« Honeymoon: Part III | Main | The Honeymoon: Part II »

The Office: Daily, the Hours

A few thoughts about the formation of people in using the Office.

It can be useful for people to hear that there are two broad ways of considering the tradition.


Day by day

One is by placing an emphasis on "daily."  Each day we take time to offer the Daily Prayers of the Church. At a time that works in relation to the flow of our day we pray with the psalms, scriptures and the common prayers of the church. We join ourselves to the church's ceaseless act of worship.


We can affirm a person's desire and ability to join on the Divine Office each day. The person makes a decision to routinely do that in the morning or at noon or in the evening or at the close of day.


Hour by hour

The other possibility for the person is to pray "the hours." That's to place the emphasis on an offering made at several times in the course of each day. The historical Anglican approach has been twice a day - Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, the current Book of Common Prayer provides four offices (adding noon and close of day), some monastic houses continue to offer more offices each day. 


In either case we offer the person a way of: 1) avoiding the trap of basing their spiritual life on their feelings and 2) connecting themselves to the prayers of the communion of saints. 


The value of the Office is its objectivity. It is a means by which we pray with the whole church, uniting our prayer with that of millions of other Christians living and dead. This is true whether one is alone or in a group, for the Office is essentially a corporate act. It is objective too in that it does not depend on our feelings, but gives our prayer life a regularity and a disciplined framework. Ken Leech, True Prayer


The stability and adaptability of the believer's spiritual life can be nurtured by grounding it in 1) the ancient tradition of the church and 2) useful information and free choice.  The tradition offers roots. Useful information and free choice provides ownership.