Friday, April 3, 2009

Comparing “Benedictine Daily Prayer” and “The Monastic Diurnal.” A Benedictine oblate blog

Larry posted a comment to this blog asking a question about the “Benedictine Daily Prayer — A Short Breviary” and “The Monastic Diurnal.”

Larry thinks that "The Monastic Diurnal" has a better translation and seems more in depth than the BDP. I agree with Larry.

However, the BDP has Vigils (which the MD does not) and for Vigils the BDP has excellent readings many of which are from the early Church Fathers. And in the BDP section on saints, there are also readings from early Church fathers.

When only comparing the elements that are mostly the same in both books, “The Monastic Diurnal” is more to my liking. But in addition “Benedictine Daily Prayer — A Short Breviary” also has Vigils and readings from the early Church fathers and saints which the MD does not have.

If you like the type of readings in the BDP, then I suggest that the order of getting the books is BDP first and then the MD. On the other hand if not having the readings in your breviary is OK or you especially prefer the beauty of the language in the MD, then I suggest getting the MD first and then maybe get the BDP.

To help you make your own decision, here is the new Breviaries page on the Oblate Spring web site with three examples of the readings from the BDP and a link to excerpts from Thursday Lauds from the BDP and the MD. Here is a direct link to the PDF page containing the two excerpts.

Thank you Larry for a super question. I have been wanting to make a page for comparing the BDP and the MD. Your question is what caused me to do it tonight.


  1. from the examples you have given here....I believe there is no comparison....for my purposes...the Monastic Diurnal is perfect...thank you very much

  2. Larry,

    Super, I am glad that you made your original comment and I hope the two excerpts will help others make an informed decision. And thank you for your comment here, you will love the MD!

  3. I have been researching these books like this for several weeks...I have run across a
    lot of personal bias on many websites...your
    input was by far the best...

  4. There's a simple solution if you want Matins/Vigils in the language of the Monastic Diurnal: just add the Monastic Matins volume (US$45) as shown at
    Then you have the complete office in English, entirely in language (in my view) much preferable to that of Benedictine Daily Prayer.

  5. CG, great advice -- I did not know that. Thank you very much. I love the Internet!

  6. Hey John! I looked to see if you had an email link but you don't so I hope it's okay if I leave this here. Just wanted you to know I'm no longer doing my old blogs, and that I've decided to take a (possibly permanent) break from religion per se. Anyway, just wanted you to know I haven't fallen off the face of the earth and that you can take your links to my blogs off your list (asking searching knocking and haiku paradise). You were always an encouraging voice to me in my journey, and I don't like to leave my "internet friends" hanging, if that makes any sense. I'll continue to check in on your blog now and then even though I probably won't comment. Please don't feel the need to link to my new blog, it has nothing whatsoever to do with religion. Hope things are well with you.



  7. You might find my new blog, helpful for using the monastic diurnal.

  8. Terra,

    Thank you very much, great tip.

  9. I have been trying to use the "short breiary" with little success.
    Where am I supposed to be when, which readings.
    Is there a web site that walks you through the daily readings so I can get the hang of it?