Monday, February 23, 2009

Monastic Diurnal Compline. A Benedictine oblate blog


By The Wandering Angel

I used the Monastic Diurnal (info here and here) for the first time today — for Compline(1) which I finished a few minutes ago. I thought Compline would be the easiest office for starters.

Compline in the Monastic Diurnal had several words I had never heard before, like “hebdomadary,” “Confiteor,” and “Fidelium anime.” The word “collect” was also used. I know “collect” is a type of prayer, but I know there is more to it than that.

Not knowing what I am reading causes the reading to be more difficult, but I am not going to regret too much the sad state of my education! But there is so much that is new.

OK, on to an overall assessment of my first Compline from the Monastic Diurnal. I am familiar with “Benedictine Daily Prayer — A Short Breviary” and will use the BDP as the comparison.

Overall I like the Monastic Diurnal better because Compline seems a little longer than in BDP and the Monastic Diurnal seemed more monastic — spiritually prayerful and contemplative might be the core of the difference.

The Monastic Diurnal’s English translations carried more meaning than the English in BDP, and because the Monastic Diurnal also has the Latin for the offices, I was able to glance over at the Latin a couple of times to see how a particular section of Compline would be read/sung in Latin, but I glanced right back to the Engish when my head began to spin.

I know that the Nunc Dimittis(2) was not part of St. Benedict’s Compline when he wrote his Rule(3) and the Nunc Dimittis is not in the Monastic Diurnal (at least I did not spot it in my first reading of Compline), and I like that part of the Roman office added to Compline in BDP.

I especially liked the Compline hymn in the Monastic Diurnal, one line is, “To Thee, before the close of day, Creator of the world we pray...” Yes.

And in Thee may we reach the end of day — Compline — complete.



The Picture is Ethereal by The Wandering Angel.

Comparison of "Benedictine Daily Prayer" and "The Monastic Diurnal" here.

(1) Compline is part of the Divine Office.

(2) The Canticle of Simeon in St. Luke's Gospel (2:29-32)

(3) A prior blog talked about the Nunc Dimittis and the divine office.


  1. It is great you have started this wonderful journey. St Benedict is one of the greatest Saints, I am sure you have his medal, it is so helpful in keeping chastity. I purchased Monastic Diurnal several years ago, as there was no Carmelite Breviary available then. Diurnal only difference with Breviary is that the first does not include Matins. God bless and pray for perseverance.

  2. Jay, thank you for the comment. Yes, I have several St. Benedict medals. I met some Carmelites who come to the abbey where I am an oblate. They were wonderful.

  3. I like that line in Compline too. Thanks for teaching us and sharing your assessment of the Monastic Diurnal.

  4. Thanks Colleen for the comment. Compline is my favorite office of the day. And I like it in the Monastic Diurnal. I have yet to try another office in the MD, however!

  5. I am on the fence at the moment between BDP and MD.....the translation language has me leaning toward the Monastic well as the seeming depth in I correct in this

  6. Larry, thank you for the great question. I made my response a separate blog