." Do the clefs move up and down because of the change in mode? Not all of the tones begin on middle C, (as on the modern notation page) do they? Playing the tones in modern notation and in Gregorian sounds the same—but in different keys.

A. The chants can be sung in any key. The C & F key signatures give you the relative context for singing. They move up and down on the staff depending on the range of the music. For plunking tones out on the piano, using the modern notation tones may be the most helpful.

Q. I'm struggling a bit with praying the psalter. Could you give me a simplified version of the explanation of how the notations upon the text fit the places in the music? Where do the (parenthetical) notes fit?

A. Check out BPB, p. 13-15. The "simplified version" of this will be the recordings. You'll be able to listen to how it's done and learn by doing. The parenthetical notes are the flexa, only sung on verses that have the dagger (looks like a cross).

Comment: Let me commend the work you (and your co-conspirator) have done on The Brotherhood Prayer Book. It is the most complete volume of the Divine Office for Lutherans that I have ever seen.


Q. I have a question regarding the Latin Compline. Why are "resurrection of the body" and "life everlasting" disconnected from the balance of the Creed, and the "Amen" omitted?

A. Latin Compline was taken straight out of the Breviarium Lipsiensae (see the introduction on the significance of that book). The Brev. Lips. follows an ancient custom of saying the majority of the Our Father and the Creed silently. The ending of each is recited aloud, like a versicle, leading one into the preces (the series of responsive versicles). Therefore neither the Our Father nor the Creed have an Amen, since they are incorporated, as it were, into the preces.


Comment: You have done a most remarkable service to the Church of the Augsburg  Confession in providing such a stately and lovely setting of the Divine  Office.  My copy arrived this afternoon in the post and I've been  studying it since.  I'm very impressed how faithful you've been to the  spirit of the traditional Western office, and yet indeed with an  Evangelical betterment here or there along the way.  May the Lord grant  this Prayer Book to bring many of our pastors to the comfort and joy of  a disciplined life of prayer and meditation upon the Word!

Comment: Without attempting to violate our Lord's preaching from Ash Wednesday, I'll share my own approach:

As much as I can, I try to pray four offices: Morning Prayer, Midday Prayer, Vespers and Compline.

At Morning Prayer, I'll read the NT (about 4 chapters according to the tough lectionary), at Midday, read the Confessions and at Vespers read the OT (about 2 chapters). This is the way the Four Week Psalter is broken down (using four daily offices). If I get up early enough and if I cut out some of the wasted TV time at night, it's not an unreasonable amount of devotion. Midday Prayer gets a little tougher but I will do it anywhere throughout the day as my schedule permits. (Sometimes it's Terce, sometimes it's None!)

Actually, the more I do pray the hours, the more I am persuaded that such prayer and meditation on God's Word is really an important part of our job. Won't the ministry that we conduct, our shutin visits, our preaching and Bible study, all greatly benefit from being inundated with the Word?

And I am simply so lazy by nature that I need the structure of the Office in my prayers. And I have found that my words are generally flighty and halting; better to the let the Scriptures and the church's liturgy supply my lips with things to pray.


Comment: I'll go on the record in commending this fine work.  It really is an outstanding work. If you enjoy solving Breviary puzzles, you will not be disappointed. You have to turn every which way to locate the propers for the service, and that's as a Breviary should be.  It means they didn't leave out the goodies by streamlining in the way of Lindemann or Sauer, or to a lesser degree FATS (what a horrible acronym!). The cool thing is that you can really get as technical and detailed as you want, or keep it relatively simple. The joy is in the versicles and responsories, etc., which bring the church year to life in the devotions. The Gregorian notation is an absolute pain in the posterior - for which I am very thankful.  It really does take work.  I'm fumbling along, but it is something that I have always wanted to know how to do.  Now I've got no excuse.

I've managed to pick up a little from the MP3s on the website, but I find the chanting of the Psalms difficult. I am not really sure where to break, change notes, etc. (About all the skill I have is chanting the introits and Psalms with LW tones.) Still, I like the Gregorian sound and I hope to learn it. Maybe we'll fly these guys down here to the South and have them show us how. In the meantime, I speak much of each service. The hymns are easily singable to common tunes and the Magnificat and Benedictus can be sung to their TLH tunes.

And of course, I must comment on the nice touch that allows you to have the commemoration of the Most Holy Virgin after each office—thoroughly Evangelical and yet a solidly Catholic touch.


