My wife and I have off and on been following the daily prayers and readings of The Benedictine Handbook, which has a two week long rotation of Psalms, scripture readings, and prayers to recite every morning and every night. We have greatly enjoyed this practice, and it seems to suit our spiritual needs better (we’re just not good at the whole uniquely individualistic American Protestant thing) and so we want to continue it, but with a bit more of a Mormon feel.
So I’ve set out to write my own Mormon liturgy that we could follow, and could use some of the advice and input all y’all might have.
Two of the most striking and famous aspects about Catholic liturgy is the Lord’s Prayer and the Magnificat (also known as the Canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary). Both are scriptural recitations (Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 1:46-55 respectively), the first a template prayer offered by the Savior in the Gospels, and the other a prayer offered by Mary upon learning of the Incarnation of Jesus. Both are beautiful and rich in spiritual meaning. In the Benedictine tradition, the Lord’s Prayer is recited at every session, both morning and night, and each day’s ending is punctuated at the end with a recitation of the beautiful Magnificat. Over the months, my wife and I have gotten to know and love these two beautiful passages of scripture.
Which got me thinking — when writing a Mormon liturgy, would I use the Lord’s Prayer and the Magnificat? Or are there more “Mormon” versions of such passages? In the Mormon tradition, the Lord’s Prayer is repeated in the Book of Mormon (with some interesting changes), but rarely ever talked about or recited. In fact, when looking up where the Lord’s Prayer might be in the LDS Bible Dictionary entry for “Prayer,” the Lord’s Prayer is not even mentioned, let alone the scripture reference given. It’s often seen as a trapping of the “old Christianity” that we departed from; I’ve even heard (sadly) some Mormons talk about its recitation as a false tradition. Meanwhile, we believe in the Virgin Mary, and she’s one of the few women ever named by name in the Book of Mormon, yet our devotion to the Blessed Mother is quite pitiful compared to both our Catholic and Protestant siblings.
What call would you make when writing a Mormon liturgy? Would you keep the Lord’s Prayer and the Magnificat, paying homage to these two great passages of scripture, or would you choose a more “Mormon-y” scripture to replace them, to keep in stride with our tradition of modern revelation and pouring new wine into new skins?