Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood
Questions and Comments Regarding the Brotherhood Prayer BookSeptember 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
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?
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, 2009Just 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
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!
May 8, 2006
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?
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.
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 http://www.llpb.us/Resources
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?
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
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
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?
Comment: "To brothers Ben and Michael, many thanks for your work on
Brotherhood Prayer Book. It arrived today and I can now pray without
having to be on the internet.
Q. I notice in the Weekday Propers there is no Da Pacem for Sunday. Why not?
Q. What was the rationale for including Compline in Latin? (We did this in Seminary once, with readings in Greek.)
Q. Does the note for Vigils mean you always pray Psalm 95 and pray the Invitatory only on Sundays and feasts?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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:
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?
Q. In that regard, could you post suggested times during the day when it is appropriate to pray each of the offices?
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?
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
there are Festival Weekdays (like Easter Monday, Easter Tuesday),
which Collect would be prayed the rest of the week? The Collect
from the Sunday?
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
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?)
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)?
Just out of curiousity, in the "Vigils" section of the
prayerbook, what would one use for the lessons in between the
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.
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
The Reverend Benjamin T. G. Mayes (brmayes at gmail dot com)
The Reverend Michael N. Frese (pastorfrese at gmail dot com)