Comment: Here's where the Anglican Breviary falls short, yes? My understanding is that it is thorougly Roman, just in English. Is this correct? In which case Mary and the Saints will have more given to them than is proper. It would be nice to have all the readings, but perhaps this is where a good book like "Every Day Will I Bless Thee" or that daily sermon book of Luther. I managed to score a few volumes of the supplemental volumes for the Roman Office of Readings which had some choice stuff from the fathers.

There is a real treat on the LLPB website under "Resources": A daily lectionary that reads the Old Testament in one year, the NT in two months!, the BOC and Apocrypha and space for the Fathers and then the Small Catechism repeated over eight days. No wonder people had to become monks to do all this praying!  ;-)

Again: I've used Christian Prayer (the shortened Roman Liturgy of the Hours), The Liturgy of the Hours (the full Roman breviary); Lindemann; Sauer; For All the Saints; LW; TLH. But I think this is the one. In short, I've dated a lot of prayer books, but I've proposed to the BPB!


Comment from the Editors: We intentionally omitted the invocation of the saints which we found in other resources (Anglican, Roman, and Liberal German High-Church Lutheran). We praise the saints for the gifts God has given them, but we have avoided direct address to them.  The dividing line between praise in the form of direct address to a saint who has died (and of course now lives) on the one hand, and invocation on the other, is razor thin.  We've tried not to tempt others to go too close to this line.

"Call upon Me in the day of trouble," says the Lord.  And "Put not your trust in princes."  And "Doubtless You are our Father, Though Abraham was ignorant of us, And Israel does not acknowledge us. You, O LORD, are our Father; Our Redeemer from Everlasting is Your name." (Is. 63:16)

Q. I have somewhat mixed feelings about the approach you are using and maybe you can help me and allay some of my concerns. I'm wondering why you guys are not simply using the hymnal and instead substituting materials of your making, or I should say, editing.  Now, I am fully aware that the materials we have are not the same as some areas in 16th century Germany, but what is the reason for not using our own church's resources and materials and instead swapping them out for other, no matter how good they are?

A. First of all, I just want you to know that I do not intend for the Brotherhood Prayer Book to replace our Synod's official hymnals.  My congregation is a TLH congregation with HS98 in the pews, and my senior pastor and I have been trying to prep the congregation for LSB.  I don't see the BPB as a substitution resource, but an additional resource, not unlike Lindemann's "The Daily Office," published by CPH in 1965.  German Lutherans in our day have many of these sorts of resources, some official, some unofficial.


Q. Third, why the Gregorian chanting and settings? It seems that this adds a rather complex musical "requirement" on top of what is already a rigorous order of prayer-life. I'm wondering why the "felt need" as it were to go this route instead of using settings and tones already available in TLH, LW or the forthcoming LSB?

A. Gregorian chant is and was a hobby of mine even before I studied for a year in Germany.  There, I was surprised and delighted to find that the SELK congregations generally sing their introits and Psalms according to Gregorian Psalm tones.  After doing some research, I discovered that CPH also had published Gregorian chant materials in the past, including Friedrich Lochner's "Der Hauptgottesdienst" in 1895.  I wanted to encourage this beautiful form of music for people in our day and age as well.  I realize that it is a difficult form of music to learn.  We've tried to set up the BPB so that it can be used at various levels.  Some parts will be accessible to all, others will be usable only by experts.  Of course, this is how it is with almost all musical works.

I don't quite understand what you mean by a "requirement."  There is absolutely no "requirement" that anyone buy our book or use it.  But if they do, they may learn to love the Gregorian Psalm tones that Luther and many Lutherans over the centuries have valued.

I hope this answers your questions.  Please let me know whether or not it does.  A little essay I wrote on daily office books in the Lutheran church from the time of the Reformation to the present may help you to see why we did what we did.  You can download this essay at


Q. I find attractive your passion for an ordered life of prayer, but I am wondering how you square your attempt to reintroduce the canonical Roman Catholic hours with Luther's remarks in the Larger Catechism, to wit:

"And now that they are delivered from the unprofitable and burdensome babbling of the Seven Canonical Hours, oh, that, instead thereof, they would only, morning, noon, and evening, read a page or two in the Catechism, the Prayer-book, the New Testament, or elsewhere in the Bible, and pray the Lord's Prayer for themselves and their parishioners, so that they might render, in return, honor and thanks to the Gospel, by which they have been delivered from burdens and troubles so manifold, and might feel a little shame because like pigs and dogs they retain no more of the Gospel than such a lazy, pernicious, shameful, carnal liberty!"

