Book to buy - Liturgical readings

Liturgical Readings The Lessons of the Temporal Cycle and the Principal Feasts of the Sanctoral Cycle according to the Monastic Breviary, Grail Publications, St Meinrad, 1943 (various reprints; I am using one from 1954).

Liturgical readings, still available as a reprint, is one of those books I recommend thinking about buying if you are serious about Matins.

This book wasn't put out for liturgical use - although it has an imprimateur, it specifically says it was for study purposes - but it can readily be used in conjunction with the Office.

What it contains

The first section of the book contains the Patristic readings for the temporal cycle of the year.  For each Sunday and fixed feast, it lists out the (Scriptural) first Nocturn readings, then provides the second and third Nocturn (Patristic) readings.  Through Lent, it provides the weekday Patristic readings, Gospel and collect.

The second half of the book covers most of the first and second class feasts of the sanctoral cycle.

As a bonus, because it dates from before the culling of Octaves, you get a number of extra readings for some feasts (including local feasts of St Meinrad).

The readings are not headed reading 1, reading 2 etc, but the divides the paragraphs to follow the divisions of the Office.

What it doesn't include

The key things missing from a practical point of view are texts for newer feasts added to the calendar or upgraded.  Most of these, however, can be filled in from other sources such as Divinum Officium and the supplement put out by Clear Creek.

It doesn't include the readings for Class III feasts.

And the really unfortunate omission from a practical point of view is the responsories.

Pros and cons

The big advantage of this book as far as a source of translations goes is that it invariably includes readings (or parts thereof) omitted in the Roman Office and so not otherwise available from places like Divinum Officium.  It also follows the traditional cycle of Mass readings (unlike Monastic Breviary Matins, which occasionally diverges from the Catholic cycle).

The translations are generally very good in my view (superior to those on Divinum Officium) and the book is nicely laid out and easy to read (at least in the edition I have).

It is perfect for study use, but for some (new or upgraded) feasts you would need to cross-check to make sure the readings are still current, as there are occasional differences to the 1963 breviary. 


  1. This looks excellent. Does the book have both Latin and its English translation? Can you perhaps post a few pictures of the contents?

    Thank you.

  2. It is English only I'm afraid, assumes you have a breviary for the Latin I guess.