The removal of most of the octaves from the liturgical calendar was perhaps an understandable decision.
But it was, I think, one of those reforms that went more than a few steps too far, most obviously in the abolition of the octave of Pentecost in the Ordinary Form calendar.
Bring back the octave of the Epiphany and time after the feast!
Another case in point, in my opinion, is the abolition of the octave of the Epiphany, which is, I think, one of those decisions which it would be nice to reverse as a means of giving some genuine impetus to the 'New Evangelisation'.
The calendar reforms of the twentieth century saw a progress reduction in the importance of Epiphany, starting with the abolition of the octave of the feast, and culminating in the outright abolition, in the Novus Ordo calendar, of the traditional season of time after Epiphany.
Yet Epiphany is, above all, the great feast of the revelation of God to the gentiles, represented by the three wise men. So how could reducing the importance of this feast possibly be thought consistent with the objective of making the Church more missionary oriented?
The 1962-63 Benedictine Office does at least retain the remnants of the old octave, in the form of the so-called 'Ordinary of the ferial office in the epiphany season' (January 7 to 12), including Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons for each day. But I thought it might be of interest to provide the readings previously used during the Octave at Matins as well (from Divinum Officium).
Homily of St Gregory (for second day within the previous Octave of the Epiphany)
From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
When Jesus therefore was born in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of king Herod, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. Saying, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? And so on.
Homily by Pope St Gregory (the Great)
10th on the Gospels.
When Herod knew of the birth of our King, he betook himself to his cunning wiles, and lest he should be deprived of an earthly kingdom he desired the wise men to search diligently for the young Child, and when they had found Him, to bring him word again. He said, that he also might come and worship Him, but, in reality, that, when he had found Him, he might put Him to death. But, behold, of how light weight is the malice of man, when it is tried against the counsel of God. It is written There is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor counsel, against the Lord, Prov. xxi. 30. So the star which the wise men saw in the East, still led them on; they found the new-born King, and presented unto Him gifts; then they were warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod. And as it came to pass that, when Herod sought Jesus, he could not find Him even so is it with hypocrites, who, while they make pretence to seek the Lord to worship Him, find Him not.
It is as well to know that it is one of the opinions of the Priscillianist heretics l that every man is born under the influence of a star; and, to confirm this notion, they bring forward the instance of the star of Bethlehem, which appeared when the Lord was born; and which they call His star, that is, the star ruling over His fate or destiny. But if we consider the words of the Gospel concerning this star, they are It went before, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. Whence we see that it was not the young Child Who followed the star, but the star which followed the young Child, as if to show that the young Child ruled the star, instead of the star ruling Him.
But I pray that the hearts of the faithful may ever be free from the thought that anything ruleth their destiny. In this world there is but One Who ruleth the destiny of man, even He Who made man; neither was man made for the stars, but the stars for man; and if we say that they rule his destiny, we set them above him for whose service they were made. When Jacob came out of his mother's womb, and his hand took hold on his elder brother Esau's heel, he could not have done so unless this his first movement had been behind his brother, and, nevertheless, such was not in after life the position of those two brethren whom their mother brought forth at one birth.