I thank you for your thoughtful response.

A. Isn't that a great quote?  I've read that at the beginning of each of our LLPB retreats so far. The answer is like this: In Luther's experience, being forced to pray all eight canonical hours every day was unprofitable and burdensome.  But I doubt he would say that praying, singing Psalms, reading the Scriptures and the like is unprofitable and burdensome.  Whether you pray once, twice, or 25 times a day, is adiaphora.  Our goal is not to force people to observe the canonical hours of the Medieval church, but to give them resources so that they can pray according to ancient liturgical forms and music.

The crucial difference is this: we force no one to do this.  What makes the canonical hours unprofitable and burdensome is false doctrine and a lack of faith, which comes from seeing it as a work that must be performed in order to gain merit.  This can happen no matter how many times a day one prays, if one is doing it for the wrong reasons.


Q. If one were to pray ALL of the canonical hours, that would involve using Midday Prayer four times. How would this be done?

A. The BPB is set up most fully for four services a day: Morning Prayer, Midday Prayer, Vespers, and Compline.  If one wants to use the one-week schedule, it is still quite do-able.  Ancient prayer books often re-use the same texts for various purposes.  With that in mind, here are some suggestions.

You would use the one-week Psalm schedule (BPB, p. 60).  You would also use Midday Prayer four times.  In this case, the four times would be called "Prime, Terce, Sext, and None."

Readings: At Sext, use the reading from p. 34.  At Prime, Terce, and None, use a verse from Sunday's Gospel or the Gospel of the Feast.

The Responsory: At Sext, use the weekday responsory from pp. 264-295.  At Prime, the seasonal or Saint's Day responsory from pp. 296-384.  At Terce and None, a short hymn of your choice (or omit the responsory).

The Prayers: At Prime, use the Morning Suffrages from TLH, p. 115.  (This replaces the entire The Prayers section in BPB, pp. 35-36. At Terce and None, use only the Kyrie, Lord's Prayer, Seasonal or Saint's Day versicle (pp.296-384), and the Collect for the Day. At Sext, use the Collect for the Day, the Da Pacem and the other collect
with its antiphon and versicle from the Weekday Propers, pp. 264-295.

Q. In that regard, could you post suggested times during the day when it is appropriate to pray each of the offices?

A. The following is the schedule from St. Augustine's House, Oxford, MI (  Prime would need to be added sometime between Lauds and Terce.

Weekday Schedule
Vigils 5:10
Lauds 6:00
Breakfast & Reading
Terce 8:15
Holy Eucharist 8:30
Little Chapter & Work Period
Sext 12:00
Rest Period or Reading
None 2:30
Work Period
Vespers 6:00
Supper & Free time
Compline 8:30

Sunday Schedule
As on weekdays except as follows:
Terce 8:30
Holy Eucharist 10:00
Coffee Hour & Dinner
Sext & None prayed privately or at an announced time.

Q. When there is a minor festival or a commemoration, and I observe it at Morning Prayer with the collect and responsory and hymn, do I continue to pray the same collect at the other offices as well? Or is that also according to my evangelical freedom?

A. If you celebrate a saint's day in Morning Prayer with proper readings, responsory, hymn, and antiphon for the canticle (other options being included or not) from the saint's day propers or common of saints, then you're treating it as a saint's day.  Those propers, including the collect, are used throughout all the offices (except Compline, of course, which never changes unless the seasonal propers say so).

If you don't use the saint's day propers or common of saints within Morning Prayer, but only commemorate the saint after Morning Prayer, then the collect you'll use at all the offices is the collect from Sunday.  It's not a saint's day, just a normal feria.


Q. My question has to do with the Order of Compline. The rubrics state that the three Psalms are 4, 91, and 134, but other Psalms may be used. Is that in addition to the three Psalms? The reason I ask is because here at Concordia [University], I have the responsibility of setting up for Compline on Tuesday, selecting guys to lead and selecting hymns and Psalms. I was wondering if it would be appropriate to use the Seven Penitential Psalms during the season of Lent. Would this be appropriate?

A. The traditional Psalms for Compline are, as noted, 4, 91, 134.  And a traditional hymn is the one given in the BPB.  This is the practice we recommend if you're able to have Morning Prayer and Vespers somewhat often.  In a collegiate setting such as your own, I'd suggest that you use 4, 91, and 134 as often as possible, but using other Psalms instead of the traditional ones is not something that anyone should complain about.  (Try to avoid morning Psalms, "In the morning I cry to you," etc.)  Using the penitential Psalms at Concordia University's Compline during Lent is fine if you can't do this publicly at Matins or Vespers.  On the other days of the week, as you recite Compline privately, use 4, 91, and 134.  You have to know your context and what people will be able to receive with joy.


