Principles for Selecting Readings for Liturgy of the Hours at Mount St. Scholastica

  1. Basic Principles*
    1. Lectio Continua: on feria days to read a book or section of a book from beginning to end.
    2. Scriptural Basis: to read primarily Scripture, and to balance selections from Old and New Testament (with some attempt to read the whole NT in one year and the whole OT in four to five years).
    3. Gospel: to read from the gospels only for vigils of Sunday and solemnities (see GILH, #144).
    4. Sundays and Feast Days: to choose special readings that relate to the readings of the Eucharist for the day or to the occasion(see GILH, #154).
  2. Seasons
    1. Advent (see GILH, #147).
      1. Morning readings from Second Isaiah (chaps. 40-55): messianic emphasis, themes of comfort, consolation, salvation.
      2. Evening readings from Ruth and 1-2 Chronicles: the story of David, to provide the foundation for the messianic hope.
    2. Christmas (see GILH, #148).
      1. Morning readings from the Song of Songs: monastic (and other) interpretation as the love between God and the people which reaches its fulfillment in the Incarnation.
      2. Evening readings from Colossians: new life in Christ who is the beginning and head of all creation.
    3. Lent: Cycle One
      1. Morning readings from Jeremiah: prophet of the exile, calling for repentance and return to God.
      2. Evening readings from Exodus 1-15: foundation story for Jewish and Christian Passover (see GILH, #150).
    4. Lent: Cycle Two
      1. Morning readings from Deuteronomy: call to repent, choose life today (see GILH, #150).
      2. Evening readings from Ezekiel: prophet in exile, hope for return to the land of promise, rebuilding of Temple, return of the presence of God.
    5. Easter
      1. Morning readings
        1. Cycle One: Revelation: hope for new creation, victory of good over evil, final triumph of God's kingdom (see GILH, #151).
        2. Cycle Two: Letter to the Hebrews: exaltation of Jesus after his sacrifice for the whole world; exhortation on how to live, to enter God's kingdom; OT interpreted in light of paschal mystery.
      2. Evening readings from 1-3 John and 1 Peter: God's great love manifested to us in Jesus, call to love one another, baptismal catechesis (see GILH, #151).
  3. Ordinary Time (see GILH, #152).
    1. Between Christmas and Lent
      1. OT readings from the beginning of salvation history.
      2. NT readings from Paul concerning law, referring to beginning of salvation history.
    2. b. Between Easter and Fall
      1. OT readings from prophets, historical books, wisdom, fiction-longer books.
      2. NT readings from remaining Pauline literature (esp. books not read at Eucharist that year).
    3. Between Fall and Advent
      1. OT readings from books with apocalyptic flavor: Daniel, Judith, Maccabees, etc.
      2. NT readings from books with apocalyptic flavor: 1 Thessalonians, the pastorals, etc.


* Since we do not have the Office of Readings, the principles from The General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours (GILH) for that Office are applied to Morning and Evening Prayer. (GILH is available online.)

** See Of Time Made Holy (OTMH), # 14 (#29 in the old edition).

*** See GILH, #146. It discusses "the inclusion every year of nearly all the books of sacred scripture, as also the long and difficult passages which scarcely have a place in the Mass. The whole of the New Testament is read every year, partly at Mass and partly in the Liturgy of the Hours." See also OTMH, Introduction and ## 6, 9, and p. 64 #3 (## 21, 24, 40.3 in the old edition), where there is a discussion of the primacy of Scripture because of the presence of God [Christ] in the Word.