Last week I wrote about a new way (for me to pray the Daily Examen). Taking that even further today . . . Before I do though, Happy Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola!
Do you know about the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office or Breviary)? Does it sound long? It’s not. Does it sound rich? It totally is. The Liturgy of the Hours is the daily prayer of the Church. (Also known as the Breviary, the Hours, Divine Office, Canonical Hours – know any others? Share!) According to the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions the Liturgy of the Hours is constructed this way:
- Invitatory: This is the opening prayer of the Office and is prayed at the beginning of the day before the first hour of the Office.
- Lauds (Morning Prayer): This hour is prayed at sunrise (6AM) or in the early morning. It is one of the two most important (hinge) hours of the Office and, if possible, should be prayed in common.
- Daytime Prayers: In the post-Vatican II reform of the office, it is suggested that one of these hours, that which is most convenient for the individual, be prayed. The daytime hours are:
- Terce (Midmorning or around 10AM)
- Sext (Midday or noon)
- None (Midafternoon or around 3PM)
- Vespers (Evening Prayer): This hour is prayed at sunset, i.e. late afternoon or early evening (5:30PM). It is the second of the hinge hours and, like Morning Prayer, should be prayed in common if possible.
- Compline (Night Prayer): This is the “bedtime” hour of the Church’s daily prayer and is ordinarily prayed just before going to bed for the night.
- Officium lectionis – formerly Matins – (Office of Readings): This is the only hour which does not have a designated time. Coming out of Vatican II, it was decided that it should be left up to the person or groups praying to establish the time in which to read these. But by all means, don’t skip it. This is the part where you get to read some really great reflections and mediation from Saints and Doctors of the Church.
I hear you. It could be overwhelming. It could be too much. Or it could be a soft place to fall when you’re hit with some stuff in your day. Almost as if you stopped by the water cooler in the office and took a drink, every time. I try to pray the Morning and Evening prayers but definitely the Night every night. The Office of Readings is always a gem, treat if you will. Shouldn’t we all be reading more scripture? Here it is, bite sized and in a way where your sharing it with the world even if you’re in your prayer closet. Set an alarm and do it. Just do the Night Prayer for a week, then add the Morning Prayer. If you can handle one of the Daytime Prayers, do it and tell me how it goes. I’ll provide you with some links for guidance and instruction in learning more about this wonderful daily sacrifice of beautiful, communal prayer.
Before I do, I had to share… Here’s what I did last night…I prayed the Night Prayer on my iPhone – and in that prayer you’re supposed to make an examination of conscience right from the get…guess what I did? I “baked” and it was perfect. More than just an “Act of Contrition” I was able to put myself wholly in the prayer and in so doing, the Lord made it deeper and more beautiful than it’s been. Try it tonight! If you don’t have the Christian Prayer book or the entire Liturgy of the Hours 4 volume set, you can download the FREE audio Compline (Night Prayer) from Surgeworks online. I have the Christian Prayer book as well as the paid Divine Office for my iPhone / iPad. You can get all of the hours (and not just the Night and Morning, here but you have to buy it. I think it’s totally worth it. What’s a few latte’s? If you’re a book-y person or one that likes to do a little more research, I would also suggest that you buy Daria Sockey’s book The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours. I don’t do reviews on books at Amazon.com BUT I did for this one. It’s. that. good. In fact, I may go back now and re-read it! Here’s my review on Amazon (purchased personally):
The way this book is written is exactly how one should approach the LOTH and learn how to incorporate it in their lives – methodically and in layers. Don’t let that fool you though, there are moments of beautiful spirituality in how Sockey explains one’s approach. I especially loved Chapter 9, specifically the Scriptural Exegesis for Beginners. I devoured this book in two days.
She also has a website that’s chock-full of information including a weekly open questions segment. Delicious enough to go with our baked goods, her site is called Coffee and Canticles (kinda wish I’d come up with that one myself). I highly recommend a visit.
What are your thoughts about the Liturgy of the Hours / Baker combo? Wanna add your own croissant? Do so in the commbox! Have you tried it? How did it go?
Those links I promised (aside from the ones included throughout this post):
UPDATE! Discovering Prayer: An Introduction and Tutorial to the Liturgy of the Hours — 5th Edition 2007 By: Seth H. Murray also available with sound! This is for what I lovingly call – FANATICS! (like me)
http://www.ibreviary.com/new/index_en.html <—for my Android peeps!
And maybe there will be more variations on this theme to come…oh yeah. I’m planning!