A question from one of the brethren, regarding the title of the first Sunday in Lent:

Q. Isn't the future third person singular of "invocare" supposed to be "invoca-B-it"? (I thought it was a "b" when I checked Wheelock). How come TLH (and the BPB) and lots of other places (like the online Historic Lectionary site) have "invoca-V-it" [as Latin title for the 1st Sunday in Lent]? Is it an either/or kind of spelling? One classical, one ecclesial? Seems like too many have the latter for this to be a mere spelling error or Latin mistake. (Granted, the "b" and "v" are right next to each other on the keyboard. I know the Romans invented Latin with a Word Processor. On the bulletin inserts I use from Scholia, they have "invocabit" and my Head Elder (who knows a bit of Latin) was congratulating me on getting it right over against TLH.

A. The change of the title for the first Sunday in Lent from "Invocavit" to "Invocabit" is a change of recent times. At the time of the Reformation, Lutheran Latin liturgical texts listed the title as "Invocavit." (See Lucas Lossius, "Psalmodia," 1569, fol. 54r-v). That's perfect tense, even though our English translations have the future tense, saying, "He shall call upon me."

The title for the Sundays in Lent are taken from the first word of the Introit Psalm in Latin. Latin Bibles of the 16th century, or whenever the Introits were established as the common custom of the universal Church, must have had Ps. 91:15 in the perfect tense (Invocavit), because that's how it shows up in the liturgy.

The 16th century Lutheran Lucas Lossius gives the text for the Introit for Lent 1 as follows:

"Invocavit me, & ego exaudiam eum, eripiam eum, & glorificabo eum, longitudine dierum adimplebo eum. Qui habitat in adiutorio altissimi, inprotectione Dei coeli commorabitur. Gloria... Invoca..."

The pre-Vatican II, but still 20th-century, St. Andrew Daily Missal gives the Introit for Lent as follows:

"Invocabit me, et ego exaudiam eum: eripiam eum, et glorificabo eum: longitudine dierum adimplebo eum. Qui habitat in adjutorio Altissimi: in protectione Dei caeli commorabitur. v. Gloria Patri."

As you can see, the Roman liturgy has updated the tense of the first word. The propers from the LCMS's new Lutheran Service Book have changed the title for Lent 1 to "Invocabit" as well. That's why your bulletin inserts don't agree with TLH and the Brotherhood Prayer Book.

So what does this mean? If you're a traditionalist, go with "Invocavit." If you think the titles for the Sundays in Lent have to be exegetically correct, then don't stop at "Invocabit." Change it to "Clamabit," which is how today's Latin Bibles render the Hebrew. (Note: you may have to change a lot more than just Lent 1's title if this is what you want to do.)

In the end, this is a curious triviality which does not have much positive or negative bearing on the Christian faith. It's not a big deal. But it may demonstrate that many of today's Lutheran liturgical scholars are not reading the older Lutheran liturgical texts, but may be taking their liturgical cue from modern Roman sources.


Q. When there are Festival Weekdays (like Easter Monday, Easter Tuesday), which Collect would be prayed the rest of the week? The Collect from the Sunday?

A. Yes, the Collect from Sunday.


Q. What are the "Preces?" The rubrics indicate that they are to be omitted in Eastertide. My Latin is poor, but that has something to do with the prayers, no? But the Preces aren't listed by "Preces" in the services.

A. The "Preces" are the versicles (Suffrages) following the Lord's Prayer in Morning Prayer and Vespers.  These are omitted during Eastertide (of course, the rubrics in the services indicate that they're used only for penitential
seasons).  Sorry for rubrics which are hard to harmonize.  That's what happens when you make several revisions of the Prayer Book before releasing.


Q.  Psalm 119 is laid out a bit differently than the others. I notice that it is laid out in a large section according to the four week Psalter. I would have expected, however that it be broken up by section with the Gloria Patri and Psalm Prayer at the end of each 8 verses. But it's not. So, how might one properly pray that section on a Sunday afternoon? (I would think the Gloria Patri and Psalm Prayer after each roman numeral section and the antiphon repeated once?)

