Catholic Liturgy of the Hours

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Catholic Liturgy of the Hours

Fev 19, 2017, 10:32am

It seems curious to me that the ancients, like Aristotle and Cicero, recognized and taught the importance of developing good habits in our search for righteousness. Similarly, Jesus taught that through persistence we might realize our hope for justice.
Each year, especially at Advent and Lent, I feel called anew to be more faithful to our Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, which is also called the Divine Office.
I pray that readers will feel the same call, buy a book (surprisingly few of our members report owning one), and develop the habit of daily prayer as the ancient Jews did three times a day, and ancient Christians even more frequently.
Hopefully, many will comment in this thread to report their prayers, inspirations, and other reflections. Perhaps too we can raise questions and seek explanations and answers as they arise.

Fev 22, 2017, 7:38am

I was waiting to see a response before risking a comment but here goes. Many years ago (1960s and 70s) I used to read from the Day Hours used by the Anglican Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield. It contained all the Divine Office in English except Matins. I generally only managed to read Prime or Lauds in the morning and Vesper or Compline in the evening. The book was lost during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. I managed with some difficulty to replace it when I returned to UK from working overseas some years ago but as I'm very much lapsed that was mainly for sentimental reasons and the volume is much more pristine than the well-thumbed original.
You mention that not many report owning copies of the Divine Office. I suspect that it's not a task undertaken lightly. Unless you are part of a community the instructions are not easy to follow as one goes through the seasons and special feasts. Also the requirement to to say the words, however quietly, and not just 'think' them as in silent reading. There are some good apps for tablets which make reading the Office a much less daunting task and I expect many people would prefer to follow this path.

Editado: Fev 22, 2017, 10:44am

I was also waiting for a response before jumping in! Funnily enough my original breviary was also lost, looted in southern Sudan in 1984 when the town I was in was overrun and we were taken hostage.

After that I bought a lightweight pocket edition, as I travelled so much, often on light aircraft with a strictly limited weight allowance. It had morning, evening and night prayers but not the daytime prayers, and it had a very limited choice of feasts and seasonal variations. I later bought a newer version after the recent changes to the English translation of the Catholic liturgy, but I prefer the old one. Not only is the text more familiar, but it's thinner and lighter, sturdier, and has place ribbons! I think both of these are listed in my LT catalogue, but at the moment I can't find them there.

Even in the old days, it was rare for me to pray the entire day's prayer. I would pick and choose according to the circumstances. I'm particularly fond of compline - when I was at university I used to attend Anglican compline in a 900-year old Norman undercroft chapel and that left its mark on me. Nowadays I pray parts of it when attending meetings with bishops and priests where it is part of the daily programme - I spent a couple of weeks in January saying midday prayer every day while facilitating the annual pastoral meeting of one diocese.

A year or two ago I started using one that I found via my mobile phone, trying to pray morning prayer at least, but a few months ago it started asking me for a password and I haven't got round to sorting that issue out yet.

Fev 24, 2017, 4:36pm

Did you feel, at least a bit, that the devil was blocking you? I often have that feeling. We're spending a couple weeks with my daughter in SC, and although I brought my prayer journal and one prayer book, I forgot the Divine Office, and since I have several copies at home, I may not buy another here--we'll see. Could that be the devil, blocking me, again?
There is so often a wonderful, warm, enfolded feeling that seems to come most frequently when I pray a familiar prayer that truly expresses my feelings. I'm very thankful for this habit and pray to continue it.

Maio 21, 2018, 12:33am

I was using Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours as breviary. It is in a 3 volume set with 4 offices per day. Tickle was Anglican (Episcopalian). I stopped reading it about 6 years ago, but now that I am retired, maybe I should start up again.

Maio 24, 2018, 1:41pm

I hope to encourage you, even as I admit I have many times started up reading (again) at Advent, or New Years, or Lent, but then drifted away once again. During many of these startups I've kept a spiral journal recording primary lessons, questions, and concerns.
There is a wonderful peace and joy in sharing devotion with thousands and possibly millions of people around the world.
I plan to go see what differences there are between Catholic and Episcopal versions, and hope you and others will comment further.

