My copy of the Book of Common Prayer -- along with most other copies, I would presume -- hints that one could read/say/sing all the psalms in a month.
For example, prior to Psalm 1 is the tantalizing rubric: "First Day: Morning Prayer." Skipping ahead to Psalm 6 we read, "First Day: Evening Prayer."
So this is all very good, but what had bothered me until tonight was the absence of a 31st day ("Thirtieth Day: Evening Prayer" includes psalms 147-150, the end of the Psalter).
I had proposed varying solutions myself, none of which was very satisfactory. Maybe one just doesn't do psalms at the end of a long month -- a little liturgical break. Perhaps, I mused, one reads the apocryphal Psalm 151, twice? Or it could be choristers' choice! Aleatoric psalm singing?
All of these theories were quickly put to rest tonight when I came across an instruction in the 1662 BCP:
And, whereas January, March, May, July, August, October, and December have one-and-thirty days apiece; It is ordered, that the same Psalms shall be read the last day of the said months, which were read the day before: so that the Psalter may begin again the first day of the next month ensuing.
Well said, and a good solution to boot!
Why is this hint absent from the 1979 book I wonder? If the rubrics for complete monthly recitation are interspersed with the psalms themselves, why wouldn't it be explained anywhere?
If Charles Mortimer Guilbert knew how much sleep I would lose over this, I think he might have put in a little note.
Heck, I'll even write one in BCP "Contemporary:"
In months with thirty-one days, January, March, May, July, August, October, and December, the same Psalms should be read on the last day as were read the day before, so that the Psalter begins again on the first day of the following month.
Pathetic. Clearly I've just founded the traditional-language rubric movement.
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