Whew! That’s quite a title. And, if you’d seen the three volume Divine Office (another name for Liturgy of the Hours) we use in the UK you’d know why an ordinary, everyday Catholic might need a book with a long title to help her with it.
I first became interested in praying the Office many years ago. I thought I might be called to religious life (I’m not) and praying the Office is what nuns do so I thought I’d give it a try. I found the Universalis website and got totally lost after which I gave up for a long time. It was far too complicated, too long, the Psalms didn’t make sense to me and … why?
When I was going through RCIA to join the Church, I came across the Office again. By this time, I knew a bit more about it – I hadn’t given up entirely apparently! So I gave it another try. Miss All-or-Nothing bought the current volume (I think it was Advent and Christmastide) and attempted to pray the whole thing on the very first day. I did get through it. Once or twice 😉 But who has time? And how was it relevant to me? And why?
Thankfully, I then came across Donna’s excellent book and had my questions, including that persistent why, answered.
Today, I usually use Universalis although I’m trying to get into the beautiful books now I know better what I’m doing (and what bouncing bookmarks and restful ribbons are). My habits aren’t formed – sometimes I do pray the whole thing throughout the day. I’m most likely to miss Night Prayer and I most enjoy the Office of Readings but don’t always have time for it (it’s the longest Office). Daytime Prayer (at 9am, noon and 3pm) work really well for me, drawing me back to what matters in the midst of business and triviality. And that’s exactly what the Liturgy of the Hours is supposed to do.