Maio 29, 2018, 5:55pm

My church has morning and evening prayer weekdays, and my wife has signed up for leading Friday evening prayer. A Duke Divinity student graduated and we have taken over his spot. In my freshman year at University of Pennsylvania 1963-64, I did lead evening prayer at the parish on the campus. 12 years later I did half a year with evening prayer with an Episcopal Franciscan group. I was in an Episcopal parish in NYC and served on the Vestry 1913-17, and we ended our monthly meetings with compline. So, I either led the service, or sung Gladsome Light as I can sing and lead. About 10 years ago, I lost one of the Tickle volumes, and did 3rd order Franciscan offices for spell. I liked Tickle as the Vespers office had frequently a non-scriptual reading. Requently hymns but, I discovered John of the Cross.

Maio 30, 2018, 12:19am

A few months ago, while unpacking boxes of books when we moved into our new house, I found my old copy of Morning and Evening Prayer with Night Prayer from The Dvine Office, a 1994 reprint of the 1976 edition, and I've now reverted to using that. The text is more familiar than the new versions published after the recent changes to the English liturgy. This is Roman Catholic.

Dez 25, 2018, 1:16pm

I can't remember when my wife and I started to pray the morning and evening hours - either some or many years ago - but it has been a great blessing for us, individually and as a couple. Over intervals of time, from time to time, we have compressed to only morning prayer, as we are doing now. We pray together "in choir" so to speak, in that way alternating as first the one, then the other is feeding, and the other being fed, the holy words, the food of life. This especially brings light to the man-woman contributions in marriage - I would urge any Christian married couple to do this, to add this as a habit to integrate into all other ways in which the Faith is overtly shared, in the marriage.

Over the past several months, I've begun to hear the wisdom of the psalms in a noticeably different, deeper way. Perhaps the seeds long planted are starting to spring up, or even bearing fruit I hope...

Nov 2, 2019, 1:09pm

I realise this group is somewhat dormant, but I wanted to add my own two cents. I've been trying to be more diligent with praying the hours, and I've been using a Lutheran work for it: Benjamin Mayes's Liturgical Brotherhood Prayerbook. It's been really incredible, and with the basic hours, taking twenty minutes or so twice a day, I pray through the entire psalter once a month.

Fev 22, 2020, 10:28pm

As Ash Wednesday approaches, I have begun to review the short section in the Liturgy of the Hours for hymns before Ash Wednesday. I hope to continue these readings and prayers and to encourage all others to begin a schedule of prayers for Lent as well as you can. We will surely receive blessings much greater than we deserve.

Mar 11, 2020, 1:14pm

I do not own and am not terribly familiar with the post-concilar Liturgy of the Hours. I do own (and just confirmed that I have logged in here) the 1961 Roman Breviary. I generally read the lessons (scripture and sometimes patristic writings) from Matins and the equivalent of a little hour (3 psalms) in the morning, though I periodically rotate the hour from which I draw the psalms. During Holy Week or the O Antiphons I generally read more, usually at least Lauds because of the proper antiphons for those days. Because I am not canonically bound to read the office, I do not worry about reciting them out loud.

The whole Breviary for each day is online ( and also available in several apps for those who don't want to make the capital investment in the physical books (or have to learn the rubrics for determining what to say each day).

Abr 27, 2020, 9:02pm

Many thanks for divinumofficium link, it is fascinating. Do we have to download separate files or can we access without downloading? This year I have been uniquely consistent in reading at least part of the Liturgy almost every day since Ash Wednesday, but I wonder sometimes whether God or the devil has the upper hand. We came to SC this year Feb 1, almost immediately had a heart attack, surgery on Mar 17, and am still awaiting Dr encouragement to try to get home. We'd be grateful for all prayers.

Abr 28, 2020, 12:15am

>13 eschator83:

My thoughts and prayers are with you, wishing you a good recovery. Hoping that your convalescence will be a fruitful time of prayer. Worth reading some John of the Cross or Theresa of Avila, or The Cloud of Unknowing, or some of the other classic literature on prayer during periods of suffering and darkness?

Abr 28, 2020, 9:42am

Thank you, John. The Cloud I have greatly enjoyed on many occasions, although I must admit I cannot think at this moment how to briefly state the title concept. I will try again Ss John and Theresa.

Dez 14, 2020, 11:06am

I hope once again to encourage readers of the Divine Office/ Liturgy of the Hours. This year I seem to be slow in everything, including starting the Office. I have a strong temptation to raise questions here about the detailed instructions and hope for answers, but also strong reluctance to show my ignorance. Maybe a new thread would be better.

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