A. If you're following the four-week schedule, pray the entire section as one Psalm, and then pick one or more of the Psalm-prayers to pray (ad libitum). If you're following a different schedule, such as the one-week schedule, then pray the appropriate section as one Psalm, and pray the appropriate Psalm-prayer(s).

Of course, in your evangelical freedom you could break up the Psalm into 8-verse sections.  If you do this, you could sing the G.P. and antiphon after each section, or pick one of the verses from each section to be an antiphon for that section.


Q. I had some questions about the Offices for the Triduum. (1) For the Collect of the Day, would you also pray additional collects and the concluding collect (morning or evening)?

A. Only the Collect of the Day aloud.  Other collects silently after the office ad libitum.

Q. (2) Is Psalm 51 sung at Compline? In the notes on p.324 it says that Psalm 51 is to be sung at Morning Prayer and Vespers. But in the lists on p.324, Psalm 51 is also listed for Compline.

A. Psalm 51 is sung at Compline with the antiphon "Christ for our sakes..." just as it says in the lists.  (Its omission from the explanatory paragraph above was an oversight.)

Q. (3) When Compline says "Collect, as at Morn. Prayer," does that mean it is said without the "Let us pray" or that you pray the actual Collect of the Day rather than the Compline collect. (Visit we beseech thee...)

A. It is said without salutation and "Let us pray," but you still pray the Compline collect.

This stark and simple form of the office is quite appropriate for the sad days of the sacred triduum.  In this form, the office becomes the prayer of one who is afflicted, fasting, sorrowing—like the women and the beloved disciple at the cross.  It forms a fitting contrast with the rich complexity and beauty of the office during Eastertide.


Q. Just out of curiousity, in the "Vigils" section of the prayerbook, what would one use for the lessons in between the nocturns?

A. The lessons are part of the nocturnes.  As to what you would use, we have not made specific suggestions.  The Roman breviary (pre-Vat. II) generally had a quasi-lectio continua for the first nocturne.  On Sundays and feasts, a reading from the fathers would be read at the 2nd nocturne.  Again, on Sundays and feasts, a short selection from the Gospel of the Sunday or feast would be read together with a sermon on that text from a church father.  Our
suggestions for what to read is there in the rubrics.  1) From Scripture, 2) From the fathers, 3) From Scripture (from the Gospel on Sundays and feasts).

If someone wanted to put together a book of readings for all the hours, that would be a great supplement to the BPB.  As it stands, the BPB is what the normal participant in the hours would need.  The lector would need additional books (Bible, church fathers, etc.) 

Comment: Tonight there were FIVE of us standing in the darkened church, singing Compline at 10:00.  Three of the laity have told me they are seriously thinking about trying to make the retreat in April.  Today at 4, I had a person join me in for Vespers.  Unbelievable.  Our people are STARVED for this prayer life.  I was starved for it too.  Thanks again. It's been a blessing.

I actually haven't scheduled anything - some folks just saw me in Church praying and asked about it.  I live right next door, by the way.  So I told them that I generally pray Morning Prayer around 8 and Vespers at 4, and Compline at 10.  Noonday prayer I pray whenever I can from 9 to 3, almost always at home.  So these folks started showing up at 10!!!  Two of them ordered the Book itself yesterday, I believe.  They've downloaded the MP3's and are working on learning them, which puts a little pressure on me, because I can sing Compline mostly, but I still use the TLH tone for the Nunc Dimittis, and they wrinkle their brows a little, but I haven't had time to learn the other!!!  I also am very weak on the other psalm tones, but I'm working on them as I can.

Anyway, it's been the greatest Lent for prayer and renewal that I have ever lived through.  I had picked up Zion's fasting guide and followed that and combined it with the arrival of BPB on Ash Wednesday and it's been simply spiritually refreshing.  How I needed this!  Thanks again.


Comment: I've been reading through the prayerbook all day.  Absolutely fantastic!  This will surely be the standard and the classic prayerbook for all Lutherans who follow a disciplined life of prayer.  As others have posted on your website, I've used Christian Prayer (editing on the fly), Shorter Christian Prayer, Sauer, and countless others.  Each prayerbook lacked something—whether it be doctrinal, lack of the complete Psalms, lack of musical notation, lack of complete offices, etc.  You seemed to have captured it all and the CD makes it all the better.  Great job and great service to the church catholic.

© 2006 Emmanuel Press 


Contact Information:

The Reverend Benjamin T. G. Mayes (brmayes at gmail dot com)

The Reverend Michael N. Frese (pastorfrese at gmail dot com)