Saturday, December 10, 2011

Traditional Lectio Cycle

I was actually very glad today to see (the usually crazy) Rorate Caeli point this out:

Now, since what I want to do is read all of Scripture (yes, I am rather obsessive about continuity and completeness), I have decided to follow the order prescribed in the Breviary only in broad outline. So rather than reading exactly that which is prescribed in the Divine Office, I am going to read every book of the Bible at the time in which the Divine Office prescribes selections from that book.
I'm so happy Rorate posted this as I've been thinking of making something like this myself a lot lately, so this is very helpful and a good reminder.

Now, I'd alter it to fit my own tastes/needs. Specifically, I'd like to keep a "three lesson" structure every day, the premise or conceit being that someday the actual liturgical lectionary for Matins and Mass could have a "long form" that included all of it (with the Old Testament/Prophecy lesson at Mass being usually simply the "most important" selection of what would be included more fully/comprehensively at Matins). But this certainly provides a good general outline of how the books are distributed traditionally throughout the year.

In my lectionary/lectio dreams, since Epistles are read at Mass (and that 1967 Ferial Lectionary gives room for a much greater selection in that regard), I would probably be inclined (in my own "ideal" lectionary having three lessons at Mass) to replace at Matins the parts of the year where that hour has New Testament readings with more Old Testament readings (and to move those Epistle readings to [daily] Mass); this might allow one to "spread out" the Old Testament books (especially of the Pentateuch) a bit more. I'm also not too terribly concerned about how the Psalms are integrated into this because those are being prayed weekly in the Divine Office anyway (though he makes an interesting point about wanting to read the Psalms as a book "in order" that I do have to consider).

Still, for anyone looking for a lectio cycle with only one selection each day (rather than a Prophecy, Epistle, and Gospel as I'd prefer; the latter two selections probably being quite short)...this is a very good arrangement, I think. Although, as I just said above, I'd be inclined to make Matins exclusively Old Testament by adding the Epistles from those parts of the year to [ferial] Mass instead...the fact that they do have a traditional place in the yearly Matins cycle (even if that cycle is a sort of skeletal remnant pointing to a much greater ancient fullness) does at least then help to give them a "place" in any one-selection (as opposed to three-selection) lectio schema for the year which is attempting to base itself on a traditional liturgical cycle (and I then I think then suggesting the Gospels for Easter Week makes sense.)

I don't know when I'll get around to completing my own expanded/"long form" lectionary proposal (which would, to my liturgically-oriented mind, inevitably function as my "private" three-selection lectio cycle too, to the point that I might just read the expanded Old Testament lesson [divided in three of course] when praying Matins rather than the tiny "representative" snippets it actually gives), but maybe soon I will do a post compiling the various charts I've made of these liturgical things; I have "hidden" links to the files in various old posts of mine, but it would be convenient for people to have them in one place and explicitly labelled, I suppose...

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